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Companies: Data Protection

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 26 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of UK businesses which have transferred data centres offshore in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. (185512)

The Government do not collect data about the extent of offshoring and have not made any estimate of the extent of offshoring of data centres. However, research that has been conducted and data about the relocation of businesses, such as the European Reconstruction Monitor, suggests that offshoring has been relatively limited in recent years and has not had an adverse impact on overall UK employment.

It is, of course, important that companies carefully consider the business case for relocating activities, including all the costs and risks of offshoring. This includes ensuring that data is kept secure; companies that offshore activities remain bound by the requirements of the UK’s Data Protection Act. Companies also have a responsibility to engage in a transparent dialogue with employees affected by relocation decisions. But, companies must be allowed to decide the best course of action to remain competitive.