HC Deb 01 December 1992 vol 215 c132
9. Mr. Mullin

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if she will make a statement on the value of contracts placed by training and enterprise councils with Astra Training Services.

Mr. McLoughlin

Contracts placed by training and enterprise councils are a matter for the councils individually, and the Department does not collect information on the amount of business that TECs place with individual training providers.

Mr. Mullin

Is the Minister aware that, since Astra was handed over, along with a large sum of public money, to a group of former civil servants, that company has reneged on its pension commitments and demanded from its employees on pain of dismissal salary cuts of 10 and 15 per cent., and that employees have recently been surprised to discover that they are now owned by a company called Schroeder Ventures? Is the Minister able to assure the House that that is not just the beginning of an asset-stripping operation and another privatisation scandal?

Mr. McLoughlin

The sale was conducted on a clean-break basis. It is not for Ministers to comment on what is happening in private companies.

Lady Olga Maitland

May I give a warm welcome to the initiatives that have been announced today to help 18-year-olds and others? However, is my hon. Friend aware that the information services—

Madam Speaker

Order. The question is specific to TECs with Astra Training Services. One has to keep to the question.