HC Deb 22 January 1998 vol 304 c1139
29. Mr. Skinner

What discussions he has had with the Crown Prosecution Service regarding fraud in respect of Further Education Funding Council funds and training programmes. [22331]

The Attorney-General (Mr. John Morris)

I meet the Director of Public Prosecutions frequently to discuss matters of mutual interest. It is not my practice to disclose the subject matter of our discussions.

Mr. Skinner

At their next meeting, will my right hon. and learned Friend urge the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate training programmes in Britain, especially with regard to 1995 and 1996 and a programme conducted by a firm called Link, which was subsequently taken over by CRT? CRT is an arm of a subsidiary controlled by Michael Milken, the American junk bond dealer. CRT is claiming the outstanding sum of £3.2 million in taxpayers' money for bogus tutoring; one tutor supposedly worked for 94 hours in 14 different locations on a single day. There are thousands of other similar claims. Milken and his company have had the cheek to tell the people of north Derbyshire that they are not allowed to speak about the matter and have served them with an injunction while claiming £3.2 million from the taxpayer. It is one of the biggest scams that occurred in the last few months of the previous Tory Government and it is time to investigate the matter properly.

The Attorney-General

I have noted my hon. Friend's remarks. It is for the police to investigate allegations of possible criminal conduct. If such evidence is found, it will be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration of a prosecution. The CPS will bring a prosecution if there is sufficient evidence to sustain the realistic prospect of a conviction and if it is in the public interest. The more serious the offence, the more likely it is that prosecution will be necessary in the public interest.