HL Deb 19 January 1984 vol 446 cc1153-4

3.23 p.m.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action is being taken against those responsible in the Department of Industry and in the then National Enterprise Board in respect of the loss of£34 million in the NEXOS project.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Cockfield)

My Lords, the Public Accounts Committee are inquiring into this matter, and they have recently examined witnesses. I would suggest to my noble friend that we should await the report of the Public Accounts Committee.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, while accepting, as I always do, my noble friend's advice and that of the Public Accounts Committee, may I ask him whether, in the event of the responsibility of individuals for this substantial loss of public funds being established, the Government will take action to recover some of the money from the individuals concerned?

Lord Cockfield

My Lords, I appreciate the point that my noble friend is making. The Public Accounts Committee have a great reputation for probing matters of this sort in depth and with very great care, and I think the wisest course is to await receipt of their report before going any further.