HC Deb 05 December 1975 vol 901 cc414-5W
Mr. Clemitson

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what is the total number and value of diesel engines exported from and imported into the United Kingdom in each of the past five years.

Mr. Deakins

Following is the information for all types of newly constructed compression ignition engines:

there are circumstances which justify the use of my right hon. Friend's investigatory powers it is in the public interest that the facts should be independently investigated and published where appropriate. I also refer my hon. Friend to the Companies Annual Report for 1974 which records the recovery of approximately £800,000, following the appointment of inspectors and subsequent civil recovery proceedings by the Department in the names of 15 separate companies. There was also a successful criminal prosecution following the inspectors' inquiries. In consequence of the institution of Section 165 inquiries in First Re-Investment Trust Ltd., Nelson Financial Trust Ltd., and English and Scottish Unit Trust Holdings Ltd., some £5 million was refunded to the group of companies concerned. Criminal proceedings were commenced in these cases, but were terminated on the death of the principal defendant.

Mr. Cant

asked the Secretary of State for Trade, of the 18 companies now under investigation by his Department, how many are already in liquidation and how many are under completely different ownership.

Mr. Clinton Davis

In my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) on 3rd November 1975—[Vol. 899, c. 68–9]—I listed the names of 17 companies in which inquiries had not yet been completed. Only one of these companies—Court Line Ltd.—is in liquidation, and in four companies there has been a change in the ownership of the shares.

Mr. Cant

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will publish for the years 1971 to 1974 an estimate of the cost of investigations initiated by his Department under the Companies Acts, indicating the amount accounted for by fees paid to private firms in the accountancy and legal professions.

Mr. Clinton Davis

Given below is a table showing the estimated cost of office staff and overheads for the Companies Investigation Branch, excluding legal services, and the actual amounts paid in the financial year to non-departmental accountant and legal inspectors. These latter figures do not relate directly to appointments made in any one year, in some cases bills of costs are rendered in the succeeding accounting periods.

Estimated staff cost and overheads Year ending 31st December Payments to accountants and legal inspectors Year ending 31st March
1971 n.a.
1972 99 212
1973 179 166
1974 251 156
1975 634