§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the establishment and actual strengths of the Ulster Defence Regiment at the end of 1978 and 1979 and at the latest convenient date, separating the figures for whole-time and part-time ranks.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
The information requested is as follows:
Cycle Co-operative; what has been the aggregate cost to public funds of all forms of financial assistance given to Meriden and to Norton Villiers Triumph since 1973; how this sum compares with the sum initially committed to Norton Villiers Triumph; what is the number of persons currently employed by Meriden; and if he will indicate the legislative authority sanctioned by Parliament under which outstanding loans to the co-operative have been written off.583W
§ Mr. David Mitchell
The Export Credits Guarantee Department has in this case pursued its normal policy of seeking to maximise recoveries and thus minimise loss. If during the next few months at least £2 million is realised from the sale of motor cycles in the United States of America, ECGD has agreed that it will release Meriden from its recourse obligations to repay to ECGD an approximately equivalent amount. The exact amount will depend on the sum realised by the sale. Had this arrangement not been made, it was considered likely that ECGD's recovery prospects would have been severely prejudiced. The arrangement will not represent public expenditure as it will be accounted for within ECGD's section 2 trading account which it seeks to operate at no net cost to public funds.
The aggregate cost to public funds—that is, the net outflow from public funds—of all forms of financial assistance to the Meriden Co-operative and Norton Villiers Triumph since 1973 is £9.877 million. This does not include the interest charges outstanding on the Department of Industry loan to Meriden.
The sum intially committed to Norton Villiers Triumph in 1973 was £4.872 million.
It is understood that the Meriden Cooperative had 170 employees on 31 October 1980.
No legislative authority is required for the arrangement which has been agreed with Meriden.