§ Mr. Murphy
asked the Lord Privy Seal, if he will make a statement on the financial regime for the Crown Agents.
§ Mr. Neil Marten
Under the provisions of section 13(2) of the Crown Agents Act 1979, with the approval of the Treasury and after consultation with the Crown Agents, I have determined financial targets for the Crown Agents for the years 1982 to 1985. The Government are looking for a progressive improvement in the Crown Agents' finances during the remainder of the initial period prescribed in the Act. For the years 1982 to 1984 taken together the rate of return will be a current cost operating surplus, before interest payable on the commencing capital debt, of ½ per cent. of total gross income over these years. For 1985 the target will be a surplus similarly defined of 6 per cent. of gross income. Within these targets Crown Agents should seek to achieve an increase of 2½ per cent. per annum in real gross income per head of staff employed.
I have similarly determined under section 17(3) of the Act that the Crown Agents should repay to the National Loans Fund £9 million of the commencing capital debt of £30 million and have directed under section 16(3) of the Act that they should make from reserves a further payment of £1 million to Her Majesty's Government. I have also determined, in accordance with section 17(4) of the Act, with the approval of the Treasury, that in 1982 the interest payable on the amount of the debt outstanding to Government shall be 40 per cent. of the relevant NLF rates.