HL Deb 22 March 1984 vol 449 cc1460-1WA
Lord Oram

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether during the period of reorganisation of the Crown Agents announced in the Statement of 23rd February 1984 it is proposed that consultancy services be continued in competition with firms in the private sector; and what steps will be taken to ensure that contracts for consultancy services to be financed out of the aid programme will be awarded on a properly costed and appraised basis as between the Crown Agents and their private competitors in order to ensure that the profitability expected by 1986 will be a true one.

Baroness Young

The Crown Agents are empowered to provide consultancy services by Section 5 of the Crown Agents Act 1979. The Government's view is that in this, as in other aspects of their business, their aim should be to concentrate on areas where their reputation and experience enable them to make a distinctive contribution which may at the same time benefit British trade, minimising direct competition with the British private sector. Where consultancy services are financed under the aid programme, any proposals from the Crown Agents will be appraised in the same way as proposals from the private sector.