§ Mr. Ashdown
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will provide details of (a) the current rate of pay for consultants called in to assist by giving advice for applicants to the enterprise allowance scheme, (b) the arrangements by which these consultants are reimbursed their expenses and (c) the total cost including fees and expenses of consultancy services provided in respect of the enterprise allowance scheme over the last year for which figures are available.
§ Mr. Trippier
(a) Small firms service business counsellors provide advice to recipients of enterprise allowance when requested to do so. Counsellors are self-employed, under contract to the Department of Trade and Industry, and receive a fee of £25 for each day on which they provide advice. In addition, they are reimbursed travelling and substistence expenses.
(b) Each month, counsellors submit claims for fees and expenses to their regional small firms centres for scrutiny. Authorised claims are passed to the Department's accounts branch for payment.
(c) It is not possible without undue effort to separate the cost of business counselling provided in respect of the enterprise allowance scheme from the total cost of all business counselling provided by the small firms service. During the period 1 April 1983 to 31 March 1984 counsellors' fees and expenses amounted to £1.107 million.