HC Deb 02 March 1987 vol 111 c526W
Mr. Meadowcroft

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what specific steps he has taken to ensure that computer purchase records relating to his Department are not made subject to audit by United States inspectors in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton

No such measures are necessary. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made clear in his reply of 19 February to the hon. Member at columns751–752 that he will not normally allow audit visits except where he is satisfied that a company wishes to maintain approved foreign consignee status and does not therefore wish the Government to reject an application for a visit. The purpose of any visit, if allowed, would be to check the procedures which United Kingdom firms choosing to use the distribution licence system agree to operate. A visit would be permitted only on conditions which safeguarded national security and commercial confidentially, so that any computer purchase records relating to this Department would, if they raised such issues, be protected.