§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what increases there have been in the charge for postal sales of the microfiche records of companies from Companies House since December 1983; what has been the average annual increase; what has been the basis on which the charge has been set; and what effect changes in the efficiency of the Companies House agency have had on the charges.
§ Mr. Redwood
The price of obtaining a company search by post was set at £2 when the service was introduced in December 1983. It was subsequently increased to £4 in July 1988 and to £5 in July 1990, which is equivalent to an average annual increase of 15 per cent. The policy is now that the price of this service should cover its costs, taking one year with another, although in the past it has not done so. The increases would have been much higher without the productivity gains achieved by Companies House over this period.