HC Deb 08 November 1990 vol 180 cc5-7W
Mr. Mans

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether any changes will be made to his Department's cash limit and running cost limits for 1990–91.

Mr. Lilley

Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the cash limit for class IV, vote 2 (support for industry, international trade, statutory and regulatory work, consumer protection, and administration) will be increased by £14,304,000 from £787,377,000 to £801,681,000. The running costs limit for the Department of Trade and Industry will be reduced by £470,000 from £304,234,000 to £303,764,000.

The increase in the cash limit covers a rise in grant-in-aid provision for the English Industrial Estates Corporation from a token £1,000 to £24,758,000 to compensate for a shortfall in income caused by a rescheduling of asset sales. It also covers an increase of £4,686,000 in departmental capital expenditure for full take-up of the end-year flexibility entitlements announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 25 July, columns 235–38, an increase of £3,000,000 in capital expenditure at the National Engineering Laboratory, increased export promotion expenditure of £5,677,000 partially offset by increased receipts of £1,900,000, increased contributions to the general agreement on tariffs and trade and the International Customs Tariff Bureau of £123,000 made necessary by exchange rate movements, an increase in provision of £3,043,000 to pay for more investigations under the Companies Act and to publicise legislation under the Consumer Protection Act, an increase of £36,000 to reflect a transfer of responsibility from the Department of the Environment for advice provided by the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux on the community charge, and provision of £120,000 for ex-gratia payments to investors in Kingfisher and Dixons following the early release of the Kingfisher/Dixons takeover report. There is also a requirement to offset a shortfall of £500,000 in receipts in relation to contributions to the Universal Postal Union.

These additions are partially offset by reductions of £17,000,000 in respect of collaborative research, £5,000,000 in respect of exceptional projects, £2,000,000 for the inner cities initiative, £1,000,000 for the consultancy initiatives, £500,000 for consultancies and formal inquiries, in all cases reflecting currently expected levels of demand, and £143,000 for publicity. Running costs provision has been reduced by £15,000 and programme provision reduced by £80,000 to reflect the transfer of responsibility to the Overseas Development Administration for the International Tropical Timber Organisation. There is a take-up of £217,000 of the £1,524,000 end-year flexibility entitlement on running costs announced on 25 July, cols 235–38. This is offset completely by a delayed reduction in gross running cost provision as a result of the transfer of certain central staff to the Radiocommunications Agency, which is exempt from gross running cost control. A further reduction of £455,000 reflecting an expected increase in VAT refunds on contracted-out services gives an overall reduction in the running costs limit of £470,000. The increase in VAT receipts is wholly offset by reductions in other receipts for central and miscellaneous services.

In addition, the opportunity is being taken to transfer £200,000 of provision between capital expenditure subheads of vote 2 in respect of work being contracted out by the Department on behalf of Companies House executive agency. An increase in expenditure of £817,000 at the Radiocommunications Agency is being fully matched by increased receipts.

These changes are within the forecast outturn for the planning total included in the Chancellor's autumn statement today.

In addition, a supplementary estimate of £4,692,000 is to be sought for class, IV vote 4, Export Credits Guarantee Department: Administration. The cash limit will be increased by £4,692,000 from £40,749,000 to £45,441,000, and the running costs limit by £4,692,000 from £38,800,000 to £43,492,000. This expenditure is not included in the planning total. The supplementary is required to meet additional running costs arising from work to prepare for the privatisation of ECGD's short-term credit insurance operation, announced to the House on 18 December 1989. It was announced in the Gracious Speech that a Bill is to be introduced in the current Session.