HC Deb 21 June 1993 vol 227 c14W
Mr. Burns

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the future of Forward: Civil Service Catering.

Mr. Nelson

My right hon. Friend the former Chancellor told the House on 27 March 1991,Official Report, columns 410–11, that he had decided that the Civil Service Catering Organisation—as it was then known—should be reorganised with the aim of transferring it into the private sector.

Since the announcement, substantial changes have been made, including renaming the organisation as Forward: Civil Service Catering, and I believe it is now ready for privatisation. Financial advisers have been appointed to assist in this process. Parliamentary approval to this new service will be sought in a supplementary estimate for Her Majesty's Treasury vote—class XVII, vote 1. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure of up to £400,000 on preliminary expenses will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Forward is profitable and has shown its ability to win business in a fully competitive situation. Privatisation will open the way for it to compete for business outside the public sector.

On privatisation, Forward staff would transfer on their existing terms and conditions in accordance with the Transfer of Undertakings (Employment Protections) Regulations 1981.

There will be full consultation with the trade unions involved.