§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions he had with the chairman of British Coal Enterprises, prior to privatisation, with regard to maintaining the services provided by British Coal Enterprises, to small local businesses, with particular reference to loans at advantageous interest rates; and if he will make a statement. 44W
§ Mr. Page
My Department has had regular contact with British Coal about the privatisation of its British Coal Enterprises subsidiary. Throughout the sales process, British Coal has made clear that it would be considering proposals for BCE in the light of its statutory duties and the importance of ensuring the continuation of effective assistance to coalfield communities. I understand that the purchasers of BCE's business funding activities are committed to a programme of continued investment in the coalfields.