HC Deb 04 November 1996 vol 284 c313W
Sir Anthony Durant

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when ADAS is to be privatised; and what the objectives for the privatisation will be. [2641]

Mr. Douglas Hogg

ADAS is on course to meet its financial targets for 1996–97, including the target of 100 per cent. cost recovery on its advisory services. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have therefore decided to proceed as quickly as possible with the sale of the business. We will invite expressions of interest from potential bidders for the business as a whole or any or all of its constituent parts—consultancy, research and development and the laboratory—although our preference is to dispose of the business as a whole.

Our objectives for the privatisable functions of ADAS will be:

  1. (1) To transfer the privatisable functions of ADAS, and the associated risks, to the private sector on the best available terms—that is, terms which optimise the risk adjusted net benefit to the taxpayer;
  2. (2) To ensure that the services to be provided to MAFF and the Welsh Office from the private sector can be delivered continuously, economically, efficiently and effectively;
  3. (3) To provide for a "clean break" between Government and the privatised organisation(s), or failing that, to minimise any contingent liabilities falling on the Government.

In pursuing these objectives, we will have regard to the need to ensure that the staff concerned in the transfer are treated fairly, in accordance with the relevant legislation.