HC Deb 02 February 1999 vol 324 c580W
Mr. Clapham

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the terms of reference of the joint DTI/Treasury review of company rescue mechanisms announced in the recent Competitiveness White Paper. [69143]

Mr. Byers

The terms of reference of the review have now been agreed as follows:

To review aspects of company and insolvency law and practice in the United Kingdom and elsewhere relating to the opportunities for, and means by which, businesses can resolve short to medium term financial difficulties, so as to preserve maximum economic value; and to make recommendations.

The principal areas of focus for the review should be: the further development of the rescue culture; a re-assessment of the relative rights and remedies of secured and unsecured creditors in insolvencies to include the position of the Crown as a preferential creditor; and, consideration of the duties of directors in relation to companies experiencing financial difficulties.

The Review will be led jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry (Insolvency Service) and HM Treasury and will seek and welcome views from all sources, particularly those with experience of business and business failure, from those who have studied company rescue regimes both in the UK and elsewhere and from those involved in the practice of rescuing companies, again both in the UK and elsewhere.

To ensure that its conclusions/recommendations can make an early contribution to debate in this area the Review Team will report to Ministers by the end of July 1999.

Officials from the Department of Trade and Industry, The Insolvency Service and HM Treasury will lead the review with contributions from a number of individuals from the academic, professional and business world.