HC Deb 27 July 2000 vol 354 cc814-5W
Mr. Peter Ainsworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if all the design and construction contracts awarded by the New Millennium Experience Company complied with EU competition rules. [125029]

Janet Anderson

[holding answer 8 June 2000]The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) voluntarily followed EU competition rules for the key, large-scale construction and design contracts, having considered and taken on board legal advice that it was exempt from compliance.

All construction contracts to which the EU rules applied were tendered in compliance with them. Those construction contracts whose value fell under the EU threshold were competitively tendered in accordance with non-departmental public body (NDPB) procurement rules. When tendering for design services, NMEC also complied with EU competition rules or NDPB procurement rules whenever possible, however, the nature of these services meant that it was not always appropriate to do so. This was particularly the case when tendering for very specialist and/or unique goods and services, or when the timetable did not allow for a full-scale tendering process. In all cases where services were procured without competition, NMEC complied with Single Tender Action procedures.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his answer of 14 June 2000,Official Report, column 648W, what fees (a) have been paid and (b) are estimated to be payable to each of the accountancy firms employed by the New Millennium Experience Company. [127841]

Janet Anderson

[holding answer 26 June 2000]Over the lifetime of the project to date, the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has paid its official auditors, Ernst & Young, a total of £1,132,923 (excluding VAT) for audit services and other operational non-audit duties. Details of these fees have been and will be included in each of NMEC' s Annual Reports and Financial Statements as recommended by good accounting practice.

Under the terms of the contracts with the other accountancy firms employed by NMEC, the company is obliged to seek permission before disclosing information about terms of employment. NMEC has written to these companies seeking their agreement to the release of the information requested. Should they agree I will write to the hon. Gentleman with details and place a copy of my letter in the Library. Any future fees payable will be dependent on the nature and scope of work to be undertaken and will be negotiated accordingly.

Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the policy of New Millennium Experience Company is in respect of the speed of payment of bills; and how much money has yet to be paid for bills submitted on or before 31 March. [128398]

Janet Anderson

[holding answer 4 July 2000]It is the New Millennium Experience Company's (NMEC) policy that payments to suppliers should be made in accordance with those terms and conditions agreed between the Company and its suppliers, provided that all trading terms and conditions have been complied with. In the period from 1 April 1999 to 31 December 1999 over 75 per cent. of invoices, by value, were paid within 30 days of invoice date.

Of those bills submitted on or before 31 March 2000, there are currently invoices to the value of approximately £1 million awaiting payment (subject to final authorisation).

Ann Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if all(a) Government and (b) other papers relating to the New Millennium Experience will be released under the proposed Freedom of Information Act. [132547]

Janet Anderson

[holding answer 26 July 2000]My Department will respond to any requests for information within the spirit of the Freedom of Information Bill and, until a Freedom of Information Act comes into force, within both the letter and the spirit of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. We expect the Millennium Commission and the New Millennium Experience Company to do the same.