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1995 - PMQT Written Answers 21st June 1995

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 21st June 1995.


PRIME MINISTER:

Privatisation

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list those parts of his Department or departmental agencies which were privatised without an in-house bid taking place; which future parts of his Department or departmental agencies he intends to privatise; and which of them do not have the necessary in-house expertise to mount an in-house bid.

The Prime Minister: For this purpose, my Department is part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service and Science on 20 June, Official Report, column 220.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list those parts of his Department or departmental agencies which were privatised without an in-house bid; if he will indicate the expertise which was absent in his Department or departmental agencies which prevented an in-house bid taking place; which future parts of his Department or departmental agencies he intends to privatise; and which of them do not have the necessary in-house expertise to mount an in-house bid.

Mr. Horam: Those parts of the work of the Cabinet Office--OPSS--its agencies, HMSO and COI which have been contracted-out without an in-house bid are as follows:

Central OPSS

Consortium Reports

Publishing and print Procurement Service

CCTA

GTN (Long-Distance)

Chessington

UNISON (Phase 1)

CS College

Prospectus Distribution

RAS

Catering Services

Cleaning Services

IT Hardware Maintenance

IT Software Support Services

HMSO

Print Order Processing System

Software Development: Business Supplies

Software Development: Finance

COI

Videotext Unit

The Cabinet Office, its agencies, HMSO and COI have contracted-out activities without inviting in-house bids where it has been judged that the private sector is clearly better equipped to deliver a specific service, has a better understanding of market needs, or the capacity to invest in new technology. Other decisions to contract-out services without inviting in-house bids have been taken where an activity is relatively small and peripheral to the Department's functions.

There are no current plans to contract-out any activities within the Cabinet Office, its agencies, HMSO and COI without inviting an in-house bid.


Scott Inquiry

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. Byers), 12 June, Official Report, column 373, if he will set out the reason for declining to give details of the dates of letters sent from his office to the Scott inquiry.

The Prime Minister: The Government do not propose to disclose details of confidential exchanges with the Scott inquiry.


Former Prisoners of War

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to approach the Japanese Government to secure new compensation for British prisoners of war held by the Japanese.

The Prime Minister: We are precluded on legal grounds from raising the question of compensation formally with the Japanese Government. I have drawn their attention to the strong feelings which the situation of the former prisoners arouses in the UK. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary most recently discussed the matter with his Japanese counterpart at the G7 summit in Halifax on 16 June.


Ministerial Speeches

Mr. Battle: To ask the Prime Minister what is his estimate of the total annual cost to public funds of publishing every Minister's speeches.

The Prime Minister: It is usual practice for ministerial speeches made on official occasions to be published and distributed to the press by the relevant departmental press office. The cost is not separately identified in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.