§ 8. Mr. Sedgemore
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he is satisfied with the current operations of the Export Credits Guarantee Department.
§ The Minister for Trade (Mr. Paul Channon)
Yes, Sir. I believe that the Export Credits Guarantee Department provides a good service to British exporters. To ensure that the Department will continue to do so, a committee under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Matthews is presently considering its most suitable structure for the future.
§ Mr. Sedgemore
Will the Minister confirm that there is an export credit guarantee in respect of the Cementation contract to build a university in Oman? What amount is the guarantee for? Was there any lobbying by the Prime Minister or her office in respect of the guarantee? Was the commission to be paid to Mark Thatcher and his associates also covered by the guarantee?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. It is no good the hon. Member shouting from a sedentary position. He has asked his question.
§ Mr. Channon
If the hon. Member had taken the trouble to note, a press notice on this deal was issued on 12 August 1982, so all the facts have been known for a very long time.
§ Mr. Campbell-Savours
Will the Minister ensure that in any future contracts which the ECGD guarantees, commissions paid are shown as separate items in the contract?
§ Mr. Channon
No, Sir. Under successive Administrations the ECGD has assessed applications for cover on a commercial basis. It does not give details beyond those which are occasionally released in press notices of the kind to which I have referred. It would be wrong, and not in the national interest, to make any change in that procedure.