§ 18. Mr. Terry Davis
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations his Department has received favouring the contracting out of functions of Companies House; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Jonathan Evans
My Department has received representations on the future of Companies House from both supporters and opponents of contracting out. The majority regard Companies House as having made significant improvements over recent years, but there is scope for further improvement. The contracting-out programme provides a framework in which to achieve that.
§ Mr. Davis
Is it not a fact that on that, as on so many other matters, most respondents disagree with the Government's proposals? How much did it cost the Government to find out what the rest of us have known all along—that most of the customers of Companies House are satisfied with its services and do not want to see them contracted out?
§ Mr. Evans
The hon. Gentleman would do well to exercise a little more caution before swallowing whole the line from the trade unions in this matter. The trade unions had claimed that the SRU report, which is in the Library, had come to a conclusion which was different from that announced by the Government. An examination of the report, which I am sure the hon. Gentleman has carried out, shows that the Government's policy is consistent with what is contained in the report.