§ Mr. Pawsey
asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) what instructions have been given to the Export Credits 517W Guarantee Department to withdraw facilities from engineering companies whose accounts show either a fall in profitability or an actual loss;
(2) if, in the light of the generally poor trading results achieved by United Kingdom engineering companies during the last 12 months, he will direct the Export Credits Guarantee Department to reduce its existing credit standards to enable firms to continue using its facilities;
(3) whether he has taken into account the probable number of redundancies that will result in exporting companies if the Export Credits Guarantee Department withdraws assistance to companies which are in temporary difficulty.
§ Mr. Biffen
The Export Credits Guarantee Department is required to operate its credit insurance schemes at no net cost to public funds. Given the very heavy claims payments it has faced in recent years, especially under certain facilities, it has inevitably had to review the size and terms of certain guarantees so as to try to ensure prudent underwriting. Against this background, the facilities of a few exporters have had to be reduced but this has not been clone by ECGD without careful consideration of all relevant factors, especially of whether any problems are of a purely temporary nature. No instructions have been issued to ECGD either to renew or withdraw facilities or engineering companies.