§ Mr. Matthew Banks
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if the ECGD will become a next steps agency.
§ Mr. Heseltine
ECGD's status has recently been reviewed as part of the Government's ongoing next steps programme. In the light of this Ministers have concluded that ECGD's current status as a separate Government Department remains best suited, in present circumstances, to the achievement of its aims and objectives. This conclusion reflects, in part, the continuing high level of ministerial involvement in ECGD's business. The circumstances bearing on this conclusion will be considered again in three years' time to determine whether there has been any material change which would justify a further formal status review.