§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what differences exist in terms of(a) recording for public sector borrowing requirement plans, (b) capital programme accounting for public expenditure plans, (c) external financing limit controls, (d) powers to raise capital between the Post Office and British Nuclear Fuels plc; and what return there will be for the Exchequer from both enterprises in the current financial year.
§ Mr. Heseltine
The Post Office is a public corporation and its borrowing requirement is counted as part of the PSBR. Its capital expenditure is controlled through the external financing limit set in the annual public expenditure round. The EFL limits its ability to raise finance over and above that generated internally.
British Nuclear Fuels plc is a Companies Acts company classified to the private sector. It is not set an EFL, but the relevant objectives, including in relation to capital projects, are met through targets on profitability and the corporate plan cycle. The extent of guaranteed borrowing by BNFL is limited by the Nuclear Industry (Finance) Act 1977, as amended.
In 1993–94 the Post Office has been set a negative external financing limit of £181 million. A negative EFL represents a net cash payment to the Exchequer in the form of debt repayment and/or accumulation of financial assets.
BNFL makes outright payments to the Exchequer in the form of dividends which are recorded on the income side of the Government accounts. The dividend paid in 1993–94 was £16 million.200W