§ Mr. Willis
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the proportion of companies exporting goods and services which have lost export contracts owing to language difficulties in each of the last five years for which the Government hold data; and if she will list the lost contracts. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
[holding answer 27 February 2002]The DTI has been closely involved with a series of studies, both on its own behalf and in collaboration with other agencies, such as the Languages National Training Organisation, with a view to measuring the impact of language skills on export companies. These studies took place in 1997, 1999 and with the LNTO in 2001 and 2002. Details of lost contracts are not held on an individual company basis, though the number of exporting companies explicitly stating they had lost business due to language barriers varies from 5 per cent. to 21.6 per cent. The results in respect of lost business for each report are as follow:
National Languages for Export Campaign (Language Studies)
- 1997 =5 per cent.
- 1997 = 7 per cent.
- Sample size-500 UK companies.
Languages National Training Organisation (Regional Language Skills Capacity Audits)
- North East 2000 = 19 per cent.
- West Midlands 2001 = 21.6 per cent.
- Yorkshire and Humberside 2001 = 20 per cent.
Executive Summaries of the LNTO studies are published on the LNTO website: www.languagesnto.org.uk/index.php