S2W-30006 - Colin Fox (Lothians) (SSP) (Date Lodged 20 November 2006) : To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has considered making representations to the Department of Trade and Industry to examine whether a bond scheme similar to the ABTA scheme for the holiday industry would better protect customers in future, in light of the Farepak collapse.
Answered by Allan Wilson (4 December 2006): I wrote to Ian McCartney, Minister of State at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) at the beginning of November about Farepak. In his response he indicated that the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Services Authority are currently working with the DTI to advise him on the regulatory framework surrounding the collapse of Farepak and consider options to address any issues raised. This is to see what might be done to protect customers of such businesses and prevent a similar situation arising in the future. This work will be completed as soon as possible and I have asked to be kept informed.
As I understand matters Farepak was a member of the Hamper Industry Trade Association (HITA). A condition of membership was that each member deposited with HITA a bond to the value of £100,000. This bond was simply a commitment of good intent by each member and was never intended to compensate agents and customers in the event of a situation such as Farepak arising.
S2W-30007 - Colin Fox (Lothians) (SSP) (Date Lodged 20 November 2006) : To ask the Scottish Executive what support it intends to give the Farepak customers’ protest outside the Halifax Bank of Scotland headquarters on 11 December 2006.
Answered by Allan Wilson (4 December 2006): The Scottish Executive will not be taking any part in the Farepak customers’ protest outside the Halifax Bank of Scotland headquarters on 11 December. It is for individuals to decide if they wish to protest for or against a particular issue or event.