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Mr. Forth : My Department has received views from the Consumers Association and from my hon. Friends the Members for Harrogate (Mr. Banks) and for Skipton and Ripon (Mr. Curry) on the plans for improving standards in estate agency which I announced on 21 June.
Mr. Atkins : The Government have discussed with consumers, producers, retailers and environmentalists, the question of labelling environmentally friendly products, and is keeping the issue under review. The DTI and the Department of the Environment intend shortly to issue a discussion document.
Mr. Maude : The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and I met representatives of the six national brewers on 6 July. A representative of the Brewers Society was also present. These were private discussions. My last meeting with the Brewers Society took place on 13 June.
Mr. Maude : I receive a considerable number of representations on a variety of topics relating to the regulation of financial services. Those which relate to the scope of the framework of the regulatory system, or the powers under the Financial Services Act which the Government retain, are given careful consideration. Those which relate to matters which are the responsibility of the SIB or of another regulatory authority are passed to the appropriate body.
48. Mr. Hardy : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the implications for those industries which are involved in mining equipment, engineering and technology of the continuing contraction in the British mining industry.
49. Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a further statement on the operation of the European Economic Community's Renaval programme to assist shipbuilding areas.
Mr. Newton : Applications for eligibility have been made to the European Commission by the Government for Plymouth, Gibraltar and Strathclyde. I am consulting my right hon. Friends about the submission of applications for other areas. Most shipbuilding and shiprepair areas already receive all available benefits from the European regional development fund.
51. Mr. David Evans : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress is being made in implementing the new deregulation initiatives outlined in the document entitled "Releasing Enterprise".
Column 223already made much good progress under the programme, resulting in a wide range of benefits to business, and are committed to maintaining momentum. I expect to make a statement to the House in the autumn.
DTI expenditure on investment in the travel-to-work area of Liverpool, through the main schemes of regional selective assistance, regional development grant and, from 1988, regional enterprise grant was £258 million during the last 10 years.
In addition, funding for Liverpool city through the Department of Environment urban programme and derelict land grant and including expenditure by the Merseyside development corporation amounted to £439 million, though not all of this is directly related to industrial development.
53. Dr. Bray : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what were the percentage increases, in real terms, in (a) profits and (b) research and development expenditure, in the United Kingdom between 1979 and 1988, or the nearest years for which comparable information is available.
Mr. Forth : Between 1978 and 1987 expenditure on research and development performed by United Kingdom industry increased by 31 per cent. at 1985 prices. Profits figures are not readily available with the same coverage as research and development and conceptually, because they cannot be related to specific flows of goods and services, they could not be adjusted to constant prices.
Mr. Forth : The Government have created a favourable economic climate which encourages companies to invest in R and D themselves. Industry increased its own funding of R and D by about 30 per cent. in real terms between 1983 and 1987.
Mr. Forth : The inner city task forces have continued to make good progress in meeting their objectives of securing more jobs and training for local people and encouraging local enterprise. Since the task forces began their work in 1986 they have committed about £42 million in support of over 1,300 projects. These generate, or safeguard, nearly 7,000 jobs, facilitate nearly 30,000 training places and provide support for 7,000 businesses. Over 450 private sector companies have supported task force projects.
Column 224I announced on 9 March, as part of the Government's Action for Cities anniversary announcements, that the task forces would be withdrawing from Leicester, Wolverhampton and Preston, and that new task forces would be opening in Bradford, Granby/Toxteth and Deptford in Lewisham. I am pleased to say that the Granby/Toxteth task force is now operational with a small team occupying temporary premises. It is hoped that Bradford and Deptford task forces will open later in the year.
Mr Atkins : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Financial Statement and Budget Report forecast that total unit costs in maufacturing industry would increase by 4 per cent. in 1989. Restraint of unit costs, which is in industry's own hands, is the key to improved competitiveness.
Mr. Forth : Ministers repeatedly point out the advantages of buying United Kingdom goods where they are competitive in design, quality and price. My Department's policies are geared to helping businesses achieve this.
Mr. Alan Clark : A report on the future status of ECGD, commissioned by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, was submitted to Ministers in May 1989. The report takes account of evidence provided to Mr. Kemp, its author, by a wide range of interested parties including exporters, banks and the insurance industry. In order to assist those same parties to contribute to the consideration of the report itself, Ministers decided that the report should be published. At the same time we established an inter-Departmental working group of
Column 225officials, chaired by ECGD's chief executive to provide advice on the status options identified in the report. Comments have already been submitted to the working group by interested outside parties.
70. Dr. Godman : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if, when he last met the chairman of British Shipbuilders, they discussed the disposal of Appledore-Fergusons of Port Glasgow; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : Advice to house purchasers on mortgage finance is not in itself a matter covered by the Financial Services Act, but if the arrangements for repaying the mortgage involve an investment agreement (for instance, by the borrower taking out an endowment life insurance policy) then that element of the transaction is subject to regulation. A person giving investment advice on such transactions by way of business must, unless exempted, be authorised under the Act and abide by rules regulating the conduct of that business.
78. Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what has been the total cost of the advertising campaign for the enterprise initiative ; and what has been the average cost per take-up.
Mr. Newton : Expenditure on advertising the enterprise initiative since January 1988 has been about £19 million. Of this, we estimate that some £14.4 million has been specifically directed at promoting the six consultancy initiatives, which would represent an average of about £485 per application.
Mr. Atkins : There have been major improvements in productivity in the industry since 1980 and significant new investment. The woollen textiles sector announced a new record for exports in 1988 and a further increase in the first four months of this year. The industry continues to make an important contribution to the wealth of the country.
Column 226Cyclotron machines have a variety of applications in medicine and research. The development of cyclotrons specifically for medical use has not been funded by the Department. Details of the cyclotron to be installed at St. Thomas's hospital have yet to be settled by those concerned.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment he has made of the 1992 potential for United Kingdom road building and surfacing contractors in the European Economic Community.
Such assessments are a matter for the industry itself.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service men and women have become liable for the community charge in Scotland since April ; how many of these are also ratepayers in other parts of the United Kingdom ; what representations he has received on this point ; whether he proposes to indemnify them against additional costs ; and what advice he is giving as to whether to register for the community charge in England and Wales.
Mr. Neubert : No comprehensive information on numbers of service personnel liable for the community charge is held either by service authorities or the Ministry of Defence. Seventeen letters have been received from hon. Members, service personnel or their families about concurrent liability for community charge in Scotland and rates in England and Wales. As I said in my answer to the hon. Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) on 5 May 1989 at column 278, we are prepared to consider, for possible exceptional financial compensation, cases where the requirements of the service place personnel in a worse position this year than they would be in next year when the community charge applies throughout Great Britain. Copies of guidance given to members of the Armed Forces about liability for the community charge have already been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Aircraft and Armaments Experimental Establishment (A&AEE), Boscombe Down, plays an important role in the evaluation and acceptance into service of all military aircraft, their armament and associated equipment. It was not listed as one of the MOD establishments initially selected for inclusion in the Defence Research Agency. This was in no way an indication of any uncertainty over its continuing role but simply a reflection of fact that the work undertaken at Boscombe Down is not strictly of a research nature. The position of A&AEE is currently under consideration as part of a further study being undertaken on the most appropriate organisation for the MOD's test and evaluation facilities. This study is scheduled for completion later this year.
Mr. Sainsbury : Seventeen Ministry of Defence staff are employed in the strategic defence initiative participation office, 14 based in London and three on the staff at the British Embassy, Washington. A further five staff are based in London, on secondment from other Government Departments or from United Kingdom companies ; and the embassy in Washington employs four locally engaged civilian staff in support. The total is 26.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Auxiliary Air Force officers and other ranks were awarded their annual bounty for completion of the minimum training commitment in the 1988 -89 financial year.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Marine Reserve officers and other ranks, respectively, were awarded their annual bounty for completion of the minimum training commitment during the1988-89 financial year.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Naval Reserve officers and other ratings were awarded their annual bounty for completion of the minimum training commitment in the 1988-89 financial year.
Mr. Neubert : It is currently scheduled that the first Royal Air Force ground school training course for the Tucano aircraft will begin on 16 October 1989, with flying training commencing at RAF Church Fenton on 4 December 1989.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Territorial Army officers and other ranks were awarded their annual bounty for completion of the minimum training commitment in the 1988-89 financial year.