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Mr. Redwood : Since 31 July I have met the chairmen of the Securities and Investments Board and four of the five self-regulating organisations. I shall meet the chairmen of other bodies as and when necessary. My right hon. Friend will meet the chairman of the Securities and Investments Board shortly.
41. Mr. Hind : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies announced inward investment projects in the United Kingdom in the last year for which figures are available ; and which regions benefited the most.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : According to the latest figures readily available to the Invest in Britain Bureau, on a regional basis as distinct from a national total, 330 inward investment decisions were made during 1988 to locate in the United Kingdom. These include the establishment of a new business, expansion or acquisition of an existing business and involvement in joint venture. The projects were expected to create about 27,500 new jobs and to have safeguarded a further 18,000. The figures are based on information provided by the companies themselves at the time of the investment and do not take into account subsequent developments. The table lists the details of the number of projects and jobs on a regional basis :
Region |Projects |New jobs |Safeguarded jobs ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scotland |58 |5,392 |1,978 Wales |55 |5,856 |2,085 Northern Ireland |22 |2,610 |916 North East |22 |2,041 |31 North West |24 |1,604 |3,169 Yorkshire and Humberside |14 |1,507 |250 East Midlands |16 |836 |880 West Midlands |66 |3,656 |7,824 South East |45 |2,240 |983 South West |5 |479 |0
42. Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he next proposes to meet representatives of the knitwear and textile industries to discuss current difficulties facing the industry.
representatives of the industry although I take a close interest in matters of concern in the textile, clothing and knitwear sectors. However, my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for Trade met with the Apparel, Knitting and Textile Alliance on 4 October to discuss in some depth the difficulties faced by the three industries. He is also meeting a delegation from the TUC to discuss trade in textiles this afternoon.
44. Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has commissioned any research into the current level of business confidence and the implications for manufacturing industry.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Information on business confidence is regularly collected by a number of private organisations, and the results are among the economic indicators available to the Government. I have no plans to duplicate the work of these independent organisations.
45. Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress he is able to report regarding repayments to investors affected by the Barlow Clowes collapse ; what steps he has taken and will take to ensure fair treatment to both those who invested in the United Kingdom-based funds and those who invested in the Gibraltar-based funds ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : The matter of payments to investors in Barlow Clowes Gilt Managers Ltd. and Barlow Clowes International Ltd. is one for the joint receivers and joint liquidators, Cork Gully and Ernst and Young respectively. I refer the hon. Gentleman to my letters of 16 August and 30 October to all Members, copies of which I have placed in the Library.
Each of these new codes had to be allocated, whole or in part, to industries of the standard industrial classification before import penetration figures could be derived. The size and complexity of this task has resulted in an interruption to the normal publication timetable.
68. Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he or his officials has met representatives of Ferranti International Signal plc to discuss the company's current financial difficulties ; and if he will make a statement.
However, it is for the company to explore the various solutions that may be open to it.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has had concerning the recent difficulties of Ferranti Limited ; what replies he has sent ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : Significant progress was made in discussions on the draft EC merger control regulation at the most recent Council of Internal Market Ministers on 10 October. However, a number of important issues remain to be resolved, including the turnover thresholds, the criteria for assessing mergers and the review mechanism for the EC system. These and other issues will be the subject of further discussions at the next Internal Market Council on 23 November.
Column 259the assets of North East Shipbuilders Ltd. We also both gave evidence at the Trade and Industry Select Committee hearing on British Shipbuilders on 18 October.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 26 October 1989] : Government funding of British Shipbuilders is designed to keep the Corporation's commercial borrowing requirements to a minimum. As at 13 October, actual commercial loans amounted to £3 million. On a year on year basis, however, total net aid provided over the course of the year is subject to the terms of the European Community's sixth directive on aid to shipbuilding. Limitations on Government funding under this Directive necessitated British Shipbuilders borrowing some £90 million in the market in December 1988. By December 1989, it is estimated that this level of borrowing liability will have fallen to about £65 million against the sixth directive's parameters.
61. Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he intends to bring forward his proposals designed to regulate the activities of those estate agents engaging in undesirable practices ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Forth : My proposals to underpin a code of practice for estate agents by an order under section 3 of the Estate Agents Act 1979 were announced to the House of Commons and published in the report of my review of estate agency on 21 June. I have asked the Director General of Fair Trading to develop the code of practice with the industry, consider the scope of the proposed order under section 3 of the Act and report back to me early next year. When I have considered his advice I shall circulate for consultation proposals for an order, as is required under section 30 of the Act.
Mr. Redwood : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by the right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade on 19 July. In the first nine months of this year our exports to Japan increased in value by 28 per cent.
Mrs. Maureen Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to investigate the production of counterfeit electrical products being produced by Taiwan and sold under English company names to Third-world countries.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : In the absence of diplomatic relations between the UK and Taiwan, formal representations cannot be made there. UK companies experiencing difficulties with counterfeit products from Taiwan are referred to the Anglo-Taiwanese Trade Committee, which will give advice. Nevertheless, the UK Government regularly make representations to countries where counterfeits are known to be sold and will continue to do so.
I would be pleased to receive more information, particularly about the volume and destination of counterfeit products, in order that the most effective representaions can be made.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give (a) the total number of applications for the business development consultancy initiative received between 1 April 1988 and 30 September 1989, (b) the total number of applications approved, (c) the total amount of expenditure involved and (d) the total estimated expenditure for 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91 and 1991-92, in cash and constant prices, for each of the standard Department of Trade and Industry regions, Wales and Scotland.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 30 October 1989] : In the period from 1 April 1988 to 30 September 1989, 31,415 applications were received for the business development consultancy initiatives. In the same period 24,081 applications were approved for assisted consultancy. The Department's contribution to the cost of completed consultancies totalled £27.1 million. It is estimated that those consultancies not completed by 30 September 1989 will cost the Department a further £29.3 million. A breakdown of numbers and cost of consultancy projects for each DTI region and for Scotland and Wales is as follows :
|(a) |(b) |(ci) |(cii) DTI region/country |Number of applications |Number of applications |DTI expenditure on |Estimated expenditure on |received |approved for assisted |completed consultancies |outstanding |consultancy |(£'000) |consultancies (£'000) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ North East |1,590 |1,225 |1,300 |1,404 North West |4,453 |3,780 |4,945 |5,032 Yorkshire and Humberside |2,878 |2,254 |2,932 |3,042 West Midlands |3,325 |2,427 |2,966 |3,218 East Midlands |1,957 |1,530 |1,839 |2,048 South West |2,990 |1,995 |1,820 |2,136 East |2,568 |1,725 |1,398 |1,726 South East: London |3,818 |2,871 |2,669 |2,867 Reading |1,861 |1,486 |1,427 |1,726 Reigate |1,910 |1,487 |1,349 |1,580 Scotland |2,293 |1,976 |2,860 |2,779 Wales |1,772 |1,325 |1,585 |1,697 |--- |--- |--- |--- Total |31,415 |24,081 |27,090 |29,255
The total amount of expenditure on the business development consultancy initiatives in 1988-89 was £43.1 millions. The Estimates provision for 1989-90 is £80 millions. Plans for future years will be reflected in the 1990 Public Expenditure White Paper. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of total expenditure or provision on the consultancy initiatives for each DTI region or for Scotland or Wales.
Mr. Redwood : Guidelines for sustainable forest management would need to be established at the international level. The United Kingdom itself and the EC as a whole are promoting work on this issue at the International Tropical Timber Organisation's current meeting in Japan.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : North West industry is very diverse which means that the impact of present interest rates may vary. My Department's assessment is that the current policy is having its desired effect in the region. Industry is performing well, profits are satisfactory and essential investment by companies intended to secure their position in the market is being maintained. The region's manufacturing companies recognise the importance of defeating inflation and are responding well to the present situation.
Mr. Baldry : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what initiatives have been taken to encourage firms to work together, particularly on new technologies ; how many projects have been supported ; and at what cost.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The research and technology initiative was launched in January 1988 to provide support for research and development in collaborative projects under four main schemes : --LINK, which encourages firms to collaborate with universities and polytechnics in pre-competitive research.
--EUREKA, which encourages firms to enter collaborative ventures with firms in other European countries.
--Advanced technology programmes (ATP), which assist companies to collaborate in selected fields of new technology.
--General industrial collaborative programmes, which provide support for projects at research and technology organisations and for other collaborative projects not covered under the above headings. These schemes build on previous experience of supporting collaborative research and development : on the LINK scheme was a wholly new initiative.
Both the LINK and the ATP schemes seek to promote advanced technology. Under these schemes 29 programmes have been initiated. The areas of technology that will benefit are :
Electronics and IT
Power electronic devices
Biosciences and Food
Selective drug delivery
Engineering and measurement
Ventilation, airconditioning and refrigeration
High speed machinery
Analytical and physical measurement
Construction and refurbishment
Materials and chemicals
High temperature superconductivity
Systems technology and integration
Computer aided engineering
Wealth from the oceans
The number of collaborative projects that have started since January 1988 and the expected contribution to those projects by the DTI are set out in the table :
Scheme |Number of projects|DTI support (£m) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- LINK |40 |<1>12.0 ATP |80 |19.7 EUREKA |43 |17.5 General industrial |187 |27.6 |------- |------- Total |350 |76.8 <1>Contributions by DTI and other Departments.
In addition there are over 600 collaborative projects under discussion between the Department and industry. Strong growth is expected in particular in numbers of new LINK projects. Small and medium-sized enterprises are well represented, particularly in the general industrial collaborative category.
It is expected that DTI expenditure in support of collaborative industrial research and development in 1990-91 will be about £85 million.