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Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Government have submitted applications for programmes of measures for Plymouth and Gibraltar and put cases for eligibility for Strathclyde and Fife. We are considering what further applications might be made. The European Commission has so far approved only the eligibility of Plymouth.

Nationalised Industries (European Community)

86. Mr. Favell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received about the level of subsidies to other European Community countries' nationalised industries.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : From time to time we receive representations from industry about unfair competition from subsidised nationalised industries in other member states. Substantive complaints are pursued vigorously with the European Commission who are responsible for ensuring the proper application of the state aid rules of the European Economic Community treaty. We are concerned about the opportunities which other member states have to provide subsidies to their nationalised industries which may distort competition in the European Community.


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Barlow Clowes

87. Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on progress towards reimbursement of investors who lost money in the Barlow Clowes collapse and the help given by his Department in the process.

Mr. Ridley : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs on 1 November at column 257. The latest information available to me on the progress of the liquidation of Barlow Clowes International Ltd is in my right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary's letter of 27 November to all members, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

114. Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations he has received about Barlow Clowes.

Mr. Ridley : I have received many representations from right hon. and hon. Members on behalf of their constituents, from the Barlow Clowes Investors Group and from investors themselves. My right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs' letter of 27 November to all members, a copy of which has been placed in the Library, gives the latest information available on the matters about which most interest has been expressed.

Finishing Mills

91. Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with British Steel about finishing mill capacity and location ; and if his discussions included the effect of Government guarantees to plant in Scotland.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no such discussions.

Machine Tools

92. Dr. Michael Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of investment in machine tools over the last three years has been on imported equipment ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Recent United Kingdom investment in the import of machine tools has been estimated as :


Year       |United    |Imports                         

           |Kingdom                                    

           |demand                                     

           |£ million |£ million |Percentage           

-------------------------------------------------------

1986       |1,011     |500       |49.5                 

1987       |875       |425       |48.6                 

1988       |1,155     |557       |48.2                 

No information is available about the re-export of imported machine tools. The above figures take no account of re-exports. I do not propose to make a statement.

Companies

104. Mr. Hanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies were registered at Companies house for each of the last five years.


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Mr. Redwood : Ninety-eight thousand companies were incorporated in Great Britain in 1984. The number of registrations rose to 105,000 in 1985, 117,000 in 1986, 128,000 in 1987 and 129,000 in 1988. Further details can be found in the publication "Companies in 1988-89", a copy of which is in the Library.

North East Shipbuilders

111. Mr. Clay : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what are his latest intentions concerning the future of North-East Shipbuilders ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : British Shipbuilders are currently in discussion with a number of parties interested in purchasing the assets of North East Shipbuilders Ltd. I hope these discussions will prove fruitful.

Bookmakers (Shareholders)

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to monitor the shareholders of major bookmakers in Satellite Information Services.

Mr. Forth : For the purposes of the Telecommunications Act 1984, the licence for the provision of satellite telecommunication services granted to Satellite Information Services Ltd. on 16 October 1989 requires it to notify the Secretary of State when shares representing more than 20 per cent. of the voting rights in the company are acquired by any person, and subsequently should further acquisitions bring this holding to more than 30 per cent. and more than 50 per cent. No such justification has been received.

The company is also required to provide information under the Companies Act 1985 in the usual manner.

Fata Babour

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what grants for research, development and investment in equipment were made to Fata Babour or related companies from 1984 to date.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : My Department has not been able to trace any record of this company, nor of any related companies.

Fibre-optics (Trial)

Mr. Warren : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to evaluate the results of his decision to grant a special licence to British Telecom to convey integrated voice telephony and entertainment television over a trial optical fibre network at Bishops Stortford, announced on 14 November ; and what plans he has to transfer the technology to other parts of the economy.

Mr. Forth : It is primarily for British Telecom and the companies involved in the trial to evaluate the results. Similarly, the transfer of technology is a matter for the companies themselves.

Mr. Warren : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the decision to grant a special licence to British Telecom to convey integrated voice telephony


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and entertainment television over a trial optical fibre network at Bishops Stortford, announced on 14 November, will involve any public expenditure.

Mr. Forth : No public expenditure will be involved.

Mr. Warren : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the decision to grant a special licence to British Telecom to convey integrated voice telephony and entertain television over a trial optical fibre network at Bishop Stortford, announced on 14 November, reflects any change of policy on the creation of a national broadband network based on fibreoptic cable since the publication of the White Paper, "Information Technology," Cm 646.

Mr. Forth : No. The trial is consistent with the policy announced in the White Paper on information technology.

Private Hospitals

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what are the terms of reference of the proposed Monopolies and Mergers Commission inquiry into private hospitals and private health insurance ; if he will place the text of the Director General of Fair Trading's recommendations to him in the Library ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Forth : I have arranged for a copy of the reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission of the acquisition by British United Provident Association Limited of HCA United Kingdom Limited to be placed in the Library. It is not our practice to publish the Director-General of Fair Trading's advice to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. In this case my right hon. Friend's decision to refer the acquisition to the Commission was in accordance with the Director-General's advice.

Relocation

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list all office relocations of his Department's staff since May 1979, stating in each case the location of origin and the location of transfer, together with the numbers of staff transferred.

Mr. Forth : Since 1979 we have relocated the following activities :

National Weights and Measures Laboratory

50 post moved in 1987 from Chapter street London SW1 to the National Physical Laboratory site at Teddington.

Personnel

30 post in the Pay Unit were transferred to Cardiff in 1986. Laboratory of the Government Chemist

336 post moved in 1988 from Waterloo to the National Physical Laboratory site at Teddington.

DTI South-East

One hundred and fourteen posts in the regional office serving London and the South East have been transferred from Victoria to Cambridge, Reading, Reigate and other parts of the region. Ninety posts were transferred in 1988 and a further 24 in 1989.

Insolvency Service

One hundred and thirty four headquarter and other London based posts transferred in 1988-89 to Birmingham and a further 34 posts are planned for relocation to Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Patent Office

The relocation of 850 posts to south Wales began in 1988 and will finally be completed in 1991 when the new premises being built to house the office are ready for occupation.


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We have recently announced that the Import Licensing Branch with 53 posts would be transferred to Billingham during 1990.

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what relocations of his Department's staff, or agencies relating thereto, are currently being considered ; and what are the numbers of staff affected.

Mr. Forth : The location of functions currently based in London and the south-east is being considered in a rolling programme of reviews covering altogether the work of approximately 4,000 staff. Reviews currently in hand affect about half this total.

The location review programme aims to identify those activities which could be relocated without significant loss of operational effectiveness and which would offer a positive cost benefit.

South Korea (Imports)

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list in the Official Report the total value of imports into the United Kingdom from South Korea, the main categories represented by these imports and the total deficit in United Kingdom trade with South Korea, for each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Mr. Redwood [holding answer 4 December 1989] : Total values of United Kingdom imports from the Republic of Korea and of the United Kingdom's trade deficit with the Republic of Korea, from 1986 to 1989 and for the first nine months of 1989, are set out in the table. The main categories represented by these imports are articles of apparel and clothing accessories (20 per cent. of 1988 total) ; office machinery and automatic data processing equipment (13 per cent.) ; telecommunications, sound recording and reproducing equipment (13 per cent.) ; and electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances (12 per cent.).


£ million                                                                   

                   |United Kingdom    |United Kingdom                       

                   |imports from      |trade deficit with                   

                   |Republic of Korea |Republic of Korea                    

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

1986               |662               |374                                  

1987               |936               |509                                  

1988               |1,135             |684                                  

1989<1>            |892               |550                                  

<1>January to September.                                                    

Source: United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics.                           

Mortgages

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will consider introducing legislation to render it compulsory for all financial advisors to disclose to prospective clients, whether as part of quotations or otherwise, the total sum received as commission for arrangement of mortgages linked to policies of endowment assurance ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood [holding answer 5 December 1989] : An endowment policy, whether offered in conjunction with a mortgage or not, is a form of investment, and under the Financial Services Act 1986 it is the responsibility of the Securities and Investments Board and recognised


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self-regulating organisations and professional bodies to make rules on the disclosure of commissions on investments.

Regulations made under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 require credit brokers who charge a fee to prospective borrowers for arranging mortgages to show the amount in advertisements and quotations ; it must also be included in the calculation of the charge for credit. There are no plans under the Consumer Credit Act to require the disclosure to prospective borrowers of commission received by credit brokers or lenders.

Footwear

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking through the European Community to prevent the French Government from enforcing their own footwear labelling regulations.


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Mr. Redwood [holding answer 30 November 1989] : The British Footwear Manufacturers Federation has raised with the DTI its concern about French Government decree 89-292 which introduces new labelling requirements for footwear. My officials are considering with the federation what action should be taken by the United Kingdom.

Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement on his policy regarding the European Community Commission's report on imports of footwear from Taiwan and Korea.

Mr. Forth [holding answer 5 December 1989] : We will need to be satisfied what restrictions if any are justified. The matter is at present under discussion in Brussels and I will wish to consider the views expressed by the industry and other member states before making a final decision.


 

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