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Column 418

Deminex

109/15

Elf Enterprise Caledonia

108/29, 108/30, 111/25, 111/29, 111/30

Esso

112/10, 112/14, 112/15, 113/11

Hamilton

103/2, 103/7, 107/1, 107/6, 110/6, 110/7C, 110/13, 110/15 Kelt

110/7B

Marathon

102/10, 103/1, 103/6, 106/18, 106/19, 106/23, 106/27, 110/17 Oryx

110/3B, 110/3C, 110/9B

Premier

110/10

Ranger

110/4

Where necessary, appropriate conditions have been attached to licences to protect any environmental sensitivities which have been identified. A copy of each of the environmental protection conditions which were attached to licences awarded in the 14th round of licensing has been placed in the Library of the House.

Engineers

Mr. Alton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans the Government have developed to promote the involvement of professionally qualified engineers in the design, construction, operation and management of engineering projects and processes.

Mr. Sainsbury : The Government made it clear in the White Paper on competitiveness--Cm. 2563--that adopting best practice and improving management skills in engineering is important and that United Kingdom firms should utilise and reward engineering skills at all levels. It is, however, ultimately up to employers to decide how they best involve engineers in their businesses.

Objective 1 Projects

Mr. Alton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he intends to issue details of the rules and regulations governing the role of the private sector in objective 1 projects ; when he expects that discussions with the European Commission concerning additionality will be resolved ; what progress is being made in expediting the Merseyside objective 1 programme ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : Negotiations with the European Commission on the Merseyside objective 1 single programming document are nearing their conclusion.

There is already guidance on the role of the private sector in structural funds projects. This is currently under review by United Kingdom Government Departments and the European Commission.


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AEA Technology

Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 27 April, Official Report, column 166, how many staff from the Warren Springs Laboratory transferred to AEA Technology on 1 April ; and what were the redundancy costs of those staff that did not transfer.

Mr. Heseltine : Eighty-five Warren Spring Laboratory staff were transferred to AEA Technology. Some staff who did not transfer have taken posts elsewhere in the civil service. There have been no compulsory redundancies. It will take some time before the full costs of staff severance are known but they are expected to be less than £5 million.

Consultants

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list for each of the last five years, the cost to public funds of consultancy work provided by (a) KPMG Peat Marwick, (b) Touche Ross, (c) Price Waterhouse, (d) Ernst and Young, (e) CSL, (f) Prime, (g) Basis, (h) Theodore Goddard, (i) Dibb Lupton Broomhead, (j) Capita and (k) Shreeveport to his Department ; and if he will list any other firms which have provided consultancy work and the costs to public funds for each of the last five years.

Mr. Heseltine : My Department is unable to provide the information requested other than at disproportionate cost.

Jordan

Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the total value of United Kingdom exports to Jordan, and also the value of each of the broad category titles of the standard international trade classification for (a) 1971 to 1980 and (b) 1981 to 1990.

Mr. Heseltine : The information is provided in the following table :


Value of United Kingdom Exports to Jordan                                                                      

(£ million, Current Prices)                                                                                    

Section Description                                |1971-80            |1981-90                                

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

0 Food and live animals                            |23.9               |67.8                                   

1 Beverages and tobacco                            |7.1                |22.3                                   

2 Crude materials, inedible, except fuels          |2.0                |6.4                                    

3 Mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials |3.7                |12.7                                   

4 Animal and vegetable oils, fats and waxes        |0.7                |1.8                                    

5 Chemicals and related products, not elsewhere                                                                

specified                                          |46.2               |145.3                                  

6 Manufactured goods classified chiefly by                                                                     

material                                           |88.0               |204.4                                  

7 Machinery and transport equipment                |207.6              |621.9                                  

8 Miscellaneous manufactured articles              |49.5               |167.4                                  

9 Commodities and transactions not classified                                                                  

elsewhere                                          |18.5               |581.5                                  

                                                   |---                |---                                    

Total                                              |447.1              |1,831.3                                

Source: Overseas trade statistics of the United Kingdom.                                                       

Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether Exports Credit Guarantee Department support was offered to the Kingdom of Jordan or any contractors supplying the Kingdom in connection with, or as a result of, the memorandum of undertaking signed on 28 November 1979.


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Mr. Heseltine : Yes.

Export Licences

Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether exported material requiring an export licence, and later returned to the United Kingdom for repair or modification, requires a fresh export licence ; and if he will place in the Library copies of the guidance that exists on this point.

Mr. Heseltine : Goods subject to United Kingdom export control at the time they are re-exported in the circumstances described require the authorisation of an export licence. Many such exports are authorised under open general export licences. Copies of the relevant licences have been placed in the Library of the House.

Where goods were initially exported under the authority of an individual licence, they may normally be re-exported under the terms of the original licence.

Private Members' Bills

Ms Lynne : To ask the President of the Board of Trade on what occasions since April 1992 Ministers from his Department have (a) requested parliamentary counsel to assist in preparing amendments to private Members' Bills on behalf of other private Members and (b) authorised officials to instruct parliamentary counsel to prepare amendments which were subsequently passed to private Members.

Mr. Heseltine : Parliamentary counsel drafts not on behalf of private Members but on the instructions of Departments acting on the authority of Ministers.

On no occasions since April 1992 have amendments been drafted by parliamentary counsel on instructions from DTI and subsequently passed to private Members.

Post Office

Mr. Llwyd : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it his policy that postal deliveries to very rural areas will be safeguarded if the proposed privatisation of the Post Office is implemented.

Mr. McLoughlin : Yes. We have repeatedly made clear that the universal service to every address in the country, at a uniform tariff, is non-negotiable.

Mr. Llwyd : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it his policy to safeguard two daily mail deliveries if the Post Office is privatised.

Mr. McLoughlin : The number of deliveries a day is currently an operational issue for the Post Office. There are significant parts of the country where there is only one daily delivery. Regulatory arrangements in the event of a change in the status of the Royal Mail will be covered in the forthcoming Green Paper.

Pensions and Life Insurance

Mr. David Marshall : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received from companies operating in the pension and life industry advocating direct Government regulation ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Neil Hamilton : Under the Insurance Companies Act 1982, the Secretary of State has direct responsibility


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for the regulation of all United Kingdom authorised insurance companies. The industry seeks no change from the present arrangements.

Military Exhibitions

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what United Kingdom firms have been supported by his Department to attend any military, security or police exhibition (a) within the United Kingdom or (b) overseas since 1979 ; and if he will detail the nature of the support and the number of companies which attended each event.

Mr. Heseltine : The Department of Trade and Industry does not provide support for United Kingdom firms to attend exhibitions within the United Kingdom.

The Department does provide support for United Kingdom firms to attend overseas exhibitions in the form of a subvention towards the cost of participation. Relevant information for the period before 1 April 1988 can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. For the period after that date, support for firms attending military, security or police exhibitions has been provided as follows :


Financial |Number of|Number of          

year      |events   |firms              

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

1988-89   |4        |70                 

1989-90   |4        |114                

1990-91   |7        |131                

1991-92   |10       |151                

1992-93   |12       |266                

1993-94   |9        |95                 

Government Information

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he plans to publish his departmental guidance on the implementation of the code of practice on freedom of information, as promised at paragraph 3(ii) of the code issued on 4 April ; and what has been the cause of the delay in publication of the guidance.

Mr. Eggar : My Department has not produced its own guidance on interpretation of the open government code of practice. We rely on the central guidance which has already been placed in the Library of the House.

Guidance on procedures for operating the code within my Department has, however, been available for some time. I am sending the hon. Member a copy and also placing copies in the Library of the House.

Electrified Fencing

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) how many export licences have been granted for past and on-going exports of electrified fencing and barrier products designed to deliver electric shocks to people ;

(2) what licensing requirements apply to the export of electrified fencing and barrier products designed to deliver electric shocks to people.

Mr. Heseltine : Electrified fencing and barriers are not in themselves licensable under the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994. Portable anti-riot devices for administering an electric shock or an incapacitating substance, and riot control vehicles electrified to repel boarders are controlled under the legislation. Details of the number of export licences approved for these controlled items could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.


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Energy Council

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on matters discussed and decisions taken, including details of any matters on which votes were taken, at the Energy Council in Brussels on 25 May.

Mr. McLoughlin : The Council considered several issues and received reports from the Commission on matters of interest. I represented the United Kingdom.

The Council reached unanimous political agreement on guidelines for energy trans-European networks. It was agreed that a formal common position, including a decision on a list of projects of common interest, should, if possible, be taken at the next Energy Council. This would allow enough time for the projects to be considered individually and for the opinion of the European Parliament to be taken into account.

The Commission reported to the Council on progress on the European energy charter treaty. It was agreed that the Community should work for the treaty to be concluded later this month.

There was a discussion of the electricity liberalisation directive, and general endorsement of the need for further work on five key areas. These are : access to networks, public service obligations, a system for providing new capacity, unbundling of accounts and the role of the system operator.

There was a general discussion of the need for a Community energy policy. A Commission proposal for a Green Paper was welcomed. The importance of consulting widely within industry was supported by several member states. The Commission presented its proposal for Thermie II, which is concerned with support for near-market energy technology projects, their demonstration and dissemination of the results.

The Council adopted, unanimously, conclusions on two Commission communications. One was on energy and cohesion and the other on nuclear safety in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The hydrocarbon licensing directive, which had been agreed at the 10 December 1993 Energy Council, was adopted unanimously without discussion.

Apart from the "A" points which were agreed without discussion, no formal votes were taken by the Council.

System X

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many system X telecommunication systems have been exported since 1989 ; and to which countries.

Mr. McLoughlin : Exports of system X telecommunications systems have been made to the following countries : the United States of America, Russia, China, Colombia, Gibraltar, Kenya, India, Kuwait, the Falklands and the Philippines. Information on the number of systems exported is not publically available and is a matter for the companies concerned.

Competitiveness

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he made of the implications for environmental protection when he drew up the proposal contained in his report on competitiveness, Cm 2563.


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Mr. McLoughlin : The United Kingdom sustainable development strategy--Cm 2426--published in January 1994, outlined the Government's proposals for ensuring that future economic development and environmental protection are fully compatible. The proposals in Cm 2563 are fully consistent with the principles set out in the strategy, and in particular take account of the Government's determination to seek the least burdensome and prescriptive means for achieving its environmental objectives.

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what changes he plans in the loan guarantee scheme or similar assistance to small firms in the context of the publication of the competitiveness White Paper.

Mr. McLoughlin : The small firms loan guarantee scheme was changed significantly twice during 1993. There are no current plans to further amend to the scheme.


Column 424

Mr. Grocott : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many copies of "Competitiveness : Helping Business to Win" have been printed ; and what was the total cost of production and distribution.

Mr. Sainsbury : The White Paper on competitiveness was published by HMSO. A total of 10,500 copies were produced. The production costs are a matter for HMSO, and in accordance with normal practice were reflected in the price of the White Paper. In addition, the DTI met preliminary design, writing and typesetting costs of approximately £30,000.

The table sets out provisional costs, excluding staff time, incurred by a range of Departments in purchasing the White Paper for external distribution, and in producing summary versions and extracts. It also sets out the costs of external distribution of the White Paper, the summary versions and extracts.


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£ thousand                                                                                                                                   

                                             |Department of  |Employment     |Scottish Office|Northern       |Welsh Office                   

                                             |Trade and      |Department                     |Ireland                                        

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

Cost of copies for external distribution                                                                                                     

Purchases of White Paper from HMSO           |12             |5              |1              |1              |1                              

Production of 5,000 copies of an offprint of                                                                                                 

Education and Training chapter               |-              |2              |-              |-              |-                              

Production of 130,000 copies of the                                                                                                          

summary version                              |32             |-              |-              |-              |-                              

Production of 3,500 copies of the bilingual                                                                                                  

summary version                              |-              |-              |-              |-              |8                              

                                             |-------        |-------        |-------        |-------        |-------                        

Distribution costs                           |70             |2              |<1>-           |<1>-           |1                              

<1> Item less than £500.                                                                                                                     

Table: Estimated costs of external distribution of competitiveness White Paper and related documents.                                        

Civil Servants (Outside Appointments)

Mr. Milburn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many job offers were reported by staff in his Department under the requirements of the rules on the acceptance of outside appointments in each of the last 10 years by (a) staff of grade 3 and above, (b) staff below grade 3, (c) staff in sections concerned with procurement or contract work, under section 15 of the rules of 1 February 1993 and (d) staff in other sections, under section 14 ; and how many of these reports were followed by an application to join the company concerned.

Mr. Eggar : The Department requires staff to report job offers. However, there is no central record kept of such offers. Such information could be obtained, therefore, only at disproportionate cost.

Any firm job offer an individual wishes to take up is subject to the business appointment rules procedure.

Loan Guarantee Scheme

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received about obstacles to the greater take-up of loans under the loan guarantee scheme.

Mr. McLoughlin : A number of representations and complaints are received about the unavailability of loans under the small firms loan guarantee scheme. The majority of these concern businesses whose proposals have been rejected by lenders on commercial grounds. With both


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public and lenders' funds at risk, scheme applications must be assessed carefully by lenders for their commercial viability.

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the take-up of loans under the loan guarantee scheme over the past three years.

Mr. McLoughlin : The number of loans guaranteed under the small firms loan guarantee scheme in each of the past three financial years was 1991-92, 2,933 ; 1992-93, 2,342 ; and 1993-94, 3,886. Take-up of the scheme increased considerably following the enhancements introduced on 1 July 1993 and current average monthly take-up is now higher than at any time since 1984.

Coal Industry

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list those organisations which have submitted applications to pre-qualify for the purchase of British Coal mining activities in respect of each regional coal company and for each care and maintenance colliery.

Mr. Eggar : No. The identities of the parties which have submitted pre-qualification applications are commercially confidential.

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many management and employee buy-out teams have applied for financial assistance during the sale of British Coal to prepare bids for purchase of (a) all five regional


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coal companies, (b) each regional coal company, (c) each care and maintenance colliery and (d) each British Coal non-mining business.

Mr. Eggar : A number of MEBO teams have applied to the Department for financial assistance when preparing bids for (a) to (c) above and several offers have been made. However, details of these applications are commercially confidential. British Coal operates a similar scheme for MEBOs bidding for their non-mining businesses on which general offers will be invited and details of these applications are also commercially confidential.

Mr. Tipping : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list each company which has pre-registered an interest in buying any of the five regional packages of British Coal.

Mr. Eggar : No. The identities of the parties who have submitted pre -qualification applications are commercially confidential.

Mr. Tipping : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many individual companies have pre-registered an interest in buying (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four or (e) five regional packages of British Coal.

Mr. Eggar : The detail of pre-qualification applications is commercially confidential.

Mr. Tipping : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list each company which has registered an interest to buy (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four or (e) five regional packages of British Coal.

Mr. Eggar : No. The identities of the parties which have submitted pre-qualification applications are commercially confidential.

Mr. Tipping : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many companies have pre-registered an interest in buying any of the five regional packages of British Coal.

Mr. Eggar : We have received 34 applications to pre-qualify for the sale of the five regional coal companies and the care and maintenance collieries.

Public Houses

Mr. David Porter : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to encourage the prosperity of British public houses ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Neil Hamilton : The Government have taken a wide range of measures to improve the commercial framework in which all firms, including public houses, operate. A number of these were described in the White Paper "Competitiveness : Helping Business to Win"--Cm 2563.

Mr. David Porter : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what investigations his Department is undertaking into the issues raised by publicans in the lobby of Parliament on 11 May about upward-only rent clauses, the public house tie, and the enforcement of the beer orders ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Neil Hamilton : I am fully aware of the principal issues raised by licensees at the recent lobby and shall be meeting a number of publicans soon to discuss these further.


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