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Column 328Together with the China Britain Trade Group, we are implementing a strategy to ensure that British business is well placed to take maximum advantage of the opportunities in the market. This includes targeted geographical and sectoral initiatives and a wide range of high profile trade missions. I have made four trade promotion visits to China since July 1992 and hope to lead another team of senior business people there in October.
30. Mr. Turner : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to meet the British Iron and Steel Producers Association to discuss prospects for the steel industry ; and if he will make a statement.
36. Mr. Clapham : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to meet the Association of British Chambers of Commerce to discuss the White Paper, "Competitiveness : Helping Business to Win" ; and if he will make a statement.
32. Mr. Quentin Davies : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the prospects for the creation of a single market in energy and telecommunications in the light of the decisions of the Corfu European Council.
Mr. Heseltine : The Government welcome the Corfu Euopean Council's call for the extension of the single market to telecommunications and energy. The Government's objective is to reach rapid agreement on the Commission's proposals for market opening in these sectors.
Mr. Eggar : With the recent passing of the Coal Industry Act 1994 we are on course to privatise British Coal's coal mining assets by the end of the year. Twenty-six applicants have prequalified for one or more of the regional coal companies. In addition, nine collieries which were offered for lease/license by British Coal have now been taken over by the private sector. British Coal is also pressing ahead with plans for the disposal of a large number of its non-mining businesses.
40. Mr. Evennett : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the implications for British industry of the Confederation of British Industry quarterly trend survey on business confidence.
Mr. Heseltine : CBI surveys continue to show that British manufacturers are increasingly confident about the future. Output expectations remain positive and total order books are at the highest level for five years. These results provide further evidence of the strength of recovery taking place throughout British industry.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when the decision was taken that bids for separate parts of the Design Council's services should be invited ; on what grounds that decision was taken ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin : My Department wrote to the Design Council on 20 June to say that all the proposals which had previously been submitted for the transfer of the Design Council's services to industry on an integrated basis would involve a significant and unacceptable subsidy from the Government. As a result of the failure of these proposals, the Department encouraged the Council to explore the best terms on which piecemeal disposal might be carried forward.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish a table showing the support offered to the Design Council and the design museum in cash and real terms since 1989 ; and what provisions are made in the estimates for 1994-95.
Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1989-90 |6.271 1990-91 |6.435 1991-92 |6.775 1992-93 |7.100 1993-94 |7.500 1994-95 |7.200
These amounts do not include free-standing contracts and funding for stand- alone activities and projects negotiated separately for, among other things, the enterprise initiative consultancy scheme, the materials information service and the "Managing in the '90s" programme. Nor do they include separate sums agreed for restructuring costs.
Offers of running cost support for the design museum were as follows :
Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1989-90 |0.300 1990-91 |0.200 1991-92 |0.150 1992-93 |0.150 1993-94 |- 1994-95 |-
These amounts do not include free-standing contracts and funding for specific projects negotiated separately for design exhibitions and seminars at home and overseas.
The above amounts are in cash : figures in real terms since 1989 are not readily available.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether guidelines similar to the Overseas Development Administration good government criteria are applied in the offering of Export Credits Guarantee Department cover ; and how much the ECGD liaises with the ODA on such issues.
Mr. Needham : I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 12 April, Official Report, column 111. ECGD liaises with ODA on cases where aid is involved and ODA's good government criteria are therefore relevant.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to the answer of the Secretary of State for Defence of 11 January, Official Report, column 168-69 , what was the size of the line of export credit to Jordan.
Mr. Needham : ECGD provided guarantees for export credit loans of up to £236 million for two defence lines of credit to Jordan, signed in 1986 and 1987 respectively, which could be used to support contracts totalling up to £310 million.
Year |£ million ------------------------------------ 1989-90 |349 1990-91 |413 1991-92 |237 1992-93 |111 1993-94 |<1>Minus 53 <1>Provisional.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what studies he has undertaken through his overseas project fund with Knight Pie sold Consulting Engineers about increasing United Kingdom trade with South America.
Mr. Needham : The DTI has awarded to Knight Pie sold one grant under the overseas projects fund. This was to assist with the costs of preparing a feasibility study. Details of these grants are commercially confidential. Where appropriate in accordance with scheme rules, grants are repaid.
Mr. Needham : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to him on 12 July 1994, Official Report, columns 513-14, about the credit cover given to Latin America by the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom's major industrial competitors.
I assure the hon. Gentleman that we keep the terms and conditions of ECGD support under close review, to ensure that these are the best possible in the context of the prevailing economic and political conditions in each market.
Mr. Fatchett : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what guidance he has issued to the Comptroller General of the Patent Office about public comments on the future status of the Patent Office ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Michael Grylls : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if it is his policy to construct an interconnector for gas between Britain and the continent of Europe ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : The industry project to build a major grid-to-grid gas interconnector between Bacton and Zeebrugge would benefit the United Kingdom by contributing to the continued development of the United Kingdom continental shelf, and, by providing access to gas from other sources, thereby enhance security of supply.
(2) what was the percentage of British Coal stocks to output for each British Coal region in the United Kingdom in 1992, 1993 and the latest available date.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what safeguards are in place during the sale of British Coal to prevent the future owners of the regional coal companies being disadvantaged in negotiations on future coal sale contracts by disclosure of confidential information to other bidders who have interests in power generation.
Mr. Eggar : All pre-qualifiers for the regional coal companies have signed strict confidentiality undertakings covering the disclosure or use of any information made available to them. Breach of those undertakings could lead to forfeit of their deposits,
disqualification from the tender and, if appropriate, legal proceedings.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 15 June, Official Report, column 602 , what consideration was given to including D65, textiles, D84, clothing ; D67, iron and steel ; D78.1, motor cars and parts ; D87, scientific etc. instruments ; D71, power-generating machinery etc ; D72, specialised industrial machinery ; D74, general industrial machinery ; D75, office machines and ADP machines ; D76, telecommunications etc. equipment ; ex- SITC5, chemicals ; and D66, non-metallic mineral manufactures among the principal import competing export industries ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Needham : Information on output of industries is available only according to the standard industrial classification and the reply was given on this basis. Each activity heading within manufacturing, as defined by the SIC, was considered.
The various divisions of the standard international trade classification listed in the present question are groups of products and not industries. Consequently no consideration was given to their inclusion.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will, in accordance with the Coal Industry Act 1994, have regard to the desirability of appointing people with experience of, or who have shown capacity in, matters relevant to the Coal Authority's functions.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it his policy in future to consult industry about the implications for existing companies prior to reaching conclusions about the award of investment aid to encourage overseas companies to open facilities in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Sainsbury : It is not possible to consult directly with industry for reasons of commercial confidentiality in dealings with applicants. However, to be eligible for investment grants, projects must show they will bring a national economic benefit. Part of that test requires an assessment of the impact of the new investment on existing businesses.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it his policy to inform the House whenever his Department commissions consultations to consider the implications for existing companies of applications for inward investment aid ; if he will ensure that the reports of such consultants are available to right hon. and hon. Members ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his Department relayed to the Northern Ireland Office the estimate of job losses provided by Sir David Alliance CBE to him at a meeting of the Manufacturing and Construction Industries Alliance on Monday 13 June and associated with the award of investment aid to the Hualon Corporation in connection with the development of new textile facilities in Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the President of the Board of Trade by what authority and on the basis of what formula regional electricity companies are permitted to deduct from payments to the levy collector an amount equivalent to green ticket payments to Electricite de France.
Mr. Eggar : The Electricity Act 1989 provides for levy payments to the collector to be calculated by reference to the aggregate amount charged by each licensed electricity supplier for leviable electricity supplies only : "leviable electricity" excludes electricity which is generated by a non-fossil generating station that is not contracted within the NFFO.
Column 334the regional electricity companies are required to take to ensure power supplied by Electricite de France comes from non fossil-fuelled power stations.
Mr. Eggar : Regulations 8 and 12 of the Fossil Fuel Levy Regulations 1990 set out information that licensed electricity suppliers must provide to satisfy the Director General of Electricity Supply about the electricity that they supply, including non-leviable electricity.
Mr. McLoughlin : Neither my Department nor OFTEL have any current plans to investigate the linking of the sale of mobile phones with airtime agreements. OFTEL's position is that packages linking handsets with airtime contracts are not unreasonable so long as a satisfactory range of alternatives is available. OFTEL is not aware of complaints that customers wishing to purchase handsets and airtime contracts separately are unable to do so.
Mr. Byers : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the outcome of the application under section 279(3) of the Insolvency Act 1986 in the case of Mr. Asil Nadir, made by the official receiver.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The official receiver's application under section 279(3) of the Insolvency Act 1986 was heard on 1 July 1994. The court ordered that Mr. Nadir's bankruptcy should not be discharged until he complies with the following conditions : that he disclose and deliver to the trustee of his estate all property and documents possessed or controlled by him ;
that he provide the trustees with a full account of his business dealings, and all property and income to which he has become entitled since being made bankrupt ;
that he do all that is reasonably required of him by the trustee to assist them in realising and getting in property belonging to him, whether it be in and out of this jurisdiction ; and
that he fully comply with a number of orders made by the court which as at 1 July he had failed to do.
The order is subject to appeal.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 15 July 1994] : I understand that Warren Spring laboratory tested a compound called FX1 for a private company in 1993. It is not departmental policy to endorse or refute the claims made for particular commercial products.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list those countries which do not need to produce (a) an end-user certificate and (b) an export licence when buying arms from the United Kingdom.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 19 July 1994] : Items subject to control under part III, group I of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994 require an export licence for all destinations. In considering export licence applications
Column 336full information as to end use is always required and, depending on circumstances, this may take the form of an end- user certificate, letter of undertaking or a copy of an order or contract.
Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total public expenditure on child care services for pre-school children under the age of five years, by sector, including all local authority provisions and grants for the voluntary sector, for each year from 1989-90 to 1993-94 ; and what was the total public expenditure on their services as a percentage of the gross domestic product for Northern Ireland in each of these years.
Mr. Ancram : The total expenditure borne by the Department of Health and Social Services and its sponsored bodies for the provision of child care services to pre-school children under the age of five years for each year from 1989-90 to 1992-93 is outlined in the table.
Total expenditure-pre-school children £000 |1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Health Board expenditure Pre-school playgroups |407 |415 |359 |239 Grants to voluntary organisations |1,314 |1,211 |1,238 |1,663 |--- |--- |--- |--- |1,721 |1,626 |1,597 |1,902 DHSS expenditure Grants to voluntary organisations |147 |159 |180 |199 Total |1,868 |1,785 |1,777 |2,101 Total expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product |0.02 |0.02 |0.02 |n/a Notes: 1. Financial data for the 1993-94 financial year is not yet available. 2. Gross domestic product figures for the 1992-93 year are not available.
Mr. Stott : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total capital expenditure for minor and major works for each college of further education in Northern Ireland during each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram [pursuant to his answer, 22 June 1994, c. 166] : The figure spent in the Southern education and library board during 1992-93 on minor repairs was £150,000 and not £105,000 as originally answered.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Thurrock in relation to the desire of Ards borough council to help fund the travel of war veterans to liberation celebrations in Belgium this autumn.