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(a) W. S. Atkins, SIRA and Scientific Generics
(b) Serco, AEA Technology and Loughborough University of Technology
Mr. Battle: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how long the management contracts are for Government-owned, contractor-managed establishments (a) in general and (b) for the National Physical Laboratory. 
Mr. Heseltine: The duration of management contracts for Government- owned, contractor-operated establishments varies widely. The duration of the contract for provision of research services at the National Physical Laboratory is under discussion with the shortlisted bidders.
Mr. Heseltine: My Department does not keep a central record of all contracts tendered for and awarded to individual companies. An exercise to establish how many contracts have been tendered for and won by W. S. Atkins and Serco since 1990 would incur disproportionate costs.
|1986 |1987 |1988 |1989 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Applications received |16,847 |17,590 |15,697 |14,601 Licences granted |<2>- |16,745 |<3>16,005|13,584 Notes: <1> The figures include all applications for licences for equipment classified under Group 1 of the Export of Goods (Control) Order. This includes all goods classified "ML", for 1989, it also includes goods classified "PL" in Group 1 of the Order. <2> For 1986, separate figures were not kept for applications granted and refused. The provision of this information would incur disproportionate costs. <3> The figures make it appear that more licences were issued in 1988 than the number of applications received. This is because the licensing process always carries over from year to the next. Hence some of the licences issued in one year will have been received in the previous year.
1. The corresponding figures for all export licences received (including those for the military goods listed above) for the period in question are:
Column 370submitted by official receivers and were rejected for not being evidentially strong enough in each of the last three years. 
|Total |Total |submitted |submitted |Total not |without full |with full |proceeded Financial year |report |report |with --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1992-93 |2,536 |121 |32 1993-94 |3,425 |107 |13 1994-95 |2,281 |244 |26
The number of reports not proceeded with relates only to those submitted as a full report, some of which would have been submitted in the previous financial year. It also includes those where there were parallel criminal proceedings, the bankruptcy of the potential respondent or the discovery of evidence which would refute or mitigate the allegation of misconduct.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many unfit conduct reports pursuant to the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 were submitted by insolvency practitioners and were rejected for not being evidentially strong enough in each of the last three years. 
Financial year |Total submitted |Total not proceeded |with -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1992-93 |3,901 |3,320 1993-94 |3,727 |3,604 1994-95 |3,147 |3,032
The number not proceeded with cannot be related to:
(i) those reports submitted in that year because in some 25 to 30 per cent. of cases decisions following investigation will be taken in the next accounting period, and
(ii) the number of reports accepted for further investigation, because some are not proceeded with subsequently because of parallel criminal proceedings, the bankruptcy of the potential respondent or the discovery of evidence which would refute or mitigate the allegation of misconduct.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list those parts of his Department or departmental agencies which were privatised without an in-house bid; if he will indicate the expertise which was absent in his Department or departmental agencies which prevented an in -house bid taking place; which future parts of his Department or departmental agencies he intends to privatise; and which of them do not have the necessary in-house expertise to mount an in-house bid. 
(i) 1992 93
Press Notice Distribution
Offshore Focus Magazine
Gas and Oil Measurement Branch Security
Photographic Service (National Physical Laboratory)
Column 371(ii) 1993 94
Various Support Services (Patent Office)
(iii) 1994 95
Accounts Services Agency
Ships Radio Licensing (Radiocommunications Agency)
Decisions to contract out without an in-house bid have been taken where the private sector was clearly better-equipped to deliver a specific service, has had a better understanding of market needs, or has had the capacity to invest in new technology. Such decisions have also been taken when the activity has been relatively small and peripheral to my Department's core functions. In each case overall value for money has been assessed through comparing the quality and cost of bids against a benchmark of continuing in -house provision which includes planned efficiency and quality of service improvements. Information on an individual test basis can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Work is under way to contract out the following in 1995 96 without an in- house bid:
Building Management Services
The National Physical Laboratory
London Office and Satellites
Cardiff Office--range of activities
The Insolvency Service:
Official Receivers' Administrative Functions
Various support services
Various support services
Of course, staff are always free to make bids on a staff buy-out basis alongside other bidders, taking the work into the private sector. For example, there was a management bid on this basis for the Accounts Services Agency.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of the effect of membership of the EC on output and employment in (a) the United Kingdom cotton textile industry, (b) the United Kingdom bus and coach industry and (c) the United Kingdom pottery industry; and what has been the change since 1970 in the volume of United Kingdom output, imports from and exports to the EC Six, in import penetration from the EC, and in the numbers employed in the industry. 
Mr. Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the effect EU membership has had on output and employment in (a) the United Kingdom wool industry, (b) the United
Column 372Kingdom carpet industry, (c) the United Kingdom motor car industry and (d) the United Kingdom commercial vehicle industry; and if he will show in respect of each the change from 1970 in (i) the volume of United Kingdom output and (ii) imports from and exports to (1) the EC Six and (2) other EC countries, (3) import penetration from the EC and elsewhere and (4) the numbers employed in the industry. 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what has been the percentage change in import penetration of the United Kingdom market for manufactures less food, drink and tobacco since 1971; and to what extent it is due to (i) the reduction in the tariff, (ii) the removal of tariff protection against EC countries and (iii) the monetary and exchange rate policies of successive United Kingdom Governments; 
(2) if he will publish for each year since 1970 his estimate of import penetration of the United Kingdom market for manufactures less food, drink, tobacco, printing and publishing. 
Mr. Ian Taylor: The import penetration levels requested can be calculated only at disproportionate cost. My Department has made no assessment of the specific factors listed. However, the rising share of imports in the United Kingdom market for manufactures reflects a number of influences, including the increasing specialisation of world trade.
competitiveness. The competitiveness White Paper, "Forging Ahead" identifies areas where the Government have helped, for example, by stimulating enterprise and innovation and by encouraging best practice in quality, design and management. Discrimination against imports jeopardises the UK's export successes.
Ms Ruddock: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what analysis or assessment (a) his Department or (b) any other Government Department or agency has made of the contents of the Brent Spar storage unit; what was the result of that analysis or assessment; and if he will publish the results of those analyses or assessment; 
(2) what inspections, analysis or assessment of the contents of the Brent Spar storage unit were made in the last 10 years by (a) his Department or (b) any other Government Department or agency; what were the results of these inspections, assessments or analyses; and if he will publish them in full. 
Column 373practicable environmental option. That judgment was reached after a comparative assessment of the options which took into account many factors including information on the contents of the installation. The abandonment programme contains a detailed inventory of the equipment and materials on board. Scottish Office officials who visited the Spar on 3 and 4 June verified that cleaning operations had been performed to the standard required.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: Information provided to my Department by local weights and measures authorities in England, Wales and Scotland indicates that since 1987 88 the number of qualified trading standards officers has been as follows:
1987 88: 1,454
1988 89: 1,438
1989 90: 1,456
1990 91: 1,504
1991 92: 1,548
1992 93: 1,598
1993 94: 1,637
Figures for preceding years are not readily available.
Mr. Evans: Information provided to my Department by the local government management board indicates that numbers of trainee trading standards officers registered in each year since 1987 were as follows:
Year |Number --------------------- 1987 |98 1988 |105 1989 |102 1990 |90 1991 |91 1992 |74 1993 |36 1994 |32 1995 |24
In addition, there were 24 graduates in the BSC honours consumer protection degree in 1994, of whom 15 are now in the process of becoming fully qualified trading standards officers.
Figures for the preceding years are not readily available.
Dr. Strang: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the change in numbers of trainee trading standards officers since the end of the incentive training scheme for trading standards officers. 
Column 374efficiently. It is for individual local authorities to ensure that numbers of qualified staff are sufficient to provide adequate levels of service in their respective areas and to make budgetary decisions which will reflect that need.
In response to concerns about staffing levels my Department encouraged and supported the introduction of a grant scheme for trainee trading standards officers which began in 1987 88. The decision not to extend the term of this scheme beyond 1991 was taken by the local government management board on behalf of the local authority associations. Since that decision, total numbers of qualified staff have steadily increased from about 1,500 in 1990 91 to more than 1,630 in 1993 94.
Mr. Page: At my Department's request, British Coal has established a working group on mines rescue to act as a forum for the coal industry to develop its plans for the future ownership and management of the mines rescue service. The working group also contains representatives from Government.
Mr. Tipping: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the amount of subsidy paid in respect of deep mined coal as outlined in "Prospects for Coal", the number of tonnes this reflects, the number of individual contracts involved and outstanding bids waiting the approval of the European Commission. 
Mr. Page: Since the coal subsidy was announced in March 1993, 10 offers have been made. To date, £12,776,193 has been paid in respect of almost 1 million tonnes of coal delivered since April 1993. One application, which was received just before the scheme ended on 31 March 1995, is currently being considered.
European Commission approval for payments in respect of production in 1993 was given in Commission decision C(94)883 of 29 March 1994. Approval for payments in respect of production the financial year 1994/95 was given in Commission decision C(94)1436 of 1 June 1994.
Mr. Page [holding answer 21 June 1995]: There is no single, official definition of what constitutes a small firm. There is, however, a wide range of definitions used in practice, each valid in its own context.
Eligibility for the annual SMART competition--small firms merit award for research--is limited to firms with a maximum of 50 employees. Eligibility under the loan guarantee scheme, however, is determined by both turnover and employee numbers and these vary from sector to sector. Generally, eligibility is limited to firms with fewer than 200 employees, except in the construction
Column 375sector where the limit is 25. In the manufacturing sector the turnover ceiling is £3 million whereas in the service sector it is £500,000.
Ms Primarolo: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many (a) small businesses and (b) medium- sized businesses were started up in each of the last 10 years; and if he will break these figures down by region and by gender of entrepreneur.