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Design Protection Directive

Mr. Redwood: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the Government's policy on a repairs clause for the Parts Design Protection Directive. [26378]

Mrs. Beckett [holding answer 30 January 1998]: Last summer, when the Council adopted its Common Position on the proposed Directive on the legal protection of designs, following unanimous political agreement on this proposal at the Internal Market Council in March 1997, the United Kingdom made a formal statement regretting that the Council had been unable to agree harmonised provisions relating to the repair of complex products, such as motor vehicles and motorcycles. The proposed Directive is now to be the subject of conciliation which is likely to start during the current United Kingdom's Presidency.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans she has to seek to amend the Parts Design Protection Directive to allow competition in the supply of motorcycle parts. [26379]

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Mrs. Beckett [holding answer 30 January 1998]: The Council's Common Position on the proposed Directive on the legal protection of designs as agreed last year already includes a provision allowing Member States to provide for competition in the supply of motorcycle parts. The Common Position gives Member States the option of maintaining in force or introducing any provision to allow anyone to copy the design of a part of, for example, a motorcycle, when that design is dependent on the appearance of the motorcycle and the copy part is used to restore the motorcycle's original appearance. This proposed Directive is to be the subject of conciliation which is likely to start during the United Kingdom's current Presidency.

Competition Bill

Mr. Redwood: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will make a statement on the role of the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness in Europe in relation to (a) oil industry and (b) brewing industry issues in the Competition Bill [Lords]. [26390]

Mrs. Beckett [holding answer 30 January 1998]: The Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney), the Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs and I have policy responsibility for the Competition Bill. The Minister for Trade and Competition in Europe is the Minister responsible for the passage of the Bill through the House of Lords. The Bill applies to the economy at large, including the sectors referred to in the question.

Military Equipment Export Licences

Sir George Young: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment she has made of progress towards meeting her targets for issuing export licences for military equipment. [26118]

Mrs. Beckett: Licences to export strategic goods are issued by the President of the Board of Trade and the Export Control Organisation of the Department of Trade and Industry is the Licensing authority. Relevant individual licence applications are circulated by the DTI to other government departments with an interest, as determined by them in line with their policy responsibilities. These include the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development.

In his announcement of 28 July 1997, Official Report, cols 26-29 of new criteria of the assessment of export licence applications my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear that the criteria would not be applied mechanistically and that individual applications would be considered case by case. In the months following the announcement, this led to an increase in the time taken to assess some applications. The Government appreciate the inconvenience and uncertainty that results from any delay in the processing of individual applications and my department together with the other departments involved, is continuing to work to reduce processing timescales generally.

Electricity Companies (Takeover Bids)

Dr. Gibson: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what methods she will use to examine bids for the Energy

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Group by (a) Nomura International and (b) Texas Utilities; if she will refer the bids to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; and if she will make a statement. [28336]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: Nomura International and Texas Utilities have separately announced publicly that each is in talks with The Energy Group which may lead to a bid for the Energy Group. Should either company make a bid, it will be necessary to establish which competition authorities have jurisdiction. If and to the extent that any bid falls to be considered under the Fair Trading Act 1973, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will decide, in the light of the advice of the Director General of Fair Trading and the views of the Director General of Electricity Supply, whether or not to refer the bid to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) for investigation. She has said that her general policy continues to be to refer mergers primarily on competition grounds, but that where, as part of a wider public interest scrutiny, important regulatory issues are raised, she may decide that a reference is warranted. Each case is considered on its merits.

Publications

Mr. Gale: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will list, by title, the publications produced by her Department between 1 May 1997 and 31 January 1998. [26334]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: A list of those publications that have been notified to my Department's Publications Unit and published by my Department during this period has been placed in the Library of the House.

Industrial Tribunal Hearings

Mr. Boswell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many industrial (employment) tribunal hearings were held in each of the last three years; in what categories; and what proportion of complaints were (a) upheld and (b) rejected. [27980]

Mr. Ian McCartney: The information requested is available in published form for all years before 1996-97 in "Labour Market Trends", copies of which are available in the Library. Figures for 1993-94 and 1994-95 are given in the July 1996 issue; figures for 1995-96 in the April 1997 issue. Figures for industrial tribunal outcomes for 1996-97 will be available in the spring.

Insolvency Practitioners

Mr. Vaz: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if there will be a consultation process in respect of investigations into remuneration of insolvency practitioners. [27294]

Mr. Hoon: I have been asked to reply.

Although policy on insolvency is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, I have been asked to reply to this question because my Department is responsible for providing the secretariat for a working party, chaired by Mr. Justice Ferris, which is considering the way in which the remuneration of office holders, including insolvency practitioners, should be determined.

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The working party, which itself comprises members from a range of interests, has no plans to undertake a formal consultation exercise on this issue.

Mr. Vaz: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will make a statement on the progress of Mr. Justice Ferris's working party on remuneration of insolvency practitioners. [27293]

Mr. Hoon: I have been asked to reply.

Although policy on insolvency is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, I have been asked to reply to this question because my Department is responsible for providing the secretariat for Mr. Justice Ferris's working party. The working party has met on three occasions and a further meeting is scheduled for 16 February, to consider the way in which the remuneration of office holders, including insolvency practitioners, should be determined. It intends to report to the Vice-Chancellor no later than the autumn of 1998.

MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO

Millennium Dome

Mr. Livingstone: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what studies (a) the Government and (b) the National Millennium Experience Company have undertaken on the impact of the Millennium Dome exhibition on other visitor attractions, with particular reference to those that do not benefit from central Government grants; and if he will make them available to those attractions. [27289]

Mr. Mandelson [holding answer 6 February 1998]: In response to a recommendation by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, the Government have commissioned a study from the English Tourist Board, who in consultation with colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will look at the impact of the

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Millennium Dome on other UK visitor attractions. The study will cover a full range of attractions, not just those that receive funding from the public purse. When the study has been completed its findings will be made public.

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Minister without Portfolio what steps he will take to ensure that the culture of Welsh people is represented within the Millennium Dome. [27143]

Mr. Mandelson: The content of the Millennium Experience at Greenwich will appeal to, and be relevant to, people of all ages and interests wherever they may live in the United Kingdom. It will engage, inspire and educate all who visit.

In addition, there will be a national programme associated with the Experience. This will have the same overarching theme of "Time to Make a Difference", and will encourage participation of individuals in all areas of the United Kingdom. The New Millennium Experience Company is setting up teams in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the nine regions of England. Once these teams are in place, I shall ensure all hon. Members have the relevant details.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister without Portfolio if he will give a breakdown by budget head of the sums allocated to the Millennium Dome projects by (a) personnel costs excluding consultants, (b) building costs, (c) external infrastructure costs, (d) consultants' costs, (e) design costs, (f) publicity costs and (g) other costs. [28133]

Mr. Mandelson: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is currently finalising its Corporate Plan, which will contain budgets for the component parts of the Millennium Experience project covering the years 1997/98 (actual) and 1998/99 to 2000/01 (forecast). The aim is to publish the Plan at the end of this financial year following its approval by NMEC's Board and by the Millennium Commission. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House immediately on publication.