Previous Section Index Home Page


Council for Science and Technology

37. Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the role of the Council for Science and Technology. [120542]

Ms Hewitt: The Council for Science and Technology is the Prime Minister's top level advisory body on strategic issues concerning the Government's policies and framework for ensuring that science and technology meet the needs of the United Kingdom. The Council's terms of reference, along with information about its work and advisory reports are available on its website at www.cst.gov.uk.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his Department's support for renewable energy technologies. [120518]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government announced in February their target for PES of 10 per cent. electricity from renewables. This is to stimulate the development of renewable energy so that it can provide a continuously growing contribution in the competitive market, as part of our climate change programme.

11 May 2000 : Column: 444W

We have a target of achieving 5 per cent. of UK electricity from renewables by 2003 and 10 per cent. by 2010. The cost of course must be acceptable to consumers.

Coal Miners (Compensation)

Mr. Rogers: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 12 April 2000, Official Report, column 153W, on coal miners' compensation, if he will name hospitals that have not been prepared to release miners' medical records. [120352]

Mrs. Liddell: Following the issuing of guidance by the NHS Executive and the BMA to Hospital Trusts and GPs respectively, I am advised by Healthcall, the company contracted to obtain the medical records, that there are no hospitals that are not prepared to release medical records. However I am aware that it may take time for hospitals to retrieve records, which in some cases date back many years. My Department is monitoring the position very closely and I will have no hesitation in informing Members of any hospitals in their constituencies where we experience difficulties in the future.

Electricity Generation

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the membership of the working group composed of representatives from the Government, Ofgem and the industry that is examining the issues that surround embedded generation; what is the work programme of the group and its timescale; if he will publish minutes of the group's meetings to date; and if he will make a statement. [120843]

Mrs. Liddell: The working group on Embedded Generation Network Issues was set up following the issue of the Department's consultation document 'Electricity Network Management Issues' (URN 99/1237). It is chaired by Dr. Brian Wharmby, technical director of Ofgem and comprises representatives of network operators, generators, suppliers and consumers, the Energy Savings Trust, DETR, DTI and Ofgem. It held its first meeting in March and proposes to complete its work by the end of the year 2000. The group has agreed that its membership, terms of reference and agreed meeting minutes should be published on the DTI website. The pages are available at www.dti.gov.uk/energy/egwg/index.htm

Industrial Grant Aid

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the (a) grants and (b) grant aid he has promised (i) the car industry and (ii) the coal industry since May 1997; from which budgets they will be drawn; what they are for; and for which he has EU approval. [120856]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 5 May 2000]: The information is as follows:


(i) details of projects are published in the Labour Market Trends.
(ii) details were contained in my statement to the House on 17 April.

11 May 2000 : Column: 445W

Chief Scientific Adviser

Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the procedure for recruiting the Government Chief Scientific Adviser following the retirement of Sir Robert May. [120431]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 10 May 2000]: The post of Government Chief Scientific Adviser was advertised in the national press in March 2000. The competition for the post is being conducted according to the rules laid down by the Civil Service Commissioners.

E-commerce

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to promote e-commerce; and if he will make a statement. [120507]

Ms Hewitt: The Government have put e-commerce at the heart of their vision for building a competitive, modern, knowledge-driven economy, and the DTI plays a leading role in realising this.

In September 1999, the Prime Minister launched the report 'E-commerce@its.best.uk' which set out the Government's strategy to make the UK the best place in the world to trade electronically. This strategy is based on:




Specific actions taken by DTI as part of the strategy to promote e-commerce include:





Motor Industry

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) Rover franchised dealers and (b) BMW franchised dealers there are in the United Kingdom; and how many people are employed in each. [121592]

Mr. Byers: I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood) on 29 March 2000, Official Report, column 196.

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussion his Department has held with the retail motor industry representatives since the publication of the Competition Commission report into the sale of new cars. [121593]

Mr. Byers: Since the publication of the Competition Commission report on the supply of new cars, my Department has had discussions with representatives of a number of industry bodies, including the Retail

11 May 2000 : Column: 446W

Motor Industry Federation and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, and with representatives of a number of individual companies.

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what powers he has to (a) amend and (b) withdraw the Block Exemption Regulations relating to the sale of new cars before September 2002. [121594]

Mr. Byers: The current Block Exemption for motor vehicle distribution and servicing agreements is a European Commission regulation. Member states have no power to amend it. Withdrawal of the benefit of the Block Exemption is one of several possible courses of action which the Competition Commission recommended for consideration. My Department is exploring the complex legal questions associated with these options, and is in close discussions with the European Commission.

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people are employed in the retail, after sales and repair of motor vehicles in the United Kingdom. [121589]

Mr. Byers: According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), at December 1999, 329,913 people were employed in the retail, after sales and repairs of motor vehicles in the United Kingdom.

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses provide services and components to vehicle manufacturers in the United Kingdom; and how many people are employed in these businesses. [121591]

Mr. Byers: The information is not available in the form requested.

Community Hospitals Group

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will refer the BUPA takeover of Community Hospitals Group to the Competition Commission in respect of the implications of vertical integration in the supply of private medical services. [121598]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will decide whether or not to refer this case to the Competition Commission in the light of the independent advice of the Director General of Fair Trading. Each case is considered on its individual merits.


Next Section Index Home Page