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Energy Supplies

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to penalise gas and electricity companies that take over control of peoples' energy supplies without their consent. [121445]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government take seriously the distress and inconvenience caused by involuntary transfers and has encouraged Ofgem to take firm action with the companies concerned.

It is for the Director General of Gas and Electricity Supply to determine what action should be taken to combat involuntary transfers of energy supply. The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets [Ofgem] is taking steps that will significantly reduce these transfers. Among other things, Ofgem recently renewed the licence condition for gas and electricity suppliers governing sales and marketing practices, and is presently consulting on further enhancements. Ofgem also works closely with individual suppliers to resolve problems that lead to customer complaints.

Radio Frequencies (Mobile Phones)

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations Her Majesty's Government have had with the authorities responsible for airport radar systems in respect of the distribution of new frequencies for mobile phones. [121360]

Ms Hewitt: None of the radio frequencies for the licences assigned by the recent third generation mobile communications auction is used by airport radar systems.

A proposal to share frequency bands, including those used by civil airport radar in the UK, for possible future expansion of third generation mobile systems, is to be discussed at the World Radio Conference currently taking place in Istanbul (WRC-2000). The authorities concerned with civil airport radar were fully involved in the UK's preparations for WRC-2000, and ensured that the requirements of safety were taken into account. The agreed European position is that further study is required before any decisions can be taken.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when new licences for mobile phones will be issued; and what effect the distribution of frequencies will have on the optimal use of the spectrum. [121362]

Ms Hewitt: Subject to the provisions of the Wireless Telegraphy (Third Generation Licences) Notice 1999, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will grant a Wireless Telegraphy Act Licence for Third Generation Mobile Communications within 20 business days of the successful bidder for the licence confirming either that it is not subject to any preconditions or that it is no longer subject to any preconditions. Licences were issued to TIW UMTS UK Ltd. and One 2 One Personal Communications Ltd. on 9 May 2000.

A well designed auction with well informed bidders should ensure that spectrum licences go to those who place the highest value on them and are most likely to make optimal use of the spectrum. In addition, the issue of five licences, including one reserved for a new entrant, should help to ensure that the available spectrum is used effectively by increasing sustainable competition and encouraging the faster roll-out of innovative services.

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Rover

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will send copies of the interim report from the Rover Task Force to hon. Members with West Midlands constituencies; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [121134]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 8 May 2000]: May I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Mr. Burden) on 5 May 2000, Official Report, column 231W.

Radio Spectrum

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to receive the money from the sale of the radio spectrum; and if he will make a statement. [121198]

Ms Hewitt: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry expects to receive all of the receipts from the auction of Wireless Telegraph Act licences for Third Generation mobile communications in the current financial year.

Motor Industry

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses there are which conduct retail, after sales and repair of motor vehicles in the United Kingdom; and how many of them employ fewer than 50 people. [121590]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 11 May 2000]: In 1999, there were 60,455 businesses in these sectors. 8,435 employed fewer than 50.

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the motor retail franchised dealers (a) he and (b) his officials have visited in the United Kingdom since July 1999. [121595]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 11 May 2000]: My officials are in regular contact with the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) which also includes the National Franchise Dealers Association.

I met with John Edwards of the Phoenix Consortium, a Rover dealer and a member of the RMIF during the recent contacts over Rover.

Arms Exports

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what recent representations he has received on the controls on licensed production and brokerage of arms for export; and if he will make a statement; [121732]

Dr. Howells: The 1998 White Paper on Strategic Export Controls (Cm 3989) contained proposals to extend controls on trafficking and brokering in several areas, including in respect of the supply of arms and other controlled goods to any country subject to embargo and the supply of equipment the export from the UK of which

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has been banned because of evidence that goods of the same type have been used in torture. All the White Paper proposals are currently under review in the light of comments received.

As part of this review the Government are also considering the issue of licensed production overseas following the raising of this issue in a number of the responses to the White Paper. However, a licence is already required for the export of any controlled equipment or technology in tangible form needed for an overseas manufacturing facility.

In recent months the Department for Trade and Industry has received representations on the issues of arms brokering and licensed production from Oxfam and Amnesty International's UK Directors, from many individual members of these two organisations and from other members of the public.

The Government will announce proposals for new export control legislation following conclusion of the current review of the White Paper proposals.

Penalty Clause

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the contracts entered into with private sector companies for the provision of goods or services since May 1997 where penalty clauses were triggered for non-performance; and if he will make a statement. [122015]

Dr. Howells: Where appropriate, DTI contracts include liquidated damages clauses. Penalty clauses are not legally enforceable. The DTI has a great number of contracts in operation at any one time, the details of which are not held centrally. It would entail disproportionate cost to find out which of these contracts included liquidated damages clauses and which of those clauses had been invoked.

Contracting Out

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the areas within his Department and its agencies where functions have been contracted out, listing (a) the cost involved, (b) date of contract with expiry term, (c) the name of the company and (d) the area within the DTI from which the functions have been taken since May 1997. [121619]

Dr. Howells: I will arrange to write to the hon. Member with this information shortly.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Influenza

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee which anti-viral drugs are available to hon. Members and staff at the Palace of Westminster to treat influenza. [121972]

Mrs. Roe: Stocks of a number of common drugs for emergency use are kept in the occupational health consulting room off the Lower Waiting Hall. These include drugs for treating angina, asthma and bacterial infections. These can be issued by the occupational health

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doctors, and by certain medically qualified hon. Members. The occupational health service also provides influenza vaccinations for hon. Members and staff in the at-risk groups.

The service does not, however, hold other drugs (including anti-viral influenza drugs) as the House's medical services are not intended to replace normal GP services.

Surveillance Devices

Mr. Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many surveillance devices are in use (a) inside and (b) outside buildings on the Parliamentary Estate; what is the (i) nature, (ii) location, (iii) purpose and (iv) cost of installing and running each such device; and if he will make a statement. [120773]

Mr. Kirkwood [holding answer 11 May 2000]: The outturn for expenditure on security services in 1998-99 for the House of Commons was £13,953,000 as shown in the commission's Twenty-First Annual Report for 1998-99 (HC721); in 1999-2000 the cost was £13,454,174.

It is not the practice to give detailed information of the type asked for by my hon. Friend.


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