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Mr. Morley: A decision was taken in October 1997 to replace MAFF's oldest fisheries research vessel, RV Cirolana, which is used to collect essential data on the state of fish stocks and the marine environment. A comprehensive business case explored all options, including the Private Finance Initiative and the consequences of not replacing the ship. Investment in a new vessel was agreed as a priority in the 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review, and the procurement process is under way.
In accordance with EU procurement rules, expressions of interest in the contract to construct the new vessel have been invited, and the responses will be evaluated in order to identify a short list of bidders who will be given the opportunity to tender for the contract. The planned schedule allows for negotiation and award of a construction contract by the end of December 2000. The vessel is expected to be ready for service in March 2003.
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Mr. Byers: With my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, I can announce that the Invest in Britain Bureau (IBB) has in its Annual Review, published today, reported that 1999-2000 was a record year for attracting inward investment projects to the UK, and the creation of new jobs.
Between 1 April 1999 and 31 March 2000, 757 direct investment projects by foreign owned companies into the UK were reported to the IBB by its partner agencies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English Regional Development Agencies. Based on information provided by the companies at the time of the announcement, it is estimated that these projects will create over 52,700 new jobs.
In addition, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has announced today that the Invest In Britain Bureau, the Government's national inward investment marketing organisation, which is a part of British Trade International, will be rebranded 'Invest.UK'.
Mr. Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what grants, loans and other payments were made by Her Majesty's Government, and what loans were underwritten by the ECGD, to Balfour Beatty in each of the last five years. 
|Year||Number of Balfour Beatty contracts supported by ECGD||Value of ECGD cover £ Million|
Most cover ECGD has underwritten will have been given to UK banks who extended loans to overseas borrowers to enable them to pay for capital goods and services over an extended payment period. However, some insurance cover has been issued directly to Balfour Beatty.
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|Guangzhou Metro Catenary||--||1.419||1.259||--||0.299|
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Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funds have been promised to Jaguar Cars for (a) the X200 project and (b) the X400 project; what payments have been made to date; and when full payment will be made on each of the projects. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: In 1995 Jaguar received an offer of £48 million Regional Selective Assistance (RSA), plus a £32 million package of local support measures to attract the X200 (S-Type) project to Castle Bromwich. Following discussions with the European Commission, the RSA element of the £80 million package was subsequently revised to £40 million. However, the Commission subsequently agreed in principle that additional aid up to the original £80 million total might be provided.
Jaguar also received in 1998 an aid support offer of £40 million RSA and up to £3 million in local support measures to secure the X400 project for Halewood--the X400 package has been fully approved by the European Commission.
The detail of the payments made and their timing is a commercial matter between Jaguar and the aid providers concerned. However in major aid cases such as this, RSA support is normally phased over a number of years.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will list (a) contracts awarded to the German company Karl Kolb by the British Government and (b) the amount of ECGD support provided on contracts in which Karl Kolb was a participating party between 1985 and 1999; and if he will make a statement; 
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Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) rural and (b) urban sub-post offices operated unprofitably in the last financial year in each constituency in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland; and how many of these in each constituency will benefit from the new fund to improve the quality of post offices. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: In its report on the Post Office network, the Performance and Innovation Unit has estimated that around 90 per cent. of urban sub-post offices operate profitably and that around 60 per cent. of rural sub-post offices operate unprofitably. I understand from the Post Office that they do not hold data by constituency for the numbers of urban or rural sub-post offices operating unprofitably.
Mr. Alan Johnson: I understand that the Post Office does not hold the specific data requested for causes of closure of sub-post offices. The Post Office seeks as far as possible not to close post offices when it can be avoided. As the Performance and Innovation Unit's report recognises, sub-post office closures occur typically in small rural communities where a sub-postmaster resigns or dies and, despite best efforts, the Post Office can find no suitable replacement to take over the running of the office.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his oral statement of 28 June 2000, Official Report, columns 907-20, how many (a) urban and (b) rural sub-post offices were unavoidably closed because (i) no one was prepared to take over from the departing sub-postmaster and (ii) an associated retail business was no longer commercially viable, in (1) 1997, (2) 1998 and (3) 1999. 
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as possible not to close post offices when it can be avoided. The total numbers of sub-post offices which have closed in the last three financial years are:
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