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Small Businesses

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to help people aged 50 years and over who are not working to set up their own businesses; and if he will make a statement. [128739]

Ms Hewitt: The Small Business Service, launched in April this year, will provide information, advice, and access to experts on all aspects of running a business, including planning, finance, management, exporting, quality, employment issues, training and development, innovation, design, regulation, information and communication technology and e-commerce.

The SBS will also run national services to help small firms, including:

All these services will be available via the "SBS Gateway", a comprehensive network of business support organisations, initiatives and information from the public, private and voluntary sectors. The Gateway will make extensive use of internet and call-centre technology.

These services are available to anyone wishing to setup or run their own business, irrespective of age.

The SBS is also working with PRIME (The Prince's Initiative for Mature Entrepreneurs) with a view to supporting that organisation's plans to enhance access to finance for the over-50s in deprived areas seeking to start in business.

Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans his Department has to implement the recommendations made in the Better Regulation Task Force's recent report on helping small businesses cope with regulation, in particular the simplification of rules; and if he will make a statement. [129019]

Ms Hewitt: The Government response to the Better Regulation Task Force's report was published on 26 June 2000; copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what guidance his Department gives to entrepreneurs in socially excluded areas who wish to start up and develop small businesses as to how they can access the new Phoenix Fund. [129018]

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Ms Hewitt: The Phoenix Fund does not support individual enterprises directly, but instead promotes the development of business support among disadvantaged groups or neighbourhoods. A mentoring scheme is already being piloted through some 45 local enterprise agencies and other local partnerships. The Small Business Service is seeking bids for support from community finance initiatives, and I shall shortly be issuing bidding guidance for assistance for novel forms of business support, including incubators.


Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will investigate the best practical means available for determining the nature and value of goods exported from the United Kingdom to member states of the (a) European Union and (b) European Economic Area, which are re-exported to third nations; and if he will make a statement concerning the available information and the means used to collect it, concerning such exports. [128852]

Mr. Caborn: The collection and provision of statistical information is kept under regular review. However, there are no immediate plans to collect information on goods exported from the United Kingdom to the European Union or Economic Area and subsequently re-exported to third countries.

HM Customs and Excise are the Department responsible for collecting and recording statistics on the movement of goods with other countries. Information on trade in goods with the other member states of the European Union is collected through the Intrastat system. Information on trade with third countries is collated from customs declarations submitted by importers and exporters of goods. UK export statistics are produced by Customs on the basis of declared final country of destination. Goods whose destinations are declared as non-European but which transit other member states after clearing UK customs are recorded as third country exports. Some trade in goods recorded as exports to EC destinations may subsequently be shipped to other countries including non-EC destinations--for instance, as part of further commercial transactions. The Intrastat system does not allow the identification of these movements.

Shipbuilding Forum

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the date, venue and agenda of the next meeting of the Shipbuilding Forum. [128717]

Mr. Alan Johnson: The next Shipbuilding Forum meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 20 September at 3 pm, at the DTI Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1. The agenda has not yet been agreed.

Coalfield Regeneration

Ms Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will break down the £1 billion provided to assist regeneration in former and existing coalfield communities by principal heads of expenditure. [123127]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 24 May 2000]: I have been asked to reply.

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A break down of this investment is set out in "Making the Difference--a New Start for England's Coalfield Communities; The Government's Response to the Coalfield Task Force Report". Copies of this document have been placed in the Libraries of the House.


Legal Aid

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how much was paid from the Legal Aid Fund to (a) David Cocks and (b) Johnathan Goldberg in (i) 1996-97, (ii) 1997-98, (iii) 1998-99 and (iv) 1999-2000. [129119]

Mr. Lock: I am not able to provide the details requested within the time available, I will therefore write to my hon. Friend shortly. A copy of my reply will be placed in the Library of the House.


Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions have taken place with parties other than Dome Europe and Legacy plc and their affiliates concerning the future use of the Dome since the final shortlist was announced. [127821]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 26 June 2000]: Since the final shortlist announcement the competition team has not had any discussions about the future use of the Dome site with any parties interested in purchasing it other than the two shortlisted bidders. While the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the competition team have received a small number of new expressions of interest, it has been made clear that no new bids can be accepted in the competition process at this advanced stage.

TV (Deaf and Hard of Hearing People)

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action he is taking to promote equal access to (a) digital and (b) cable and satellite TV for deaf and hard of hearing people. [128271]

Janet Anderson: We are about to undertake a review of the targets set out in the Broadcasting Act 1996 and the Broadcasting (Sign Language) Order 1996 of 50 per cent. for subtitling and 5 per cent. for the signing of digital terrestrial programme services by the 10th anniversary of the start of the service. We are continuing to encourage cable and satellite broadcasters to increase the provision of subtitling and signing on their services. We will be considering the needs of viewers with sensory impairments as part of our consideration of the future regulation of broadcasting in the forthcoming White Paper on communications.

PFI Contracts

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list the PFI contracts entered into by his Department, indicating (a) their dates of commencement, (b) their value, (c) if they have been

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subject to refinancing and (d) if his Department has a claw-back entitlement to share in savings arising from refinancing. [129045]

Mr. Chris Smith: My Department has itself not entered into any PFI contracts. The Royal Parks Agency, which is an Executive Agency, has entered into PFI contracts. I will write to my right hon. Friend with details, as soon as they are available, placing copies of my letter in the Library of the House.


Mr. Roger Sylvester

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Solicitor-General what decisions have been taken by the Crown Prosecution Service in the case of Mr. Roger Sylvester; and if he will make a statement. [128629]

The Solicitor-General: The circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Sylvester have been investigated by the Essex police and reports submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service. The evidence is being carefully considered by the Crown Prosecution Service in accordance with the tests set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. A decision on whether or not any criminal charges should be brought in connection with the death of Mr. Sylvester will be taken as soon as possible after the evidence has been fully reviewed. It is hoped that a decision can be reached soon.

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