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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evidence underlay the statement in his Department's recent memorandum to the Trade and Industry Committee concerning the total amount of inward investment in the UK planned by Japanese automotive companies. 
Ms Hewitt: The total amount of inward investment in the UK referred to in the memorandum represents commitments made by Japanese automotive companies in manufacturing facilities in the UK, some of which has yet to be spent.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evidence underlay the statement in his Department's recent memorandum to the Trade and Industry Committee on the competitive environment for vehicle manufacturing in the UK. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: The recent problems at BMW and Ford are not indicative of the general state of the UK vehicle manufacturing industry. The evidence points to a robust UK vehicle manufacturing industry: in 1999 car exports at 1.1 million were the highest ever; UK sales were the 4th highest on record and UK car production at its highest level since 1972 1 .
Significant new investment continues, with c£2.0 billion worth of capital expenditure and c8,000 new jobs announced since 1997. This year alone (2000) GM/ Vauxhall has announced a £189 million investment plan for its three UK plants and Honda £130 million for the modernisation of its manufacturing line at Swindon.
We consider that this demonstrates that a positive environment exists in the UK in which to do business.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 29 November 1999, Official Report, column 22W, to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett) how many post offices there are in each constituency; and how many of them are operating unprofitably in each constituency. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: I understand from the Post Office that the information given in the answer to the hon. Member for Erdington on 29 November 1999, Official Report, column 22W, remains the most recent data available on the number of post offices in each parliamentary constituency.
I would also refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 5 July 2000, Official Report, column 210W.
11 Jul 2000 : Column: 473W
Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the MOX fuel supplied to Japan by BNFL in respect of which data had been falsified. 
Mrs. Liddell: I am pleased that agreement on a resolution to this problem has today been reached. BNFL has agreed that it should bring back to the UK the fuel at Takahama in Japan. BNFL's Japanese customer, Kansai Electric Power Company, has today announced that it has lifted the moratorium that it imposed on BNFL on 17 January this year on new reprocessing and MOX business with Japan.
The Government have long recognised that finding a solution to this problem, while primarily a matter between the two companies, gave rise to various inter-government issues, including on implementation of the return of fuel. These considerations are set out in an agreement that the Government have today signed with the Government of Japan. There are two aspects to this inter-governmental agreement, an understanding based on our discussions with the Government of Japan, and a letter from my Department to Kansai Electric Power Company. Both documents are being placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what operational targets he has set for the Small Business Service for 2000-01. 
Ms Hewitt: The Small Business Service (SBS) was established on 1 April. The Framework Document, which sets out the relationship between the SBS and the Department of Trade and Industry, has already been placed in the Library of the House.
I have agreed with David Irwin, the Chief Executive, that the mission of the SBS should be to build an enterprise society in which all small businesses thrive and achieve their potential.
To promote world class business support to enhance the performance of small firms with growth potential;
To help promote enterprise across society and particularly in under-represented groups and disadvantaged communities; and
To achieve the highest standards of service delivery and provide value for money.
11 Jul 2000 : Column: 474W
Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will introduce a small business employers' charter stipulating the rights of employers. 
Ms Hewitt: The Government have no plans to introduce an employers' charter as described.
The European Charter for Small Enterprises, agreed last month at the Feira Council, set out a number of commitments to help small businesses. Areas for action, both at the European and member state level, include improving access to finance, enhancing business support, better regulation and strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship. These actions are designed to ensure that small businesses thrive in the European Union and that it becomes the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world.
Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 8 June 2000, Official Report, column 298W, on petroleum prices, what recent discussions he has had with the petroleum industry on the supply of petroleum to the United Kingdom market; what assessment he has made of the statement made by OPEC in Vienna on 21 June that the high level of crude oil prices was in part a consequence of market speculation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Liddell: Officials in my Department meet regularly with Oil Industry representatives. A number of factors are influencing crude oil and product prices at the current time. Market speculation is always one of these.
Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 8 June 2000, Official Report, column 298W, on petroleum prices in the United Kingdom, what recent discussions he has had with OPEC regarding increases in production. 
Mrs. Liddell: The Government are not a member of OPEC and have no direct contact with it. Through membership of the International Energy Agency we do, however, engage in and encourage dialogue between groups of oil consuming and oil producing countries on matters of common interest.
Mr. Pollard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 8 June 2000, Official Report, column 298W, on petroleum prices, what assessment he has made of when the OPEC decision of 21 June, to increase production to above pre-March 1999 levels with effect from 1 July, will be reflected in petroleum prices in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
11 Jul 2000 : Column: 475W
Mrs. Liddell: Petrol prices, which were rising for a variety of reasons not limited to the price of crude oil, are expected to ease soon. The OPEC decision of 21 June has not yet had an impact on crude oil prices and the timing of any reduction remains unclear.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the population of each county in Wales has access to the internet. 
Ms Hewitt: Figures are not available for individual counties in Wales. However, figures from the Family Expenditure Survey show that 15 per cent. of households in Wales could access the internet from a home computer, averaged over the financial year 1999-2000, up from 7 per cent. in the previous year.
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