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Information on assistance given to farmers by Business Links is being collected this year as a result of the recent introduction of the Farm Business Advice Service. This is one of the measures introduced this year to help farming and horticultural industries within the Government's Action Plan for Farming announced this year on 30 March.
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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies were established in each of the last three years whose directors have employment tribunal compensation awards against them in respect of their actions as directors of previously liquidated companies. 
Dr. Howells: It is not possible to provide an answer to this question without incurring disproportionate cost. There is no requirement for this information to be submitted on the part of directors of newly incorporated companies under the Companies Acts; and Companies House has no ready way of correlating information on directors with such information as might be abstracted from employment tribunal records about the defined sub-set of former directors.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cases have been recorded of companies failing to make payments awarded by employment tribunals due to the company having been liquidated, in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: Enforcement of Employment Tribunal awards is generally a matter for the county courts, though where an employer is insolvent, payment of a limited range of awards may be made from the National Insurance Fund.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the number of employers in breach of regulations relating to the national minimum wage during 1999-2000. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: The independent Low Pay Commission monitored the impact of the national minimum wage in the Second Report published earlier this year. They reported that the early indications were that the vast majority of businesses are meeting their obligations to pay the national minimum wage.
Mr. Alan Johnson: No such estimate has been made. However, proposals for the provision of Universal Banking services through the post office network, which the Post Office and the banks are currently developing, will substantially increase the volume of banking activity at post offices and will restore banking services to many areas where bank branches have closed.
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to review the inspection mechanism under which licences are granted in the UK continental shelf for oil and gas exploration, where no development has taken place. 
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One of the results of the most recent fallow initiative, which was concluded in July, is that 18 previously fallow discoveries are to be developed. In addition, PILOT's Undeveloped Discoveries Workgroup has identified six areas on the UK Continental Shelf where the licensees involved are being urged to find innovative ways of working together, with the hope that at least three additional projects will have plans for development by mid-2001.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in achieving the statement of business principles as set out in the Department's mission status review; and whether he expects the deadline to be met. 
Mr. Caborn: ECGD has posted a draft statement of Business Principles on its website www.ecgd.gov.uk and sought comments from interested parties as part of the consultation process. ECGD is on schedule to publish its statement of Business Principles by the end of this year.
Mr. Caborn: I have not held direct discussion with my EU counterparts on the reform of export credit agencies. However I attach great importance to the various initiatives ECGD is actively pursuing in the international forum at the OECD aimed at improving standards and disciplines applied by export credit agencies in project impact assessments, and in the areas of the environment, bribery and productive expenditure.
These initiatives are in line with the outcome of the recent Review of ECGD's Mission and Status announced in Parliament by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 25 July, 2000 Official Report, columns 520-21.
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Mr. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance he will issue to the Mayor of London on the exercise of his development control powers in relation to waste management developments with a capacity of more than 50,000 tonnes per annum; and if he will publish such guidance. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 23 October 2000]: GOL Circular 1/2000 "Strategic Planning in London" published in June 2000, provides advice and guidance for the Mayor and London Boroughs on their responsibilities for strategic planning. The circular includes guidance on the relationship between the Borough's Unitary Development Plans, the Mayor's spatial development strategy and municipal waste management strategy, and the Mayor's role in decisions on planning applications. The circular also requires that the spatial development strategy should take account of Planning Policy Guidance Note 10--Planning and Waste Management, which provides advice on providing new waste management facilities consistent with sustainable development.
Furthermore, in preparing the Municipal Waste Management Strategy the Mayor shall have regard to the National Waste Strategy (Waste Strategy 2000, CM 4693). We therefore have no plans to offer the Mayor further guidance on the exercise of his development control powers in relation to waste management facilities.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what procedures exist in his Department for a civil servant to report an action which (a) is illegal, improper or unethical, (b) is in breach of constitutional convention or a professional code, (c) may involve possible maladministration and (d) is otherwise inconsistent with the Civil Service Code. 
Mr. Hill: Civil servants working in DETR have, at any time, the statutory right to express concerns under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. Moreover, DETR employees also have a contractual obligation to report alleged breaches of the Civil Service Code in accordance with the procedures set out in the DETR Staff Handbook. The procedures require individuals, in the first instance, to approach a senior line manager and to ensure that evidence of criminal or unlawful activities by others are reported to the appropriate authorities. If the individual considers this to be inappropriate or they wish to take the
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matter further, they have the right to make a formal report to the Director of Human Resources, or other designated senior officer. It will always be assumed that the individual has made the report in good faith. A formal response will advise the individual that they have further rights to submit a written appeal to the Permanent Secretary and a further appeal to the Civil Service Commissioners.
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