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19. Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the performance of manufacturing industry in the London region; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caborn: The Office for National Statistics figures for 1997, which are the latest figures available, show that the performance of manufacturing industry in London, on a gross value added per employee basis, is 112.4 per cent. of the UK average. Labour productivity is the second highest of the English regions.
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Mr. Caborn: Manufacturing industry makes a vital contribution to the economy. We are helping manufacturing companies to be competitive by creating the right economic climate of stability, low inflation, and sound public finances and through policies which help firms to innovate, develop the skills of their work-force and grow.
Mr. Caborn: The Office for National Statistics figures for 1997, the latest that are available, show the performance of manufacturing industry in the west midlands, on a gross value added per employee basis, is 91.5 per cent. of the UK average.
Dr. Howells: We have already implemented the majority of our proposals from the consumer White Paper, and are currently taking forward others, including stop now orders and legislation for the full pint of beer.
22. Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the progress being made on payments under the coal industry health compensation settlement. 
Mrs. Liddell: The Department continues to pay out around £1 million per day in compensation, and has paid out over £310 million to former miners and their families with claims for respiratory and vibration-related diseases.
Mrs. Liddell: As at the end of December the Department had made final settlements to over 6,500 claimants for respiratory diseases--5,860 from former miners and 640 from widows and estates. In addition, the Department had made final settlements to over 19,240 claimants for vibration-related diseases--18,400 from former miners and 840 from widows and estates. Additionally, the Department had made interim payments to a further 15,800 former miners, and 8,600 to their families for claims in respect of respiratory diseases, and a further 21,300 interim payments to claimants for vibration-related diseases.
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38. Mr. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will provide additional resources to assist with the processing of health compensation claims from former miners in the Leicestershire and South Derbyshire coalfields. 
Mrs. Liddell: Small generators form an integral part of the Government's energy policy and are set to make an increasingly important contribution to the provision of secure, diverse, competitive and sustainable energy supplies.
The Government are committed to a target of at least 10,000 MWe of installed CHP capacity by 2010 and have established a range of measures to support this target. Renewable sources of energy are an essential part of the Government's climate change programme. They are expected to provide 5 per cent. of our electricity supplies by 2003 and, subject to the cost to consumers being acceptable, 10 per cent. by 2010.
28. Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has had regarding the new Employment Agency regulations; and when he expects them to come into force. [R] 
Mr. Byers: I have received representations both for and against the proposals issued in May 1999 and March 2000. Final proposals will be published shortly. Subject to parliamentary approval, I expect the revised regulations to come into force this summer.
Mr. Byers: Over the last decade, caseload rose sharply in 1991-92 to nearly 60,000 applications and continued to rise, reaching a peak of 110,000 in 1995-96. In 1999-2000 just below 104,000 applications were made.
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Mr. Caborn: The Department has a wide range of measures designed to help prospective entrepreneurs regardless of their social background, details of which can be found on the Small Business Service website (www.businessadviceonline.org). However, some social groups are under-represented, and we have taken additional steps to encourage these, which include: Giving the Small Business Service a clear remit to tackle social exclusion. In particular the SBS has established a Social Inclusion Unit and is taking forward those recommendations relating to its work made by the Social Exclusion Unit's Policy Action Team on enterprise in its report of November 1999.
Utilising the Phoenix Fund which the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced in November 1999. The Fund, the initial budget for which of £30 million over three years was trebled in Budget 2000, is designed to encourage the provision of high quality business support for entrepreneurs from disadvantaged or other under represented groups. Activities currently supported include community finance initiatives, business mentors and other innovative forms of business support.
In conjunction with HM Treasury and the Inland Revenue, responding to the recommendations of the Social Investment Taskforce on ways of introducing new sources of private and institutional investment into disadvantaged communities.
Mr. Caborn: The Government have an ambitious goal that, by 2005, the UK can become the best place in the world to start and grow a business. We will continue to ensure that the United Kingdom's small firms can compete effectively and meet the challenges of the global economy. We recently published a document entitled "Think Small First" which sets out the Government's priorities for promoting an entrepreneurial society in which every small business and individual can achieve their full potential. The document proposes a number of objectives and specific measures to enable SMEs to meet the potential challenges of the next five years. It also proposes a framework for all Government Department's interactions with small businesses. Copies of the document have been placed in the House Libraries.
In addition, the Government have created the Small Business Service (SBS) to bring together all its support for small businesses under one umbrella. The SBS is working with the regional development agencies to ensure a clear understanding of economic priorities and is committed to developing the Business Link network as the natural choice of smaller businesses seeking advice and support. The network will be strongly customer focused and will have an enlarged remit to cover pre-starts, start-up and micro businesses together with established and growth potential businesses.
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