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26 Feb 2001 : Column: 407W
Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 13 February 2001]: I have been particularly encouraged by recent announcements. Ford are investing £240 million at their Bridgend plant, creating over 600 new jobs, Toyota have invested £100 million at their Deeside plant and Wireless Systems International are currently creating over 260 new jobs in Cwmbran. These are major coups for Welsh industry, underlining the high regard in which the Welsh work force and economy are held and a welcome sign that manufacturing investment is back on track after a very difficult period.
Mr. Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the extent of arms trafficking and brokering activities conducted (a) in the UK and (b) by UK nationals abroad; what countries are buying arms by such arrangements; and if the countries involved are on the UN Embargo List. 
Dr. Howells: It is already a legal requirement for persons in the UK and UK nationals to obtain a licence in order to traffic in or broker arms to any country subject to a binding United Nations embargo. However, such licences are granted only in exceptional circumstances (for example, to supply UN peacekeeping forces). The Government do not have powers under existing legislation to control trafficking and brokering in arms to countries not subject to binding UN embargoes, and the Government therefore have no powers to require information to be submitted to them about other arms trafficking and brokering activities.
However, as part of the review of the White Paper on Strategic Export Controls we have examined information available from both public sources and internal Government sources about arms trafficking and brokering activities conducted in the UK or by UK nationals abroad. As a result of the review, the Government have decided to introduce a system of licensing for arms trafficking and brokering. Full details of the Government's proposals on trafficking and brokering will be set out when the draft Export Control Bill is published. The introduction of the new licensing regime will of course result in information
26 Feb 2001 : Column: 408W
on the arms trafficking and activities subject to control being submitted to the Government.
Mr. Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the arms deals that have been brokered by (a) brokers based in the UK and (b) UK nationals to (i) Angola, (ii) Congo Brazaville, (iii) the Democratic Republic of Congo, (iv) Eritrea and (v) the Sudan in each of the years (1) 1997, (2) 1998, (3) 1999 and (4) 2000. 
At present controls on brokering only apply to destinations subject to binding United Nations arms embargoes. A binding UN arms embargo against UNITA in Angola was imposed in 1993 and against Eritrea in 2000. No licences covering brokering have been issued under these embargoes since 1997.
Mr. Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the number of private military and security companies operating from the United Kingdom and providing (a) combat personnel, (b) training personnel and (c) operational support for foreign Governments, militias or irregular armed groups. 
Jean Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Bristol, East constituency, the effects on Bristol of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
Mr. Caborn: Since May 1997 my Department has introduced and developed a variety of initiatives which will help regenerate the more disadvantaged areas of Bristol. Those in my hon. Friend's constituency include: £7.6 million in total from the EC URBAN programme used to fund projects such as Bristol East Traders--an innovative scheme which has brought together under common aims trading communities previously separated by physical and cultural barriers; a £300,000 grant to the Easton Business Centre towards a £741,000 project to provide 19 enterprise workshops on derelict land in the heart of the area; nearly £100,000 to the Black Development Agency for a scheme dedicated to providing a major resource centre giving black-led voluntary organisations the opportunity to co-locate in accessible serviced premises; and under the Estate Action programme over £1 million has recently been used to continue the improvements being made to tower blocks and estates in east Bristol.
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Mr. Caborn: Twenty five companies received and accepted offers of regional selective assistance in the last year. For reasons of commercial confidentiality, details of offers are not routinely published until after the first payment of grant. Information on such offers (of £75,000 or more) can be found in Labour Market Trends. However, two companies have received payment of grant and these are Appleyard Plastics Ltd. and Marine & General Engineering Services and Supplies Ltd.
Mr. Alan Johnson: The Post Office acts as agent for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in issuing motor vehicle licences through 4,000 post offices. In order to safeguard the interests of taxpayers, DVLA has to ensure that the relicensing service is cost effective. Increasing the number of post offices offering the facility increases the costs without increasing the total revenue collected.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what EU approvals were obtained or have been applied for in respect of the launch aid loan for Rolls-Royce to develop the Trent 600 and 900 aero engines. 
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the Government's launch aid criteria for the proposed loan to Rolls-Royce plc for the development of the Trent 600 and 900 aero engines. 
Launch investment is not a loan, but is a repayable investment in a public-private partnership which is expected to secure a real rate of return for the taxpayer as well as securing wider economic benefits for the UK. This arrangement is very similar to a Risk and Revenue Sharing Partnership Partnerships (who co finance and/or produce specific programmes. The Government share the market and technical risks and revenues from engines sold.
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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what rate of return the Government expect to receive on the launch aid loan to Rolls-Royce plc to develop the Trent 900 and 600 aero engines including the (a) applicable royalty rate, (b) interest rate and (c) repayment schedule. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: We expect to receive a substantial real rate of return. However the conditions of the investment are commercially confidential under exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he took to establish whether private finance would be available for development of the Trent 900 and 600 aero engines; and what reasons were given for it not being forthcoming. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: The Government took advice on this issue from independent financial advisers, who confirmed that Launch Investment was necessary for the project to go ahead. Details of their advice are confidential to Government under exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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