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Departmental Policies (Chichester)

Mr. Martyn Jones: 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 Chichester constituency, the effects on Chichester of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [155278]

Mr. Caborn: The Chichester constituency has benefited from a range of initiatives that has been implemented since May 1997.

DTI funding for Business Link


(13) Includes £152,361 British Trade International funding

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Other initiatives include:

Miner's Compensation

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many ex-miner claims for compensation for Vibration White Finger had been registered (a) by 30 October 2000 and (b) up to the latest date for which figures are available. [155640]

Mr. Hain: At 29 October 2000, IRISC had registered 114,000 claims in respect of Vibration White Finger, VWF. To date, the number of claims initiated is 118,000. There was a cut-off date for claims on 30 September 2000. The Department reserves its position regarding limitation for claims received after this date.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many meetings with hon. Members he has had to discuss the issue of miners' compensation since 15 January. [155639]

Mr. Hain: As Minister for Energy responsible for miners' compensation, I have had eight formal meetings with hon. Members on this issue since 15 January. I have also had a number of informal meetings. I have met hon. Members during my visits to all the coalfield regions of Britain, including several to South Wales and one to North Wales. I attach great importance to this issue, and will continue to meet hon. Members and keep them informed on a regular basis.

Arms Exports

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will publish a draft Bill on arms exports; and if he will make a statement. [154103]

Dr. Howells: The Government are committed to publishing a draft Export Control Bill during this Session of Parliament and intend to publish the Bill soon. Publication of the Bill in draft will give all interested parties an opportunity to comment on the Government's detailed proposals for new export control legislation.

Multinational Enterprises

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to promote and implement the revised OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises in the United Kingdom. [156080]

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Mr. Caborn: The UK Government are committed to promoting both the use of the Guidelines and their effective implementation. Primary responsibility for promoting and implementing the Guidelines in the UK rests with the UK National Contact Point, based within the Department of Trade and Industry, but working in liaison with other Government Departments and interested bodies.

The UK NCP has undertaken a number of activities to promote the Guidelines including the launching today of a booklet explaining its role and the Guidelines more generally. This is being distributed to relevant organisations and is available free of charge from DTI Publications. Copies have also been placed in the Libraries of the House.

In addition, a website has been established, The NCP has already held meetings with UK business, trade unions, and other non-governmental organisations and will continue to do so.

Future activities include the production of a publicly available Annual Report covering the activities of the UK NCP; using Government contact with business at all levels to promote the Guidelines and the UK Government's support for them; and contributing to OECD efforts to raise awareness in non-adhering countries.

This is in addition to its main task of responding to any inquiries or concerns about the activities of Multinational Enterprises raised with the NCP.

Mirror Group Newspapers

Mrs. Golding: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the inspectors investigating the affairs of Mirror Group Newspapers plc completed their report; and when it will be published. [156082]

Dr. Howells: The inspectors have now completed their report. In view of the fact that while in opposition the Secretary of State questioned whether Kevin and Ian Maxwell should receive legal aid, he has been advised by officials, who consulted independent counsel, that he should stand aside from decisions flowing from the submission of the report. The Secretary of State has accepted this advice, has not seen a copy of the report and has delegated decisions on the report to me.

I have considered this matter carefully and decided that publication would be in the public interest.

I therefore intend to publish the report before the end of March 2001.

Employment Conditions (Contracted-out Staff)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to reduce disparities between staff in contracted-out public services who are transferred on TUPE terms and other employees of the contractor. [156083]

Mr. Byers: The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations are designed to preserve the continuity of employment and protect the rights of those affected by business transfers. All employees have already benefited from the framework of basic minimum standards introduced by this Government. We are

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nevertheless examining whether unfair disparities between different groups of workers doing the same work for the same employer may arise where one group retains rights as a result of a TUPE transfer following contracting-out and others are then employed under different terms and conditions of employment. This will be considered in parallel with our wide-ranging review of the TUPE Regulations, on which we intend to consult in the summer.

Byker Plant

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much public subsidy has been provided each year since 1979 to the Byker plant. [155382]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 23 March 2001]: The Byker plant received support from the Fossil Fuel Levy under NFFO-1 arrangements between 1992 and 1998. No public support has since been provided.

Information on the amount of support provided to individual projects under NFFO arrangements is commercially confidential to the contracting parties.


Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how developers of renewable energy and technology businesses will have access to the further money he referred to on 6 March 2001, Official Report, column 465. [155550]

Mr. Hain: The allocation between technologies of the further money for renewable energy announced by the Prime Minister on 6 March is subject to the recommendations of the Performance and Innovation Unit who will be reporting later in the year.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department takes to promote renewable energy. [155773]

Mr. Hain: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend, the Members for Preseli Pembrokeshire (Mrs. Lawrence) and for South Swindon (Ms Drown) on 22 March 2001, Official Report, columns 463-65.

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