|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development on how many occasions between 31 March 2000 and 31 March 2001 (a) departmental and (b) non- departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity. 
Clare Short: Departmental special advisers from my Department undertook two visits abroad in an official capacity between 31 March 2000 and 31 March 2001. There are no non-departmental special advisers working for my Department.
Clare Short: DFID operates a Public Enquiry Point which handles written, telephone and email inquiries from the general public. In the period 2000-01, the Public Enquiry Point dealt with a total of 10,410 inquiries.
Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Solicitor-General when the trials of those accused of serious offences arising from Northumbria police's Operation Rose will be restarted; and if he will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: Operation Rose is a large scale investigation by Northumbria police into allegations of historic physical and sexual abuse made by former residents of local authority care homes in the counties of Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, dating back to the 1960s. Operation Rose began in 1997, and the first prosecution was brought in the same year. The first trial of an Operation Rose case took place at Newcastle Crown court in 1998.
Thereafter, Operation Rose continued, in a number of distinct phases, throughout 1998, 1999 and 2000. The investigation is now almost complete, and there have been a number of prosecutions during this period.
30 Apr 2001 : Column: 449W
So far, 27 defendants have been charged with various offences. Nine separate Crown court trials have taken place within the period from 1 January 2000 to 31 March 2001 and one retrial has taken place.
Of the 27 defendants prosecuted, five have been found guilty, eight acquitted by a jury and two have been found not guilty at the direction of the judge. Indictments in respect of seven of the defendants have been stayed by the trial judge in three separate trials, two defendants have died awaiting trial and three defendants are to be tried later this year at Newcastle Crown court.
Trial dates have been set for June and September 2001, in respect of two of the outstanding cases, and it is anticipated that the trial of the final case will take place before the end of the year, although a firm date has yet to be fixed. No further prosecutions are anticipated at this time.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list funding for scientific research and development in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) from the United States from (i) Government (ii) industry and (iii) charities for the year 1999-2000, in absolute terms, as a percentage of total research and development and as a percentage of gross domestic profit. 
|Sector providing the funding||Total £ million||Percentage of total||Percentage of GDP|
|Higher Education Funding Councils||1,157||6.9||0.13|
|High Education Institutions||143||0.9||0.02|
Data for previous years can be found in Table 6.3, on page 71 of SET Statistics 2000 (Cm 4902) a copy of which is in the Library of the House, and is also available from DTI's website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/ost/setstats.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the funding for scientific research and development from (a) Government, (b) industry and (c) charities for each of the years since 1997, in absolute amounts and as a percentage of total research and development spend. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: The information requested can be found in Table 6.3 on page 71 of SET Statistics 2000 (Cm 4902) a copy of which is in the Library of the House and is also available from DTI's website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/ost/setstats.
30 Apr 2001 : Column: 450W
Mr. Hain: Ultra-low sulphur diesel has been widely available across the UK since the latter part of 1999. Current information is that it is available at the vast majority of retail petrol outlets in the UK.
The latest estimates produced by my Department are that, as of early April, over 80 per cent. of total UK petrol retail sites were converted to supply ultra-low sulphur petrol (ULSP). This means that ULSP accounts for 94 per cent. of total sales of petrol in the UK. All oil companies in the UK are making supplies of ULSP available to petrol stations in the UK. However, the logistical problems of supplying some of the smaller, more remote stations make it difficult to give a date by which all petrol stations will be selling ULSP.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to fast track regulatory changes, in anticipation of establishing OFCOM, in order to speed up broadband access in the UK. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The Government's plans to facilitate roll-out of higher bandwidth and broadband services are set out in "UK online: the broadband future", which was published on 13 February 2001. These plans are not dependent on regulatory changes. Legislation to establish OFCOM, as proposed in "A New Future for Communications" (Cm 5010) published on 12 December 2000, will be brought forward at the earliest opportunity.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what targets his Department has (a) for broadband access by UK households and (b) for the number of companies providing broadband access to UK households. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 27 April 2001]: As the Government announced in the recent White Paper "Opportunities for All in a World of Change", our goal is for the UK to have the most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005. This commitment was backed up by the publication of an action plan, "UK online: the broadband future", which set out how the Government will facilitate the roll-out of higher bandwidth and broadband services across the country.
"UK online: the broadband future" also described the difficulties in assessing how quickly demand for these services will grow at such an early stage of this market. This analysis still holds and we believe that it would be premature to set targets of the sort that the hon. Member describes. DTI in collaboration with the e-Envoy, and aided by the recently established Broadband Stakeholder Group, will continue to monitor and assist the development of this important new technology.
30 Apr 2001 : Column: 451W
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he has taken to ensure that Oftel will be equipped with adequate personnel with the relevant technical expertise to regulate competition in the broadband market. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The staffing of Oftel is a matter for the Director General. Total resources for Oftel have been increased by 18 per cent. for 2001-02 compared with 2000-01. I and my colleagues meet the Director General from time to time to discuss a range of issues including the development of the broadband market.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the reasons given by the Competition Commission not to make recommendations when it had identified adverse effects associated with the sale of products below cost. 
Dr. Howells: The Competition Commission, in their report on supermarkets, made an adverse finding in relation to persistent selling below cost of some frequently purchased items, but recommended that no action be taken. In the press notice he issued when the report was published (10 October 2000), my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry outlined the reasons for this conclusion--essentially, the possible remedies would themselves have adverse effects and the intervention and monitoring required would be disproportionate to the problem.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|