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Walsall (Funding)

Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding has been made available to the Borough of Walsall by his Department since June 1997. [160996]

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Mr. Caborn: Since June 1997, up to the present date, the following offers of assistance have been made to businesses in the local authority district of Walsall.

36 offers of Regional Selective Assistance totalling £2,474,000 have been made. These offers have been made towards projects with total capital investment of £17,570,360 which will create 561 jobs.

Nine offers of Enterprise Grant have been made since the scheme was launched in March 2000. These offers involve grant of £269,000 and fixed capital investment of £2,087,070.

Eight offers were made under the SMART (innovation) scheme. The total amount of assistance offered was £345,554, towards company projects with total investment of £683,165.

Businesses have also been able to benefit from assistance from the Training and Enterprise Council, Business Link and a range of other DTI schemes to encourage innovation and best practice, including TCS (formerly Teaching Company Scheme).

Social Inclusion

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the funding programmes for social inclusion for which his Department is responsible that can be accessed by (a) national sports bodies and (b) local clubs and communities. [161006]

Mr. Caborn: My right hon. Friend the Member for Tyneside, North (Mr. Byers) is the current Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

All types of organisation can make bids to the £96 million Phoenix Fund, which promotes the provision of good quality business support for entrepreneurs from disadvantaged groups or neighbourhoods. However the fund does not directly support individual enterprises.

Associated Newspapers

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost to public funds was of his recent legal action against Associated Newspapers, with special reference to the costs associated with work done by officials. [160103]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 2 May 2001]: No bill for costs has yet been received.

Export Licences

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) average and (b) maximum length of time taken to process export licences was in 2000. [158534]

Mr. Byers: The Government aim to provide a substantive response to Standard Individual Export Licence (SIEL) applications within 20 working days, except in special circumstances. The targets are set out in a Service and Performance Code published by the Export Control Organisation (ECO), and information on performance against these targets is set out in the Government's annual reports on Strategic Export Controls. In 2000, the Government processed 57 per cent. of SIEL applications within 20 working days. Within the

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DTI, the ECO improved the proportion of SIEL applications on which it carried out its processing tasks within 10 working days to 79 per cent. in 2000, compared to 75 per cent. the previous year.

The average lengths of time to process the SIEL applications completed in 2000 were:

These figures do not take account of periods during which applications were referred back to exporters for further information. These referrals occur, for example, when the nature or end-use of the goods requires further clarification.

The longest time taken to process a SIEL finalised in 2000 was 222 working days. While this was unacceptably high, there will always be a significant proportion of cases that take longer than the 20 working day target, especially in view of the necessary consultation with other Departments and if circumstances in the intended destination are uncertain or if the application is particularly complex.

The Government recognise the problems that delays in the processing of licence applications can entail. All Departments involved in the process are committed to fulfilling their roles effectively and efficiently. The ECO is pursuing a number of initiatives to improve the quality of decision taking and further reduce processing times, including improving the way we work with other Departments, enhanced progress chasing particularly for such longstanding casework and a general commitment to continuous improvement.

It would entail disproportionate cost to establish the relevant figures for Open Individual Export Licence (OIEL) applications.

Kellogg Factory, Stretford

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will announce his decision on the Kellogg of Great Britain Company Ltd.'s application to build a combined heat and power station at the Kellogg factory, Stretford, Greater Manchester. [161072]

Mr. Hain: I have today given consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 to the Kellogg Company of Great Britain Limited and clearance under section 14(1) of the Energy Act 1976 to build a 65 megawatt gas-fired combined heat and power station at the Kellogg factory, Stretford, Greater Manchester. Planning permission for the station was granted subject to 36 conditions agreed with Trafford metropolitan borough council.

Copies of the decision letters are being placed in the Library of the House.

Pressure Selling

Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints of undue pressure selling by companies have been made by (a) consumers and (b) trading standards officers in (i) Teesside, (ii) Stockton, South and (iii) nationally in the last year; and if he will list the companies against whom complaints have been made. [160875]

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Dr. Howells: I am afraid the information is not held centrally and cannot be obtained easily in the time available before the dissolution of Parliament.

LPG Companies

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will ask for the pricing policies of LPG companies to be investigated by the competition authorities; [160910]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and I have made no representations to LPG companies about their pricing policies or systems. Under UK competition legislation, it is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading to monitor markets and investigate allegations of anti-competitive behaviour. It is for the Director General to decide whether action under the competition legislation is appropriate. The Director General can act if pricing levels appear to be the result of anti-competitive practices, but he has no powers to act in relation to prices as such. Any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour should be sent to the Director General.

Environmentally Friendly Fuels

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action the Government have taken to provide incentives for research and investment into alternative environmentally friendly fuels. [160911]

Mr. Hain: The proposed Renewables Obligation will require all licensed electricity suppliers to supply a specified proportion of their electricity from renewable sources. Based on current proposals, the Obligation will provide up to £600 million by 2010 as an incentive to the renewable energy industry.

Exemption of renewable energy from the Climate Change Levy is expected to be worth about £160 million per year by 2010.

Continuing support for renewables through the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO) arrangements, which we propose to make more flexible, could rise to around £150 million per year.

The Government have announced further funding for renewables research, development and deployment in excess of £250 million over the next three years. This includes £89 million for capital grants for offshore wind, energy crops and biomass power generation, £55.5 million for an expanded DTI R&D programme, £12 million from MAFF for their energy crops planting scheme and an initial £10 million as the first phase of a market stimulation programme for solar photovoltaic roofs. It also includes £100 million to be allocated later in the year in the light of recommendations of the Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit.

With regard to incentives for alternative transport fuels, the Powershift Programme, which is sponsored by DETR, provides grants towards the additional costs of buying gas and electric vehicles. The Government have also

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introduced a range of fiscal incentives to encourage the wider use of cleaner fuels including lower levels of fuel duty on road gas fuels.

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