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David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Minister of State intends to meet with parliamentary colleagues to discuss the Government's response to the Herriot-Watt report on mineshafts. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 22 October 2001]: I am pleased to confirm that a meeting with parliamentary colleagues to discuss the Herriot-Watt University report on mineshafts has been arranged for 15 November.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she has taken to review the implications of (a) US and (b) EU competition policy rulings for Microsoft's operations in the UK, with particular reference to Microsoft's contracts with the Government and their agencies. 
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the cost of purchasing vehicles in (a) the UK and (b) the rest of Europe; what recent measures have been introduced to reduce the cost of cars in the UK; and what plans she has to take further measures. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 30 October 2001]: Both the Competition Commission, in its April 2000 monopoly report, and the European Commission, in its six-monthly surveys of prices, report prices in the UK to be significantly higher than in comparable countries in Europe.
The Competition Commission blamed the high prices of cars in the UK on practices associated with the selective and exclusive distribution system used by manufacturers, and allowed under the EC block exemption on vehicle distribution.
The Department of Trade and Industry submitted a partial Regulatory Impact Assessment on a previous draft of the proposal to the House on 2 October 2000. A copy of this was placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received regarding the future of the Ineos Chlor Chemicals plant in Runcorn; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is towards granting Government assistance to the Ineos Chlor Chemicals group; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: The primary mechanism for giving direct financial assistance to companies in the Assisted Areas is Regional Selective Assistance (RSA). Companies have to meet the criteria applicable to the scheme before an offer can be made.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information she has collated on the proportion of electricity supply met by (a) nuclear power, (b) coal-fired generation, (c) gas-fired generation, (d) oil- fired generation and (e) renewables for (i) each member country of the EU, (ii) the USA, (iii) Canada, (iv) Australia, (v) Russia, (vi) India and (vii) China. 
Ms Hewitt: Available information gives the proportion of gross electricity production in each country met from each fuel source. Some of the electricity produced may be exported while some countries may import electricity. The data are the latest available and relate to 1999.
|EU member states|
(1) Includes hard coal, sub bituminous coal, lignite and peat.
(2) Includes natural gas and manufactured gases.
(3) Includes geothermal, solar, wind, tide, wave, ocean, hydro and combustible renewables.
EU, USA, Canada and Australia"Electricity Information, 2001" published by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The information for Russia, India, China is taken from the IEA's database.
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David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the holding answer of 22 October, ref: 2001/664, when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a substantive reply to his question. 
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what checks are carried out by the Health and Safety Executive prior to the (a) registration and (b) licensing of premises for the storage of fireworks. 
HSE licenses all explosives factories and stores holding more than 7,200 kg of fireworks. Stores holding less than 7,200 kg must either be licensed by the local authority or, depending on the quantity held, registered with it.
Where HSE is the licensing authority it considers a range of issues including the nature of the processes, the layout of the site and the construction of the buildings. In particular it will wish to ensure that adequate separation distances are maintained between explosives buildings and other buildings both on and off site. The draft licence is then submitted to the local authority for its assent. HSE will also make an inspection visit before operations start to ensure that the factory or store complies with the licence conditions.
Where the local authority is granting a licence it will normally check on the construction of the store and whether the distance between it and neighbouring inhabited buildings meets the minimum requirements. Registered premises are also subject to legal requirements. However due to the relatively small quantities involved local authorities would not normally undertake checks prior to registration.
Mr. Hoon: I have no plans to merge the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) and the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO). Both organisations are recently formed and have clear and distinct responsibilities, as set out in the Strategic Defence Review. The role of the DPA is to procure new equipment capability for the armed forces and to deliver this in accordance with agreed
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parameters for time, cost and performance. The DLO has been established to provide joint logistic support to the armed forces for training and operations, only one element of which is equipment support.
Although I am not considering a merger of the two organisations, the Ministry of Defence continues to explore improvements to the way the DPA and DLO work together on the equipment programme. We are also introducing simpler, common processes and systems to improve interoperability. This is being pursued through a joint steering group set up to manage work under a number of approaches, key among which are finance management, human resources management, through-life management, e-business, key supplier management and common tools for integrated project teams.
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