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Financial Assistance (Chorley)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) financial investment and (b) other assistance the North-West regional development agency has put into Chorley in each of the last three years. [13747]

Alan Johnson: The North-West Development Agency advise that the total financial investment and assistance in Chorley since 1998–99 has been £175,591 broken down as follows:

Most of this investment has been through inherited Derelict Land Grant projects. The biggest sum invested in any single project during this period has been £56,000 in 1999–2000 for studies in relation to the Royal Ordnance Site. Of the £18,013 invested in 2000–01, £12,594 was invested in the New Farming Horizons programme.

Unsolicited E-mail

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the Government's position on the Telecoms Data Protection Directive (97/66/EC) in relation to unsolicited e-mail. [12380]

Mr. Alexander: There is on-going debate over the application of the current telecoms data protection directive (97/66/EC) to e-mail, and the Government welcome the European Commission's proposal to clarify the position under the new communications data protection directive which will replace it. The UK Government have argued that member states should be allowed to choose between opt-in and opt-out controls. This would allow an assessment of the situation in the light of working experience of both approaches.

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Ministerial Visit (China)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement about the recent visit to China of the hon. Member for Cunninghame, North (Mr. Wilson). [10119]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 30 October 2001]: My recent visit to China focused on promoting the UK aerospace and energy industries.

On aerospace, my agenda was to develop good bilateral relations with the Chinese aviation authorities and airlines—particularly in respect of commending the possible purchase of fifty Airbus narrow-body aircraft by China; promoting UK collaboration on developing a domestic Chinese regional jet and encouraging Chinese airlines to firm up outstanding options on the Airbus A340 large aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce engines. (As you will know, Airbus wings are made in the UK, as are Rolls-Royce engines).

As elsewhere, we have found that much of the aerospace business we have secured with China in the past has been dependent upon good, long-standing relations at Government level and with the airline and aerospace manufacturing industry.

China is the world's fastest growing aviation market and looks set to continue to grow rapidly over the next 20 years based on the anticipated expansion of the Chinese domestic economy. This will provide many new opportunities for the UK aerospace industry to benefit from both selling to China and entering into profitable industrial collaboration arrangements with the Chinese aerospace industry.

Current prospects in China remain buoyant, despite the aviation downturn in the West. Airbus has just announced that it is expected to deliver eight A318 aircraft to Air China by 2004 and no Chinese airline customers have postponed Airbus aircraft orders since Sept 11.

The opening up of China's vast western regions also offers enormous opportunities for UK companies to benefit in helping China develop its airport and energy infrastructure. During my visit I also encouraged the Chinese authorities to expand their use of UK companies in the development and upgrading of China's airports, building on the recent success by Ove Arup in winning the contract to design the new terminal building at Chongqing.

On the energy side, China's growing market for gas also offers good opportunities for UK companies. The Chinese Government have decided to develop a pipeline from the western region to the industrialised east. A number of major liquified natural gas (LNG) projects are also under way.

I addressed the Beijing Energy Forum, co-chaired by senior officials of the DTI and their Chinese counterparts. The establishment of the Forum was an important development, especially now that natural gas has been ear-marked as a major source of energy for China.

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A newly established China-Britain Natural Gas Working Group will also strengthen links and help to identify opportunities in this area. The Working Group will facilitate the sharing of UK experience and help ensure that the development is both safe and environmentally acceptable. There are four key areas of collaboration—policy creation, gas supply, infrastructure and the utilisation of natural gas in China. The promotion of joint ventures to fill identified capability gaps in China will enable more activity between Chinese and UK businesses.

In Shanghai I launched a new brochure prepared by the British Consulate-General in Shanghai which catalogues current local opportunities for UK companies. The rate of growth in this dynamic region is awesome and the brochure outlines a number of major projects in which British companies could become involved. From my discussions with the Government and Shanghai city authorities it is clear that a higher level of British involvement would be welcomed. One of the major opportunities is presented by BP's involvement in the biggest-ever joint venture in China to build a petrochemicals complex at Caojing, on the outskirts of Shanghai. I held discussions with BP during my visit and asked them to encourage as much British involvement as possible in the supply chain.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what quantity of coal was consumed in the UK in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [12755]

Mr. Wilson: The information requested is as follows:

Total inland coal consumption in the UK
Million tonnes


Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2001 Table 2.11

State Aid

Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will set out by (a) colliery and (b) company the amount of state aid made available in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001. [13513]

Mr. Wilson: The tables detail the payments made under the UK Coal Operating Aid Scheme, by colliery and by company, as at 8 November 2001. Payments have been made in respect of two tranches: Tranche 1 (17 April 2000 to 31 December 2000) and Tranche 2 (1 January 2001 to 31 December 2001). Payment dates refer to the tranche to which the payments relate rather than the date on which they were paid.

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State aid by colliery for production in 2000 and 2001—as at 8 November 2001

Aberpergwm Colliery01,031,000
Betws Colliery870,2001,966,000
Blaentillery No. 2112,800217,000
Blenkinsopp Colliery470,5001,168,000
East Pit Extension2,977,5000
Eckington Colliery88,200286,000
Harworth Colliery14,722,1000
Hatfield Colliery3,931,9003,807,000
Hay Royds Colliery78,900264,000
H. J. Banks central mines661,1000
H. J. Banks north-east mines703,2000
Longannet Mine19,652,80021,525,000
Maltby Colliery13,559,7000
Rossington Colliery3,207,2000
Selby Complex23,186,50020,324,500
Tower Colliery3,317,2000

State aid by company for production in 2000 and 2001—as at 8 November 2001

Anthracite Mining Limited01,031,000
Betws Anthracite Limited870,2001,966,000
Blenkinsopp Colliery Ltd.470,5001,168,000
Celtic Energy Limited2,977,5000
Coalpower Ltd.0951,750
Ffynonau Duon Mines Ltd.112,800217,000
H. J. Banks & Co. Ltd.1,364,3000
Hatfield Coal Company Ltd.3,931,9002,855,250
J. Flack & Sons Ltd.78,900264,000
Mining (Scotland) Ltd.19,652,80021,525,000
Moorside Mining Co Ltd.88,200286,000
Tower Colliery Ltd.3,317,2000
UK Coal Plc54,675,50020,324,500

Road Fund Licences (Post Office Sales)

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many new contracts for the sale of road fund licences were made with sub-post offices in the last 12 months. [14025]

Mr. Alexander: I have been informed by Post Office Ltd. that when an office selling motor vehicle licences closes, this work is transferred to an alternative office, taking into account both customer demand and the geographical spread of the population. Post Office Ltd. keeps service availability under constant review to ensure that it is best meeting customer demand throughout the 4,000 post offices which offer motor vehicle licences.

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sub-post offices which sold road fund licences closed in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [14024]

Mr. Alexander: I have been advised by Post Office Ltd. that closure figures of offices selling vehicle licences are not separately maintained. If such an office closes, Post Office Ltd. endeavours to transfer all products and services offered to a new location, thereby maintaining the total number of post offices selling motor vehicle licences.

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