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Aerospace Industry

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the downturn in the aerospace industry since 11 September. [16721]

Mr. Wilson: Officials in the Department of Trade and Industry remain in close contact with the UK aviation industry in co-operation with the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.

The Government remain in close contact with the aerospace industry, as we are with other sectors, and with the trade associations in order to understand and evaluate the effect of the events of 11 September. It remains too early to say what will be the effect on the aerospace industry. When the impact has been fully assessed, we will be in a position to consider how best Government and the aerospace industry can work together to ensure a successful future for the industry.


Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which division of Westinghouse is now a part of BNFL. [16743]

Mr. Wilson: In March 1999 BNFL and Morrison Knudsen (MK) completed the joint acquisition of CBS's US nuclear services company, Westinghouse. The Westinghouse acquisition comprised two businesses: Energy Systems—which provided nuclear products and services in the US and internationally, and Government and Environmental Services—which managed and operated environmental clean-up programmes for the US Department of Energy and provided services to the US Department of Defense.

A new structure for Westinghouse was agreed; BNFL became a 100 per cent. owner of the Energy Systems business (renamed Westinghouse Electric Company), took a 40 per cent. economic interest in the 100 per cent. MK owned defence related portion of Government Services (renamed Westinghouse Government Services Company) and 40 per cent. ownership of the non-defence related Government Services business (renamed Westinghouse Government Environmental Services Company), with MK owning the remaining 60 per cent.

Energy Industry

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the effect of deregulation and privatisation of the energy industry. [16740]

Mr. Wilson: The Government's central energy policy objective is to ensure secure, diverse and sustainable energy supplies at competitive prices. They consider that competitive markets and companies are the key to achieving this. Government's role is to set the right framework and to deal with issues that the market alone, as it emerged following energy privatisations, may be unable to address. The Government have, therefore, provided the appropriate legal framework for competitive energy markets and the economic development of Britain's energy resources consistent with safety and environmental protection. They have also further modernised the framework of energy regulation through

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the Utilities Act 2000 to give primary importance to protecting the interests of consumers, while minimising the regulatory burden on industry wherever possible.

Gas Transportation Tariffs

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has made to (a) Ofgem and (b) Centrica plc concerning the gas transportation tariffs in the United Kingdom, with particular reference to their effect on Northern Ireland. [16783]

Mr. Wilson: In Great Britain gas transportation tariffs are levied by Transco and regulated by Ofgem through licence conditions (including the licence condition relating to the price control). Ofgem recently consulted on proposals for the price control for the period from 2002–07. While the Department has had discussions with Ofgem about its proposals we have made no specific representations regarding transportation tariffs.

Gas is supplied to Northern Ireland under a contract between Centrica plc and Phoenix Natural Gas plc, the main gas supplier in Northern Ireland. Like all other shippers who use Transco's system, Centrica pay gas transportation tariffs and I understand that the level of these charges is reflected in the price Centrica charges customers such as Phoenix. This is however a commercial matter.

Centrica plc

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she last met the Managing Director of CEMG, Centrica plc; and what was discussed. [16784]

Mr. Wilson: My ministerial colleagues and I meet representatives of Centrica plc from time to time to discuss a range of current energy matters.

Most recently my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry met senior management from Centrica on 19 November and I am due to meet representatives from Centrica on 6 December.

Economic Development Zone (Lancaster)

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what concerns were identified as part of the EOI Review about Lancaster city council's priority 3 economic development zone bid. [16696]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 21 November 2001]: Lancaster's "expression of interest" (EOI) in an Economic Development Zone (EDZ) under the North West's Objective 2 Programme for 2000–06 was assessed as high priority and has since resulted in a fully detailed bid for EDZ status and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding. The independent consultants who appraised the EOIs met with Lancaster in October to discuss a range of issues around the nature of activity proposed in the EDZ, the scale of support needed and funding profiles.

Online Trading

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many small businesses trade online in the constituency of East Devon. [17287]

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Mr. Alexander: The International Benchmarking Study, which measures the number of businesses trading online, measures trading online at the level of the region but not of the constituency. A copy of the 2001 study is available from the Libraries of the House.

Clean Coal Technology

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total level of investment, in real terms, has been into research into clean coal technology from her Department since 1997. [17279]

Mr. Wilson: The table shows levels of investment into research into clean coal technology both in actual money of the day and at constant 1995 prices using the GDP deflator.

£ million

YearActualAt constant 1995 prices

(27) Budget

Local Government Finance

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much of her Department's allocation was spent in the constituency of East Devon (a) in real terms and (b) as a percentage of the total budget in the last financial year. [17286]

Ms Hewitt: The DTI does not hold centrally information on resources spent in particular constituencies. To provide the information requested for most departmental programmes and schemes would require individual examination of a large number of individual cases, which would incur disproportionate cost. It would also raise problems of definition: some expenditure for example supports firms or organisations operating on a national basis. Information on expenditure at constituency level is however available for two departmental schemes and programmes.

1. Government Office South West advise that in 2000–01 £32,753.25 was paid out under the SMART scheme in East Devon (0.14 per cent. of total SMART expenditure and 0.002 per cent. of the Department's total Trade and Industry budget as voted by Parliament).

2. There were no applications for Enterprise Grants—and hence no expenditure—in East Devon in 2000–01. Departmental expenditure on Enterprise Grants in 2000–01 was £3.6 million.

Steel Imports

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with (a) the UK steel industry, (b) the European Commission and (c) the US Government, concerning tariffs on steel imports into the USA. [17383]

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Mr. Wilson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry met with representatives of the Iron and Steel Trade Confederation on 18 October and with representatives of Corus on 29 October when issues surrounding international trade in steel were discussed. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and my noble Friend Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean also raised the issue at a high level with the US Administration when they visited the US in July. The Government remain concerned at the prospect of US unilateral action under Section 201 of the Trade Act 1974 which would severely disrupt international trade in steel and damage UK steel manufacturing and employment interests. We support the view that Commissioner Lamy has expressed: the cost of restructuring the US steel industry should not be shifted on to the rest of the world. The appropriate way to address global steel trade issues is through multilateral discussion.

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