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Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what inquiries she has made into the competition practices of National Rail Supplies, Railtrack and Railtrack's contractors. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 27 November 2001]: Under UK competition legislation it is for the Director General of Fair Trading to investigate allegations of anti-competitive behaviour. These powers are exercised concurrently with the Rail Regulator with respect to railway services.
The new Renewables Obligation, to come into effect next year, together with exemption of renewables from the climate change levy, will create a long-term market incentive for renewables which will be worth over £1 billion per year by 2010.
The introduction of the Obligation will be underpinned by direct Government funding for renewables worth over £260 million between 2001 and 2004. This will include an extensive capital grants programme for the early development of offshore wind and energy crops, the initial stage of a major photovoltaics demonstration programme and a boost for research and development.
Initiation of studies of each UK region's capacity to generate electricity from renewable sources. Once all these assessments are completed, it is expected that specific regional targets for renewable energy will be adopted across the UK.
28 Nov 2001 : Column: 1002W
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to discuss with her European counterparts the introduction of legislation to hold companies accountable for their activities overseas. 
Mr. Alexander: This matter is being considered within the context of an overall migration and marketing strategy for the payment of benefits by automated credit transfer on which detailed work is in progress.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of first class letters from (a) Eastbourne and (b) Wealden postcode areas were delivered by (a) first and (b) second post the next day in each of the last 20 quarters for which figures are available. 
Mr. Alexander: The Department has regular discussions with Consignia about a range of strategic issues facing the company. However, changes to the second daily Royal Mail delivery are operational issues for the company, subject to the regulatory powers and duties of the Postal Services Commission in respect of service standards.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of (a) first and (b) second class mail was delivered as part of a second daily delivery in the last 12 months. 
I have been informed by the company that this information is not available for the precise split between first and second class mail delivered on second delivery but it is predominantly first class, while only 4 per cent. of mail nationally is delivered on a second delivery.
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Orkney (Mainland)-Papa Westray
Orkney (Mainland)-North Ronaldsay
Shetland (Mainland)-Papa Stour
Shetland (Mainland)-Out Skerries
Shetland (Mainland)-Fair Isle
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect of climate change levy after rebates on the manufacturing sector in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Wiltshire; and if she will make a statement. 
Employment levels in those sectors and the benefits received from the levy funded national insurance contribution cuts.
The number of energy intensive firms in that sector that are eligible to receive a discount on the main rates of the levy by signing up to an energy efficiency agreement.
The use that firms in that sector make of electricity generated from levy exempt 'new' renewable sources of energy and combined heat and power.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the President of the Council on how many occasions the Northern Ireland Grand Committee has met in Northern Ireland (a) in the five years prior to devolution and (b) since devolution. 
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|Year||Number of occasions|
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(19) Before 12 May 1999
Mr. Robin Cook: I understand that the latest available figures show that the House of Lords Appointments Commission spent £248,000 in 200001 and to the end of October, £73,000 has been spent in 200102.
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