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Engineering Industry

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make a statement on the references in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's digest of engineering statistics, "Engineers for Britain—The State of the Profession Towards 2002", as to (a) the general trend in the industry being for reduction and (b) the levels of dissatisfaction employers have with the skills of engineering graduates; [39704]

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Mr. Wilson [holding answer 4 March 2002]: The Government are aware of the importance of the contribution that the engineering and technology community makes to the UK economy and that it has the potential to make a greater contribution in the future. That is why we supported the work led by Dr. Robert Hawley, the last Chairman of the Engineering Council, that has led to the establishment of the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) chaired by Sir Peter Williams. We are also supporting the ETB in the work it has embarked on to make itself more relevant to the concerns of all in the wider engineering and technology community.

It is also why, in the last Budget, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills announced that they had commissioned Sir Gareth Roberts, President of Wolfson College Oxford, to undertake an independent study into the provision of skilled scientists and engineers in the UK. Sir Gareth's report is expected shortly.

Many of the matters raised in the Engineering Council's Digest of Engineering Statistics will be considered by the Government in the context of Sir Gareth's Report and I anticipate that they will inform the future work of the ETB.

Enterprise Grant Scheme

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many bids under the enterprise grant scheme have been made by businesses within the former South Yorkshire coalfield area since 1999; and what the value and the details of the grants awarded are. [41481]

Alan Johnson: The Enterprise Grant Scheme (EGS) has been operational since 1 January 2000. It is available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 250 employees to support capital investment projects of up to £0.5 million.

The whole of South Yorkshire is covered by the EGS where grant can be awarded of up to 15 per cent. of eligible capital expenditure up to a maximum of £75,000. Since 1 January 2000, 116 EGS applications have been received from South Yorkshire companies resulting in 86 formal offers of grant with a grant value of £2.1 million against estimated capital costs of £18 million. These projects are expected to create or safeguard 530 jobs. Separate statistics are not available for the former South Yorkshire coalfield areas but approximately half of the offers relate to businesses in these areas. Details of the individual grant offers made to companies are commercially confidential.

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Accountancy Contracts

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the contracts agreed by her Department with the five largest accountancy firms since May 1997; and what was the total value of contracts with each. [42096]

Ms Hewitt: Contracts agreed with Arthur Andersen were listed in my reply to the hon. Member for East Carmarthen and Dinefwr (Adam Price) on 11 February 2002, Official Report, column 61W. Their total value was £4,917,000. Detailed information on contracts agreed with the other four largest accountancy firms is not centrally available for the earlier years and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost; but for the calendar years 2000–01, central records indicate the following numbers of contracts and total values:


Accountancy firmsNumber
Deloitte & Touche126,489,547
Ernst & Young591,708,722
Pricewaterhouse Coopers331,597,403

Wind Farms

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who (a) owns and (b) runs the wind farms in the UK; and how much has been paid by the Government to develop wind power in each of the last three years. [41328]

Mr. Wilson: Wind farms in the UK are commercial developments, usually owned and run by the project developer. The table below sets out public support for approved wind energy projects given through the Non Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO) and the comparable arrangements operating in Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is public expenditure, but paid for by the electricity consumer through the Fossil Fuel Levy.

£ million


Support from NFFO is lower after 1998–99 because NFFO 1 and 2 contracts terminated on 31 December 1998.

Spend on research projects into wind energy from my Department's Sustainable Energy Programme has been running at close to £1 million each year, and there may be other relevant research funded by the Research Councils.

Wind farms will also benefit from the proposed Renewables Obligation now before Parliament. Again the cost will be borne by the electricity consumer.

LNM Holdings

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which Government Departments or agencies have conducted an assessment of the background of Mr. Mittal of LNM Holdings in the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement. [38504]

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Ms Hewitt [holding answer 27 February 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 67W.

I can also confirm that no such assessment was carried out by my own Department or its agencies.


Lost/Stolen Property

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list those items valued at less than £50 each which have been stolen or lost from her Department in each of the last four years. [34206]

Clare Short: There were no reported thefts of official property valued at under £50 during the period 1 January 1998 to 31 December 2001. A small number of items of personal property were reported as having been stolen during this period.

Burkina Faso

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what charities and NGOs her Department funds in Burkina Faso. [34649]

Hilary Benn: DFID is currently supporting the work of five non-governmental organisations in Burkina Faso. Through our Small Grants Scheme we assist the work of the Association Kobinkale. We are also supporting the work of Action on Disability and Development, Anti- Slavery International, PLAN International and ACCORD through the Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF) and the Joint Funding Scheme (JFS).

Commonwealth Development Corporation

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much private sector investment has been committed through the PPP of the Commonwealth Development Corporation. [41985]

Clare Short: CDC was transformed in 1999 into a public limited company which as yet remains wholly Government-owned. CDC already joint-manages a number of funds containing private capital.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the (a) existing and (b) target rate of return is on development projects undertaken by CDC Capital Partners. [41986]

Clare Short: Since CDC was transformed into a public limited company in 1999, no target rate of return has been set by the Government. The existing rates of return on CDC's investments vary between industry sector and region. CDC invests in commercially viable businesses and aims to generate attractive rates of return.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to her answer of 17 December 2001, Official Report, column 5W, how much of each sum invested in poorer countries by the

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CDC was invested in countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the five years from 1996 to 2000; and if she will break these investments down by country. [34314]

Clare Short: The total value of CDC's investments in sub-Saharan Africa in the five years from 1996 to 2000, broken down by country, was as follows.

£ million

Cote d'Ivoire1124143
Sierra Leone0

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