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Trade Partners UK

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the work of Trade Partners UK in facilitating dialogue between the British Film Council and its counterparts in India. [48157]

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Ms Hewitt: Trade Partners UK is in regular contact with the British Film Council, and is helping to develop contacts between the British Film Council and its counterparts in India. The Chief Executive of the British Film Council is a member of the Creative Export Group, one of the Creative Industry Advisory Groups run by Trade Partners UK and DCMS. Trade Partners UK helped to arrange the programme of the Chief Executive and senior colleagues from the British Film Council during their visit to India in March 2002, when they met leading representatives of the Indian film industry and the Indian Minister for Information and Broadcasting. Trade Partners UK is also involved in arranging the programme for an inward mission by top Bollywood producers to the UK in May 2002, in collaboration with the British Film Council and the Manchester Investment and Development Agency Service (MIDAS).

Energy Market

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures she is taking to increase consumer protection in the energy market. [48162]

Mr. Wilson: Gas and electricity consumers are protected by general competition and consumer legislation, including the Doorstep Selling Regulations, which were enhanced in 1998, and the new Distance Selling Regulations, which were introduced in 2000. They are also protected by specific regulations, which are the responsibility of the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM). In the Utilities Act 2000, OFGEM was given the principal objective of protecting the interests of consumers. The Act also established the Gas and Electricity Consumer Council (Energywatch) to represent the interests of consumers. OFGEM maintains licence conditions governing the sale and marketing of gas and electricity supply, and has recently given a commitment to extending these for a further two years. Where appropriate, OFGEM takes action against suppliers that breach these conditions. On 1 April, OFGEM introduced new Guaranteed Standards of Performance for gas transporters and electricity distributors.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with regard to the European Parliament's First Reading position of 13 March on the proposal for a directive amending Directives 96/92/EC and 98/30/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and natural gas, if she will indicate, with particular regard to the interests of those consumers living in rural areas, the position that she will take in council on the Parliament's Amendment 42 that seeks to strengthen the terms of the universal service (Article 3(3), 96/92/EC). [47642]

Mr. Wilson: It is a Government priority to bring the benefits of market liberalisation to all consumers, including those living in rural areas. The Government will have this objective in mind when it takes a position on the proposal which the commission will submit to the council in the light of the European Parliament's amendments. Individual amendments are not voted on by the council; rather, the commission presents a revised text which includes those European Parliament amendments which it accepts. I note that Amendment 42 does not mention rural consumers, merely vulnerable consumers.

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Regional Development Agencies

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the budget is for each of the regional development agencies in England; and what it is expressed as a percentage of total identifiable public expenditure in each English region. [46946]

Alan Johnson: The allocation of budgets for each regional development agencies for 2001–02 is as follows:

£ million
One North East162
North West280
Yorkshire Forward246
East Midlands97
West Midlands170
East of England62
South East110
South West91

The percentage of total identifiable public expenditure in each English region is highlighted in Table 8.12 of the 'Public Expenditure, Statistical Analyses 2001–02' report.

Mobile Phones

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 21 January 2002, Official Report, column 561W, on mobile phones, what stage has been reached in discussions between her Department and mobile phone manufacturers on how mobile phone handset security might be improved; and when she estimates such measures will be introduced. [46429]

Mr. Alexander: The manufacturers have responded positively to the joint request made by DTI and Home Office Ministers and are co-operating in a study of the current level of security and of plans for the future in this regard. The Home Office will publish this study that is expected to be completed shortly and consideration will then be given as to what action needs to be taken.

In the meantime, all the UK licensed cellular operators are co-operating to develop a shared register of stolen mobile handsets, which will be used to de-activate those handsets. I welcome this positive initiative by the mobile industry.

Trading Links (Baltic States)

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support her Department is giving to the promotion of trading links between Scotland and the Baltic states. [45767]

Nigel Griffiths: Businesses in Scotland can access British Trade International national schemes, such as the trade mission to all three Baltic countries in October 2002. BTI also works with Scottish Development International in highlighting export and investment potential through awareness-raising events, including an EU enlargement event to be held in Glenrothes on 25 April.

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Scotland is an important trading partner for the Baltic states, with much interaction in the forestry sector. A new investment in Riga by a Scottish based timber-processing company, BSW, was inaugurated by the Prince of Wales last November.

Gender Pay Gap

Barbara Follett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans the Government have to commission data on the gender pay gap in Stevenage. [46299]

Alan Johnson: The Office for National Statistics publishes data on the gender pay gap in the New Earnings Survey. However, in the case of Stevenage constituency, the data are not sufficiently reliable for publication.

Current trends in women's individual incomes have been explored in two studies published last year by the Women and Equality Unit (WEU). Copies of these reports are available on the WEU website: publications/researchandpublications.htm.

WEU Gender Briefing, which provides statistical briefing on the position of women compared with men in the labour market, is also available on the website: gender_briefing/home .htm.

There are no plans to commission further research into the gender pay gap in Stevenage.

Mair Barnes

Denzil Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 28 February 2002, Official Report, column 1486W, if she will list the boards of which Mair Barnes is a non-executive director. [46346]

Ms Hewitt: Mair Barnes is a non-executive director of Scottish Power plc, Patientline plc and the South African retailer Woolworth Holdings Ltd. She is also a director of Minkley Ltd. (Jersey).

Japanese Investment Projects

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many Japanese investment projects there were into Britain in (a) 1996–97, (b) 1997–98, (c) 1998–99, (d) 1999–2000 and (e) 2000–01; what their size was; and how many of those projects were (i) engineering and (ii) manufacturing based. [46344]

Nigel Griffiths: The figures provided are based on information provided by companies at the time of the announcement of the decision to invest in the UK. They are based on the companies' best estimate, at that time, of the number of jobs associated with each investment.

There is no requirement on companies to notify inward investment decisions to Invest.UK and so the figures include only those projects where Invest.UK or its regional partners were involved or which have come to their notice. They are therefore likely to be an underestimate. The number of manufacturing projects notified by year is provided but Invest.UK does not record the number of all engineering projects during the period concerned.

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Number of projectsNumber in manufacturingTotal investment £

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