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Illegal Immigrants

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what extra security measures his Department has taken at Shoreham Port to help combat entry by illegal immigrants; [47374]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 10 April 2002]: It is not possible to provide statistics for the total number of illegal entrants detected having entered the United Kingdom via

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Shoreham seaport. This is because illegal entrants are frequently detected inland and will not identify, or cannot be attributed to, any particular port of entry.

Shoreham seaport does not receive any passenger vessels and so has no permanent immigration presence. However, for the purposes of immigration control the port is covered by Immigration Service staff based at Newhaven who may be deployed there should a need be identified. Remote coverage is also provided by officers from Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and Sussex Police, Special Branch.

The Immigration Service views very seriously any potential breach of immigration controls, as well as the risks that migrants take by seeking to enter the United Kingdom clandestinely. Whilst there is currently no evidence to suggest that Shoreham seaport is being targeted for such activity, should such information be received, it would be passed to the District Intelligence Unit at Gatwick. They would assess the risk and ensure that appropriate measures were taken to combat any threat to the integrity of the immigration control.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to improve the response time to parliamentary questions. [47721]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 9 April 2002]: In its response to the Public Administration Select Committee's Second Report of Session 2000–2001 on Ministerial Accountability and Parliamentary Questions, the Government made clear their commitment to providing prompt and accurate answers to Parliamentary Questions. This continues to be the Government's position. I am committed to improving the performance of the Home Office and am working with the Department on practical steps to achieve this.


PSA Targets

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what new initiatives her Department has taken in 2001–02 to assist in achieving its Public Service Agreement targets. [47189]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Details of new initiatives and policies designed to assist in achieving the Public Service Agreement targets for 1999–2002 were set out in my previous parliamentary answers to the hon. Member for Buckingham on 19 December (Official Report, columns 310–15W), 8 January (Official Report, columns 543–45W), and 10 January (Official Report, columns 971–72W).

The main initiatives undertaken to help achieve the Public Service Agreement targets for 2001–2004 are as follows: the setting-up of Creative Partnerships in 16 deprived areas; the introduction of the School Sports Co-ordinator and Spaces for Sport and the Arts programmes; and the introduction of free access for all to national museums and galleries on 1 December 2001.

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Digital Television

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the level of take up of digital television services has been from 1998 to the date for which the most recent figures are available. [46916]

Dr. Howells: These are the figures from December 1998 to December 2001 for digital television uptake, based on subscriber figures supplied by platform operators.

Dateper cent TV Households which are digital
31 December 980.9 per cent
31 March 992.2 per cent
30 June 993.9 per cent
30 September 997.0 per cent
31 December 9911.1 per cent
30 March 0018.0 per cent
30 June 0019.4 per cent
30 September 0022.5 per cent
31 December 0026.8 per cent
31 March 0130.0 per cent
30 June 0132.5 per cent
30 September 0134.7 per cent
31 December 0136.6 per cent



Mrs. Roe: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will make further information about its work available to hon. Members. [50505]

Archy Kirkwood: Pages on the Parliamentary Intranet, accessed through "House Administration" give information about the Commission's role, responsibilities and membership, together with contact details. The pages provide links to the Commission's Annual Reports, and to Questions answered on behalf of the Commission. We have now decided to supplement this with periodic reports on Commission business: subjects considered, decisions taken, and work in progress. The first such report, covering Commission meetings between December 2001 and March 2002, will be posted on the Intranet today.


SME Industrial Trends

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on SME industrial trends. [37652]

Nigel Griffiths: The last year for which figures are available (2000) shows an increase in the number of SME manufacturers.

Small and Medium Sized Enterprises continue to play an important role in the UK economy accounting for over 99 per cent of businesses, 44 per cent of non-government employment and 37 per cent of turnover. They employ 12 million people and contribute £1 trillion to the economy pa.

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Number of SMEs (0–249 employees) by sector UK, number

Number of businesses
Agriculture, Fishing220,850192,825185,285190,375
Mining & Energy5,4555,7054,0853,615
Wholesale, retail & repairs525,465552,765532,155535,045
Hotels & Restaurants148,610153,065154,125157,005
Financial intermediation51,16065,58059,11558,690
Real Estate, business activities707,785735,995799,555825,160
Health & social work217,295202,690202,910206,815
Other services356,015373,025387,090392,660


Small Business Service, SME Statistics in the UK

Company Auditing Policy

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will name the members of the group she has set up to review company auditing policy and practices, together with relevant interests or employment. [42615]

Ms Melanie Johnson: My right hon. Friends, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have invited the Economic Secretary, HM Treasury and myself, to lead a co-ordinating group on accounting and audit issues, which will

The members of the co-ordinating group are as follows:

The co-ordinating group at its first meeting discussed the work the regulators have in hand to address the key regulatory issues for audit and accounting raised in the wake of the Enron collapse. This focused on audit quality and auditor independence, financial reporting and auditing requirements, and corporate governance, in particular the role of the Audit Committee. The group will ensure that there is a comprehensive and co-ordinated work programme to be taken forward by regulators over the coming months.

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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the group she has set up to review company auditing policy and practices will take evidence from outside Government; which organisations have been asked to give evidence to it; and whether its report will be published. [42616]

Ms Melanie Johnson: The purpose of the Group is to ensure that the accounting and audit issues raised following the collapse in the US of Enron are addressed by individual regulators in the UK in a comprehensive and coordinated way.

At the first meeting of the group, it was agreed to invite comments from outside Government in relation to the group's coordinating role on the issues for audit and accountancy raised by the collapse of Enron. Further details will appear shortly on the DTI website ( The group will provide a progress report by the summer, with a final report at a later stage. These will be published.

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