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15 May 2002 : Column 662W
received from businesses regarding the competitiveness of the UK in comparison to (a) EU countries and (b) G7 nations. 
Ms Hewitt: Benchmarking the UK's performance against the world's leading economies including other EU and G7 nations is frequently part of the discussions my Department has in its work with consumers, employees and business to drive up productivity and competitiveness.
Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what EU block exemption is available for franchises between 1990 and 2000; and whether this block exemption contains definitions for franchise, franchisee agreement and master franchise agreement; and if she will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: Until 31 May 2000, Commission Regulation 408788 provided the block exemption for franchising. This regulation contained definitions of franchise and master franchise agreement. With effect from 1 June 2000 (subject to transitional arrangements), Regulation 408788 was replaced by Commission Regulation 279099, which covers all types of vertical agreements, including franchising. Regulation 279099 contains no definitions of franchise, franchisee agreement or master franchise agreement, but the accompanying administrative guidelines (ref: 99/C 27042, published in the Official Journal of the European Communities No. C270 of 24 September 1999) on the regulation contain a definition of franchise agreements.
Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many wind farm proposals her Department has opposed on the basis of advice from the Ministry of Defence in the last five years; and where those proposals were situated. 
Mr. Wilson: Consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 to construct a 80 MW wind farm at Kielder in Northumberland was refused after an objection by the Ministry of Defence. Wind farms with a capacity of 50 MW or less are considered by the relevant planning authority under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with representatives of consumers about future legislation relating to the electricity supply industry. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 14 May 2002]: Following the passage of the Utilities Act 2000, the Government have no plans for primary legislation relating to the electricity supply industry. Secondary legislation relating to such supply is introduced as appropriate, both by DTI and the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority. Proposals for such legislation are subject to consultation with interested parties, including consumers' representatives.
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Department last year; how many related to employees suffering (a) stress and (b) other mental health problems; and what the cost was to her Department. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 14 May 2002]: The average number of staff days lost per staff year through sickness absence in the DTI Group in 2000 (the most recent figure available) was 7.5. The figure is taken from the annual report on public sector sick absence commissioned by the Cabinet Office each year. The DTI Group, in addition to DTI HQ, consists of: ACAS, Companies House, Patent Office, Insolvency Service, National Weights and Measures Laboratory, Employment Tribunals Service, and the Radiocommunications Agency.
The DTI is committed to meeting targets for reducing the number of working days lost due to sickness absence generally (as contained in our published service delivery agreements), and has a commitment to reducing working days lost due to work-related injuries and illness arising from the Government's revitalising health and safety initiative.
Appointments to the boards of all the RDAs are made in accordance with the Code of Practice set out by the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments. This means they are made on merit, following fair and open competition.
The RDA boards are business-led and the aim is that at least half of all the board members should have current or recent business experience. Four board members have local authority backgrounds and the rest of the board is made up of people with experience in some area relevant to the work of the RDA. In effect this means trade unions,
15 May 2002 : Column 664W
further and higher education and the voluntary and community sectors.
Alan Johnson: The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is one of the eight regional development agencies in England outside London established by the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. Each regional development agency (RDA) has five statutory purposes. They are:
to promote business efficiency, investment and competitiveness in its area
to promote employment in its area
to enhance the development and application of skills relevant to employment in its area
to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom where it is relevant to its area to do so.
Alan Johnson: There has been no change to the overall budget for the RDAs, but, following consultation with the RDAs it has been decided slightly to revise the size of the central contingency fund for in-year shocks. £5 million has been redistributed between the RDAs. The new individual budgets are shown in the table.
|RDA||Gross||Net of receipts|
|Advantage West Midlands||194,640||192,169|
|East of England||75,000||76,307|
|One North East||192,360||185,338|
|South East of England||101,360||100,480|
|South West of England||91,880||93,840|
(4) Including additional programmes (regional selective assistance, broadband and regional centres for manufacturing expertise)
15 May 2002 : Column 665W
Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many ministerial visits were made to Rwanda between 1979 and 1997; and how many have been made since 1997. 
However, from 1995 when the British embassy in Rwanda opened there have been 11 ministerial visits to Rwanda. The majority of ministerial visits have been made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development (seven). She has visited Rwanda every year since 1997 and twice in 2002. Baroness Chalker visited in August 1996. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Central, then Minister of State in the FCO, visited Rwanda twice in 1998 and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Rwanda with his French counterpart, Hubert Vedrine, in January 2002.
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