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National Savings Investments Chief Executive

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements are being made for appointing a new National Savings Investment Chief Executive. [64441]

Ruth Kelly: Following an open competition, Alan Cook has been selected as the new Agency Chief Executive. Mr Cook is currently Chief Operating Officer at Prudential. This appointment is subject to the usual pre-appointment checks.

Financial Services Act

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases were referred by the London Stock

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Exchange or other agencies for possible action under section 177 of the Financial Services Act 1986 in each year from 1995–96; in how many cases inspectors were appointed; in how many cases inspectors reported; how many convictions were achieved; and how many acquittals were made, in each year prior to the implementation of the Financial services and Markets Act 2000. [62025]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

The information about references from the London Stock Exchange, the number of inspections carried out and convictions obtained is set out in the Companies Annual Report which is published each year and it is hoped to be available before the summer recess.


Ministerial Salaries

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the annual cost was of ministerial salaries in her Department in (a) 1997–98 and (b) 2001–02. [60946]

Mr. Caborn: The total cost of ministerial salaries in 1997–98 (excluding severance payments) was #134,236. This reflects the changes made to the ministerial team at the then Department for National Heritage following the 1997 General Election, which were:

For 2001–02 the salary cost of Ministers (excluding severance payments) was #219,772. Again, this reflects the changes made to the DCMS ministerial team folowing the 2001 General Election, which were:

Bilateral Ministerial Meetings

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when Ministers in her Department have held meetings with Ministers and officials of the Irish Government since 1 June 2000; when and where each meeting took place; which ministers were involved in each meeting; which Irish

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Government departments were involved in each meeting; and which Ministers and officials from the Irish Government attended each meeting. [63068]

Mr. Caborn: DCMS Ministers regularly meet their Irish counterparts at EU Ministerial meetings and EU Culture and Audiovisual Council Meetings.

In addition, my right hon. Friend the Member for Islington South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) attended a lunch at the British Council in honour of the Irish President on 30 November 2000 and my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for the Arts met the Irish Prime Minister at the Parliamentary Buildings in Dublin on 3 December 2001 to discuss the 2002 Irish Special Olympics.

Community Arts (Stroud)

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the help available for community arts in the Stroud area. [62993]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 19 June 2002]: Funding for the arts is a matter for the Arts Council of England and its regional offices. South West Arts, which incorporates Stroud, currently distributes over #9 million a year to help support the arts and increase opportunities for audiences across the region. It also works with local authorities in the development and delivery of arts and cultural activity at a community level and support for community arts is available through both revenue and lottery funds subject to certain criteria being met.

Olympic Games

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost was of producing Arup's report on a possible UK bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. [63349]

Mr. Caborn: We do not yet know the final cost of Arup's work. As soon as this information is known I will write to the hon. Member, placing copies of my letter in the Libraries of both Houses.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when her Department will publish Arup's report on a possible UK bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. [63350]

Mr. Caborn: My Department, together with other key stakeholders, is considering the implications of the Arup cost-benefit analysis of bidding for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. We aim to publish the report in the Autumn.


Export Credits

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will republish the table in the Official Report, 12 June 2000, column 464W, to include data for 2000–01 and 2001–02. [60410]

Ms Hewitt: The following table details Claims Paid, Premium Earned and Claims Recovered in respect of ECGD's support for defence related business in each of

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the last eleven Financial Years. The cost of interest rate support has been estimated on the proportion of ECGD credit business constituted by defence related business.

Information on amounts received through Paris Club rescheduling agreements has not been included as it is not held on a sectoral basis and this cannot be readily determined. It is likely that taking account of these amounts would improve the position in respect of defense business cashflow.

The data for 2001–2002 are currently being audited. I will arrange for the Chief Executive of ECGD to write to my hon. Friend as soon as these figures become available.

YearPremium Earned # millionClaims Paid # millionEstimate of Interest Rate Support # millionClaims Recovered # million

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on the provision of export credits for military equipment. [62706]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 19 June 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to my answer given to him on 4 December 2001, Official Report, column 145W.

Furniture Safety

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to review the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. [60783]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Over the last year the Department has consulted with a wide range of interested parties about the effectiveness of the Regulations. I have looked carefully at the results of the consultation.

The most important point to emerge is that more needs to be done to stop potentially dangerous items of furniture being placed on the UK market.

Overall, the Regulations are well-established and fit for purpose and set the high safety requirements that are needed to protect consumers. They have saved hundreds of lives since they were introduced.

I have therefore concluded that although a revision of the Regulations might bring about some small technical improvements, it is not the most effective way of maintaining the necessary high level of consumer protection. Instead, I want to focus on improving the enforcement of the Regulations. I will therefore be meeting with the enforcement authorities, industry

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representatives and others shortly to agree what action is needed and to identify what the department can do to help.

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimate she has made of the number of incidences of pieces of furniture being sold in the UK which are non-compliant under the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988; [60784]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Records of instances of sales of non-compliant furniture under the Regulations are not held centrally.

However, I am concerned at recent reports that non-compliant furniture is being sold in the UK. I will shortly be meeting with representatives of Trading Standards Departments, the furniture industry and other interested parties to discuss the identified problems with non-compliance and to consider what needs to be done in order to ensure that consumers are properly protected and that all those who market furniture in the UK are competing on a level playing field.

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