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Western Sahara

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advice is given to United Kingdom companies wishing to operate in western Sahara. [64604]

Ms Hewitt: The British embassies in Rabat and Algiers are able to offer appropriate advice on a case-by-case basis to UK companies wishing to operate in western Sahara. More generally we advise companies wishing to operate in that territory to seek the advice and agreement of both parties to the dispute (the Moroccans and the Algerians/Polisario, who are all represented in London) as part of their business planning.

Carbon Emissions

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) current total annual carbon emissions and (b) expected total annual emissions from installed capacity for all projects in the power sector fuelled by coal, oil or gas that have received assistance from the ECGD are since 1997. [65193]

Ms Hewitt: Since ECGD does not have readily available information on the completion dates and operating schedules of all the power projects that the Department has supported, it is not possible easily to calculate actual total carbon emissions since 1997.

However, for power projects for which a guarantee has been issued since 1997 it is estimated that upon completion of these projects total annual carbon emissions will be of the order of 13.3 million tonnes. This is based on the following assumptions:

Fuel TypeECGD Estimated capacity (MW)CO 2 (tonnes per year) millionCarbon (tonnes per year) million
Coal11,26040.611.1
Oil4921.10.3
Gas4,3677.11.9
Total16,13948.813.3

It has been assumed the plants operate for 60 per cent. of the time (5,256 hours per year). CO 2 emissions are calculated using the following conversion factors—Coal: 0.687 tonnes of CO 2 per MW per hour, Oil 0.417, Gas: 0.309. These are taken from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol website, www.ghgprotocol.org, and are the 1999 average values for power plants in "Economies In Transition". These are the markets where ECGD most commonly provide guarantees.

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Carbon emissions are calculated by assuming that carbon makes up 27.3 per cent. of the atomic mass of CO 2 .

It should be noted that for most large power projects ECGD is only one of several finance providers. Scaling the carbon emissions by the proportion of finance guaranteed by ECGD would give a figure of less than 6 million tonnes per year of carbon, or less than 21 tonnes per year of CO 2 , that is directly attributable to ECGD's participation.

Arms Exports

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value was of ECGD support relating to arms exports to (a) Pakistan and (b) India since February 2000; and what payments have been made under the ECGD scheme. [65407]

Ms Hewitt: ECGD has not supported any defence exports to either Pakistan or India since February 2000.

Nuclear Power Stations

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the infringements of the no-fly zones around nuclear power stations that have been reported since inception, giving (a) the date, (b) the location and (c) an account of each incident; what action was taken to follow up each incident; and if she will make a statement. [64960]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

There have been no confirmed infringements of flying restrictions around civil nuclear power stations since 1991. Information on earlier incidents is not readily available.

Construction Industry

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she is taking to eliminate bogus self-employment claims in the construction industry. [63052]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply to my hon. Friend.

The Inland Revenue aims to ensure that the law on employment status is applied even-handedly across all sectors of industry, and that includes the construction industry sector. As part of its ongoing compliance strategy, the Inland Revenue's local employer compliance review teams consider employment status issues to ensure employers and contractors are compliant with the tax and National Insurance laws generally.

Motor Vehicles (LPG Conversions)

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many grants in respect of LPG conversions of motor vehicles have been given in each of the last five years. [65254]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

The table gives the number of LPG vehicles benefiting from PowerShift grants in the last five years.

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Financial yearNumber of LPG vehicles receiving Powershift grants
1997–98195
1998–99637
1999–20001,674
2000–014,246
2001–023,967

LPG Fuel

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for

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Trade and Industry how many vehicles subject to vehicle excise duty are capable of using LPG fuel. [65249]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

DVLA statistics do not distinguish between liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and, say, natural gas vehicles; only between vehicles that are dedicated gas or petrol/gas combinations. Generally, however, cars and light commercial vehicles tend to use LPG, while heavier vehicles use natural gas. The table shows the last five years for which figures are available:

199719981999200020012002
Private and Light Goods6,71510,12114,42121,09823,91624,308
Buses315397121139153
Goods vehicles7593141171237236
Special vehicles1,3271,2811,3101,3941,4081,417
Exempt vehicles6987337749031,1031,115
Other vehicles241253267281303331
Total9,08712,53417,01023,96827,10627,560

These figures actually understate the number of vehicles because not all conversions to alternative fuelling are notified to DVLA and motorists are converting to LPG at an increasing rate. The total is expected to increase by about 25,000 per year over the next two years, prompted by the Government grants available, and the fact that low-cost LPG fuel is now available in all areas of the country.

All vehicles used on public roads in the UK have to be licensed annually. Generally such licensing includes payment of a duty of excise (Vehicle Excise Duty) on the licence but a number of vehicles are exempt from payment of duty. All of the vehicles included in the table as PLG, buses, goods, and special vehicles are subject to payment of VED. The category "other vehicles" includes motorcycles and other miscellaneous vehicles.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Blind and Partially-sighted People

Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to consult organisations representing blind and partially-sighted people including the Royal National Institute for the Blind in developing the next UK Employment National Action Plan. [40417]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The current UK Employment Action Plan—for 2002-has been completed and deposited in the Library. It highlights the Government's employment strategy that seeks to ensure that the most help is given to those who face the greatest difficulty finding work, of which disabled people are a key group. The Department liaises with organisations like the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) on these policies, which are already in place or are being developed, at various stages.

In addition to that consultation, the UK Disability Forum for Europe, to which the RNIB belongs, contributed to the 2002 plan. This contact will be continued when the next plan, for 2003, is being prepared. Officials will be discussing with RNIB how best that organisation might continue to the preparation of the 2003 plan.

Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures he intends to include in the next UK Employment National Action Plan to improve job opportunities and job retention for blind and partially-sighted people. [40418]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The current UK Employment Action Plan—for 2002—has been completed and deposited in the Library. It highlights the Government's employment strategy that seeks to ensure that the most help is given to those who face the greatest difficulty finding work. In this context, the plan covers policies such as the New Deal for Disabled People, which extend to blind and partially-sighted people, as well as other people with disabilities.

The exact content of the 2003 plan can only be decided when the European Employment Guidelines—to be proposed this November—have been agreed. However, integrating into the labour market all those with a disadvantage will remain a priority for the UK and for Europe. Therefore, measures in this area are likely to be reported on in the next and future Employment Action Plans.


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