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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 5 July 2002

TRANSPORT

Paddington Survivors Group

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will place in the Library a copy of the note of his meeting with the Paddington Survivors Group on 12 September 2001. [59820]

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the official note of his meeting on 12 September 2001 with the Paddington Survivors Group what matters were discussed at the meeting; and if he will make a statement. [60541]

Mr. Darling: I have been asked to reply.

My predecessor met the Paddington Survivors Group on 12 September and 24 October 2001. I met the Group on 13 June 2002. It is not the normal practice to place notes of Ministerial meetings in the Library. I agreed with the Group when we met in June that I would not publish minutes of our meeting.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Arms Exports

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of state for Trade and Industry what vetting procedures she employs to consider the suitability for export of (a)defensive and (b) offensive weapons; and if she will make a statement. [64219]

Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 24 June 2002]: The Government rigorously assesses export licence application to determine the risk of the proposed export being misused in contravention of the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria. I refer the hon Member to the reply from my right hon. Friend, the Member for Neath, the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to my hon. Friend, the Member for Crawley on 26 October 2000, Official Report, columns 199-203W.

The Government have taken a number of steps to strengthen the process of risk assessment at the licensing stage and continue to consider ways of further improving procedures in this area.

Massey Ferguson

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what impact studies (a) have been and (b) will be undertaken by the Government on the effect of the closure of Massey Ferguson on

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dependent companies in Coventry; and what measures the Government have taken to encourage new manufacturing companies in (i) Coventry and (ii) the West Midlands. [65661]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 3 July 2002]: Work is now underway to consider the impact of the Massey Ferguson reduction on its supplier chain. This will be conducted under the management of the XMassey Ferguson Regional Support Team", which was set up on Friday 28 June 2002. It will be chaired by Councillor Nick Nolan, Leader of Coventry City Council and members include AGCO managers, Advantage West Midlands (the Regional Development Agency), the Local Authorities, Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber or Commerce, Warwick Manufacturing Centre, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Partnership, Jobcentre Plus (formerly the Employment Service), Trade Unions represented at the plant, local Members of Parliament, and the DTI through the Government Office for the West Midlands.

The Government have a number of measures to support and help new businesses—including new manufacturing companies—such as Regional Selective Assistance Enterprise Grants and SMART Grants which are administered by Advantage West Midlands or the Small Business Service. In addition, the XAccelerate" scheme has helped numerous manufacturers in the motor vehicle sector, and the recommendations of the Rover Task Force has enabled funding from the UK Government and European Structural Funds to be focussed on the diversification and modernisation of West Midlands manufacturing companies.

Manufacturing matters to the Government. A National Manufacturing Summit took place in Birmingham on 5 December 2001, with a specific West Midlands follow-up event on 7 March 2002. These have helped to initiate the Government's Manufacturing Strategy, which was published in April 2002. Additionally, the Manufacturing Advisory Service, administered by the Small Business Service, will be officially launched on 8 July 2002.

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Employment Relations Act

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the powers he has under section 23 of the Employment Relations Act 1999; and on which occasions she has used them and under which circumstances, with special reference to when she would use them in future. [66080]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 3 July 2002]: The power in Section 23 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 enables the Government to confer statutory employment rights under or by virtue of specified primary legislation. Before deciding whether and how to use this power, we are undertaking a review of employment status issues in relation to statutory employment rights and intend to publish a discussion document before the end of July.

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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

World Bank Loans

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the proportion of World Bank loans to be converted to grants; and what the criteria are for deciding which World Bank loans are to be converted into grants. [66186]

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Clare Short: Negotiations have recently concluded on the 13th Relenishment of the International Development Association (IDA), the concessional finance arm of the World Bank. 18–21 per cent. of overall IDA-13 resources, projected to be around $23 billion, will be provided in the form of grants. During the last IDA replenishment (IDA-12), less than 5 per cent. of resources were available as grants.

The British Government has worked hard to ensure that these grants will be targeted on those countries who will benefit from them most. The categories against which grants will be allocable are in the table below.

Categories for grants in IDA-13
Per cent.

Category DetailProportion of IDA-13
Debt-vulnerable countriesUp to 40% grants for IDA-only countries with per capita income of less than $360 p.a. with debt vulnerability problems8
Other very poor countriesUp to 23% grants for other IDA-only countries with per capita income of less than $360 p.a.3.5
Post-conflict countriesUp to 40% grants for all IDA post-conflict countries for the first three years1.5–4
Natural disaster assistance100% grants for reconstruction efforts for all IDA countries facing exceptional natural disasters1
HIV/AIDS programmes for IDA only countries100% grants for HIV/AIDS programmes4
for IDA/IBRD blend countries25% grants for HIV/AIDS programmes0.5
Total18–21

Notes:

'IDA-only' countries refers to countries who can only access World Bank loans through IDA. 'IDA/IBRD blend' countries refers to countries who can access a combination of IDA concessional loans and IBRD non-concessional loans.


Workers' Group Development Scheme

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will provide a breakdown of her Department's expenditure since 1998–99 on the Workers' Group Development Scheme. [67516]

Clare Short: The information is in the following table:

DFID Workers Group Development Scheme funding 1998–2001

TitleCountryAgencyBudget (#s)
1998–99
Organisational development programmePhilippinesChristian Aid23,624
Technical support projectPeruITDG24,135
Developing an equal opportunities strategyNamibiaTUC1,587
Farmworkers' literacy and legal rights campaignBangladeshWar on Want20,939
1999–2000
Negotiating skills for womenAfrica regionalTUC24,995
Training on asbestos related diseaseSouth AfricaTUC22,378
Health and safety educationNon-specificTUC20,054
Implementation of core labour standardsUgandaCTUC19,250
2000–01
Negotiating skills for womenAfrica regionalTUC24,995
Training on asbestos related diseaseSouth AfricaTUC22,378
Health and safety educationNon-specificTUC20,054
Implementation of core labour standardsUgandaCTUC19,250

The Civil Society Challenge Fund opened in October 1999 and provided new funding opportunities for trades union organisations. The Workers Group Development Scheme was therefore closed for new applications from 1 April 2000. All projects funded by the WGDS have now ended.

Regulatory Impact Unit

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many members of her Department have been employed in its regulatory impact unit in the past five years; and if she will make a statement. [65970]

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Clare Short: The Department for International Development is not involved in regulatory activity, and does not therefore have a regulatory impact unit. The Department does, however, systematically seek to assess the impact of its policies and programmes on the reduction of poverty in developing countries.


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