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19 Sept 2002 : Column 154Wcontinued
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who the members of the co-ordinating Group on Audit and Accounting issues are; which organisations they represent; what their accountancy qualifications are; what accountancy bodies they belong to; what the dates of meetings are; what the accountancy connections are of individuals and parties they have invited to comment; and whether the minutes will be published. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: Details of the members of the Co-ordinating Group on Audit and Accounting issues and of the parties they invited to comment on their work are given in its Interim Report, which was published on 24 July 2002.
These individuals were invited to be members of the Group by virtue of their roles in their organisations. No information is held about their qualifications or details of membership of particular bodies.
The Group has met three times to date: on 11 April, 11 June and 17 July 2002. The minutes of its meetings will not be published. However, the Group's Interim Report has been published, and its Final Report will also be published in due course.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimates have been made by her Department on the extent to which the Galileo satellite navigation system will duplicate services available under the Global Positioning System. 
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the numbers of customers for the Universal Bank in (a) 2003, (b) 2004, (c) 2005, (d) 2006 and (e) 2007. 
Stephen Timms [holding answer 18 July 2002]: The Government has an operating assumption of 3 million card accounts at the Post Office but there will be no cap and no eligibility criteria. Numbers could therefore vary according to customer demand and the systems are being designed to cope with a range of customer numbers.
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Alan Johnson: The enterprise grant scheme is being considered as part of the wider review of DTI business support. Any further changes to the geographical coverage of the scheme will not be decided until after the end of the wider review.
Business Link Operators (BLOs) assisted almost 245,000 separate businesses during 200102 this represents a penetration rate of almost 14 per cent. In addition, BLOs helped on average almost 21,000 pre-starts.
The Small Business Service supporting 96 Phoenix Development Fund projects in disadvantaged areas and amongst under-represented groups with a budget of £30 million. So far over 8,700 people have been assisted, enabling the start-up of over 400 new enterprises and creating or safeguarding more than 1,600 jobs.
SBS has supported over 800 (a record number) new Smart projects this year, worth over £34 million. The Scheme provides grants to help research and develop technologically innovative products and processes or buy external consultancy to improve their use and exploitation of technology. Smart now contributes half a billion pounds to the economy annually (source: Smart Evaluation published October 2001); and
Finally, The Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme, which offers guarantees on loans to small firms with viable business proposals that are unable to obtain conventional finance because they lack security to offer against a loan, passed the £3 billion lending mark earlier this year. Since the start of the Scheme in June 1981 over 81,000 loans have been guaranteed.
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In 199899 SBS spent £103 million, in 19992000 £118 million, in 200001 £172 million and in 200102 £154 million, on Business Link programme expenditure in all areas. SBS will be spending over £164 million in 200203.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many programmes her Department has initiated since 1997 aimed at encouraging graduates to establish their own businesses. 
Nigel Griffiths: Since 1997, the DTI has initiated a comprehensive programme of support for knowledge transfer from the science base that includes amongst its objectives promotion of entrepreneurship and business awareness within universities, including encouraging graduates to establish their own businesses. The knowledge transfer programme includes:
Alan Johnson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has had discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales covering a wide range of issues, including manufacturing in Wales. He, in turn, has regular meetings with the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government. Officials from my Department and the Welsh Assembly Government have also had many discussions on matters of mutual interest, including manufacturing in Wales.
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Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reports the Radio Agency has assessed about the role of members of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's working group on Digital Information Standards activities which added value to Motorola Europe's patent applications in this field; and what implications this will have for the cost of future licence fees payable to Motorola. 
Stephen Timms: The Radiocommunications Agency is a UK member of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute and in common with other members of ETSI, its responsibilities would not extend to carrying out an assessment of the role of other members of the group.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the implications for the UK digital communications industry of applications made by Motorola Europe supported by Motorola USA for patents on technologies offered to and adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's Digital Information Interchange Systems Standards group. 
Stephen Timms: The Department of Trade and Industry supports the European Telecommunications Institute's policy on Intellectual Property Rights but is not in a position to comment upon the impact of patent rights belonging to individual companies. However, the Radiocommunications Agency is aware of discussions currently taking place within ETSI on the value of essential IPR in a standard and the value of contributions given by members in the development of those standards. The Digital Information Interchange Systems project is seen as a means to promote spectrum efficiency within the Private Business Radio Industry and the Agency would wish to see it develop for the benefit of industry, manufacturers and the users of business radio.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reports the Radio Agency has assessed on Motorola Europe's licence fee policy for the use of the common technologies employed in pursuit of DIIS standards. 
Stephen Timms: It is not the role of the Radiocommunications Agency to assess the commercial practice of companies or organisations in their operation of fees policy relating to Intellectual Property Rights held by those organisations.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the implications of recent Motorola Europe patent activity for the prospects for the participation of small-scale UK-owned telecommunications companies involved in the creation of the European Telecommunications Standards. 
Stephen Timms: The Department of Trade and Industry supports the European Telecommunications Institute's policy on Intellectual Property Rights that has been established for some time but is not in a position to comment upon the impact of patent rights belonging to individual companies. However, the DTI supports moves towards digital technology and would encourage all
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companies, not least small companies, to take advantage of opportunities arising from the introduction of this technology.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reports the Radio Agency has assessed about the Chairman of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's work in establishing Motorola Europe's role in the authorship and application for patents for the technologies applicable to companies in the Digital Information Interchange Standards group. 
Stephen Timms: The Radiocommunications Agency is a UK member of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute and in common with other members of ETSI, its responsibilities would not extend to carrying out an assessment of reports relating to the work of a Chairman of an ETSI group in this respect.
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