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Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she is taking to prevent imports of steel from Eastern European countries which are produced in inefficient plants with highly pollutant side effects. 
Mr. Wilson: A number of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures are in force against several steel products from various Eastern European countries. In addition, definitive safeguard measures introduced by the EU to guard against trade diversion as a result of the US safeguard measure announced in March include products from Eastern Europe. The EU also has agreements with Russia and Ukraine applying quantitative restrictions to imports of certain steel products from these countries.
These measures have been taken to protect EU industry from unfair trade practices that harm EU industries or, in the case of the safeguard measure, to prevent a damaging surge of imports into the EU. Neither EU commercial policy instruments nor WTO agreements contain provisions providing for environmental factors to be taken into account when restricting imports.
Mr. Wilson: Stone, being a heavy product incurs high transportation costs and has little import penetration within the UK. Most stone used in the UK travels less than thirty miles from its point of extraction to its point of use and less than 2 per cent. is imported. Over half those imports are from within the EU, subject to EU regulation and freedom of movement within the economic area. Stone forms a very small part of the goods and products imported to the UK and it would not be cost effective to monitor their origins. We do, however keep close contact with stone industry trade associations and discuss issues including imports.
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sponsored projects put forward by each Government department as rethinking construction demonstration projects. 
Mr. Wilson: The following Rethinking Construction demonstration projects have substantially been funded and procured by Central Government departments and agencies. It excludes those being taken forward by the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Further information on any of the above demonstration projects is available from the Movement for Innovation section of the Rethinking Construction website at: www.m4i.org.uk/m4i/projects/projects.asp
Miss Melanie Johnson: On 2 September I published a consultation document on the options for extending the application of the European Regulation on International Accounting Standards. The closing date for comments is 26 November 2002. After the consultation I will publish a summary of the responses to the consultation.
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Nigel Griffiths: The Government recognises the importance of venture capital as a source of finance for business and we have aimed to create an economic climate in which the venture capital industry can flourish. As well as providing tax incentives to encourage more individuals to invest in venture capital, we have commissioned the Myners Study to examine how it might be possible to encourage more institutional investment.
We have worked closely with representatives of the venture capital industry to develop programmes like the UK High Technology Fund, Regional Venture Capital Funds and the Community Development Venture Fund. In each of these the Government, by making a core investment, has successfully levered in significant private sector finance. This is the first time that a Government of this country has directly invested in venture capital funds with the aim of improving small and medium-sized enterprises' (SMEs) access to finance.
Over 99.5 per cent. of the increase in business numbers occurred in the SME category (0 to 249 employees). SMEs also accounted for 70 per cent. of the increase in employment and about 57 per cent. of the turnover increase.
For the UK as a whole there were about 3.71 million small businesses (0 to 49 employees) in 2001. This was an increase of about 36,000 on the 1997 estimates. A more detailed look at the figures shows that this has actually occurred despite a big decrease of about 50,000 from 1997 to 1998. There has been an annual increase of at least 20,000 businesses every year since 1998.
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(b) For the UK as a whole 17 per cent. more companies received investment in 2001 than in 1997. The amount of investment in 2001 was 55 per cent. higher than in 1997. However, there was a 25 per cent. decrease in the amount invested from 2000 to 2001, but more companies received this money.
In the 19972001 period 5 English regions (Yorkshire & Humber, Eastern, London, South East and South West) have seen an increase in the number of companies receiving investment. Northern Ireland also saw this trend.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress the joint DTI-Treasury chaired group has made on the (a) analysis and (b) response to the auditing and accounting issues raised by recent corporate failures. 
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, welcomed the report in a Statement on the same day. In response to a recommendation in the Interim Report, she announced that there would be an immediate review of the regulation of the audit and accountancy professions in the UK. The Terms of Reference for that Review have now been published and are as set out below:
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