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28 Oct 2002 : Column 529W—continued


Arthur Andersen

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether Andersen Accountants were chosen as prospective advisers on the restructuring of BNFL prior to the company's role in the collapse of Enron becoming known. [75456]

Ms Hewitt Arthur Andersen were chosen in November 1999 as jointly appointed Reporting Accountant to the Department and BNFL in relation to the potential introduction of a public-private partnership for BNFL. This appointment ended in December 2001. Deloitte and Touche acted as accountancy adviser to the Department on BNFL from March 2000. Following a competitive tender the Department decided in July 2002 to reappoint Deloitte and Touche as its accountancy adviser on BNFL and the proposed Liabilities Management Authority. In August 2002 Deloitte and Touche completed its transaction with Andersen UK under which partners and staff of Andersen UK joined Deloitte and Touche.


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment was made of the likely end-use of Beryllium prior to export licences being granted for its export to Iran. [75884]

Nigel Griffiths: The Government attaches great importance to ensuring that UK exports are not misused, diverted or re-exported to undesirable end-uses, and this risk is among those identified in the consolidated EU and national aims export licensing criteria. The consolidated criteria set out factors to be considered by Member States in assessing the risk of diversion. The Government believes the best way of minimising the risk of diversion is a thorough risk assessment at the licensing stage and this process includes careful examination of information about the proposed end-use and end-user of the goods. After a detailed assessment of the individual circumstance—less than ½ ounce of the application it was judged that the proposed export of 10 grams of beryllium, to the

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University of Science and Technology in Tehran, did not give rise to concern about use in connection with weapons of mass destruction. In addition, after thorough scrutiny of the application, the Department and its advisors assessed the stated end use as legitimate.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which protocols have been signed by the United Kingdom banning the sale of beryllium to named countries. [76393]

Nigel Griffiths: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for South Suffolk (Mr. Yeo) on 15 October 2002, Official Report, column 678W.

British Energy

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the meetings Ministers and departmental officials have had with British Energy since 1 August; and if she will place in the Library a copy of the financial agreement concluded with British Energy in September. [75689]

Ms Hewitt: My Department holds regular meetings with British Energy. Full details of the credit facility agreement are commercially confidential unless and until it is made public by British Energy.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people are employed by British Energy in the UK. [76133]

Ms Hewitt: This is a matter for the company.

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how long Project Blue related to British Energy has been under consideration in her Department. [76692]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 October 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 October 2002, Official Report, column 667W to the hon. Member for South Suffolk (Mr. Yeo).

XBlue" is a word that my Department used in referring to British Energy. It is standard practice to use a code when dealing with sensitive matters to protect them from casual observers.

Business Link U

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost has been of establishing the Business Link U; and whether all Small Business Service and Business Link staff will be required to undertake training through this arrangement. [76834]

Mr. Timms: The cost of establishing the Business Link U (BLU) has been #1.42 million.

BLU, the virtual 'corporate university' for business development professionals, aims to meet the key learning priorities of the network of Small Business Service (SBS), Business Link Operator (BLO) and delivery partners. It will identify, capture and share what works well across the network and bring in excellence from outside. All SBS and BLO staff are not required to undertake training through the BLU. However, as BLU becomes synonymous with high quality learning, we expect it to become the preferred choice across the network.

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Departmental Job Vacancies

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many job vacancies there were at (a) administrative assistant or equivalent, (b) administrative officer or equivalent, (c) administrative executive officer, (d) higher executive officer, (e) senior executive officer, (f) grade 7 principal and (g) positions above grade 7 level in her Department for jobs located in (i) London and (i) the South East between 1 April 2001 and 31 March; and what is the total employment Civil Service grade. [76555]

Ms Hewitt: The Department of Trade and Industry does not maintain detailed data on numbers of vacancies. The position fluctuates over the year with the majority of vacancies being filled by internal transfers. The following table for the year 1 April 2001 to 31 March shows the number of vacancies filled through external recruitment and the total employment in DTI for each Civil Service equivalent grade as at 31 March 2002. It is not possible to distinguish between posts located in London and the South East:

Vacancies filledStaff in Post 3 1.03. 02
Administrative Assistant41202
Administrative Officer73873
Executive Officer40788
Higher Executive Officer25860
Senior Executive Officer6316
Grades 7 and 615685
Senior Civil Service7165

Developing Countries

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 4 December 2001, Official Report, column 145W, on export credits, if she will list the 63 poorest developing countries referred to; and if she will make a statement. [75217]

Ms Hewitt : ECGD support for the poorest developing countries is restricted to those projects that contribute to the social and economic development and do not harm the debt position of the destination country. The Xproductive expenditure" criteria apply to those countries only eligible for concessional loans from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA-only countries). There are currently 65 such countries which are listed:

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Ferry Workers

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if British seamen on British-registered ferries employed through (a) Singapore and (b) Bermuda retain employment rights under British employment law; [76592]

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Alan Johnson: Broadly speaking, the great majority of employment legislation applies to employees working on board ship, provided their ship is registered as belonging in a port in Great Britain, they do not work wholly outside Great Britain under their contract of employment and they are ordinarily resident in Great Britain. Where statutory minimum standards apply to terms and conditions of employment, employees can complain to the employment tribunals if they believe that those standards have not been met. There are some exceptions to the application of employment legislation to UK seafarers and I understand that the Department for Transport's Shipping Task Force is examining their position under the legislation.

Turning to the Working Time Directive, sea transport is one of the sectors that were excluded from the original Directive as it is covered by other legislation. Non-mobile workers are covered by the Horizontal Amending Directive (2000/32/EC), which is due to be implemented by 1 August 2003. Seafarers are covered by Council Directive 1999/63/EC, implemented by the Merchant Shipping (Hours of Work) Regulations 2002 and Merchant Shipping (Medical Examination) Regulations 2002 and Council Directive 1999/95/EC, implemented by the Merchant Shipping (Hours of Work) Regulations 2002. These regulations came into force in September 2002 and are enforced by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency as part of its normal inspection and enforcement regime.

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are in place to ensure that British ferry companies pay their national insurance contributions for the workers on their ships. [76593]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

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The Inland Revenue carry out a programme of inspections of employers' records to ensure that they are correctly operating both National Insurance Contributions and PAYE tax. UK shipping companies are included in that programme of visits. Particular attention is paid to the issue of liability to pay UK National Insurance Contributions. In addition checks are made on individual employees' details, when these are supplied at the year end, to ensure that National Insurance Contributions have been correctly calculated.

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