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28 Oct 2002 : Column 534W—continued


Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the cost to business of employers' and public liability insurance. [75241]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 21 October 2002]: My Department is aware of recent increases to the cost to business of employers' and public liability insurance, which are the consequence of a number of factors, most notably the tightening of global insurance markets since September 11 last year. Although this is a cause for concern, Government generally do not interfere in what is essentially a competitive market on the basis that the terms and conditions of insurance policies are best set by insurers themselves in the light of their customers' needs, taking a commercial assessment of the risk to determine premiums. Companies experiencing difficulties in obtaining insurance cover are advised to contact Peter Staddon at the British Insurance Brokers' Association on 020 7397 0204 for general advice and assistance in finding a suitable insurance broker.

Ministerial Appointments

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the appointments she has made since 8 June 2001. [75234]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 21 October 2002]: Ministerial appointments made to the public bodies for which my Department is responsible in the period since 8 June 2001 are listed in the table.

Public BodyNumber and Type of Appointments
ACAS3 Members
Airports Advisory Council1 Chair
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council1 Chief Executive, 5 Members
British Coal Corporation1 Member
British Shipbuilders1 Chair, 2 Members
Business Incubation Fund Investment Panel1 Chair, 7 Members
Central Arbitration Committee2 Deputy Chairs, 16 Members
Coal Authority1 Chief Executive, 1 Member
Competition Commission23 Members
Consignia1 Chair
Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils1 Chair, 3 Members
Distributed Generation Co-ordinating Group14 Members
East of England Regional Industrial Development Board3 Members
Economic and Social Research Council5 Members
Education and Training Export Group1 Member
Employment Appeals Tribunals17 Members
Employment Tribunals1 Member
Energy Advisory Panel1 Chair, 4 Members
Engineering and Physical Science Research Council1 Chief Executive, 3 Members
Ethnic Minority Business Forum25 Members
Fuel Poverty Advisory Group1 Chair
Gas and Electricity Markets Authority1 Member
Hearing Aid Council3 Members
Industrial Development Advisory Board2 Members
Intellectual Property Advisory Committee1 Chair, 12 Members
International Oil and Gas Business Advisory Board4 Members
London/South East Regional Industrial Development Board5 Members
Low Pay Commission1 Chair, 1 Member
Measurement Advisory Committee1 Chair, 10 Members
Medical Research Council4 Members
National Consumer Council7 Members
Natural Environment Research Council8 Members
North East Regional Industrial Development Board2 Members
OFCOM1 Chair, 4 Members
Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council 1 Chair, 3 Members
Ports and Logistics Advisory Group1 Chair
Postwatch2 Members
Power Sector Working Group1 Chair
Regional Advisory Group1 Chair, 15 Members
Regional Development Agencies4 Chairs, 39 Members
Simpler Trade Procedures Board5 Members
Small Business Council8 Members
South West Regional Industrial Development Board4 Members
Spectrum Management Advisory Group4 Members
Trade Partners America Advisers3 Members
Trade Partners UK Europe Advisers1 Member
United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority1 Chair, 3 Members
Water Sector Group2 Members
Womens National Commission1 Chair
Yorkshire/Humber/East Midlands Regional Industrial Development Board2 Members

28 Oct 2002 : Column 535W

Non-devolved Posts

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many non-devolved posts were advertised in the press in each year from June 1999; and what percentage were advertised in the Scottish press. [76858]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 October 2002]: The information requested is as follows:


All these vacancies were advertised in the Scottish press.


Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received about improper transfer of energy accounts by npower; and if she will make a statement. [75898]

Ms Hewitt: I have received a number of representations about the erroneous transfer of gas and electricity supply by energy companies. Such transfers may arise from administrative or data problems or from sales malpractice. In January 2001, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM), which regulates the sales activities of energy suppliers, imposed undertakings on npower following a rise in marketing complaints. These undertakings were lifted in April 2002 after npower met objectives agreed with OFGEM. OFGEM continues to monitor npower and other suppliers, and can investigate any company that appears to have breached the terms of its supply licence.

28 Oct 2002 : Column 536W

Passport to Export Scheme

Mr Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how the Passport to Export scheme is promoted; [75861]

Ms Hewitt: 'Your passport to export success' is a national Trade Partners UK programme, delivered regionally, to develop small businesses in international trade. Promotion is done regionally. There has been no national campaign, but the press has picked up success stories.

The programme is delivered through Business Links. Passport customers receive:

To date 1,137 companies are taking part in the programme, 734 of which have been recruited in this financial year. Of these, 37 are located in Surrey. There is a mix of promotional activity tailored to the needs of each region's business community. In Surrey, for example, this has included a promotional event reinforced by articles in local media and publicity from partner organisations such as Chambers of Commerce.

28 Oct 2002 : Column 537W

Passport did not operate in financial year 2000–01, and there was no programme budget. In financial year 2001–02, 403 businesses joined the programme from its inception in autumn 2001.

In financial year 2001–02, expenditure was #2,099 million against a budget of #3,104.million.

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the members of each regional development agency, stating for each member the (a) date of, (b) length of, their appointment and (c) their qualifications for the job. [75237]

Ms Hewitt [pursuant to her reply, 21 October 2002, Official Report, c. 71–72W]: It has come to my attention that there were errors in the expiry dates of the appointments of some of the board members of the south west of England Regional Development Agency (SW RDA) and Yorkshire Forward (YF).

The amended appointment dates for current SW RDA and YF board members are detailed in the following table:

Date of first appointmentDate of re-appointmentExpiry date of appointment
South West of England Regional Development Agency
Yorkshire Forward

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