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international competitiveness of (a) the UK chemical industry itself and (b) the rest of the UK manufacturing industry. 
Alan Johnson [holding answer 19 November 2002]: My right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for the Environment, has overall responsibility for the EU Chemicals Strategy, including responsibility for the assessment of the regulatory impact of those proposals. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is actively involved in the development of policy on this issue. In May 2001, the Government prepared a preliminary regulatory impact assessment of the proposals in the European Commission's White Paper XStrategy for a Future Chemicals Policy", COM(2001) 88. A further regulatory impact assessment will be required when proposals for the European Commission's legislation are available, and DTI will be fully involved in determining the scope and content of that assessment. It will include an assessment of the implications of the proposed legislation for the international competitiveness of the
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UK chemicals industry and other manufacturing sectors that use chemicals in their processes and products. The Government has already consulted interested stakeholders about the specification for the regulatory impact assessment. In addition, the Government will consider what further analysis may be needed to ensure that the wider implications for competitiveness (for example, at the macro-economic level) are taken into account.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of England's energy needs have been delivered by (a) gas generation, (b) other fossil fuel generation, (c) nuclear generation, (d) renewable sources, excluding hydro power and (e) hydro power in each year since 1972. 
|Total GWh||Gas(18)||Other fossil fuels||Nuclear||Renewables excluding hydro||Hydro||Total|
(17) Electricity supplied is here measured on a Xgross" basis, ie hydro includes production from pumped storage stations and Xother fuels" include the electricity supplied for use in pumping at pumped storage stations.
(18)Prior to 1995 figures are for Combined Cycle Gas Turbines only.
Department of Trade and Industry
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she next expects to meet representatives of small businesses to discuss the impact of the equal treatment at work directive. 
Nigel Griffiths: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and I hold regular meetings with the small business community. These meetings offer many opportunities for business to ask questions about this area of equal treatment legislation.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information she has collated on the amount of energy within each OECD country generated from renewable sources in each year since 1990 and what the change in total energy consumption was in each case, taking 1990 as a baseline figure of 100. 
Mr. Wilson: The available information is shown in tables, copies of which will be placed in the Library, and cover electricity generated from renewable sources, and electricity consumption in each OECD country. The data are compiled by the International Energy Agency.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with (a) BAE Systems and (b) the Government of Thailand regarding (i) proposed sale of defence equipment to Thailand and (ii) the promotion of Thai poultry exports. 
Nigel Griffiths: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has had no discussions with BAE Systems on this issue. However, this Government fully supports UK industry in its legitimate defence exports. In relation to the Kingdom of Thailand, HMG is supporting BAE Systems to work with the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand to assist with the modernisation of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. In this connection, I understand they have set in motion the negotiation on a major programme of offset, technology transfer and inward investment, collectively known as XEconomic Compensation", to be undertaken to provide Thailand with substantial and sustainable investment in areas such as agriculture, health, education and industrial participation.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry met the Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, in May of this year. At that meeting, she told him she was grateful for Thailand's efforts in implementing safeguards in relation to its exports of chicken and shrimp.
Mr. Soley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will conduct a study of the relationship between high value rented properties and the adequacy of housing benefit as part of the trials being carried out on changes to housing benefit. 
Malcolm Wicks: We use local reference rents to ensure that the overriding principle that people receiving should not have their rent met in full if it exceeds the broad average for the area is adhered to. Local reference rents and the localities to which they apply are set by independent rent officers to reflect local housing market conditions. Requests for re-determinations are rare which indicates that local references rents do not cause widespread problems for benefit recipients.
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The new standard local housing allowance will be based on local reference rents and will be piloted in up to 10 pathfinder local authorities selected to reflect a wide range of housing market conditions, including areas with high value rented properties. In consultation with independent researchers, we are drawing up a rigorous evaluation strategy to test the effectiveness of the allowance in enabling housing benefit recipients in the deregulated private rented sector to make informed choices over their accommodation.
Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will introduce a de minimis rule in implementing the housing benefit changes due in April 2003, whereby a small charity, with less than 10 units, may continue to have its 'support' costs included in housing benefit payments. 
Malcolm Wicks: Housing benefit is intended to help people on low incomes to pay for rented accommodation. It is not intended to provide the full range of support services vulnerable people need to enable them to live independently in the community. The Supporting People arrangements to be introduced in April 2003 will bring together resources from several existing programmes, including housing benefit, to create a coherent funding and planning framework for housing-related support services, based on a grant to local councils. The new arrangements will promote greater choice and flexibility for service users.
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