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26 Nov 2002 : Column 219W—continued

Tobacco Products

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his Department expects to have received from manufacturers and importers of tobacco products a list of all ingredients, and quantities thereof, used in the manufacture of those tobacco products by brand name and type, in accordance with the proposals laid down in the EU Tobacco Directive. [81682]

Ms Blears: The European Union Directive on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products requires manufacturers and importers of tobacco products to supply the Secretary of State with a list of all ingredients per brand, together with their known health effects. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State will make and lay regulations shortly before Parliament to transpose the Directive. The Department will write to manufacturers once the regulations are laid, asking that the information be supplied in accordance with the timetable specified in the regulations.

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Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his Department sent a list of approved testing laboratories to test the tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide yields of cigarettes to the European Union in accordance with the proposals in the Tobacco Directive. [81680]

Ms Blears: The European Union Directive on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products was due to be transposed into United Kingdom law by 30 September 2002. The UK is slightly late in implementing the Directive and has notified the European Commission of this delay. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will make and lay regulations before Parliament shortly and the Department will then send a list of approved laboratories to the Commission.



Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many persons were employed in the house-building profession in (a) 1999, (b) 2000, (c) 2001 and (d) 2002 [82808]

Mr. Wilson: In 2001, 91,400 persons were employed by firms registered for VAT and classified as house builders. Information for 2002 is still being collected and will be published during summer 2003 in the Construction Statistics Annual.Separate figures for house-builders are not available for 1999 and 2000.


Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance she has given to BAE to help it export to Thailand. [83015]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 25 November 2002]: The Department, through British Trade International including the commercial section of the British embassy in Thailand, have assisted BAE Systems in their efforts to do business in Thailand.

Representative from BAe Systems attended an Investment Seminar in the United Kingdom and the British Tai Business Group Meeting, in Bangkok, in 2001. Both events were co-sponsored by the Department.

BAE Systems have not participated in any Outward Trade Missions or the Support for Exhibitions and Seminars Abroad Scheme to Thailand in the past two years.

On 18 October the ambassador signed a Joint Minute on Defence Co-operation with the Thai Deputy Prime Minister in Bangkok.

The Joint Minute referred to a commercial agreement between BAe System and the Royal Thai Government, the details of which are to be worked out between BAE Systems and the Royal Thai Government.

Ballistic Missile Proliferation (Code of Conduct)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what additional measures she proposes to

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take to implement the restraints in the (a) development, (b) testing and (c) spread of (i) missiles and (ii) space launch vehicles, in the new Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. [83461]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.

The United Kingdom subscribed to the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC) on 25 November, which I announced to the House by means of a written Ministerial Statement today. Her Majesty's Government are already well placed to implement the undertakings in the Code. We already have strong measures in place for tackling the proliferation of ballistic missiles. The United Kingdom scrutinises export licence applications for any possible diversion of the goods to a missile programme of concern. We play an active part in the Missile Technology Control Regime, that co-ordinates national export controls on missile-related technology. Bilaterally, the United Kingdom encourages countries to show restraint in missile programmes and testing, emphasising the adverse effects they have on regional stability.

In implementing the ICOC, in line with Part 4 of the Code, the United Kingdom will exchange with other subscribing states pre-launch notifications on ballistic missile and space launch vehicle launches and test flights. Also, in line with the Code we will share annual declarations on the United Kingdom's ballistic missile and satellite vehicle policies and launches.


Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what steps she takes to ensure that BNFL's engagement with US political parties and their representatives is consistent with (a) the national interest and (b) the interests of public funds; [80843]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 20 November 2002]: BNFL is a public limited company and its Board is free to run the company day-to-day within the overall strategic framework set by HMG. Its activities are funded from its commercial activities, and not from public funds. I have raised this issue with the company and it has assured me that it has no intention of making any further political donations to US political parties.

Competitiveness Council

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the outcome was of the Competitiveness Council held in Brussels on 14–15 November; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if she will make a statement. [82242]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I represented the UK at the Competitiveness Council on 14 November in Brussels.

Following on from the Nyborg Informal Council held in October, there was a debate about the structures needed to bring together the internal market, industry and research elements of the new integrated Competitiveness Council.

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There was a presentation by the Commission covering Better Regulation and its plans to improve the quality of European legislation.

There was a presentation by the Commission on the Internal Market Scoreboard, which shows progress towards achieving a single market. In particular, it reports member states' performance on transposing European single market directives into national law. The UK has a good record, being one of only five member states to meet the target that 98.5 per cent. of directives should be transposed on time.

A presentation on the joint work programme of three presidencies (Danish, Greek, and Italian) covered the internal market elements of the Competitiveness Council's work. Greece explained that in December they would present an integrated plan of their entire programme to the General Affairs Council.

Discussions on the Community Patent proposal, which aims to create a single EU-wide patent, continued but no conclusion was reached.

There was broad agreement for a common approach on a proposal to harmonise conditions under which computer programmes may be patented. The presidency concluded that the text should now await the European Parliament's first reading.

The Commission presented its new proposal for a Takeovers Directive.

There was an initial debate on the Free Movement Of Citizens Directive.

All member states welcomed the recently published Winter report on corporate governance.

The council welcomed the proposal for a directive on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications as part of the Lisbon agenda and there was considerable support for improved mobility within labour markets and more efficient recognition of qualifications. Delegations endorsed the consolidation, simplification, and rationalisation of current structures and legislation, a freer system for the cross-border provision of services, and improving information and support for migrants. Delegation also recognised the need to balance consumer protection and consumer choice. Discussions will continue at official level.

The Commission presented a proposal for a Consumer Credit Directive to replace and update the 1987 Directive. The Council welcomed the dossier and called for a thorough examination at official level.

The Commission gave a progress report on the consultation and work to date following the follow-up Communication to the Green Paper on Consumer Protection.

The following agenda items were approved with little discussion: conclusions for the Competitiveness Council's contributions to Sustainable Development, the Internal Market Strategy for Services, and the proposed Motor Insurance 5th Directive.

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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what financial assistance was allocated to (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Wales, (c) England and (d) Scotland as part of Consignia's Urban Network Reinvention Programme; and if she will make a statement. [83655]

Mr. Timms: Unlike the schemes to improve and sustain post offices in deprived urban areas for which separate funding provision has been made for England and for each of the three devolved Administrations, Post Office Ltd.'s Urban Network Reinvention Programme is a single UK-wide programme. Neither the Government nor Post Office Ltd. have pre-allocated funds for the Urban Reinvention programme to countries or regions within the UK.

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