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5 Dec 2002 : Column 988W—continued

Coal Industry

20. John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much coal she expects to be produced in the United Kingdom in 20 years' time. [83622]

Mr. Wilson: The Department does not have forecasts for coal production in the UK in 20 years' time. Decisions on the level of output will be a matter for the relevant coal operators to determine in the light of future developments in markets, world prices, technology, regulatory requirements and geological conditions.

Manufacturing Strategy

21. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress she has made in the implementation of her manufacturing strategy. [83623]

Ms Hewitt: The Manufacturing Strategy we published on 16 May identified seven key areas of activity necessary for manufacturing success. We have made significant progress in all of these areas to help manufacturers fulfil their potential in the UK.

Energy Efficiency

22. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what role energy efficiency plays in the Department's energy policy. [83624]

Mr. Wilson: We are committed to working with others to ensure competitive energy markets while achieving safe, secure and sustainable energy supplies. Energy efficiency plays a key role in moving to a more sustainable energy policy for the UK in both the short and long terms. Energy efficiency also contributes to social and security of supply objectives.

SMEs

23. Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to support small and medium-sized enterprises. [83625]

Nigel Griffiths: The Government's vision is that anybody with the talent, potential and drive to succeed in business has the opportunity and the necessary support to do so, regardless of their background. Government have an important role in creating a fertile business environment; addressing market failures; and ensuring that where it comes into contact with future entrepreneurs it encourages rather than hinders them.

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Measures already put in place and new developments announced in the pre-Budget report will take further steps towards attaining this goal, and the policy framework developed by the Small Business Service (SBS) will drive forward improvements in policy and service delivery.

Government spends in the region of £2.5 billion a year on a wide range of services for small business. The Cross Cutting Review of business support set out a series of practical recommendations for driving up the quality and effectiveness of these services, with the aim of improving the customer experience for all small businesses.

In addition, Spending Review 2002 provided the SBS with extra resources to help meet the challenges of its new role as a champion for small businesses across Whitehall. The Spending Review provided an additional £40 million by 2005–06, compared with 2002–03, to boost e-delivery of services, while the Phoenix Fund is also being extended by two years beyond March 2004 with an extra £50 million over 2004–05 and 2005–06 to promote enterprise in deprived areas.

Fireworks

25. Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what review her Department is conducting of the need for legislation further to control the sale and use of fireworks. [83628]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I would refer my hon. Friend to an answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hendrick), on 17 October 2002, Official Report, columns 889–90 announcing a package of measures to address problems caused by fireworks. This followed discussions with other Government Departments, enforcement authorities and the fireworks industry.

26. Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures she is taking to improve firework safety. [83629]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1997 introduced comprehensive controls on the types and sizes of fireworks which can be sold to the public. It also required compliance with British Standard 7114 and made it an offence to supply fireworks to those under 18 years of age.

Also, I would refer my hon. Friend to an answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hendrick) on 17 October 2002, Official Report, columns 889–90, announcing a package of measures to address problems caused by fireworks.

Launch Aid

27. Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the future of launch aid. [83630]

Alan Johnson: The Government have been and continue to be supportive of the aerospace industry in the UK. Since 1997 we have committed nearly £1 billion in Launch Investment (previously known as Launch Aid) for major new large aircraft and engine projects.

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My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 16 May this year the establishment of the Aerospace Innovation and Growth Team (IGT), led by Sir Richard Evans. The IGT, as part of their remit, is considering medium to long-term strategic issues affecting the aerospace sector, including the future of Government support mechanisms. Sir Richard and his team are currently about halfway through their work and I expect the IGT to report by next spring with recommendations and an agreed action plan to take the industry forward.

Science Budget

28. Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the allocation of science budget under the 2002 spending review. [83631]

Ms Hewitt: I will be making a statement in due course.

Shipbuilding Industry

29. Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she has taken in the last month to help the British shipbuilding industry. [83632]

Alan Johnson: No new initiatives have been taken in the last calendar month. Nevertheless, Ministers continue to work closely with the shipbuilding and other marine manufacturing industries to enhance their own efforts to improve their competitiveness, productivity and employment.

On 6 November, I chaired the regular meeting of the Shipbuilding and Marine Industries Forum where representatives of the companies, unions and other principal stakeholders reviewed progress against targets and activities in the Implementation Plan. This plan is a series of joint and individual initiatives aimed at improving sales, employment and profitability and having the commitment of all the major interests, not just Government.

Throughout the month, progress continued on the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association's four-year programme of Xmaster classes" and academic studies to improve productivity (a project supported by a DTI grant of £2.8 million) as did a programme towards enhancing the marketing capabilities of merchant shipbuilders (again supported by a DTI grant of £175,000).

In addition, the Engineering and Marine Training Authority was well into its six-month study (assisted by grants from the DTI and the Department for Education and Skills) into the availability of the skilled manpower that will be needed for future merchant and naval shipbuilding projects, especially the Future Aircraft Carriers.

Finally, as part of our effort to tackle unfair competition in the shipbuilding market, the World Trade Organisation action against Korean unfair pricing, which we have strongly supported, was started.

War Assets (Redistribution)

30. Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the

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progress of Lord Archer of Sandwell's committee on the redistribution of assets seized in World War Two. [83633]

Ms Hewitt: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him yesterday.

Energy Policy

31. Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the role of environmental considerations in the formulation of the Government's energy policy. [83635]

Mr. Wilson: The Government is currently carrying out a review of energy policy with a view to issuing a White Paper in the New Year. Environmental considerations will be an important part of the White Paper. In particular greenhouse gas emissions will need to be reduced significantly during the 21st century, both globally and in the UK, if we are to avoid dangerous climate change and the energy system is crucial to that.

Public Match Funds

32. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of delivering of public match funds to EU objective one regions. [83636]

Alan Johnson: The Government have not carried out such an assessment, but are unaware of any current difficulties over the provision of public match funding to support projects in Objective 1 regions.

Many of the sources of match funding are national programmes that respond to demand from the regions. In January 2002, the Government published a revised list of potential central Government sources of match funding in England. It is available at http://www.dti.gov.uk/europe/mfl.htm on the internet.

Administration of the EU structural funds in Wales, including issues relating to match funding, is a matter for the Welsh Assembly Government.


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