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Miss Melanie Johnson: In July last year I announced a review of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. As part of this review, I have consulted on proposals to extend the protection the Act provides by removing the financial limit and to make the terms for early settlement of loans fairer to consumers. I will be consulting in 2003 on proposals for improving the current licensing regime to ensure better regulation of lenders and increasing protection for consumers against extortionate credit.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which chemical industry specialist was appointed to work with Invest UK in January 2001; and if she will make a statement on Invest UK, including the terms of reference for the organisation and its work. 
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 9 December 2002]: The chemical industry specialist appointed to work with Invest UK is James W. Walpole, a senior executive, who has been seconded to the DTI by BP Chemicals for three years and works alongside Invest UK's team in the USA.
Invest UK's mission is Xto attract, to retain and add value to inward investment." It does so by marketing the UK abroad as an investment location, working with its partner agencies in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the English Regional Development Agencies.
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inward investment into (a) Roxburgh and Berwickshire, (b) the Scottish Borders, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK over the last 10 years. 
The figures are based on information provided by companies at the time of announcement of the decision to invest in the UK. There is no requirement to notify Invest-UK of such decisions. These figures include only those projects where Invest-UK and its regional partners were involved or which have come to their notice.
Alan Johnson: The state aid rules applicable to the steel industry do not allow for direct help to enhance primary steel production. Nonetheless my Department works closely with industry representatives to try to ensure the UK's steel production capacity is utilised by helping its customers in the metals downstream industry sectors to access state of the art technology; best practice to move up the value added chain; and to diversify into new high technology products, in order to remain competitive.
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Mr. Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement on 3 December 2002, Official Report, column 68WS, which explains how civil defence grant was allocated for 200304, and the level of allocation to each authority in England and Wales.
Each authority received #53,000. Each county council received #12,000 in respect of each shire district within the authority's boundaries. These flat-rate payments accounted for approximately 65 per cent. of the aggregate grant, in recognition of the fact that every authority, regardless of size and population, would incur similar unavoidable costs in conducting the basic emergency planning function.
The remaining 35 per cent. of the aggregate grant was distributed according to the Bellwin threshold, using population size as a proxy for the scale of the emergency planning that authorities need to undertake.
In order to keep year-on-year changes to individual authorities' allocations within reasonable bounds, a damping was added to the formula, so that no authority lost more than 10 per cent. or gained more than 20 per cent. compared with the previous year.
Before the formula was applied for the financial year 200203, #100,000 was retained for discretionary grant for special projects and special events of benefit to the wider emergency planning community in England and Wales.
Before making decisions on this allocation method, consultations were held with local authority representatives on the basis of a draft formula. As a result of the representations made, the formula was amended to give greater weight to the flat rate element and less weight to the element distributed according to the Bellwin threshold. The damping was also changed to reduce the floor level for losses.
|Financial year||# million|
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Mr. Alexander: This information is not collected centrally. Departmental costs and other expenditure are accounted for in departmental annual reports and National Audit Office audits of departmental accounts.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) if he will list (a) the amount of civil defence grant for Shropshire, (b) the yearly percentage change for Shropshire and (c) the average percentage change for England in each year since 1997; 
Mr. Alexander: There are two authorities in Shropshire currently in receipt of civil defence grants: Shropshire county council and Telford and Wrekin unitary authority. The reorganisation of local government and the creation of new all-purpose authorities has led to the redistribution, over several years, of civil defence grant among authorities.
|Financial year||Shropshire county council civil defence grant (#)||Telford and Wrekin civil defence grant (#)||Total civil defence grant for Shropshire (#)||Percentage change||England and Wales percentage change|
(1) Did not exist
In the absence of cash limits, the aggregate amount of civil defence grant increased in 200102, following discussions with local authorities. It was decided to maintain the grant at around the 200102 national level to reflect factors such as the fuel crisis, foot and mouth outbreak and flooding.
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