|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
16 Dec 2002 : Column 534Wcontinued
36. Mr. Brady: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if he will make a statement on the Commission's policy on the use of public funds in the promotion of referendums on regional government. 
Mr. Beith: If a regional referendum is announced, the Commission intends to conduct an information campaign designed to encourage voting in the referendum. The Commission also has the power to designate lead campaigning organisations for and against the referendum question. A designated organisation may receive public funds as well as a postage-free referendum address.
In the event that designated organisations are not appointed, the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill, currently before the House, includes provisions for the Commission itself to provide information to the electorate explaining the arguments for and against the referendum question.
38. Ian Lucas: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if the Committee will review the arrangements for the system for election to the National Assembly for Wales. 
Mr. Beith: No. Such a review would not fall within the statutory remit of the Speaker's Committee and the Electoral Commission has no current plans to review this area. However, I understand that the recently established Commission on the Powers and Electoral Arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales, chaired by the Noble Lord Richard QC, is looking at this issue.
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many new nuclear power stations are to be built in the UK in the next 10 years; where they will be built; and how long they will be in service. 
Mr. Wilson: In common with all generation options, the initiative for bringing forward proposals to construct new plant lies with the market and the generating companies. British Energy and BNFL have said they have no current plans for such proposals.
Mr. Wilson: Any modification to a nuclear power station is a matter for the operator subject to the relevant regulatory controls. Latest published company information on expected station closure dates is as follows.
16 Dec 2002 : Column 535W
|Magnox||Capacity MW||Published lifetime|
|Hinkley Point B||1,220||2011|
Ms Hewitt: The Government's objective for the WTO mini-ministerial meeting, which took place in Sydney on 14 and 15 November, was to advance key development issues within the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA) including agreement on how WTO members, without sufficient manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector, can make use of compulsory licensing for essential medicines; and agreement on a package of special and differential treatment for developing countries.
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 10 December 2002]: The existing terms of office of the Chair and Members of the AEBC expire at the end of January 2003. The AEBC is a public body and appointments and re-appointments are made under the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies. As part of this process, I am currently consulting with my Cabinet colleagues and with Ministers in the Devolved Administrations.
16 Dec 2002 : Column 536W
people will get to help to decide what method they should use to help with benefit payments in Post Offices. 
There will be a range of accounts available for people. The Department will provide customers with information (including letters and leaflets) which clearly sets out the account options as part of the move to Direct Payment. Customers, including those with a disability, will then be able to consider the options available and choose the account that best meets their needs and circumstances. They will be asked to provide details of their chosen account so that the Department can begin to pay their benefit or pensions by Direct Payment.
It has always been recognised that there will be some customers who are unable to use any of the banking options or the Post Office card account. For these people we are currently exploring the options available to ensure they receive their benefit at outlets which will include the Post Office.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evaluation her Department has made of reports produced by the BNFL Stakeholder Dialogue; and what the departmental representation is on the BNFL Stakeholder Dialogue. 
Mr. Wilson: The aim of the BNFL Stakeholder Dialogue is to inform BNFL's decision-making process about the improvement of their environmental performance in the context of their overall development. It is therefore up to BNFL, and not my Department, to evaluate the reports that come out of this work, but it is clear that the company greatly value the Dialogue process.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made towards the target set in 1998 for achievement by the end of Parliament to increase to 1 million the number of SMEs wired up to the digital market place. 
The target of ensuring that 1.5 million SMEs are connected was achieved in 2000, as indicated by that year's International Benchmarking Study (IBS). The 2002 IBS, published on 3rd December 2002, has shown
16 Dec 2002 : Column 537W
a recent drop in the numbers of SMEs going on line, however the target continues to be achieved, with just over 1.5 million SMEs now connected.
The total level of e-commerce continues to increase as those companies that trade online do see an increasing volumes. Through UK Online for Business, we continue to help SME's make the best use of information in communication technology.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she made to the EU Trade Commissioner in advance of the World Trade Organisation's general council meeting about the agreements which need to be made to retain broad support from developing countries for the Doha trade round; and if she will make a statement about progress made to date on the negotiations in this round. 
I am in regular contact with Commissioner Lamy and have spoken to him recently. I stressed, in particular, the importance of reaching an agreement on how WTO members without sufficient manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector can make use of compulsory licensing for essential medicines; and on reaching agreement on special and differential treatment for developing countries. Looking to the future, progress on these issues and on agriculture will have to be made to ensure that development countries continue to support the Doha trade round.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|