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7 Jan 2003 : Column 146W—continued

Child Care

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment has been made of the role of regional development agencies in promoting growth of child care in industry; and if she will make a statement. [89114]

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Alan Johnson: I strongly believe that the appropriate provision of child care makes an important contribution to the achievement of economic prosperity at national and regional level. Accordingly, officials in the Department and the Department for Education and Skills have been discussing with the RDAs ways in which they can help to promote and support both public and private provision of child care in their regions.

Christmas Expenses

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many departmental Christmas cards she and her Ministers intend to send in 2002; how much these cards will cost (a) to buy, (b) to post and (c) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes; and if she will place in the Library a sample copy of the official Christmas card she has sent this year. [88108]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 19 December 2002]: In total, 800 departmental Christmas cards were sent by Ministers in my Department. The total cost of designing and printing these cards was approximately #269 and the cost to post them was about #250. It is not possible to estimate the staff costs involved in signing, addressing and placing the cards in envelopes without incurring disproportionate cost.

All expenditure incurred in the purchase and despatch of official Christmas cards was made in accordance with the departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in 'Government Accounting'.

I have arranged for a sample of the departmental Christmas card to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Coal Health Compensation Schemes

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent on the coal health compensation schemes; and what percentage of the total has gone to (a) claimants, (b) solicitors and (c) other organisations, with specific reference to (i) IRISC, (ii) Healthcall, (iii) Schlumberga Senna and (iv) Hayes. [88285]

Mr. Wilson: The information is as follows:

COPD # millionVWF # millionTotal # millionPercentage
Total damages paid5206601,18073
Total solicitors' costs paid1006016010
Other costs related to claim settlements which include payments to contractors(21)27017

(21) Due to commercial confidentiality, the Department is unable to provide a breakdown of the figures paid to individual contractors.


Correspondence

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will reply to the letter of 16 October regarding car imports from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan. [88633]

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Ms Hewitt: My office cannot find any trace of the letter. I suggest that the hon. Member sends it to me again and I will ensure that it receives prompt attention.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will reply to the letter of October 2002 regarding mis-selling of pensions from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan. [88634]

Ms Hewitt: The letter was transferred to the Treasury for response since the subject is the responsibility of that Department.

Embedded Generation

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress she has made in encouraging embedded generation; and if she will make a statement. [87883]

Mr. Wilson: The DTI has taken a number of initiatives to facilitate the development of embedded or distributed generation. Many of the initiatives are being progressed through the Distributed Generation Co-ordinating Group (DGCG), established jointly by the DTI and Ofgem, to monitor the implementation of the Embedded Generation Working Group's recommendations. These recommendations focus on ensuring that embedded generation is treated in a fair and equitable fashion when connecting to the distribution networks and operating in the electricity market.

Many of the activities of the DGCG are funded via the DTI's Renewable Energy Programme, which also supports a range of other activities designed specifically to facilitate the development of embedded or distributed generation within the UK.

Further and Higher Education Policy

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had on the needs of employers with the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in connection with formulation of policies on further and higher education. [87489]

Ms Hewitt: I am well aware that the business perspective needs to be reflected in the higher education and further education agendas.

To this end, I have regular meetings with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills to discuss these issues. The last such meeting was on 1 December 2002. There are regular meetings between my right hon. and hon. Friends, the Minister for Work and Pensions, the Minister for Adult Learning, the Economic Secretary and the Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness, in order to develop the agenda. Also, senior officials from the two Departments meet regularly to discuss the strategy fully.

Green Ministers

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which Minister in her Department is the nominated Green Minister; how often she has attended meetings of the Green Ministers; and which official has responsibility for the DEFRA rural proofing check-list in her Department. [88453]

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Mr. Wilson: I am DTI's Green Minister.

It is established practice under Exemption 2 of Part II of the code of practice on access to Government information not to disclose information relating to the proceedings of the Cabinet and its committees— such as Ministerial attendance at committees.

Departments do not publish a list of officials responsible for the DEFRA rural proofing check-list as personnel and machinery of Government changes mean that any published list would become out of date fairly quickly.

Icelandic Trawlermen

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will include the Erimo on the list of eligible vessels for the purpose of the compensation scheme for former Icelandic water trawlermen. [80120]

Nigel Griffiths: The Government are not satisfied on the basis of the available evidence that the Erimo made voyages within 200 miles of Iceland, as required under the scheme rules. It would not therefore be appropriate for it to be added to the list.

Investment Committee

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the terms of reference are for the Investment Committee; and if she will make a statement. [87926]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 19 December 2002]: Draft terms of reference for the Business Support Investment Committee are to be discussed at its first meeting in January and the agreed version will then be published.

Knowledge Transfer Initiatives

Mr. Mark Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much money her Department will spend on knowledge transfer initiatives in (a) 2003–04, (b) 2004–05 and (c) 2005–06 following the comprehensive spending review 2002. [87836]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 17 December 2002]: As part of its 2002 spending review (SR2002) settlement, the Department of Trade and Industry's resources for innovation and knowledge transfer will rise from #338 million in 2002–03 to #388 million by 2005–06. My Department is currently developing—as part of our business planning process—detailed allocations for individual budgets and activities for the SR2002 period.

In addition, through the Office of Science and Technology and the UK science budget, my Department provides funding for activities which support the commercial exploitation of science. This includes, for example, funding for the Higher EducationInnovation Fund and the Public Sector Research Establishment (PSRE) Fund. For more information, see www.ost.golv.uk/reerach/funding/budget03–06/dti-sciencebudgetbook.pdf

Ministerial Engagements

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many engagements were

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undertaken outside London (a) by her or her predecessor and (b) by ministers in her Department in January (i) 2000, (ii) 2001 and (iii) 2002. [87348]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 16 December 2002]: I refer the hon Member to the answer given to him on 16 December 2002, Official Report, column 608W, by my hon Friend the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office.


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