Previous Section Index Home Page

7 Feb 2003 : Column 482W—continued

External Consultants

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total cost to her Department was of the use of external consultants in 2002. [90504]

Alun Michael: The cost of external consultants in 2002 was £39 million. This figure includes costs for core-Defra, the Rural Payments Agency, the pesticides Safety Directorate, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the Central Science Laboratory, the Veterinary Laboratory Agency and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.

National Park (South Downs)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the timetable is for the completion of the National Park designation process for the South Downs. [96012]

7 Feb 2003 : Column 483W

Alun Michael: The timetable will depend on whether or not the Secretary of State calls a public inquiry into the designation order submitted by the Countryside Agency. This will be determined when all objections and representations received have been considered after the period for public consultation on the order ends on 28 February. If, as is anticipated, an inquiry is required, then it will probably be 2006 when the Secretary of State is able to decide whether or not to confirm the designation order. A full National Park authority, if it were decided to establish one, would probably come into being the following year. If there were no public inquiry, the decision on the designation order could be made this year.

Right of Access

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the right of access available to areas for which an entrance fee has been payable, but which meet the criteria for open country under the provisions of the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000; and if she will make a statement. [95943]

Alun Michael: The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 provides a power for landowners and tenants to close land for any reason for up to 28 days each year. The Act also makes provision for any person with an interest in land to apply to their relevant authority (the Countryside Agency, or, in national parks, the National Park Authority) to restrict or exclude access on the grounds of land management, public safety or to avoid the risk of fire. It would be open to landowners who before the Act charged a fee for entrance to their land to apply to their relevant authority for a restriction or exclusion of access to enable them to continue to charge for entry to that land but would have to show that one of the three criteria is met.

On our behalf, the Countryside Agency is developing guidance for relevant authorities on the operation of the restrictions and exclusions system. It is considering what guidance to give relevant authorities on applications for restrictions and exclusions of access for the purpose of charging a fee for entry to the land.



Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent on providing security for shipments of radioactive material by BNFL in the last year for which figures are available. [94970]

Mr. Wilson: The costs involved in transporting radioactive material, including the costs of ensuring that appropriate levels of physical protection are applied to the material during transport, are a commercial matter for the companies involved. Where radioactive material transport is carried out by BNFL pursuant to contracts concluded with external customers, the transport costs are reflected in the value of the contract.

7 Feb 2003 : Column 484W

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value of BNFL will be after the establishment of the Liabilities Management Authority . [94974]

Mr. Wilson: Decisions on the capital structure of BNFL will be taken after legislation has been agreed by Parliament to set up the Liabilities Management Authority.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what controls she intends to put in place to prevent BNFL from using funds available to it for investments tangential to its primary function. [94975]

Mr. Wilson: BNFL operates within a strategic framework set by Government. How it invests commercially generated funds within that framework is a matter for the company.

Fuel Poverty

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what factors she estimates were responsible for the increases in severe fuel poverty between 1996 and 1998 as demonstrated in Table 13 of "Fuel Poverty in England in 1998". [95062]

Mr. Wilson: The number of fuel poor households in England is estimated to have fallen by one million between 1996 and 1998, from 4.3 million in 1996 to 3.3 million in 1998. Most of this reduction is thought to be due to changes in energy prices and incomes.

It is recognised that for those in severe fuel poverty improvements in energy efficiency will be needed to remove these households from fuel poverty. Improvements, and increased funding, for the key programmes to improve energy efficiency were put in place after 1998.

The figures for 1998 were based on a relatively small sample, and data for 2001 based on a larger sample from the 2001 English House Condition Survey will become available shortly, and will be published on the internet at poverty/index.shtml

Audit and Accounting

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are being taken to appoint women to the implementation unit on audit and accounting reforms. [95529]

Ms Hewitt: A steering group will direct the practical implementation of the conclusions of the Review of the Regulatory Regime of the Accountancy Profession. It is a short term, working arrangement on which those currently heading the major regulatory bodies affected by review have agreed to serve.

The Government are keen to promote meritocracy and diversity among those charged with delivering independent regulation of the accountancy and audit professions. I have accepted the recommendations of the review that there should be open advertisement of all board positions in the new structure of the Financial Reporting Council, which will incorporate the responsibilities of the current Accountancy Foundation.

7 Feb 2003 : Column 485W

This will allow those responsible for board appointments to consider the widest field of candidates—including women—who may be suitable for the post in question.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of her Department's spending on assistance to the coal industry in each year from 1990–91 to 2003–04 (planned). [95799]

Mr. Wilson: The following table shows Government financial support for the coal industry from 1990–91 to 2002–03. These figures exclude the impact of debt write-offs and proceeds at the privatisation of British Coal and payments made in respect of inherited liabilities following that privatisation, such as health claims.

A budget for spending on assistance to the coal industry for 2003–04 has not been finalised. Given that final decisions have yet to be made on a number of potential measures, each of which could significantly affect the size of the budget, it would be unrealistic at present to give a firm estimate on projected spending for 2003–04.

Government financial support for the Coal Industry
£ million

Financial YearTotal grants

(2) This is an estimated figure. Part of the expenditure forecast for financial year 2002–03 may slip into 2003–04.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what her estimate is of her Department's actual spending and planned spending on the 50 Best Companies to Work For list; and if she will make a statement; [95800]

Alan Johnson: The UK Government are committed to making the UK the best place to do business and to raising UK productivity and prosperity for all. This can only be achieved by recognising every aspect responsible for performance including work organisation and human resource management.

The Department has therefore been happy to be associated with and support the Best Companies To Work For Project with the Sunday Times. In 2001 this produced a 50 Best UK Companies to Work for List. In 2002 due to the rise in popularity this was expanded to the Top 100 UK Companies to Work For. Since the project started, in 1999, we have spent in the region of

7 Feb 2003 : Column 486W

£500,000, which includes £100,000 committed for the 2003 Top UK Companies to Work for List. The surveys involved have been substantial and the generation of the 2003 list has included surveying over 47,000 employees. The project plans to announce the 2003 winners at the end of this month. We are also planning to spend some money on dissemination of the results of the survey but the sums involved are subject to further consideration.

The Top 100 UK Companies to Work For is just one part of the Work-Life Balance Campaign. The campaign was launched by the Prime Minister in 2000 to persuade employers to introduce ways of working which meet the needs of business and customers while simultaneously improving the work-life balance of their employees.

Spending on the Campaign has been in the region of £11.3 million since 2000. The costs per year are:

The campaign has successfully delivered substantial benefits including:

The Work-Life Balance Campaign complements the legislation we are introducing from April this year as part of the Employment Act aimed at helping Working Parents.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of her Department's expenditure on the automotive industry in each year from 1990–91 to 2004–05 (planned), if she will give a breakdown down for each year to show the origin of investments and grant-aid of over £1 million per year; and if she will make a statement. [95802]

Alan Johnson: Since 1990, total commitments of grant aid to the automotive industry in the form of Regional Selective Assistance have totalled some £330 million. A table detailing the totals, broken down by year, is attached.

The Department has also committed grants totalling £9.9 million to SMMT Industry Forum since 1996, and around £7.3 million to Foresight Vehicle since 1997. £45 million has been committed to future funding of the Automotive Innovation and Growth Team report initiatives.

7 Feb 2003 : Column 487W

Number and value of RSA payments made in Great Britain in the Automotive Sector from 1 April 1990 to 31 March 2002

Less than £1 millionGreater or equal to £1 million
YearNumberValue of offers (£000)NumberValue ofoffers (£000)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of her Department's spending on aerospace and defence grants and launch investment in each year from 1995–96 to 2004–05 (planned); and if she will make a statement. [95803]

Alan Johnson: The Government continue to be supportive of the aerospace industry in the UK. The Department's principle support to the civil aerospace sector is provided through the Aeronautics Research Programme (formerly known as CARAD) and through repayable launch investment. Expenditure on research and development to meet the UK's defence needs is a matter for the Ministry of Defence.

For civil aeronautics research, the value of grants paid from April 1995 through to March 2002 totalled over £145 million, averaging over £20 million per year. Forecast expenditure for the period April 2002 to March 2005 is also expected to exceed £20 million annually. Since April 1995 we have also committed in the order of £1 billion in launch investment for major new aircraft and engine projects. Annual expenditure under these programmes can be found in the Department's annual Expenditure Plans report which is available on the DTI's website at or from the House of Commons Library.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 16 May 2002 the establishment of the Aerospace Innovation and Growth Team (IGT), led by Sir Richard Evans.

The IGT will draw on the expertise of the major aerospace stakeholders to identify the key issues, including support to the sector, which will shape the future of the industry. The IGT will make recommendations to the Prime Minister in spring 2003 as to how the UK can best respond to the competitive challenges it will face over the next 20 years. However, an interim report from the IGT is hosted on the SBAC's website at Copies of the report will be placed in the House of Commons Library in due course.

7 Feb 2003 : Column 488W

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of her Department's spending on the nuclear fusion programme in each year from 2001–02 to 2004–05 (planned). [95809]

Mr. Wilson: The Department of Trade and Industry's funding for fusion for the period 2001–02 was £14.63 million. From April 2003 onwards the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will have responsibility for funding fusion, their spending from 2003 to 2005 is expected to be in the region of £15 million-£17 million per annum.

Next Section Index Home Page