Previous Section Index Home Page

12 Feb 2003 : Column 748W—continued

Typhoon (Meteor Missile)

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what interim measures have been put in place in advance of the air defence Meteor missile entering service with the Typhoon fighters; [95419]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence intends to procure the Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile from the USA to equip Typhoon until Meteor enters service in 2012.

Wheeled Tanker

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the new wheeled tankers for the armed forces to enter service; and if he expects this to remain within the Ministry of Defence's proposed budget. [95415]

Mr. Ingram: The wheeled tankers are expected to enter service in 2004 within the approved cost and timescale.


British Energy

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been paid to consultants engaged by her Department to assess the financial situation of British Energy; and if she will list the consultants engaged to conduct this work since September 2002. [96989]

Mr. Wilson: At end-January 2003, the Department had been invoiced for or paid around £9.8 million to its advisers in respect of their work on the financial situation of British Energy. The Department has engaged the following advisers:

Chemical Sales (Israel)

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which chemicals with potential military and civil dual-use capabilities the United Kingdom has licensed for sale to Israel; and what steps have been taken to ensure these chemicals have not been put to military use. [96987]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 10 February 2003]: Details of all export licences are published by destination in the Government's Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls; copies of which are available from the Libraries of the House.

The Government has made clear its commitment to effective monitoring of the end-use of UK defence exports where this can make a genuine contribution to preventing their diversion or misuse. However, follow-up monitoring can only confirm if UK exports have been misused or diverted after the export has taken place. The Government believes that the most effective way to prevent misuse or diversion of UK defence exports is by rigorous assessment at the export licensing stage. To this end we have taken a number of steps to strengthen end-user risk assessment in the export

12 Feb 2003 : Column 749W

licensing process. Before taking a decision on an export licence application, the Government takes into account all reliable information about end-users of potential concern, including reporting from other Government Departments and UK posts overseas, and also from any relevant information received from non-governmental organisations and other external sources. Overseas posts have standing instructions to report any misuse of UK-origin defence equipment so that it can be taken into account in the licensing process.

Coal Reserves

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimates she has made of the total coal reserves available in the (a) United Kingdom and (b) Wales. [96270]

Mr. Wilson: The Coal Authority has (in consultation with the industry) estimated that established reserves workable by either opencast or deep-mining methods in Britain total some 222 million tonnes with a further known potential of 380 million tonnes. The extent to which thee tonnages are available is influenced by a range of factors, not least operators' ability to mine the coal safely and economically and to secure the necessary consents to do so. No separate figures are available for Wales.

In addition, the Department recently commissioned a report which examined coal reserves and resources accessible from remaining deep mines (excluding the Selby Complex scheduled to close in March 2004). Total reserve and resources was estimated to be in the order of 150m tonnes, 14m tonnes of which is in Wales. The report, produced by IMC Group Consulting Limited, is shortly to be published on the DTI Website.

Financial Reporting Council

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on responsibility for the appointment of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council. [97385]

Ms Hewitt: The constitution of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) provides that the Chairman and Deputy Chairmen of the FRC are appointed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Governor of the Bank of England acting jointly.


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she intends to take against the companies listed in the Iraqi submission to the United Nations Security Council in its weapons programmes, as military equipment and services suppliers to Iraq. [95898]

Mr. Wilson: Any listing in the Iraqi submission would not in itself imply there has been a breach of UK export controls. Any allegations that there has been a breach of UK export controls would require careful examination by HM Customs and Excise, which is responsible for the enforcement of UK export controls.

12 Feb 2003 : Column 750W

Mains Gas Network

Matthew Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to extend the national mains gas network. [94946]

Mr. Wilson: The Government has encouraged the development of the mains gas network by stimulating competition and reducing connection costs. It continues to work with industry and other interested parties to seek ways in which to assist the fuel poor in non-gas areas.

Miners' Compensation

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of the miners' respiratory compensation settlements are for chronic bronchitis only; how many cases that have been settled have been paid; and how many claims registered in (a) 1998 and (b) 1999 (i) have been finalised and (ii) are outstanding. [96269]

Mr. Wilson: As of 2 February 2003, IRISC, the Department's claims handlers, had made over 28,000 full and finals offers for chronic bronchitis only, this out of a total of nearly 58,500 full and final offers. Nearly 23,000 chronic bronchitis only offers have been accepted and have received payment in settlement of their claim, and around 5,000 offers remain under consideration with solicitors.

In 1998 IRISC registered nearly 53,500 claims for respiratory disease. As at 29 January 2003, 22,800 had been settled in full.

In 1999 IRISC registered nearly 29,500 claims for respiratory disease. As at 29 January 2003, 10,704 had been settled in full.

Claims are processed in order of priority points, as set out in the Claims Handling Agreement, not by date of claim.

Miners' Pension Fund

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value of the Miners' Pension Fund was in each year since the year before it was supported by Government finance, to 2003; and what bonuses have been paid out in each of these years. [96761]

Mr. Wilson: The market value of the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme fund as at 30 September for each year since 1993, is as follows:


YearMarket Value of Fund

Bonuses under the arrangements introduced at privatisation first became payable in 1997 and are as follows:

12 Feb 2003 : Column 751W


YearBonus Payments made

OECD Bribery Convention

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the policy of the Department is on incorporation of the OECD Convention on Bribery; and if she will make a statement. [96817]

Mr. Wilson: The Government is fully supportive of this Convention and views it as a minimum standard to be attained.

In February 2002 the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security (ATCS) Act came into effect. Part 12 of the Act puts beyond doubt that the law of bribery applies to acts involving foreign office holders, including Ministers, MPs and judges, and takes jurisdiction over crimes of bribery committed by UK nationals and UK companies overseas. Previously some part of the offence had to take place in the UK.

The measures outlaw acts of bribery by UK nationals and companies abroad in the same circumstances as they are outlawed at home. This extraterritoriality goes beyond the specific requirements of the OECD Convention and demonstrates the seriousness of the Government's commitment to reduce bribery in international business.

Next Section Index Home Page