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13 Feb 2003 : Column 925W—continued


Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advice CORGI gave to (a) the HSE and (b) Ministers in March 2002 on the introduction of a new NVQ industry qualification for gas engineers. [91401]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: In March 2002, the Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI) gave advice solely to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). On 21 March the CORGI Chief Executive wrote to advise HSE about how it proposed to deal with Transco's application for renewal of its registration from 1 April 2002. CORGI stated their view that the Rules for Registration needed to be applied equitably to all CORGI registered businesses and that to make an exception to these in the case of Transco would have been inappropriate. CORGI gave no advice to Ministers at that time.

CORGI advised that they had decided to re-register Transco with effect from 1 April 2002 but only for work undertaken by the 325 engineers then holding either unexpired certificates of competence issued under the Health and Safety Commission's Approved Code of Practice (AcoP) or certificates under the Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS). Throughout the remainder of the year the registration progressively covered the work of additional engineers as they completed training and assessment under the newly-introduced National Vocational Qualification which is aligned, for gas safety issues, with the ACS. As at 16 January 2003 the registration covered a total of 2,707 engineers holding valid certificates of competence for emergency service work.


Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many manufacturing businesses operated with five employees or fewer in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [97949]

Mr. Wilson: Table 1 shows estimates of the number of businesses in the manufacturing sector with four employees or fewer for the time period start-1997 to start-2001. It is not possible to provide figures for the number of businesses with five employees, as this breakdown is not available.

Table 1 Manufacturing sector: number of businesses with0–4 employees: United Kingdom

Start-1997 252,380
Start-1999 264,230
Start-2000 265,870


Small Business Service

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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people and what percentage of the work force in Pendle (a) were employed in manufacturing industry in 1977 and (b) are employed in manufacturing. [97369]

Alan Johnson: In 1977 the total work force in Pendle numbered 32,201 of which 21,031 (65.3 per cent.) were employed in manufacturing.

In 2001 the total workforce in Pendle numbered 30,700 of which 11,400 (37 per cent.) were employed in manufacturing.

Post Office (Banking Services)

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will ensure that the Post Office card account is given equal promotion and advertising as high street banking options. [95442]

Mr. Timms: The Post Office card account is one of a range of accounts which people will be able from this year to receive benefit payments into. Our aim is that people should be able to choose the option that suits them best. Information about all the options is being supplied to benefit, pension and tax credit customers by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Inland Revenue. Post Office Ltd. will also be making its own material available to customers.

Post Offices (Portsmouth, South)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the financial loss to post offices in Portsmouth, South as a result of the change in the payment of benefits from over-the-counter to direct bank transfer; and if she will make a statement. [97273]

Mr. Timms: No such assessment has been made. The migration of benefit payment to ACT begins this year and the Post Office's strategy is to respond to that challenge with a range of banking and other services. How the migration of benefit payments affects the revenue of post offices will depend on a number of factors, not least how benefit recipients and other post office customers respond to change. The income from the various contracts Post Office Ltd. has with the spending Departments and various financial institutions, and the remuneration of sub-postmasters for banking services, is a commercial matter between the parties.

Public Liability

Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses have ceased trading in the last 12 months citing a rise in public liability premiums from their insurers. [96823]

Mr. Wilson: Firms generally cease trading as the result of a combination of factors, including increases in costs. It is therefore very hard to estimate the effect of insurance premium increases on the number of businesses that have ceased trading. The Government's current review of employers' liability insurance aims to examine the impact of the current system on employers, and make recommendations accordingly. Full details of this review are at: .htm.

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Small Retail Businesses

Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant, to the answer of 8 January 2003, Official Report, column 248W, on small retail businesses, how many work-force jobs are accounted for by small retail businesses. [97778]

Mr. Wilson: The following table shows estimated employment in the UK at the start of 2001 in sector 52 (retail trade except of motor vehicles). SMEs (0 to 249 employees) accounted for approximately 37 per cent., and small businesses (0 to 49) 33 per cent., of all employment in this sector. These figures are based on a total business population of about 3.75 million (about 7,000 of these are large businesses) with total employment of about 22.6 million (about half of which is in SMEs).

Table 1: Amount of employment (000s) in the private sector and public corporations(24)

UK numberAllSMEs(25)Small(26)
52 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles2,8751,071952

(24) Figures from SME Statistics 2001

(25) Businesses with less than 250 employees

(26) Businesses with less than 50 employees


Small Business Service

Wind Farms

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many planning consents are being sought for (a) offshore and (b) land-based wind farm projects in (i) England, (ii) Wales, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland; and if she will list the locations. [97068]

Mr. Wilson: The following table lists the number of wind farm planning consents currently being sought. This list covers those applications which are the responsibility of central Government, and does not include smaller developments which fall under local planning authorities.

(a) Offshore wind farms(b) Onshore wind farms
Northern Ireland05

The applications for offshore wind farms in England are located at Kentish Flats (off Whitstable, Thames Estuary), Lynn (off Skegness, Lincolnshire), Inner Dowsing (off Ingoldmells, Lincolnshire), Cromer (off Mundesley, Norfolk), Gunfleet Sands (off Clacton-on-Sea, Essex), Barrow (off Walney Island, Cumbria), Burbo Bank (off Crosby, Merseyside) and Shell Flats (off Cleveleys, Lancashire).

There is also one application for an onshore wind farm in England and Wales, under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989, under consideration at Little Cheyne Court, Romney Marsh, Kent. Proposals for wind farms in England and Wales with a capacity of 50 MW or below fall to be determined by the local planning authority under the normal planning regime.

Powers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 as they apply to Scotland have been devolved to the Scottish Executive. The onshore wind farms under consideration in Scotland are located at the Windy Standard extension (Dumfries and Galloway); Whitelee (East Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and East Ayrshire); Paul's Hill (Moray); Black Law (North Lanarkshire, West Lothian and South Lanarkshire); Farr (Highland); Braes o'Doune (Stirling) and the Crystal Rig extension (Scottish Borders).

There is one offshore project under consideration by the Scottish Executive at Robin Rigg (Solway Firth).

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for Northern Ireland are currently dealing with applications for onshore wind farms at Bin Mountain (Strabane, County Tyrone), Omagh (in the townlands of Lough Hill, Castlecraig, Curraghmacall and Drummahon, County Tyrone), Fermanagh (in the townlands of Garrane, Mullaghfad, Corraleek and Corragunt, and Rosslea, County Fermanagh), Fermanagh (in the townlands of Callagheen and Garrison, County Fermanagh) and Fermanagh (in the townlands of Glenarn, Stranahone and Stranadarriff, Tappaghan Mountain and Lack, County Fermanagh).

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Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the contribution to be made by (a) off-shore and (b) land-based wind farm projects over the next ten years as a percentage of overall electricity generation. [97070]

Mr. Wilson: The Government have not made estimates for the contribution that onshore and offshore wind farms will make to our overall electricity generation over the next 10 years. The Government's target for renewable energy is that, by 2010, 10 per cent. of electricity should be supplied from sources eligible under the Renewables Obligation. While we expect both onshore and offshore wind to make a substantial contribution to this target, no specific targets have been set in relation to the contribution of any particular form of renewable energy to the overall 10 per cent. target.

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