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Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 3 December 2003]: Since May 1997, the Government have published the number of export licences that have been revoked, and also on what grounds. These details are in the Government's Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls, copies of which are available from the Libraries of the House.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the procedures adopted by the Insolvency Service for dealing with members of staff believed to be inefficient; and whether there have been recent changes in these procedures. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 3 December 2003]: The Insolvency Service has two procedures to deal with inefficiency, unsatisfactory performance and unsatisfactory attendance. The procedures are designed to bring performance (or attendance) up to the required standard, and comply with employment legislation and the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance (2000). The inefficiency procedure was revised earlier this year. Both sets of procedures will be reviewed again next year to ensure compliance with the Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many Insolvency Service staff have had inefficiency proceedings initiated against them in each of the past five years; and what the ethnic background of the individuals concerned was in each year. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 3 December 2003]: The following table shows the number of Insolvency Service staff and their ethnic background who have had inefficiency proceedings initiated against them in the last five years.
1 The data have not been further broken down into categories of ethnic origin as they were collected prior to the latest census ethnic origin categories being used.
The data above exclude inefficiency proceedings taken as a result of unsatisfactory attendance. These data cannot be provided in the timescales given.
Ms Hewitt: It is for a future, independent government in Iraq to decide which standards that country should adopt. The Coalition Provisional Authority is using existing standards as much as possible. I fully support this approach.
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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with representatives of the firm MG Rover about the decision to suspend production on 25 November. 
Mr. Barron: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total paid to date in compensation claims for (a) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (b) Vibration White Finger of former coalminers is in (i) the Rother Valley constituency and (ii) the United Kingdom. 
Nigel Griffiths: As of 31 October 2003 £10.4 million had been paid for respiratory disease claims and £16 million for Vibration White Finger claims in the Rother Valley constituency; and as of 23 November 2003 £913 million for respiratory disease claims and £983 million for Vibration White Finger in the United Kingdom.
Jacqui Smith: The Foresight Vehicle LINK programme supports technology transfer through collaborative R&D, aiming to raise the innovation performance of the automotive industry in the UK, including its supplier base. A supporting knowledge transfer network, now managed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, carries out technology roadmapping to set the research priorities for the programme, brokerage and dissemination activities. The programme includes a wide portfolio of projects, valued in excess of £100 million, in the key thematic areas of advanced materials; advanced electronics, sensors, software and telematics; powertrain; alternative
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Ofgem has announced that it is seeking views from industry on the recent increase in wholesale gas prices, and that it is examining the allegations about possible manipulation of wholesales gas prices. In due course Ofgem will determine whether it is appropriate to start a formal investigation.
Ms Hewitt: The cost of managing Britain's civil public sector nuclear waste is included within the estimated total of nuclear liabilities which currently stand at around £48 billion. Reliable estimates of annual costs are hard to identify as there remains considerable uncertainty surrounding both the total of the liabilities, and the ongoing operational imperatives and constraints at individual nuclear sites. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which is intended to be operational from April 2005, will need to establish more certainty on the overall liabilities and annual costs. To this end the government has already started preparation of lifecycle baselines for NDA sites that will provide the basis for estimating the costs of clean up going forward. The NDA will be operating within the overall framework of Government policy on decommissioning and waste management and will need to manage the clean up programme accordingly.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry from which other EU member states the sale of precious metal articles in the UK has been validated for sale by the hallmark of that member state; and whether such a validation process applied to past hallmarked articles from those member states. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: As a signatory to the Vienna Convention, the UK accepts items marked with the Common Control Mark (CCM) without additional marking and testing. Other member states belonging to the Convention and entitled to use the CCM are: Austria, Finland, Portugal, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Following the ECJ Houtwipper judgment in 1999, the UK has also recognised the
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hallmarks of other EU member states without a CCM where they have been marked by independent assay offices. This includes France, Ireland, Portugal, the Netherlands and some Spanish marks.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reports and recommendations her Department has received since 1998 relating to the draft Directive on Articles of Precious Metal; and to what extent their recommendations have been followed. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The DTI has received a number of reports and recommendations from stakeholders about the draft Directive. The majority of these have been against the proposals. Since we believe that the draft Directive would effectively weaken consumer protection, and there was little support for a change of system, the UK did not support the Directive in Council Working Group discussions. At Coreper (Committee of Permanent Representatives to the EU), it was decided that the draft Directive and Progress Report would not go forward to the Council of Ministers on 27 November because of the lack of agreement.
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