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8 Dec 2003 : Column 250Wcontinued
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the closure of Abingdon Street in front of the Palace of Westminster on the day of the State Opening of Parliament for six hours after Her Majesty the Queen had left the building was determined on security grounds. 
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removed for the State Opening of Parliament. The area was then closed using an outer security cordon of grey defensive concrete blocks.
Once Her Majesty had left, the operation to reinstate the original security measures began. This was done as quickly as possible, but with such a high profile venue, the original security measures needed to be fully in place before the traffic was allowed to pass. Abingdon Street was fully re-opened to traffic at 6pm.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many licences were (a) requested and (b) granted for man-portable air defence systems in each year since 1996 for (i) government and (ii) non-government end users, distinguishing in each case between (A) licences for end users in NATO and EU countries and (B) licences for end users outside NATO and the EU. 
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with (a) UK firms and (b) representatives of the accountancy profession about the relative merits of introducing a cap on auditors' liabilities in litigation; and if she will publish the minutes of such meetings. 
Ms Hewitt: Over the past six months, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Industry and the Regions and I have received some 20 letters principally about auditor liability, from auditors, preparers of accounts and users of accounts.
Two senior businessmen have raised the matter with me, but I have not had any significant discussions with audit firms or accountancy bodies. The issue has twice been raised in meetings attended by my right hon. Friend, once by the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and once by KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. My officials have also discussed the issue with auditors, preparers of accounts, users of accounts, academics and regulators.
The Commission announced on 23 July 2003 that it was opening a formal investigation procedure into our proposed restructuring aid to British Energy, which is normal in major restructuring aid cases. The Commission must reach a decision within 18 months of
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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses, and of what type, have received assistance in starting-up from government schemes and initiatives in each year from 2001 to 2003 (a) in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, (b) in Teesside and (c) nationally. 
Nigel Griffiths: As well as a range of advice and support from consultants, the Business Link Organisation for Tees Valley makes assistance available specifically for start up businesses through its "Start Right in Business" scheme. The statistics in the table show the numbers of start up businesses supported by this scheme in Tees Valley as a whole, and the closest available match to the geographic analysis requested. Data on business type is not readily available.
|Period||Tees Valley||Middlesbrough||Redcar & Cleveland|
(18) To date
The Small Business Service administers Enterprise Grants (EG) for small and medium sized enterprises, including start-up businesses. These give support to capital investment for manufacturing and service to manufacturing companies. The following table shows the totals for businesses assisted. A number are known to be start ups thought specific information on all start up businesses and their business sector is not readily available.
|Period||Tees Valley||Middlesbrough Southand East Cleveland|
(19) To date
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the cost to UK businesses in each of the next five years of the measures to be implemented by the forthcoming Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill. 
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Jacqui Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the Regulatory Impact Assessments for the Bill which have been placed in the Libraries of the House. I expect the cost to business to be minimal and the benefits to be significant.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times in the last five years electricity supplies have been cut to more than 1,000 homes owing to severe winter weather. 
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much the pilot scheme developed by the Energy Services Working Group to scrap switching rules for energy supply is estimated to cost in each of the next five years. 
Mr. Timms: There are no costs to the Government, apart from the administrative costs relating to evaluation of the pilots. The trial relaxation of the 28-day rule for energy service contracts enables energy companies, if they wish, to market energy service packages to their customers as an alternative to a supply contract only. We expect this to be profitable for companies to do, while, at the same time, consumers will benefit from reduced energy bills as a result of the energy efficiency investments that companies make in their homes.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the effect on energy efficiency of the pilot scheme developed by the Energy Services Working Group to scrap switching rules for energy supply in each of the next five years. 
Mr. Timms: The Government expect that energy services contracts will deliver a reduction of at least 1015 per cent. in energy use in households that sign up to them. The actual reduction in a household will depend on the energy efficiency measures that are carried out as part of an energy services contract. In a typical 196070s semi-detached house heated by gas, an insulation package consisting of cavity wall insulation, topping up the loft insulation and improved insulation on the water tank could save over £130 per annum compared to previous running costs.
As part of the trial relaxation of the 28-day rule, energy companies will be able to offer energy service contracts to up to 4 per cent. of their customers or 50,000 customers whichever is the larger. In total, nationally, up to one million households could benefit.
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Jacqui Smith: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry wrote to Commissioner Liikanen on 30 June 2003 attaching the UK Government's response to the European Commission's Green Paper on entrepreneurship.
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 3 December 2003]: Reasons for refusal of licences are given in summary form in the Strategic Export Controls Annual Report. In the period in question, one licence has been refused partly on the basis of Criterion 8.
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