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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was been spent on (a) regional venture capital funds, (b) Faraday Centres, (c) University Challenge Seed Funds, (d) SMART schemes and (e) Enterprise areas in each year since each was established. 
There is no Faraday Centres scheme, but the DTI supports Faraday Partnerships. Faraday Partnerships aim to bring new products and processes, based on the UK science base, to the market more effectively. DTI and the Research Councils support 23 of the 24 Faraday Partnerships: the other is supported by the Scottish Executive and DEFRA.
(17) First two quarters
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There are no current plans for any future separate funding for University Challenge. The sorts of activities which UC funded will in future be supported through the expanded Higher Education Innovation Fund.
Enterprise Areas are not a scheme but are a designation of the 1,997 most deprived wards in the UK. A range of policy measures are available to help people and businesses in Enterprise Areas. They provide a focus for local and regional organisations to tackle market failures and the barriers to enterprise that their communities face.
Government is encouraging key organisations; Local Authorities, RDAs; Business Link Operators and Local Strategic Partnerships to work with the business community to raise awareness of the help and support available and to co-ordinate their activities in order to target their efforts on Enterprise Areas.
Mr. Sutcliffe: Neither my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State nor the Chancellor of the Exchequer have any power to intervene in the fees charged by administrators. Rule 2.47 of the Insolvency Rules 1986
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Mr. Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in what circumstances she is able to take action to debar directors of companies; and what plans she has to extend those powers. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Following a company going into liquidation, administration or administrative receivership or an investigation into its affairs under the Companies Act 1985 or Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, if it appears to the Secretary of State that it is expedient in the public interest, she may apply to the court for an order (or accept an undertaking) under the Companies Directors Disqualification Act 1986 which disqualifies an individual from being a director of any company for a period of up to 15 years.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how officials from her Department made contact with the British-based companies alleged to have breached Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development business ethics guidelines in the last report of the UN Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of the Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; what responses have been received so far; whether responses will be placed in the Library; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises contacted some of the companies mentioned in Schedule 3 of the UN Panel report directly, the remaining companies made contact with the NCP. In all cases this resulted in face-to-face discussions with either the company or their legal representatives. In all cases the companies denied any wrongdoing and indicated their willingness to act in accordance with the OECD Guidelines. In the absence of evidence of specific instances of breaching the Guidelines, the companies have notbeen in a position to respond substantively to the allegations by the UN Panel. All communications with the Panel are undertaken within the confidentiality provisions of the Guidelines and consequently the Government will be unable to place a copy of any response in the Library. My hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Mullin) made a statement to the House on 17 December 2003, Official Report, columns 14244WS, regarding the UN Panel of Experts report and I have nothing to add to that statement at this time.
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Illegal Exploitation of the Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for further information and evidence on the allegations against British-based companies contained in its last report; whether this information can still be provided by the UN following the disbandment of the Panel of Experts on 31 October 2003; what the process is for obtaining information from a UN Panel of Experts which has been disbanded; if she will place a copy of her Department's request to the UN Panel of Experts' response in the Library once it is received; whether her Department made representations to the UN with regard to the disbandment of the Panel; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Following oral requests by the UK Mission at the UN to the Chairman of the Panel of Experts for evidence of specific instances of breaching the OECD Guidelines, a letter was sent to the UN Secretariat on 17 November and resent again a week later. To date there has been no reply to either letter.
The National Contact Point (NCP) has repeatedly attempted to telephone the Political Secretary to the Panel and has left messages without response. Consequently we are about to make further representations to Ambassador Kassem who chaired the panel to provide the necessary evidence.
Members of the panel indicated in April 2003 that they were in possession of a good deal of documentary evidence, none of which has, thus far, been provided. We believe the disbanding of the panel should not necessarily affect the early availability or provision of this documentation. As you will be aware from the ministerial statement made by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 17 December 2003, Official Report, columns 14244WS, NCPs from all countries involved have been assured that this information would be provided and are frustrated that this has not yet happened.
All communications with the Panel have been conducted under the confidentiality provisions of the Guidelines and consequently the Government will be unable to place a copy of the request, or any response, in the Library.
The DTI Small Business Service's Benchmark Index service enables companies to assess where they stand against their competitors in about 80 different aspects of performance. Around 9,000 benchmarks have been carried out.
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