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26 Jan 2004 : Column 76W—continued

Research and Development

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to whom expenditure on research and development is distributed; how many staff are directly employed as a result; and how many research establishments of the Department and its agencies there are in each region and nation of the United Kingdom. [149637]

Ms Hewitt: Research and development expenditure is distributed to a range of bodies and principally via the research councils to higher education institutes and their own research establishments. Some 11,000 staff are directly employed by the research councils. The following table gives a regional and national breakdown of the councils' research establishments. Funding is also distributed to industry via schemes such as LINK. Figures for staff directly employed as a result of such funding are not available.

Region/countryNumber of research establishments
East Midlands4
East of England13
London7
North East0
North West4
Northern Ireland1
Scotland15
South East20
South West11
Wales2

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Trade Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on proposals to improve rules of origin for economic partnership agreements. [148519]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK Government recognise the need for a review of the current preferential rules of origin. Support for less onerous regulations on rules of origin is outlined in the Government's 2000 White Paper, "Eliminating World Poverty: Making Globalisation Work for the Poor".

With a number of ACP regions now having reached the stage of launching Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with the EU, there is an increased focus on some of the detailed issues facing EPAs, including rules of origin. An experts meeting on rules of origin for EPAs is planned for February 2004 in Brussels.

More generally on the issue of preferential rules of origin, the Commission (DG TAXUD) is consulting widely on this issue through its recently published Green Paper, "Future of Rules of Origin in Preferential Trade Agreements".

British Energy

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much public subsidy has been given to British Energy (a) to cover cash shortfall for unexpected maintenance works and (b) for other reasons; how much interest is repayable; and when she expects the money to be repaid. [150213]

Mr. Timms: The credit facility is a loan facility to British Energy that must be repaid by the company under the terms of the restructuring plan. It has been provided in respect of only the company's working capital requirements and cash collateral for its trading activities. A commercial rate of interest of 1 per cent. over the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is chargeable on amounts drawn for working capital, and a fee of 1 per cent. per annum on amounts drawn for cash collateral. The maximum amount available under the facility was £650 million but now stands at £200 million. As I said in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Anne Picking) on 14 January 2004, Official Report, column 780W, British Energy have repaid all outstanding amounts under the credit facility.

Bullying/Harassment

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what steps her Department is taking to encourage more employers to frame a formal policy on bullying and harassment in the workplace; [147901]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government take bullying at work very seriously and believe that employees should be able to work without fear of being bullied or harassed by employers, fellow employees or anybody else.

There is a safety net of legislation already in existence that employees can turn to. This includes the: Sex Discrimination Act, Race Relations Act, Disability Discrimination Act, Protection from Harassment Act, Health and Safety Act, Employment Rights Act and the Employment Act 2002.

In addition New Employment Equality Regulations came into force last December protecting those experiencing discrimination, harassment and victimisation at work on grounds of sexual orientation or religion or belief. We are working to support the dissemination of high quality best practice information on the new regulations to employers, individuals and—importantly—advice giving organisations and agencies through the funding we have allocated in the current financial year.

The Health and Safety Executive are producing a set of management Standards. The Standards are designed to provide a yardstick for organisations by which they can gauge the levels of stress and other associated problems among staff thereby helping them to identify where action is required. One of these, the Relationship Management Standard, focuses on bullying.

Assisting with the development of best practice operations is a group, under ACAS management called Race and Equality Advisory Service (REAS). This team of advisers deliver practical, best practice equality advice to organisations. This complements ACAS's wider role of providing services to organisations to help their businesses to flourish.

Continuing the promotion of best practice is the Partnership at Work Fund administered by DTI. This has provided grants to support organisations wishing to focus on best practice initiatives specifically encouraging employees and employers to work together to resolve issues. A number of projects have focused on reducing bullying, while others have included it as part of their wider objectives.

Bullying and harassment is an area of growing importance in the work of ACAS. It uses multiple channels for dissemination of guidance including: publications (available in hard copy and through the internet); face to face training and seminars; advice via the ACAS National Helpline; and also more in depth focused work within workplaces Two publications—'Bullying and Harassment: A Guide for Managers and Employers' and 'Bullying and Harassment: A Guide for Employees' with an annual distribution of approximately 26,000 copies offer guidance and form the basis of training programmes and seminars organised by ACAS.

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In 2003, around 200 seminars and training events were run focusing on the subject of bullying and harassment. The feedback from delegates to ACAS events is overwhelmingly positive with, across the board, 97 per cent. reporting that they were satisfied with the quality and content of their training. Follow up work with delegates in 2003, around 200 seminars and training events were run focussing on the subject of bullying and has also shown that the guidance offered by ACAS has positive and lasting benefits with 60 per cent. saying that they review policy and practice after attending ACAS events and around a third actually implemented change or introduced new policies after attending events.

The ACAS National Helpline also plays an important role in disseminating guidance. Around 600 calls are received monthly on this issue. Overall the feedback on the helpline is found to be extremely beneficial with 92 per cent. reporting satisfaction with the service received from the Helpline and 84 per cent. of callers reporting that they found the information provided was valuable in fully answering their inquiry.

Business Link

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list (a) the allocations to area-based Business Link teams, (b) the expenditure per head of population in each area and (c) the basis formula for the distribution of resources to each area for (i) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [149624]

Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 22 January 2004]: A breakdown of Business Link Operator (BLO) Core Services allocations for the 2003–04 financial year, together with a breakdown of the allocations divided by resident adult (16+) population data, by individual BLO is shown in the following table

The allocation formula for 2003–04 and 2004–05 is the same. However the data which make up the constituent parts of the formula was updated where possible for 2004–05, resulting in changes between these years. The formula is made up of the following four elements.





£

Business Link Area BLO CS Allocation 2003–04BLO CS Expenditure per head of population(10)
County Durham1,159,7642.90
Northumberland823,7583.28
Tees Valley1,460,4802.88
Tyne and Wear2,473,6082.85
Cheshire and Warrington2,427,0303.48
Cumbria1,472,1093.70
E. Lancashire1,294,3063.21
Manchester3,712,7593.46
Merseyside3,609,8373.06
N and W Lancashire2,482,8413.41
North Manchester2,868,2253.13
Humberside2,310,1053.32
N. Yorkshire-2,309,0613.76
S. Yorkshire3,045,7063.00
W. Yorkshire5,222,0163.16
Derbyshire2,502,7423.24
Leicestershire2,460,2303.42
Lincolnshire and Rutland1,960,5613.49
Northamptonshire1,721,9663.41
Nottinghamshire2,562,9623.11
Birmingham and Solihull2,989,2913.24
Black Country2,724,7553.18
Coventry and Warwickshire2,202,1173.36
Hereford and Worcs2,152,1223.69
Shropshire1,277,8613.58
Staffordshire2,743,9683.26
Bedfordshire1,515,8003.39
Cambridgeshire2,075,6203.61
Essex4,582,1473.53
Hertfordshire3,145,2623.83
Norfolk2,298,5033.49
Suffolk1,979,5343.66
London23,655,5554.00
Kent4,287,1573.40
M. Keynes, Oxon, Bucks4,093,2393.97
Surrey3,536,9404.14
Sussex4,440,9863.63
Hampshire5,025,6193.49
Dorset2,079,0993.62
Berkshire2,447,0403.83
Devon and Cornwall4,649,1363.58
Gloucestershire1,715,1913.76
Somerset1,527,8323.76
West2,759,8813.45
Wiltshire1,715,2813.50

(10) BLO CS allocations are divided by the resident adult (16+) population (latest data is

mid-year 2002 (rounded to the nearest hundred)

Source

Office for National Statistics (ONS))


26 Jan 2004 : Column 80W


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