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26 Jan 2004 : Column 87W—continued


Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with her German counterpart regarding the labour practices of the UK subsidiaries of (a) Deutsche Telekom AG and (b) other companies where the German Government retains controlling or significant shareholdings. [149576]

Mr. Sutcliffe: All UK subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies are subject to UK labour law. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has not had discussions with her German counterpart regarding the labour practices of UK subsidiaries of any company where the German Government retains significant shareholdings. However, the managing director of T-Mobile has been invited to meet with me as Minister responsible for Employment Relations to discuss the recent union recognition discussions at the company.

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Home Security Systems

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to prevent companies installing home security systems from falsely claiming that their systems are approved by the police or that their work is being carried out in conjunction with the police or the local authority. [149345]

Mr. Sutcliffe: It is an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 to make false claims about goods or services being supplied in the course of business. This includes false statements, about goods being tested or approved by any person, or about services being examined, approved or evaluated by any person. Local Authority Trading Standards Departments are responsible for enforcing the Act.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what quantitative assessment she has made of the effect of the opening 10 years ago of the market in Honduras to subsidised rice imports from the United States on (a) the economy and (b) living standards in Honduras. [149128]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: None.

Internet Usage

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of (a) under 15-year-olds, (b) 15 to 24-year-olds, (c) 25 to 34-year-olds, (d) 35 to 44-year-olds, (e) 45 to 54-year-olds, (f) 55 to 64-year-olds and (g) over 65-year-olds are regular users of the internet. [146118]

Mr. Alexander: I have been asked to reply.

58 per cent. of the adult population are now regular users of the internet compared to 40 per cent. in October 2000. The figures in the table from the National Statistics Omnibus survey show adults in Great Britain who had accessed the internet in the three months prior to interview in October 2003. They are broken down by age group as follows:

Age in years Percentage
16 to 2488
25 to 4476
45 to 5464
55 to 6445
65 and over16

Full results are available at

While the ONS Omnibus survey only focuses on those over 16, DfES commission a 'young people and ICT' survey each year. The latest results, from a survey in Autumn 2002 found that 84 per cent. of 5 to 18-year-olds use the internet. Full results are available at

Miners' Compensation

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what procedure is in place to pay the British Coal component part of miners' health

26 Jan 2004 : Column 89W

compensation claims in cases where negotiations are continuing with private small mines; and if she will make a statement. [148678]

Nigel Griffiths: The procedures in place are that the Department is making interim payments—of 75 per cent. of the estimated share of general damages payable by British Coal—to claimants who have worked for both British Coal and a small private mine, where no other interims have been paid previously. The first of these interim payments was made in December 2003. Where an interim payment has been paid previously—for example, on the basis that the claimant has previously received a DWP payment for respiratory disease—the Department will reassess the claim after having completed interim payments to those claimants who have received no payments, and will ensure that compensation is topped up to the equivalent of 75 per cent. of estimated British Coal share of general damages.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in settling chest disease claims from mineworkers who worked (a) in dirty surface environments and (b) underground only for short periods. [150843]

Nigel Griffiths: Claimants who worked underground for short periods are already eligible to claim compensation for respiratory disease under the Claims Handling Agreement (CHA).

With regard to discussions on surface dusty workers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the Judge has instructed the claimants' solicitors' co-ordinating group (CG) to identify lead claimants and to investigate their medical circumstances and dust exposure. The Department is assisting the CG in this process by giving access to British Coal dust records. The CG are to report back to the Judge in February.

The Department and the CG are also in discussions about allowing surface only workers to claim for chronic bronchitis (CB) and temporary exacerbation of asthma (TEA), on the basis of proposals made by the Department to the CG. Any arrangement relating to claims for COPD, CB or TEA for surface workers would not be subject to the cut-off date agreed for the underground scheme.

Motor Industry

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the operation of the Rover Task Force. [142124]

Jacqui Smith: The Rover Task Force (RTF) was set up in 2000 to look at the potential effects on the region's economy of the then expected decline of Rover and its supply industry—which was a severe risk at the time of the BMW withdrawal from the company. The report it produced has been carried forward primarily by Advantage West Midlands (the RDA). It remains one of the best examples of speedy response to a crisis coupled with long-term action to address structural change.

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There are three themes arising from the RTF:

Modernisation and Diversification projects are continuing with spend on target and outputs exceeding or in line with expectations. For example, at end of 2002–03 over 2,500 jobs have been safeguarded against a target of 1,700. Equally on the Regeneration agenda, a strategy is in place for High Tech Corridors to provide long-term sustainable development of the region.

Museums (Genetic Research)

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the research that has been carried out following studies of genetic materials held in British museums. [145593]

Ms Hewitt: Museums hold a great deal of material that could be classed as genetic material: from human, animal or insect remains to collections of seeds and plants samples, even marine sediments contain genetic material which could be used in research.

There are many of possible funders including the Government Departments, devolved Administrations, Research Councils, universities, charities and the museums themselves. There is no central record of all the research funded by these different bodies or of the research carried out on the different sources of genetic material and it would be cost prohibitive to gather it.

National Business Angels Network

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what sums of money put into the National Business Angels Network have been written off. [150195]

Nigel Griffiths: None.

Project Funding

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding has been provided by her Department to help finance (a) the Passport to Export Success scheme, (b) the Overseas Project Fund, (c) the British Overseas Industrial Placement, (d) the Outward Missions Support Unit, (e) inward trade missions, (f) the Export Promoter Initiatives, (g) the Export Marketing Research Initiative, (h) the Export Communications Review, (i) the Framework Programme 6 and (j) the Link Collaborative Research Initiative for each financial year since the inception of each; what funding has been allocated to finance each in future financial years; and if she

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will estimate the extent to which businesses have benefited from each initiative to date. [149446]

Ms Hewitt: The schemes at (a) to (h) are administered by UK Trade and Investment (a joint FCO/DTI Department), and those at (i) and (j) by the Office of Science and Technology (OST) at the DTI.

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The funding figures available for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) trade support schemes, and projected funding, are as follows.

(a) to (h): Funding details for UK Trade and Investment trade support schemes:

Since 2001, funding has been provided to the schemes as follows:

£ million

OutturnEst. outturn Plans
(a) Passport to Export(14)
(b) Overseas Project Fund2.
(c) British Ovs. Industrial Placement Scheme (BOND)
(d) Outward Missions Scheme(15)
(e) Inward Missions Scheme0.
(f) Export Promoters Scheme4.
(g) Export Market Research Initiative1.
(h) Export Communications Review0.

(14) Scheme under development.

(15) Vertical missions will be subsumed into the Support for Exhibitions and Seminars Abroad (SESA) scheme as of 1 April 2004.

The BOND scheme at (c) ends in March 2004.

The support provided by UK Trade and Investment helps businesses to trade successfully in international markets. Those that do so are shown by independent research to be more productive, to pay higher wages and to be more capital intensive than those that do not. The current formal evaluation of the benefits to business from UKTI trade schemes is contained in UKTI's (then British Trade International) Departmental Report (Cm 5915) of May 2003, and in the Autumn Performance Report (Cm 5711) of December 2003, copies of which are in the Libraries of the House. Details of UKTI's 2003–04 performance measurement will be available in late February 2004, and will be included in UKTI's Departmental Report to be published in April 2004.

(i) the Framework Programme 6

The EU's Framework Programmes are funded from the EU budget, not DTI. The current budget for the period 2002 to 2006 is Euro17.5 billion. The programme supports a range of activities including collaborative research and technological development, researcher mobility, scientific infrastructure and co-ordination of national research funding. The Government's Memorandum and response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry (UK Science and Europe: Value for Money?) in 2003 outlined evidence for the benefit to the UK. The Government are examining these issues further in preparation for negotiation of the next programme. UK businesses benefit from participation in the programme in terms of funding, gaining access to European markets and researchers and participation/risk sharing in R&D on cutting edge technologies.

(j) the Link Collaborative Research Initiative

My Department has funded the LINK Collaborative Research scheme as follows:


DTIResearch CouncilsTotal
1988–97 cumulative86,873.570,369.1157,242.6
Total to 2002–03145,417.3193,722.533,9139.8

No specific funding amount is allocated for future years but follows the assessment of proposals for LINK Collaborative Research programmes.

Fourteen Government Departments and Research Councils sponsor LINK Collaborative Research. Participating businesses, which provide at least matching support for all Government funding, benefit from involvement in the scheme in a variety of ways. The report of a recent independent Strategic Review of LINK Collaborative Research included estimates of the economic benefits of LINK projects to UK business as follows.

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