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Research and Development (Tax Credits)

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of the claims for research and development tax credits that have been received by the Government have led to the development of a new product, service or process. [152060]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 19 January 2004, Official Report, column 1044W

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made towards the achievement of (a) targets and (b) delivery of the (i) regional economic strategy and (ii) corporate plan of each of the regional development agencies. [152063]

Jacqui Smith: England's Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), working with their regional and local partners and stakeholders, have produced Regional Economic Strategies (RESs) which set out the medium to long term vision for the economic development of their regions. They are designed to be implemented by the RDA and by regional partners and stakeholders. Each RDA monitors and reports to its region on delivery of the RES differently but the Annual Report and Accounts, which the eight RDAs outside London are required to produce, outline the achievements and progress made by each RDA. They are laid in Parliament and copies are available in the Libraries of the House. I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made on 17 July 2003 about the Annual Reports and Accounts for 2002–03. The London Development Agency also produces an annual report and accounts, outlining achievements and progress, which is available on its website.

The Government has agreed a common framework of targets for the RDAs to achieve. (The framework can be viewed on the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/rda/in.fo/index.htm.) Target levels are set through the Corporate Planning process and current targets were agreed by Ministers (and, in London, by the Mayor) and published in RDA's Corporate Plans for 2003–2006. The RDA details the activities and initiatives it will undertake in order to help implement the RES, and to contribute to the achievement of the targets set, within its Corporate Plan. Progress on achievement of the Tier 3 output targets is published six monthly and I refer the hon. Member to the statements I made on 7 July 2003 and today.

The Corporate Plans, RESs, and Annual Reports and Accounts are available on each RDA's website.

Seminars

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many seminars the Government has organised for the UK business community since 1997 on (a) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and

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Development Convention and Combating Bribery and (b) Part 12 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001; on which dates and in which locations; and (i) how many and (ii) which companies attended each seminar. [151588]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Since 2002 officials have run seminars or given presentations covering both (a) and (b) in several locations including those listed as follows. However, accurate numbers and details of those who attended events since 2002, and any information for the period between 1997 and 2002 would involve a search of records and company research which would Incur disproportionate costs.

Location
January 2002London, UK
October 2002Moscow, Russia
January 2003Birmingham, UK
March 2003Panama City, Panama
March 2003Mexico City, Mecico
June 2003Bogota, Colombia
December 2003Tehran, Iran
December 2003Kuwait City, Kuwait

UN Technology Summit

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the oral answer of 6 January to the hon. Member for Inverness, East, Nairn and Lochaber (Mr. Stewart), Official Report, column 156, what action she has taken to ensure that, as a result of the UN Technology Summit in Geneva, the benefits of information and communication flow to all in society. [152270]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 3 February 2004]: The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was held in Geneva on 10–12 December 2003. It focused on increasing the opportunities and allow the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) to flow to all.

The WSIS Action Plan formally asked that the Secretary General of the United Nations set up a task force to review the adequacy of all existing financial mechanisms to meet the challenges of ICT for development, by 2005. The Secretary General was also mandated to set up a working group on internet governance to investigate and make proposals for action on the governance of the internet, also by 2005, to coincide with the second phase of the Summit.

Preparations for the second phase will start officially with a meeting in the Autumn of 2004, but there will be a series of related workshops and meetings held from this Spring.

From the beginning , the UK encouraged the Summit to create a framework for initiatives to meet local peoples' needs, particularly "enabling partnerships" supported by governments, private sector partners, civil society and local "champions". The UK is already

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engaged in this partnership approach to reduce poverty and meet our Millennium Development Goals. We will continue to promote this up to the second phase of the Summit in Tunis in November 2005.

Wind Farms

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the contribution of the (a) concrete content of foundations, (b) losses in transmission and (c) the construction of necessary supports infrastructure to the (i) energy and (ii) carbon costs of wind farms. [152448]

Jacqui Smith: Research has shown that a modern wind turbine will recover all of the energy expended in its manufacture, operation and decommissioning within approximately three months. This figure is similar for onshore and offshore wind turbines. Exact figures for energy costs vary depending on the type of turbine, location, etc. However, a reasonable estimate in the construction of an onshore turbine is that (a) foundation energy costs account for up to 5 per cent. of the total and (b) support infrastructure accounts for less than 20 per cent. The rest is primarily accounted for in the manufacture of the turbine itself.

Over an operating lifetime of 20 years, an onshore turbine is expected to recover over 80 times the input energy required. This figure also includes maintenance energy requirements and transmission losses of 6 to 9 per cent. Carbon savings are dependent on the emissions from electricity that would otherwise have been produced from conventional power stations, but it is reasonable to assume that the lifetime savings will be of a similar multiple. The energy recovery for an offshore turbine is expected to be higher due to higher energy outputs over a longer lifetime.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the additional cost of reinforcing the transmission grid to cope with the addition of wind farm-generated electricity. [152451]

Jacqui Smith: The Transmission Issues Working Group reported in June 2003 that the overall cost to connect an additional 12 GW of renewable energy generation to the GB network would cost £2.1 billion. National Grid Transco, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy are currently revising these costs.

CABINET OFFICE

Civil Service

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has to regionalise the administration and management of the Civil Service. [152103]

Mr. Alexander: The administration and management of the Civil Service, other than for Senior Civil Service, is delegated to Departments. Sir Michael Lyons is conducting a review of the scope for relocating Civil Service jobs/functions out of London and the South East.

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DEFENCE

Bird Strikes

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on (a) the cost of bird scarers and (b) their efficacy in preventing RAF bird-strikes. [152459]

Mr. Ingram: In 2003 approximately £1.5 million was spent on bird control at RAF stations.

The use of bird scarers reduces the number of bird-strikes when aircraft are close to the airfield. However the majority of bird-strikes occur when the aircraft is in flight; Bird Control Units can do nothing to prevent these.

Catterick (Trainees' Boots)

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many pairs of correctly fitting boots each trainee receives at Infantry Training Centre, Catterick. [152377]

Mr. Ingram: New recruits to the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick are all issued with one pair of correctly fitting boots when they first commence training. These boots are exchangeable as necessary for reasons of fair wear and tear, accidental damage, etc. during the course of training. On completion of training, each successful recruit is issued with one further pair of boots.


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