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11 Feb 2004 : Column 1480W—continued

Part-time Workers

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures have been introduced since 1997 to improve employment rights for part-time workers. [153603]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 introduced new rights for part-time workers ensuring that part-timers are not treated less favourably than comparable full-timers in their terms and conditions, unless it is objectively justified.

The measures reinforce the Government's policy of putting in place decent minimum standards whilst promoting a flexible and competitive workforce.

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, how many businesses have been helped by each regional development agency; what the average sum of money received by these businesses is; how many of the businesses helped are still operating; and how many of these businesses have increased their profitability. [148189]

Jacqui Smith: [pursuant to her reply, 28 January 2004, c. 376W]: Unfortunately the table referred to in the final paragraph was not provided. Following is the complete text.

England's Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) help businesses both directly and indirectly through a range of activities and programmes including skills development, upgrading infrastructure and improving business competitiveness of the region in general.

Information on how many businesses have been helped, the average sum of money received, how many are still operating, and how many have increased their profitability, is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The number of businesses added to the regional economy as a direct result of RDA activity is available for financial year 2002—2003 and is broken down by Agency in the following table. The information is also available on the DTI website at

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RDATotal number of new businesses added to the regional economy in 2002–03 as a direct result of RDA activities
Advantage West Midlands170
East of England Development Agency156
East Midlands Development Agency225
London Development Agency1,368
North West Development Agency603
One North East717
South East of England Development Agency141
South West Regional Development Agency525
Yorkshire Forward826

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many regional development agency projects are being evaluated; and when the results will be known. [153586]

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Jacqui Smith: All projects undertaken by England's Regional Development Agencies go through an evaluation process once the project impact can be assessed, usually at least six months after the projects are completed. To ensure compliance with guidance issued by the Department each agency has a project performance and evaluation team which is tasked with determining the success of the project, to identify lessons to be incorporated into other projects and to improve processes. The agencies are also collectively developing a mechanism to share the outcomes of evaluations carried out.

Research Councils

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was spent by each of the Research Councils in each of the last six years. [152048]

Ms Hewitt: Please see the following table for a breakdown of spend by Research Council since 1997–98.


Research Council1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–03
Total expenditure1,322,6471,319,0431,383,0351,487,6821,719,8981,796,673


1. Figures shown are sourced from the Research Councils financial accounts and exclude notional cost of capital.

2. Figures shown are total spend by each council, financed from all sources.

Small Business

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many small businesses increased their profits above £15,000 in each year since 1997; and what the percentage change was in each year. [153556]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The following table gives the figures requested:

First yearSecond yearNumber of businesses with profits(10) , (11) above £15,000 in second year but below £15,000 in first yearPercentage moving above £15, 000 of the total below £15,000 in the first year

(10) For Incorporated Businesses, profits chargeable to Corporation Tax.

(11) For Unincorporated Businesses, Taxable Profits.


Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what discussions she has had with the Office of Fair Trading in respect of the supermarkets' voluntary code of practice; and if she will make a statement; [153482]

Mr. Sutcliffe: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has had no discussions so far with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on this issue, because they are carrying out an independent review of the statutory Code of Practice governing supermarkets' relations with their suppliers. The OFT is expected to conclude its review shortly. My right hon. Friend will then decide if any action is necessary.

Textiles (Pakistan)

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions her Department has had with the Pakistan Government on the export of Pakistan-produced textiles into the European Union. [147542]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Officials in the Department have had frequent contacts with representatives of the Government of Pakistan over a Commission proposal to impose anti-dumping duties on cotton-type bed linen originating in Pakistan. At my request, the Director, Market Access met a delegation of high ranking Pakistan Government officials on 7 January 2004 and conveyed to them that the UK would oppose the Commission's proposal.

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UK Coal (Aid)

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received from the National Union of Mineworkers on the suspension of investment aid to UK Coal and Kellingley Colliery; and what her response was. [154471]

Mr. Timms: The Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers wrote to me on 20 December 2003 to express concern that UK Coal had announced reviews of three collieries shortly after being offered £36.5 million of Coal Investment Aid. The letter also expressed concern about UK Coal's plans for flexible working arrangements at Kellingley Colliery and sought to link the award of aid to UK Coal with a commitment that there would be no redundancies or colliery closures.

In my reply of 26 January 2004, I noted the union's views. I also noted that the company had accepted the offer of up to 30 per cent. support for planned investment at five of its eight mines, including for Kellingley, and said that it would be in the best interests of everyone connected with these mines that UK Coal should be able to develop these investment plans without further delay. (I can confirm that it has since accepted the offers of aid for two of the three mines in review.) My letter also said that flexible working arrangements are a matter for UK Coal.

United Kingdom Trade

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what the volume of United Kingdom trade with each of the members of the G90 was in each of the last 10 years; [146598]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 21 January 2004, Official Report, column 1288W.

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