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12 Feb 2004 : Column 1623Wcontinued
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will take steps to tackle the misuse of UK-based companies to facilitate money laundering and illegal asset transfer from other countries; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The UK has a comprehensive set of defences against money laundering which make us one of the least attractive countries in the world for money launderers to operate. The system has been strengthened considerably in recent months, with new primary and secondary legislation and a major programme to strengthen the systems for industry to report on possible money laundering.
The DTI works closely with the Treasury and Home Office over devising a legislative framework that deters and detects money laundering. I have powers to appoint company inspectors and to require information from companies under the Companies Acts. My Department is aware of its responsibility to report any evidence of possible money laundering to the National Criminal Intelligence Service and when we uncover such transactions we do so. We have close working relationships with other UK regulators and law enforcement agencies. We have powers to assist overseas regulators and can seek their help if we need it.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 3 February 2004, Official Report, column 781W, on wage levels, how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful prosecutions have been brought against employers found not to be complying with the national minimum wage in each year since the introduction of the national minimum wage. 
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Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what percentage of man hours involved in the construction of offshore oil and gas facilities destined for UK waters are required by her Department to be based in the UK; 
Procurement in relation to hydrocarbon exploration and production is a matter solely for the field operator whose actions are governed by The Utilities Contracts Regulations 1996 which require competitive tendering processes.
DTI works with the industry supply chain in this sector, to improve competitiveness, particularly of UK-based fabricators. These companies, where they have the capability, have won, in open market competition, around two thirds of the value of the contracts on recent UKCS developments.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has made to the European Commission concerning fair competition in the supply of installations for the gas and oil industry on the UK continental shelf. 
Mr. Timms: DTI has, in recent times, made no interventions with, or representations to, the European Commission concerning fair competition in the supply of installations for the gas and oil industry on the UKCS. However I would be very concerned should there be any anti-competitive behaviour in this sector. If officials are supplied with clear evidence of anti-competitive practise, such as illegal subsidies or abuse of a dominant market position, the matter will be taken to the commission urgently. The commission would need clear evidence of such practices to take action.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the principal conditions attached to the licence issued by her Department to EnCana to develop the Buzzard field in the North Sea were. 
Mr. Timms: The Buzzard field extends into acreage covered by two Petroleum Act Licences: P928, awarded in 1995, and P986, awarded in 1998. Both of these licences were issued on the terms and conditions that were standard for Seaward Production Licences at the time: for instance, a six-year initial term, to be followed by a 12-year second term and an 18-year final term. Neither was issued to EnCana in the first instance.
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The principal conditions of P928 are based, subject to minor amendments, on the Model Clauses set out in Schedule 4 to the Petroleum (Production) (Seaward Areas) Regulations 1988 (S.I. 1988 no. 1213), as amended by the Petroleum (Production) (Seaward Areas) (Amendment) Regulations 1990 (S.I. 1990 no. 1332) and the Petroleum (Production) (Seaward Areas) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992 no. 2378).
The principal conditions of P986 are based, subject to minor amendments, on the Model Clauses set out in Schedule 4 to the Petroleum (Production) (Seaward Areas) Regulations 1988 (S.I. 1988 no. 1213), as amended by Offshore Safety Act 1992 and the Petroleum (Production) (Seaward Areas) (Amendment) Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995 no. 1435) and the Petroleum (Production) (Seaward Areas) (Amendment) Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996 no. 2946), except for the amendments made by Regulations 8(a) (ii) and 8(c) to 8(h) .
Both licences were additionally subject to a series of conditions specific to the particular acreage. These appeared under the headings: "Environmental Seismic/Drilling", "Oil-spills", "Defence and National Security Matters" and "Fisheries, Shipping and other Interests" in the case of P928; and "General", "Environmental/Seismic and Drilling", "Oil spills", and "Fisheries and other interests" in the case of P986.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what arrangements are in place to enforce European Union health and safety at work standards at each stage of the construction and installation process in projects for Britain's offshore oil and gas industries; and what the relationship is between health and safety legislation and her Department's licensing regime. 
Mr. Timms: European Union health and safety at work standards, as set out in EU Directives, are implemented in Great Britain and in respect of the UK offshore oil and gas industries through the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and subordinate health and safety regulations. This legislation is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive. The legislation is entirely separate from DTI's licensing regime under the Petroleum Act.
Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she intends to publish the draft regulations for the forthcoming Operating and Financial Review; and what technical improvements have been recommended to her Department for the Review. 
Ms Hewitt: The Government intends to publish draft regulations on the Operating and Financial Review (OFR) for consultation as soon as possible. These will take account of over 250 responses dealing with the OFR to the White Paper, "Modernising Company Law", published in July 2002, as well as of European legislation and of further analysis.
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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications for Phoenix funds have been (a) submitted and (b) accepted for each nation in the UK since its inception; and if she will make a statement. 
|Country||Applications received||Applications accepted|
The Government have allocated resources to promote enterprise in disadvantaged areas and under-represented groups. In England, that allocation has been designated as the Phoenix Fund. The devolved Administrations, who have responsibility for business support in their own countries, have made separate arrangements for using their allocations. However, for reasons of economy of scale and to ensure consistency with other existing provision, a limited number of elements of the Phoenix Fund provision to support Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) apply across the whole of the UK.
Nigel Griffiths: The uptake of the Phoenix Fund has been encouraging. The Phoenix Development Fund is supporting over 90 projects testing out innovative approaches in providing business support for disadvantaged communities and under-represented groups. Up until the end of September 2003, the latest date for which figures are available, these projects had helped in the creation of some 7,700 new enterprises and assisted over 7,100 existing businesses.
Among other projects being funded is the work of 55 Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) that provide finance to businesses unable to obtain it from other sources. Up until the end of December 2003, those CDFIs have made over 1,050 loans to the value of over £6.5 million that have resulted in the creation of some 1,860 jobs in over 1,000 new and existing businesses.
The effectiveness of the Fund is currently being evaluated. An interim report of an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Phoenix Development Fund is due to be published shortly. A final report will be published in the second half of 2004. An independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the first two rounds of support for CDFIs is currently underway and will report in April.
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Nigel Griffiths: In 1999 the Phoenix Fund was established with a budget of £30 million through to 200203 to promote enterprise in disadvantaged areas and under-represented groups. A further £70 million was allocated to the Fund in the 2000 Spending Round for 200102 to 200304. As a result of the 2002 Comprehensive Spending Review £50 million was allocated to the Fund for 200405200506.
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