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27 Feb 2004 : Column 607W—continued


Post Office Accounts

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether interest will be paid on Post Office accounts opened for the purpose of benefit payments under the automated credit transfer system. [156583]

Mr. Timms: I understand that interest will not be paid on Post Office card accounts. The Post Office card account is a deliberately simple financial product developed by Post Office Ltd. on behalf of Government to cater exclusively for those customers in receipt of pensions, benefits and tax credits who do not have or choose not to use a commercial bank account.

Broadband/Mobile Phones

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with whom she has held discussions on her strategy to encourage growth in the broadband and third-generation mobile phone sectors. [156178]

Mr. Timms: Since launching the broadband strategy to have the most competitive and extensive broadband market in the G7 by 2005 in 2001, discussions have been held with a wide range of stakeholders throughout the broadband value chain involving the full range of technologies. These discussions were usually held through the Broadband Stakeholder Group, which was established to advise the Government on the development and implementation of a strategy to achieve this target and provide a focal point for stakeholders to address both short and long-term issues related to the deployment and take-up of broadband services. The Government values the work of the Broadband Stakeholder Group and the contribution it has made to the successful deployment of broadband in the UK.

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what strategy she is pursuing to encourage growth in the broadband and third-generation mobile phone sectors; and if she will make a statement. [156180]

Mr. Timms: The primary focus of the Government's strategy is to meet the needs of end-users through the promotion of competition at all levels in the value chain

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in terms of quality, choice of broadband services and value for money. This means the effective and sustainable competition in the provision of broadband networks and services and a regulatory framework that is conducive to further investment and rollout to all areas of the United Kingdom. The third generation mobile phone sector offers not only increased competition and greater consumer choice; it will also provide a true mobile broadband service for individuals and businesses alike.

The Government's policy in licensing spectrum early for the third generation mobile phone sector has enabled the UK along with Italy to launch the first services in Europe. The auction of third generation licences enabled a new entrant, Hutchinson 3G, to enter the market and provide increased competition. The licence condition for third generation mobile phone operators will ensure that at least 80 per cent. of the UK population will be covered by third generation services by 2007.

Business Link

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 6 February 2004, Official Report, column 1090W, on business link operators, which are the five business link operators referred to as seriously underperforming; and if she will give their (a) performance results and (b) budget for each year since their establishment. [155320]

Nigel Griffiths: Of the five business link operators, three (BL Derbyshire, BL Tees Valley and BL Bedfordshire and Luton) did not have their contracts automatically extended and were required to undergo a business performance review. The remaining two operators (Cambridge Business Services and Sussex Enterprise) were only required to undergo business performance reviews.

The performance results for the five operators as at the end of Quarter 3 in 2002–03 and their performance results for each full year since the business link network was re-engineered in 2001–02, are as follows:

(a) Quarter 3 2002–03 Performance Results

Market penetration (businesses helped as a proportion of the inter Departmental Business Register)Customer Satisfaction(April to September 2002 survey)
BL Derbyshire12.276.0
BL Tees Valley25.171.3
BL Bedfordshire and Luton8.878.4
Cambridgeshire Business Services9.575.6
Sussex Enterprise11.885.7

(b) Performance Results at each year end since 2001–02

Market Penetration
BL Derbyshire18.115.5
BL Tees Valley26.129.4
BL Bedfordshire and Luton10.112.3
Cambridgeshire Business Services9.811.4
Sussex Enterprise18.015.5

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Customer Satisfaction
BL Derbyshire77.483.1
BL Tees Valley81.778.2
BL Bedfordshire and Luton89.282.4
Cambridgeshire Business Services82.175.5
Sussex Enterprise86.679.5

(17) October 2001 to March 2002 survey

(18) October 2002 to March 2003 survey

Since SBS took action to address underperformance last year all five business link operators have, following their business performance reviews, taken effective action to address their problems and have all subsequently achieved significant improvements in their performance.

The performance improvements registered by BL Derbyshire, BL Tees Valley and BL Bedfordshire and Luton have been sufficient enough for SBS to extend their contracts to the full three years with effect from April 2004.

Cancun Agreements

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her policy regarding (a) the Cancun agreements on trade and (b) bilateral agreements. [155114]

Ms Hewitt: There are welcome signs that the DDA negotiations could make significant progress in 2004. I welcome the recent appointment of WTO chairs, which should instil fresh impetus to these negotiations following the disappointing conclusion to the Cancun ministerial.

While bilateral agreements have a complementary role to play in promoting closer political, social and economic co-operation, the UK firmly believes that the biggest gains to the global economy would come from securing a successful outcome to the current round of WTO multilateral trade negotiations. This will ensure a global framework for free and fair trade, providing increased opportunity and prosperity for developed and developing countries alike.


Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are being taken to deal with the threats to UK businesses from cyber-terrorism. [153559]

Mr. Timms: Policy on the protection of the UK from terrorist attack is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. The Department contributes to the overall goal of protecting UK interests from electronic attack by seeking to improve the information security management of UK business. We do this by promoting relevant research and our innovation activities which seek to promote the adoption of new technologies such as biometrics. In particular, we have worked for many years on the identification and promotion of management best practice, we have regularly surveyed the nature of the problems and the

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solutions adopted and have a suite of material aimed at demystifying the subject for smaller companies working on-line.

F-16 Fighter Jets

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many head-up display units have been supplied to the United States for incorporation into F-16 fighter jets since 2000; how many of these jets were destined for Israel; and if she will make a statement. [154541]

Nigel Griffiths: The DTI is responsible for holding information only on licences we have issued.

From March 2003, information on whether goods were for incorporation has been recorded on the DTI Export Control Organisation's (ECO) databases. Information prior to this can be obtained only at disproportionate cost, via a manual search of licensing files.

Statistics on incorporation cases will be published in the Government's 2003 Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls later this year.


Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 11 February 2004, Official Report, column 1476W, on fish, what the application numbers of the two transgenic fish referred to are. [156035]

Ms Hewitt: Of the two applications referred to, one has been published and its number is GB 2377221. The other application is not due to be published until 17 August 2004, and under UK patent law it remains confidential until that time.

Details of published applications can be found via the espacenet database which can be reached via our website

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