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Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the implications of the Appeal Court decision in the case of Bernie Creham against Inntrepreneur for (a) the licensed trade, (b) competition policy and (c) protection of consumers. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: It is for parties involved in the beer industry to consider how this decision may affect their commercial relationships and for the UK competition authorities to consider any wider matters it may raise relating to competition law and consumer protection.
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 17 June 2004]: Since the introduction, 15 Stop Now Orders have been obtained. In addition, three interim Orders have been obtained. 13 of these, including the three interim Orders have been obtained by local authority trading standards departments. The Office of Fair Trading has obtained the remaining five Orders.
The primary purposes of the Business Support review is to increase value created through the investment of taxpayers' funds and to improve the customer experience in dealing with DTI. Cost savings of £740,000 have already been achieved from administrative efficiency improvements in delivering Business Support in 200304 against the 200203 baseline. Further administrative cost savings are projected for 200405 and 200506.
Barclays Bank's latest survey of business creation includes non-VAT registered firms and shows that there were 115,000 business start-ups in England and Wales in the last quarter of 2003, including 1,300 business start-ups in the county of Staffordshire (which includes Tamworth parliamentary constituency). The latest yearly figures show 465,000 business start-ups in England and Wales in 2003. This represents a 19 per cent. increase on the year before. In 2003 there were 5,500 business start-ups in the county of Staffordshire.
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DTI figures based solely on VAT registrations for Tamworth local authority and Lichfield local authority (which both contain parts of Tamworth parliamentary constituency) are shown in the following table for the period 1997 to 2002. Data for 2003 will be available in autumn 2004.
VAT registrations do not capture all start-up activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register will not necessarily have closed. Only 1.8 million out of 3.8 million enterprises were registered for VAT at the start of 2002.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the merits of introducing a right for the carers of older or disabled adults (a) to have paid leave from work and (b) to request flexible working; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The DTI is taking forward a programme of work to explore what additional support could be provided to people balancing work and caring responsibilities, in ways that meet both individual and business needs. The work includes a series of roundtables in each region across the country, and in Scotland and Wales. Carers UK and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers have each hosted a roundtable to hear directly from carers and employers about their experiences and needs. In addition, a Citizens' Jury has also taken place to further identify priorities and potential options for the future.
This will help shape future policy and the review of the flexible working and other family friendly laws, planned for 2006. An issue which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has indicated should be a priority is, subject to that review, extending the flexible working law to wider groups of carers, such as carers of elderly or sick relatives.
Nigel Griffiths: Members of the Department's Coal Liabilities Unit last met with the Law Society on 29 April and they are due to meet next on 7 July. They have also previously met with the Law Society on 15 January.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her assessment is of the likely impact of additional rationalisation of staff in her Department on its ability to deliver its priorities and its statutory responsibilities. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 18 June 2004]: My Department has developed plans that will enable it to deliver more efficiently DTI's priorities and responsibilities, as set out in the DTI Strategy published in September 2003. These plans will be reflected in the public spending settlements for 200608 when they are announced.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints against (a) employment agencies and (b) businesses required investigation by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate in 200203. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: In the period 200203, the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate received and investigated 716 complaints. The figure for 200304 was 1,057. Data broken down between employment agencies and employment business are not available.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many convictions there were of (a) employment agencies and (b) businesses by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate in 200203; and how many resulted in fines. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: In the period 200203, the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) obtained eight convictions against persons who operated as employment agencies. In total £5,735 was awarded in compensation for the workers who gave evidence in these cases. One employment agent was fined £500. There were no convictions against employment business.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) entertainment and (b) model agencies were investigated by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate in 200203; how many convictions resulted; and in how many cases fines were imposed. 
In 200203 the EAS obtained eight convictions against persons who operated as entertainment agencies, i.e. finding work for entertainers or background extras on film and television productions. In total, £5,735 was
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awarded in compensation for the witnesses in these cases. One entertainment agent was fined £500. In the same period there were no convictions against model agencies.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications to prevent (a) employment agencies and (b) businesses trading were made by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate in 2003. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: In 2003, the Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate made two applications under section 3(a) of the Employment Agencies Act 1973 to prohibit persons from being concerned with the running of an employment agency or employment business. Both applications were successful and the persons were prohibited for the maximum term of 10 years.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what targets she has set for the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate in relation to visiting (a) employment agencies and (b) businesses; 
(2) what performance targets have been set for the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate; and whether she plans to publish an annual report on the Inspectorate's activities. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Employment Agency Standards (EAS) Inspectorate will be publishing an annual report this summer, which will give full details on the Inspectorate's activities and objectives. As soon as it is published, a copy of the report will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
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