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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment she has made of the impact that the decision to cut the funding available for the Grants for Research and Development Scheme will have on UK businesses; 
(2) how often she intends to hold competitions for funding through the Grants for Research and Development Scheme; 
(3) what discussions she has had with business groups about the decision to cut the funding available for the Grants for Research and Development Scheme; 
(4) how many firms have benefited from the Grants for Research and Development Scheme in each quarter since its introduction. 
The method of allocating R and D grants between 1986 and 2000 was the same as the one re-introduced in 2003. This is considered more effective in targeting resources than the one in operation between 200103.
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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps have been taken to recover public money where solicitors and others have been paid in full through the coal claims handling agreement, but have charged the claimant a success fee. 
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 22 June 2004]: I am advised that costs cannot be recouped where a solicitor has also charged a claimant a success fee since the fees paid under the Agreements are legally enforceable.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims under the coal claims handling agreement have been subject to the Schedule 56 disputes procedures; and how many of these have had their costs paid in full. 
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it was specifically agreed by her Department under the claims handling agreement with the Union of Democratic Mineworkers that a limited liability company was an appropriate body to represent claimants. 
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Union of Democratic Mineworkers is treated in the same way as a firm of solicitors in representing claimants under the claims handling agreement. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the difficulties experienced by small circulation newspapers and magazines in obtaining display space in newsagents. 
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to make the UK economy less dependent on imports from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries; and if she will make a statement. 
The UK is currently a net exporter of oil and oil products, and, largely due to geography, imports relatively little oil from OPEC countries. However, the UK is expected to become a net importer of oil by 2010 and the Government therefore recognise the need to take a longer term strategic international approach to energy
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security. This approach is outlined in the 2003 Energy White Paper, "Our Energy Futurecreating a low carbon economy", available at http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/whitepaper/index.shtml. The aim is not to reduce dependence on OPEC per se, but rather to promote more diverse sources of supply, fuel types and trading routes and to put in place policies that will help ease the economy away from power supplied primarily through fossil fuels as well as bringing about reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the incidence of predatory below-cost pricing of groceries by retailers; and what assessment she has made of the effect of such pricing on (a) food producers and (b) competition in the retail groceries sector. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: None. It is for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), as the UK's independent competition authority, to decide whether to investigate competition issues. Any information or evidence concerning market failure or anti-competitive practices should be submitted directly to the OFT.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what help her Department will give to (a) tidal and (b) wave powered electricity; and what help it will give to assist UK manufacturing to provide the equipment. 
Mr. Timms: The main form of support for all renewable technologies is the Renewables Obligation (RO) which provides a stable and long-term market for renewable electricity. Electricity generation from both wave and tidal technologies is eligible for the RO.
However, these technologies are further from market and still at the developmental stage. Therefore the principal form of support has been through the DTI's Research and Development Programme, which since 1997, has committed around £15 million towards the development of these technologies.
The recent Renewable Innovation Review undertaken by the DTI and the Carbon Trust www.dti.gov.uk/energy/renewables/policy/renewables innovation review.shtml considered the issue of funding for the next phase of development of these technologies which includes small scale demonstration and pre-commercial stages.
The DTI is currently considering what the options are for providing further support and how we support the industry through the next phase of development We recognise the significant industrial opportunities which successful development of wave and tide power technology could provide for the UK.
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Ms Hewitt: Information on spin-off numbers is gathered on an annual basis. The Higher Education-Business Interaction (HEBI) survey has recorded the following number of spin-offs over the last three years:
UK universities' spin-off performance compares favourably with US universities. UK universities identified one spin-off firm for every £15 million of research expenditure, compared with one for every £44 million in the US.
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the British manufacturing industry on ensuring that they are able to provide the turbine manufacturing capability for new wind farm developments in the UK. 
Mr. Timms: The Department is taking a keen interest in developing opportunities for UK companies. This has included a recent request to each of the key European Wind Turbine Manufacturing companies to set up contacts within the Department, to identify inward investment opportunities and to press home the message about the capability of the UK to supply to this growing market. Meetings have also taken place in the UK with Vestas Celtic, PeterBrotherhood and DEWind in relation to developing their supply chains and increasing UK content in projects. A programme of 'meet the wind turbine company buyer' events has been started with successful events so far in Newcastle, Hamburg and Aberdeen. Further events are planned for Manchester, Belfast, Yorkshire and Humberside, East of England and Scotland.
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