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Civil Service

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what changes she expects in the number of civil service jobs in her Department in response to the Gershon Review. [180532]

Ms Hewitt: I refer to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant) on this subject on 22 June 2004, Official Report, columns 1292–93W.

European Community Acquis

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 16 June 2004, Official Report, column 959W, on deregulation, what assessment she has made of the range of options available to the European Commission to eliminate European legal texts that are not obsolete and are not duplicated elsewhere in the Community acquis. [180437]

Jacqui Smith: My Department has not undertaken such an assessment. The Commission set out its approach to securing a reliable, up-to-date and user-friendly body of EC law in its Communication of February 2003, "Updating and Simplifying the Community Acquis" ((COM 2003) 71 final). This covers: simplification; consolidation; codification; repeal; obsolescence; and organisation and presentation of the acquis. It has just published a second report (COM (2004) 432) detailing progress on plans laid out in the 2003 communication.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2004, Official Report, column 959W, on deregulation,
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whether the Competitiveness Council can make changes to the legal status of the Community acquis unilaterally. [180438]

Jacqui Smith: The Competitiveness Council cannot change the acquis unilaterally. EU legislation is made and amended following the procedures set down in the Treaty.


Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the expenditure on consultants was for each regional development agency in each year since 1997. [173795]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 19 May 2004]: The regional development agencies have provided the following information.
Spend by regional development agencies on consultants in 2003–04

Agency£ million
Advantage West Midlands0.6
East of England Development Agency1.2
East Midlands Development Agency5
London Development Agency4
North West Development Agency3.4
ONE North East2.5
South East of England Development Agency3
South West of England Regional Development Agency0.9
Yorkshire Forward2

The Regional Development Agencies do not retain information on consultancy costs in relation to past years and such information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will reply to the letter of 18 March
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from the hon. Member for Totnes concerning Mr. Bob Bowling of Brixham and grants for solar heating. [180636]

Mr. Timms: My Department has no record of having received the letter. Following inquiries from my officials we will ensure that the copy faxed from the hon. Member's office on 23 June is answered promptly.

Defence Exports

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was spent promoting defence exports by British Trade International in each of the last three years. [180151]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Government policy in respect of defence exports is implemented by the Defence Exports Service Organisation in the Ministry of Defence, who work in support of defence companies in their bid to undertake legitimate defence exports. However, UK Trade and Investment (formerly British Trade International) continues to support exhibitions and seminars abroad, some of which are mainly defence related.

Figures for the last three years are:

E-mail (Consumer Protection)

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of current consumer protection measures in dealing with e-mail promotion and transaction of frauds; and what steps she will take to ensure that perpetrators of such e-mails receive appropriate penalties. [179496]

Mr. Timms: E-mail is an extremely powerful vehicle for targeting vast numbers of consumers at very low cost. The types of scams that they carry are also becoming more sophisticated and the nature of the medium also means perpetrators can easily hide their real identities. This particular kind of fraud is therefore challenging, but we believe we are helping to put in place an effective framework of activities to meet it.

First, through law and enforcement co-operation. E-mail fraud is dealt with under the same laws as other fraud and consumer protection laws such as misleading advertising and distance selling. Therefore they incur the same penalties for infringements of these laws. Our focus then is on ensuring that they can be effectively enforced. To help this process, we are building partnerships between Government, regulators and industry to develop ways—including technological solutions—to find the perpetrators and stop this kind of activity. As many of these types of e-mail come from abroad, a major part of this is building effective co-operation agreements with other countries. In the past two years the UK has
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built up a network of consumer protection co-operation agreements with other countries including the United States and our European Union partners, and we are at the forefront of driving international co-operation to tackle unsolicited emails (SPAM).

Second, through information. Advice and guidance to help consumers is key. The Department of Trade and Industry, Home Office and Office of Fair Trading all provide a wide range of information on email fraud for consumers. See www.homeoffice. and Consumers should also take note of the help and guidance given by the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

We believe that this approach—encompassing co-operation, enforcement, information provision and technological solutions—is the right one, and we will continue to improve and build on these elements.

Junk E-mails

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her latest estimate is of the percentage of e-mails received in the UK that are unwanted junk e-mails; and by how much this figure has changed since December 2003. [181015]

Mr. Timms: The Government do not estimate the amount of unwanted junk e-mails received in the UK. However, according to industry sources the proportion of UK junk e-mails received at network level for May 2004 was 58.5 per cent. of the total received compared with 33.3 per cent. for December 2003.

MG Rover Group

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what dates (a) discussions and (b) meetings were held between her Department and MG Rover Group since 2000; and if she will place the minutes of these meetings in the Library. [179316]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 June 2004]: My officials have regular informal discussions and meetings with MG Rover Group, as they do with other key automotive companies operating in the UK. These discussions are not formally minuted.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what duties have been placed upon MG Rover Group to report on the company's financial performance to the Government. [179320]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 18 June 2004]: MG Rover Group have the same duties as any other private company to report on their financial performance.

Miners' Strike

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications there have been for enhanced payments from the Mineworkers Pension Scheme from miners dismissed for offences committed during the 1984–85 miners' strike; how many were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful and used the appeals procedure; how many successful appeals there have been; and if she will break down the numbers by former coalfield areas. [181122]

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Nigel Griffiths: There were a total of 204 applications for the Dismissed Miners Compensation Scheme of which 141 were successful at the initial stage. Two applications were unable to progress where necessary information was requested but, despite reminders, was never provided.

There were 61 unsuccessful applicants of whom 34 appealed against the original decision. Four of these did not return the appeal form despite reminders being issued and two applicants wished for the appeal to proceed but did not request an oral hearing. 28 applicants requested an oral hearing which took place on a regional basis. There were three successful appeals, based on new information not available at the time of the original decision bringing the total number of successful applicants to 144.

Successful applicants by area (144)Unsuccessful applicants by area (58)
North East1159
Notts/Derbys/Leics area1315
South/South East205

The table provides the breakdown analysis by current address.
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