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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many planning applications for the construction of biomass power stations are being considered; and how many have been granted permission. 
Mr. Timms: Proposals to construct and operate generating stations with a capacity greater than 50 megawatts (MW) in England and Wales require the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry's consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. No application has been made to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for consent to construct a biomass power station.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency of her Department's policies and action since 8 June 2001. 
Jacqui Smith: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) promotes a wide variety of areas' policies and are working with businesses, employees and consumers to drive up UK productivity and competitiveness to deliver prosperity to all. To achieve this the Department is involved in a number of regional programmes, with some being delivered through the Small Business Service (SBS), One North East and Business Links.
Although Department for Trade and Industry policies as a whole lead to increased prosperity and competitiveness throughout the country it is not possible to assess their impact at an individual constituency level. Some examples of specific initiatives benefiting Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency are included in the information set out as follows:
In his Budget statement the Chancellor announced a number of steps to help small businesses including an increase of capital allowances to 50 per cent. and raising VAT registration threshold to 58 per cent., all of which helps small businesses in your constituency. The Chancellor also announced that the Employer Training Pilot, run in Tyne and Wear for the last 15 months, would be made available to businesses throughout the north east. This will help businesses to improve workforce skills by providing training tailored to their needs.
Since the spring of 2001, the Business Link has assisted a total of 1,397 businesses to increase productivity and wealth in the Redcar and Cleveland council area. These businesses have been helped in a wide variety of disciplines including workforce development, finance, marketing and regulation.
In addition in the same area since the spring of 2002 316 businesses have been helped to start up. Business Link has helped would-be entrepreneurs to develop over 1,700 pre-start business ideas, stimulating an enhanced enterprise culture. From June 2001 to June 2004
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190 Tees Valley Business Link customers have accessed a range of public funding (e.g. Innovation Action Fund and West Middlesbrough Neighbourhood Trust New Deal for Communities funding).
From April 2002 to date in the Tees Valley area, 69 Department of Trade and Industry grants exceeding £14 million in total value have been awarded. These include Selective Finance for Investment in Englandand its predecessors Enterprise Grant and Regional Selective Assistance (RSA)and SMART. The projects being supported are expected to generate investment in excess of £138 million, creating over 1,600 jobs and safeguarding 695. These grants are administered by One North East and the Small Business Service on behalf of the Department for Trade and Industry.
In the north east, the European Social Fund Objective 3 Programme commenced in July 2000 and continues to 31 December 2007. The Programme funds organisations which seek to help individuals (employed and unemployed) to improve their skill levels and obtain employment. Funds can be accessed through co-financing organisations (CFOs) or through the Programme Secretariat. The Tees Valley Learning and Skills Council and Job Centre Plus are Co-Financing (CFO's) funded projects with a total value of £19 million. There is an additional £34 million available to support Co-Financing (CFO) projects in Tees Valley from 200407. Between 200104 under direct bidding arrangements projects from the Middlesbrough area received a total of £18.6 million.
The North East of England Objective 2 Programme (200006) provides a total of £434 million in support in the north east. Within this £267.97 million is made up of £69.62 million in Priority 1 and £198.35 million in Priority 2 and is available for a wide range of business support activity including generic business support, technology and transfer access to finance. Tees Valley benefits from regional projects as well as those aimed directly at the sub-
The Department for Trade and Industry has led the coordination of area specific initiatives with other Departments, such as the foot and mouth grants from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Farm Business Advisory Service and recently the targeted use of Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) support to increase the uptake of business support in the disadvantaged areas of east Cleveland.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Export Credits Guarantee Department's administration costs were in each of the last five financial years (a) in total and (b) broken down into (i) staff costs, (ii) accommodation costs, (iii) consultancy costs and (iv) IT costs. 
|Breakdown of administration costs|
|Administration costs||Staff costs||Accommodation costs (rent)||Consultancy|
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what savings in administration costs the Export Credits Guarantee Department is required to achieve in 200506; and what the projected savings in such costs for the next five financial years are. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: DTI is to invest £10 million into ECGD over the two years from April 2005 to improve ECGD's efficiency and effectiveness (I refer you to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry's announcement about the future of ECGD on 1 July 2004, Official Report, column 22WS). The intention is that the cost savings achieved by ECGD during this period will be sufficient to ensure that the premium reduction of up to £5 million per annum can be sustained after April 2007.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it is her practice to offer Export Credits Guarantee Department cover in Government to Government defence export and sales agreements; and what the total amount of cover outstanding on such agreements is. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: UK companies are eligible for support from ECGD under Government to Government contractual arrangements which could result in the UK company incurring a loss as a consequence of the overseas' Government's failure to pay.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to what extent a capitalised trading fund will give the Export Credits Guarantee Department autonomy from HM Treasury and her Department. 
HM Treasury's future role will be more focused on strategic oversight, while the Shareholder Executive within the DTI will offer Ministers advice on aspects of the Department's corporate governance, financial targets and performance as a Trading Fund.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under what terms the £10 million investment in the Export Credits Guarantee Department from her Department's shareholder executive can be spent; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
The £10 million to be invested by the DTI over two years from April 2005 will be spent to improve the operational efficiency and effectiveness of ECGD. The intention is that the cost savings achieved
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will be used to ensure that the premium reduction of up to £5 million per annum (as detailed in the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry's Trading Fund announcement of 1 July 2004, Official Report, column 22WS) can be sustained after April 2007.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will estimate what the average reduction in the Export Credits Guarantee Department premium rates will be in (a) 200506 and (b) the subsequent five financial years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: As my right hon. Friend , the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 1 July, Official Report, column 22WS, ECGD will seek to reduce its premium rates to customers by up to £5 million per annum from April 2005. This is around 6 per cent. of its current premium income.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry's announcement of 1 July 2004, Official Report, column 22WS, is the basis of the terms of reference for ECGD's business plan. The plan will explain how ECGD will meet the key aims and objectives for the ECGD Trading Fund set out in that statement.
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