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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much (a) was spent on business support by her Department in the most recent year for which figures are available, (b) spent on manufacturing support by her Department in the most recent year for which figures are available and (c) invested by the Government in manufacturing since 1997. [192570]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 21 October 2004]: The information requested is as follows:

(a) The DTI spent approximately £0.5 billion on business support programmes in the year ending April 2004.

(b) In addition to amount spent on business support, detailed above, the Department supports business through a number of different mechanisms such as regional selective assistance and initiatives on, for example, innovation, technology and best practice, for example SR 2004 allocated £320 million to the Technology Strategy. Whilst we will have aggregate data for each, collating how much was spent on manufacturing in total could be provided only at a disproportionate cost not least because of the complexity of the SIC codes.

(c) RSA grants worth £2.2 billion were offered in the period April 1997 to April 2004, approximately 80 per cent. to manufacturing companies, securing £19.2 billion investment and safeguarding/creating 378,000 jobs. There are no figures available for the Government as a whole.

Palantype Reporting Machines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy to promote the continued manufacture of Palantype speech to text reporting machines; and if he will make a statement. [191146]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The future of UK manufacturing depends on raising investment and applying science and innovation, best practice and skills to create even better products. In 2002 DTI published the Government's Manufacturing Strategy. In July this year we published "Competing in the Global Economy: The Manufacturing Strategy Two Years On"—an update on progress made against the key pillars that support manufacturing. We have provided strong macroeconomic stability; supported investment through changes to corporation tax, capital gains tax, Regional Selective Assistance, Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme and Regional Venture Capital Funds; launched the Manufacturing Advisory Service to ensure that manufacturers in every region have local access to practical advice from manufacturing experts; strengthened the UK's world class science base with the largest sustained increase in the Science Budget for over a decade, and enhanced knowledge transfer, so that manufacturers can capitalise upon the innovations it produces; implemented an innovation agenda extending the R&D tax credit to all companies, overwhelmingly benefiting manufacturers; put in place the Sector Skills Councils to lead the drive to significantly improved skills in industry, and strengthened the Modern Apprenticeship network; extended the Industry Forum best practice programme to new sectors—printing, process industries, general engineering, metals and food processing—increasing the reach of lean-manufacturing and world-class practices and set up Innovation and Growth Teams across key industries (including the automotive, aerospace, biosciences, and electronics sectors) to examine the factors affecting specific sectors, identify the challenges, and take action to respond to these challenges.
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It is clearly Government policy to support manufacturing. Individual companies, however, must make decisions based on business criteria. It is not for the Government to determine that a particular product must be made here.

Post Office

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much it cost to set up the Post Office Card Account scheme. [192574]

Mr. Sutcliffe: These are commercial matters for Post Office Ltd.

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices were recommended for closure under the reinvention programme in the South West region; how many were opposed by Postwatch; and for how many the recommendation for closure was dropped. [197511]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Implementation of the urban post office network reinvention programme is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to respond direct to the hon. Member.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which Crown Post Offices in Essex have been selected for possible closure. [197634]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government has no such list. Decisions on individual Post Office closures and conversions are operational and commercial matters for Post Office Ltd.

Post Office Ltd has clarified in a letter of 3 November to all Members of Parliament that the company is working with the trade unions to develop proposals that will help address the significant losses generated by the network of directly d directly managed branches are expected to be closed in 2005/06 throughout the UK. The company will continue to seek to transfer operation of Directly Managed post offices to franchise partners where suitable opportunities arise, whilst ensuring that products and services for customers remain unchanged.

Royal Mail

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimate she has made of the cost to businesses of adapting or purchasing new franking machines to cope with the proposals of the Royal Mail to move to size-based pricing; [197520]

(2) what plans she has to inform consumers of the likely impact of the move to size-based pricing proposed by the Royal Mail; [197521]

(3) what estimate she has made of the cost to Royal Mail business customers of adapting to size-based pricing; and if she will make a statement; [197523]

(4) if she will assess the compliance of the Royal Mail's proposals for size-based pricing with paragraph 13, condition 19 of the Royal Mail's licence, with particular reference to the requirement that any alteration in pricing avoids unreasonable changes for users of the service; and if she will make a statement; [197525]
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(5) what discussions she has had with Royal Mail concerning its proposals for size-based pricing; and if she will make a statement; [197526]

(6) what representations she has received concerning the Royal Mail's proposal to move to size-based pricing; and if she will make a statement. [197528]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Royal Mail's application to introduce size-based pricing is currently being considered by the postal regulator, Postcomm. The progress made in considering the application and the assessment of the effect of size-based pricing are matters for Royal Mail and Postcomm.

Postcomm is considering the large number of responses they received to their consultation on Royal Mail's proposals. In view of the complexity of the issues involved and the significant implications for many Royal Mail customers, Postcomm and Royal Mail have agreed that more time is required to assess the size-based pricing proposal. Accordingly, the earliest implementation date, if the application is allowed to proceed, will be April 2006.

Postcomm will assess Royal Mail's proposals against the criteria in Paragraph 13 of Condition 19 of its licence, and take account of its regulatory duties under the Postal Services Act 2000, and Royal Mail's other licence requirements.

Wind Farms

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what means will be used to connect wind farms constructed in North Yorkshire to the National Grid. [196747]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Applications to connect wind farm projects to the grid are treated in exactly the same way as any other form of electricity generation. Wind farm developers make applications to connect to either their local distribution network operator or to the transmission network operator and offers are made dependent on sufficient capacity being available on the grid.


Voluntary Sector (Hartlepool)

11. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much Government funding has been provided to the voluntary sector in Hartlepool since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [197739]

Fiona Mactaggart: Information on Government funding of individual organisations within a local authority is not held centrally.

The Home Office's report, on Central Government Funding to Voluntary and Community Organisations, 1982–83 to 2001–02, which is published on Wednesday 17 November, shows that from the most recent figures available, the North East Region received £111,593,938 in funding. This is equivalent to £44.30 per person.
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