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Business Support

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what provision has been made for funding the business support products of (a) Access to Best Business Practice and (b) Support to Implement Best Business Practice in the current financial year. [197248]

Nigel Griffiths: For this financial year a total of £14 million has been allocated to the "Achieving Best Practice in Your Business" theme within the DTI's business support product portfolio. We expect to spend £6 million on Access to Business Practice, and £8 million on Support to Implement Best Business practice.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what provision has been made for funding the business support products of (a) Knowledge Transfer Networks, (b) Collaborative Research and
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Development, (c) Grants for Investigating an Innovative Idea, (d) Grants for Research and Development and (e) Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in the current financial year. [197249]

Nigel Griffiths: Provision for funding business support products in the current financial year (2004–05) (which includes funding for legacy schemes associated with the new products) is as follows:
£ million
(a) Knowledge Transfer Networks18.9
(b) Collaborative Research and Development2.1
(c) Grant for Investigating an Innovative Idea1
(d) Grant for Research and Development36
(e) Knowledge Transfer Partnerships19.2

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will break down spending on (a) business support products and (b) administration related to Small Business Service Investment in each year since 1997. [197255]

Nigel Griffiths: The Small Business Service was formed as an executive agency of the DTI in April 2000.

The expenditure on business support products and the administration costs of the Small Business Service's Investment and SME Finance Directorate, which covers the Small Firm Loan Guarantee as well as venture capital investments, is represented as follows (staffing levels have also been included as the corresponding expenditure in 2000–01 and 2001–02 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost):
Business support (£ million)StaffingAdministration (£ million)

Compensation Claims

Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims for (a) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (b) vibration white finger were concluded for the constituency of Bolsover in (i) 2000, (ii) 2001, (iii) 2002 and (iv) 2003. [197092]

Nigel Griffiths: The information is as follows:

1. Settlements represent claims settled by payment and by denial/withdrawn.
2. Figures for 2004 reflect the position to 31 October 2004.

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Counterfeiting (Pharmaceuticals)

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps her Department is taking to tackle counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry. [197472]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) investigates all allegations of counterfeit medicines in the United Kingdom, the vast majority of which are not associated with the tightly regulated legitimate supply chain. Action, in the form of legal proceedings, is taken when appropriate.

The MHRA's inspection and enforcement division continually reviews its counterfeit strategy in order to remain proactive in this area. Some of the key initiatives are:

Digital Standards

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of (a) the differences between the MHP and MHEG digital standards and (b) the implications of one being preferred for use in the UK. [198260]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: MHEG-5 and MHP are closely related open API (application programming interface) standards for interactive digital television.

MHP is a more advanced, complex and capable API which was developed several years after MHEG-5 was chosen by the UK free-to-air terrestrial TV broadcasters for the launch of their digital TV services. To enable the kinds of advanced interactive service which MHP can offer (but MHEG-5 cannot), the TV set needs to be connected to a telephone line, or other telecoms network.

MHP receivers are more expensive than MHEG-5 receivers; the MHP suite of standards is not yet complete or stable. To date, very few MHP applications
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have been developed and interoperability problems are beginning to surface in countries (eg Italy) which are early adopters of MHP.

MHEG-5 is much more mature. Almost all digital terrestrial TV receivers in the UK incorporate MHEG-5, whereas other countries are seeing their market split between relatively expensive MHP receivers and simple "zapper boxes" without any API at all.

A DTI-commissioned study on the technical issues of coexistence of MHEG-5 and MHP based services and on migration to MHP was completed in May 2002. Since then, further investigations, supported by DTI, have led to demonstrations of interactive services receivable on both MHEG-5 and MHP receivers. Work to align the two standards more closely is nearing completion. Manufacturers can now easily produce receivers supporting both standards. This MHP/MHEG capability is expected to be incorporated in "baseline" MHP receivers available across Europe.

The UK is well-placed to switch over to digital terrestrial TV, with MHEG-5 in the vast majority of receivers providing support for a raft of desirable interactive services. As MHP matures and becomes established in other markets, there is the prospect of the widespread adoption of MHP/MHEG-capable receivers in UK, particularly when the "main" TV comes up for replacement. This would open the way to an organic extension of simple interactive services based on MHEG-5 to advanced applications using MHP, taking advantage of a telecomms connection which users may well be persuaded to extend to their main receiver over the next few years.

East of England Development Agency

Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the accountability of the East of England Development Agency to the people of the East of England. [190962]

Jacqui Smith: Section 18 of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 requires RDAs to be accountable to Regional Chambers. The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) has been designated by the Secretary of State for this purpose. EERA members are drawn from elected local authority councillors, and the social, economic and environmental sectors in the region.

In developing the Regional Economic Strategy the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) consults widely within the region. It takes into account the views of EERA and of other regional and local stakeholders in drawing up the Strategy and its own Corporate Plan. These documents are published, as are EEDA's targets and its performance against these. The Agency publishes an Annual Report on its activities and holds a public meeting after publication of the Report.

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