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17 Nov 2004 : Column 1630W—continued

Regional Selective Assistance

Mr. Alan Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value was of regional selective assistance grants to companies in (a) Tyne and Wear and (b) the North East in the last five years. [193368]

Jacqui Smith: In the last five years to 31 March 2004, offers of Regional Selective Assistance have been accepted in the North East to the value of £183.9 million and are expected to create 15,430 new jobs and safeguard 12,743. The value of offers accepted for Tyne and Wear is £123.8 million and the estimated jobs figures are 7,747 new and 7,952 safeguarded.


Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what commitment has been made to the funding of basic research in the physical sciences at UK universities. [195507]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 3 November 2004]: The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) supports basic research in these areas. Almost all of EPSRC's investment is via the university sector. Its total research grant commitment in 2003–04 was £378 million.
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Small Business Sector

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the small business sector. [194945]

Nigel Griffiths: Small businesses make a vital contribution to the health of the UK economy and to diversity of opportunity in our society. There are an estimated 4 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. Together they account for 99.8 per cent. of UK businesses and over half of private sector turnover. They employ 12.6 million people, 58 per cent. of the private sector workforce.

Barclays Bank's latest survey of business creation includes non-VAT registered firms and shows that there were 465,000 business start-ups in England and Wales in 2003, a 19 per cent. increase on the year before. A further 288,000 business started up in England and Wales in the first six months of 2004. This represents an increase of 23 per cent. on the first six months of 2003, and the highest level since the Barclays survey began in 1988.

Tsar Appointments

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many 'tsars' have been appointed with responsibilities which cover part of the work of her Department; and if she will make a statement. [191919]

Ms Hewitt: None.



Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many primary schools in each education and library board area in Northern Ireland have been identified as having classrooms and other public areas containing asbestos; and what steps he is taking to ensure it is removed. [198298]

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Mr. Gardiner: The table shows the number of primary schools in each Board area where asbestos in classrooms and other public areas has been identified to date. The programme of surveys has yet to be completed in Belfast, North Eastern and South Eastern Education and Library Boards. The Boards should have completed their asbestos management plans by 21 May 2004.
Primary schools
Number of schools where asbestos has been identified.631012979150
Number of schools that still have to be surveyed.29015950

All Boards have to put in place asbestos management arrangements to ensure compliance with the Control of Asbestos at Work regulations. These arrangements include the setting up of an asbestos register and carrying out surveys at all Board properties. The Department of Education made £4.5 million available in 2003–04 and £3.8 million available to Boards in the 2004–05 financial year towards the cost of surveys, preparatory works, removal, decontamination work or repair/remedial work identified.

Chief Executives (Health/Education)

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) salary levels, (b) expenses and (c) pension entitlements are in 2004 for the chief executives of each (i) health and social services trust and (ii) education and library board in Northern Ireland. [198634]

Mr. Gardiner: The most up to date information available is in respect of the 2003–04 financial year. No decision has yet been made on 2004–05 pay settlements for either group. Details of salaries, pension entitlements and expenses, where permission has been given for these to be published, are set out in the following tables.
Health trusts—2003–04

TrustSalaryAccrued pension at 31 March 2004TravelSubsistence
Altnagelvin Hospital80,3001,633
Armagh and Dungannon86,11236,84800
Belfast City Hospital100,59745,2681,670
Craigavon and Banbridge(58)(58)(58)(58)
Craigavon Area Hospital92,39635,126267
Down Lisburn91,29534,8042820
Foyle Community88,65629,4532,095116
Green Park(59)(59)(59)(59)
Homefirst Community(59)(59)(59)(59)
Mater Hospital73,09515,935660
Newry and Mourne85,13733,5882,480
NI Ambulance Service(58)(58)(58)(58)
North and West Belfast102,30341,5582260
Royal Group of Hospitals104,85436,109(60)(60)
South and East Belfast82,60028,8391,268
Sperrin Lakeland86,74933,1361,357273
Ulster Community and Hospitals.83,47726,6921,201
United Hospitals85,96827,4891,2490

(58) Consent to disclose details withheld-now retired.
(59) Consent to disclose details withheld.
(60) Not available within time scale.

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Education and library boards—2003–04 financial year

SalaryAccrued pension at 31 March 2004Travel and subsistence expenses

(61) Consent to disclose details not secured.
(62) The chief executive of SELB does not claim travel and subsistence but has chosen to bear the cost herself.
(63) Retired on 31 March 2004.

Advisory Committee for Business Appointments

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cases have been formally referred by Northern Ireland Government Departments to the Advisory Committee for Business Appointments in each of the last eight years. [189876]

Mr. Pearson: A total of seven cases were formally referred by the 11 Departments of the Northern Ireland Administration and the Northern Ireland Office to the Advisory Committee for Business Appointments during this period. Four applications were referred in 1997–98 and three in 1998–99.

Civil Servants

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average length of continuous service for civil servants within the Department is. [194408]

Mr. Pearson: The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the cases in the last five years in which senior civil servants of grade three and above have sought permission to accept private sector work post-retirement; what procedures were used to assess these applications; and what restrictions were placed on the private sector work. [189880]

Mr. Pearson: In the period 1999–2004 (to date), 28 applications were received from retired civil servants at Grade 3 and above and restrictions were imposed in respect of 10 of those applications. The restrictions included waiting periods from the date of retirement before taking up employment, and conditions on business contacts with Government Departments for a limited period.

Those applications were assessed in accordance with the rules on outside appointments as contained in the Northern Ireland Civil Service Pay and Conditions of Service Code. The rules require that applications from retired officers to take up employment within two years of retirement, be considered by Departments, with possible reference to the Advisory Committee for Business Appointments. That arrangement with the Committee ended with the establishment of devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, and it is intended to establish a local Northern Ireland Committee. Pending
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the establishment of such a Committee, we seek to ensure that our decisions on applications are consistent with the principles followed by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments in applying the rules.

The procedures used to assess post-retirement applications to undertake employment involve ensuring, in the first place, that members of staff are aware of the rules relating to the taking up of post-retirement employment. Applications are subject to a close scrutiny which takes into account such factors as the relationship of prospective employers to the Government and the relationship, if any, retired officers may have had with prospective employers.

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