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Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment her Department has made of alternatives to nickel-cadmium batteries for uses that (a) require reliability and high discharge and charge rates and (b) need to operate at low temperatures. 
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what occasions her Department's Better Regulation team has stipulated that DTI policy officials give serious consideration to alternatives to state regulation since 2002. 
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what occasions her Department's Better Regulation team has involved independent experts in regulatory policy making since 2002. 
Nigel Griffiths: Departmental policy is to consult widely on all regulatory policy proposals. This ensures that all interested parties, including independent experts, have the opportunity to contribute.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding each Knowledge Transfer Partner sponsor provided in the last year for which figures are available; and what each sponsor's criteria for funding are. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have been part-funded by Government grant; and what the total cost of these grants was. 
Since the launch of the Teaching Company Scheme (TCS the forerunner of KTP) in 1975, until the launch of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) in July 2003, there, have been 4458 Partnerships at a cost of £242,483,844.
|Number of businesses receiving grant for III||Total value of offers (£)|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||47||265,597|
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which businesses are involved in the Business Volunteering Mentoring Scheme; and what assessment she has made of the scheme's contribution to British enterprise. 
The Business Volunteer Mentoring (BVM) initiative aims to assist pre and early start-up business with free mentoring support. Some 37,000 clients have been assisted under it and regular reports are received on client feedback and other aspects of the initiative's progress. An initial assessment of the BVM was conducted in 2001, following the first year pilot phase, and it is envisaged that a further review may be conducted as part of a wider assessment of the provision of start-up support.
Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to give resources to citizens advice bureaux to enable them to improve the money advice service that they provide. 
As announced in the 2004 Spending Review, the Government wish to see a significant increase in the capacity of the free face-to-face money advice sector over the Spending Review period. The Government will invite proposals to expand the
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provision of advice from potential providers and will also pilot different models of debt outreach. More details on these proposals will be published later in the year.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the costs to business of compliance with regulations imposed by her Department in the last year for which figures are available. 
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 29 November 2004]: All proposals which impact on business, charities or the voluntary sector require a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) which includes details of the costs, benefits and risks of the proposal. RIAs are subject to public consultation and copies of final RIAs are available from the House Libraries and on departmental websites.
Mr. Sutcliffe: Credit is an integral part of our daily lives. It makes a vital contribution to the UK economy: driving economic activity by allowing consumers flexibility in how they choose to access the marketplace and manage their finances; and enabling resources to be put to their most efficient use. Manageable borrowing provides an immense benefit and, in the majority of cases, consumers are using credit successfully.
We have introduced regulations to improve the transparency of the form and content of credit agreements, empowering consumers by ensuring that they have all the relevant information necessary to make informed decisions about their borrowing. We will shortly be introducing the Consumer Credit Bill which will strengthen the credit licensing regime and end unfair selling practices, so strengthening responsible lending.
In the minority of cases where credit leads to over-indebtedness we are working to improve the support and processes for those who have fallen into debt. On 20 July 2004 I published "Tackling Over-indebtednessAction Plan 2004" which sets out work across Government to bring out a step change in the availability of free debt advice, ensure that wherever possible, debt problems and disputes are resolved without the stress and additional expense of court proceedings and improve the insolvency and court provisions for those needing to access them.
David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has made for the delivery of secure energy supplies this winter; and what the make-up of those supplies is. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
The Government are committed to maintain secure energy suppliesit is one of the four goals of the Government's energy policy as set out in the Energy White Paper, which we published in February 2003. We believe that a diverse market-based approach is the best way of delivering energy security.
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This approach is working well. National Grid Transco's assessment in their "Winter Outlook Report" is that supplies of gas should be sufficient to meet this winter's needs. National Grid also advise that there is enough electricity generating capacity to meet demand, although guarantees of 100 per cent. security can never be given.
Electricity is generated from a number of different sources in the UK, including gas, coal and oil burn, renewable generation and nuclear power. The overall balance between these different sources is a matter for the market.
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