Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with multinational companies on (a) their responsibilities for the environment and (b) employment of local people in developing countries; and if he will make a statement. 
DFID works in partnership with governments, the private sector, international financial institutions, non-government organisations and trade unions to encourage good corporate and public sector governance. DFID aims to help improve the business and investment climate so as to maximise the positive impact in developing countries.
If for example, DFID works closely with, among other partners, oil, gas and mining multinationals on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. This is increasing the transparency of revenues paid to governments by extractive industry companies and the receipts recorded by host governments. Transparency is not, however, an end in itself but will increase the accountability of those governments to use these revenues for sustainable development and poverty reduction goals.
DFID promotes adherence to the "Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2000). The guidelines encourage multinationals to raise their environmental and social performance and call on them to:
Through a Strategic Grant Agreement with the Trades Union Congress DFID is helping UK trade unions to support workers in developing countries. This may include ensuring preference being given to local people when multinationals operate in developing countries.
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Ms Hewitt: The Government plans to introduce Artists' Release Right on 1 January 2006, which is the deadline in the Directive harmonising the right. The Government intends to issue a formal consultation document on the implementation of the Directive shortly, accompanied by a draft statutory instrument. The consultation documents will be mounted on the Patent Office's website.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research she has commissioned on the cost to the general public of the introduction of transaction charges at ATM machines. 
The Government welcomes the recent increase in the number of ATMs as it has increased choice for consumers. Also, nearly all ATMs run by high street banks and building societies are now free. Only a few years ago this was not the case. The Government believes charging policy is a commercial matter for ATM operators.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the major clearing banks in (a) Scotland, (b) England and (c) the rest of the UK on the effects on users of the sale of ATM machines to companies which charge transaction fees for their use. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many loans have been guaranteed through the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme since 1995, broken down by (a) region and (b) sector; and what the value of grants was in each case in each year. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what financial provision her Department has made for funding (a) grants for research and development and (b) collaborative research and development business support products. 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses have been assisted by (a) the UK High Technology Fund and (b) Regional Venture Capital Funds in each (i) region and (ii) constituency since 2000. 
|East of England
|Yorkshire and Humber
As at 30 June 2004 the UK High Technology Fund had invested in nine private equity partnerships, which in turn have assisted a total of 173 businesses. The information necessary to determine both a regional and constituency breakdown of assisted businesses is not made available to us by the UK High Technology Fund.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much public funding has been spent on Business Link in each (a) region and (b) constituency in (i) 200304 and (ii) 200405. 
|Yorkshire and the Humber
|East of England