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6 Dec 2004 : Column 286W—continued


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. [200722]

Hilary Benn: I talk to multinational corporations about a range of issues, including environment and employment.

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:

The Guidelines do not replace local laws but promote standards of behaviour supplemental to local laws.

In addition, DFID continues to support specific labour and employment programmes within developing countries.

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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Artists Resale Right Directive

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what plans she has to implement the Artists' Resale Right Directive in the UK. [201575]

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.

ATM Machines

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. [200741]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

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. [202545]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

The Government have not held discussions with banks on the sale of ATMs to independent operators. The Government believe this is a commercial matter for individual banks.

Business Support

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. [201112]

Nigel Griffiths: The Small Firms Loan Guarantee is not a grant scheme, but acts as guarantor.

I have placed in the Libraries of the House copies of tables that show the number of Small Firms Loan Guarantees issued since 1995 by region and sector.

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. [201183]

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Nigel Griffiths: I refer to the answer given on 16 November 2004, Official Report, columns 1299–1300W.

Business Support Initiatives

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. [200533]

Nigel Griffiths: As at 31 October 2004 the Regional Venture Capital Funds (RVCFs) had assisted 140 businesses. This number can be broken down regionally as follows.
East Midlands21
East of England4
North East23
North West19
South East26
South West6
West Midlands18
Yorkshire and Humber7

A breakdown of constituencies that have one or more assisted businesses, for the most recent period available up until 31 December 2003, follows:

Analysis by constituency of businesses assisted by RVCFs in the period up to 31 December 2003:

East Midlands

South West

North West


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West Midlands

South East

North East

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) 2003–04 and (ii) 2004–05. [200544]

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Nigel Griffiths: The total amount of public funding broken down by region is shown in the following table. It is not possible to provide a breakdown by constituency.
Business link operators breakdown of all public funding by region

North East29,72742,588
North West52,29558,756
Yorkshire and the Humber45,96462,704
West Midlands56,08158,009
East Midlands22,83423,228
East of England31,84638,401
South West33,39239,155
South East39,76542,484

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