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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 9 December 2004, Official Report, column 704W, on fuel prices, what plans she has to commission research into the impact of increased fuel prices on manufacturing competitiveness in the UK. 
Most of the recent increases in oil, gas and electricity prices have occurred as a result of market forces. Any new Government measure which may be expected to have an impact on fuel prices is subject to a standard Regulatory Impact Assessment to assess whether the benefits of a policy justify the costs.
The Department does not have specific plans to commission research into the impacts on manufacturing competitiveness but is working closely with industry and trade associations in these areas to understand the reasons for and implications of fuel price increases.
Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will report progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the most recent review of the hearing aid industry. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department has implemented recommendations of the review of the Hearing Aid Council Act 1968, by administrative action where possible. Certain recommendations would require legislation however, for which there are no current plans.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on how many occasions (a) officials from the Export Credits Guarantee Department and (b) her Department's staff have met Halliburton officials since October 2003, with regard to the bribery allegations relating to the LNG plant at Bonny Island in Nigeria. 
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average time spent by advisers from the Manufacturing Advisory Service on in-depth consultancy projects was in the last period for which figures are available. 
Jacqui Smith [holding answer 20 December 2004]: The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) provides for a subsidised in-depth consultancy lasting up to 10 days to address areas for improvement identified in a diagnostic visit by a manufacturing adviser. The actual time spent will depend on the nature of the issues identified and the time and resources committed by the company. Figures for the average time taken are not compiled by MAS.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will publish the reasons why the Microsystems National Technology Committee rejected the application of EMfab Ltd. for grant funding to help its national roll out of its microsystems project; and if she will publish the evidence on which that decision was based; 
(2) if she will publish the minutes of the Microsystems National Technology Committee at which the decision not to support the EMfab application for grant funding to assist in the national roll-out of its microsystems project was taken. 
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has made to EU counterparts regarding definitions of acceptable levels of radiation from mobile telephone masts. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK has accepted the EU Council Recommendation of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electromagnetic fields. This EU Recommendation refers to the exposure guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The Department of Health lead on advice on the exposure guidelines to electromagnetic fields.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The issue of pulsing of mobile phone signals was addressed by the National Radiological Protection Board in the publication "Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields". Report of an independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation. Volume 14 No.2 2003. See particularly Chapter 2, page 18 paragraphs 1719. The publication is available at http://www.nrpb.org/publications/documents_of_nrpb/abstracts/absd142.htm. In respect of thermal effects, mobile telecommunications equipment should comply with the exposure guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Ofgem Gas Price Probe Report, which was published on 5 October, examined gas prices over three distinct periods: wholesale spot prices in October 2003 and August/September 2004, and wholesale forward prices for winter 200405. Ofgem is taking the lead on the majority of issues raised, although it is working with a number of others including my Department, the Financial Services Authority and other European organisations. I understand that Ofgem will be writing to the hon. Member with further details shortly.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met representatives of the main energy intensive sectors of industry on 9 December and agreed that officials maintain a close dialogue with them, to get their ideas for improving the operation of the forward market in gas.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: It is for Ofgem, which operates under the direction and governance of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (the Authority), to interpret its own statutory duties. This ensures that the principles of independent regulation are not compromised. However, the Government issued social and environmental guidance to the Authority in February 2004. The Authority is required to have regard to the guidance when discharging its statutory functions to which its principal objective and general duties apply.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many written questions for her Department were unanswered when Parliament
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prorogued; and how many of the unanswered questions were tabled in each of the previous months of the 200304 Session. 
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the written statement of 13 December 2004, Official Report, column 115WS, on intermediate level radioactive waste substitution, if she will (a) place in the Library and (b) post on her Department's website copies of each of the submissions made to the consultation on substitution; and if she will publish her analysis of the submissions (i) in favour and (ii) against the substitution proposals. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: A summary of the responses to the consultation are published on the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/consultations/consultation-1205.html together with the Statement (which took into account the responses to the consultation) announcing the change to the policy on substitution that was announced in the House on 13 December. A summary of the responses has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
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