|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the Answer of 7 December 2004, Official Report, column 465W, on Business Support Initiatives, how much financial assistance has been provided to companies through the (a) Passport to Export, (b) Support for Exhibitions and Seminars Abroad and (c) Export Marketing Research Scheme products in each year since 200102; and what provision has been made for 200506. 
|The forecast level of assistance in 200405 is:|
|The provision for 200506 is:|
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government will take further steps to ensure that clergy are fully protected in respect of (a) race, (b) disability and (c) sex discrimination in relation to employment legislation. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Most clergy are office holders rather than employees, so discrimination against them in the course of their work did not generally fall within the scope of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as originally drafted.
In 2003, office holders were brought within the scope of the Race Relations Act, while in 2004, new provisions brought office holders within the scope of the Disability Discrimination Act. The Government proposes to bring office holders into the scope of the Sex Discrimination Act during 2005.
Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment has been made of the impact of the Genuine Occupation Qualification within the (a) Sex Discrimination Act 1975, (b) Race Relations Act 1976 and (c) Disability Discrimination Act 1995 on clergy office holders. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: No assessment has been made as regards the Race Relations Act 1976 and no such qualification exists in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. As regards the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, some research has been undertaken into the impact of the section 19 exception for the purposes of employment etc by organised religions and has found no instances of S19 being relied upon in the courts or tribunals. We intend to clarify the position further in the process of consulting on the extension of the Sex Discrimination Act to office holders later this year, as Government implements the Equal Treatment (Amendment) Directive.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the effect of European Court of Justice Case C-247/02, reference OJ C300 vol 47 of 4 December, on her Department's efforts to increase cross-EU competition in the awarding of public sector contracts by EU member states. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The judgement in the European Court of Justice Case C-247/02, reference OJ C300 vol. 47 of 4 December, confirms that award options for public sector contracts by EU member states of either accepting the lowest price or the most economically advantageous tender, provided by the EU procurement Directives, should not be overridden by national rules. In this particular case the judgement concluded that it was not permitted to have a national rule that imposed lowest price as the only award criteria for public contracts as this could have a negative impact on competition. The correct implementation of the EU Directives on public procurement is important as it facilitates fair and transparent competition across the EU.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact of the proposed closure by Exeter University of its undergraduate chemistry provision on the Government's 10-Year Investment Framework for Science and Innovation. 
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues in the Treasury about the proposed closure by Exeter University of its undergraduate chemistry provision. 
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what timetable has been established to draw down the outstanding balance in respect of improvement investment grants to Post Office Ltd. 
Operation of the urban reinvention programme, including consideration of applications from sub postmasters for investment grant funding, is a matter for Post Office Ltd. The Department has not imposed a timetable for the use of this funding. It was always anticipated that there would be some time lag between closure decisions being announced and take up of investment grant funding. Post Office Ltd is seeing take up increase and expects further increases as the restructuring of the network continues and sub postmasters become more confident about their future prospects. Post Office Ltd has devoted additional resources to establish a separate team dedicated to
11 Jan 2005 : Column 420W
promoting and supervising the implementation of investment required to upgrade remaining offices and fully expects to utilise the £30 million available.
Mr. Alexander: UK Trade and Investment is expanding its inward investment operation and will make further resources available to Invest East of England, which is the inward investment promotion agency for the East of England.
Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of claims by former miners claiming compensation for work-related illness and their families were fraudulent; and what proportion were (a) live and (b) posthumous claims. 
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 21 December 2004]: The two coal schemes have inherent internal controls to validate claims: the medical assessment processes for COPD (around 10 per cent. of claims are denied on this basis) and occupational history for VWF (around 20 per cent. of claims are denied on this basis).
With specific reference to "fraud" as against possible exaggeration. Fraud controls additional to this have resulted in around 1,500 suspicious claims being referred to the fraud team with Capita, our claims handler, for further investigation. This is 0.2 per cent. of the 750,000 claims made in total across both schemes. Of these cases referred, one-third have been denied or reduced.
For COPD cases, over 300 deceased cases have been referred for investigation (0.1 per cent. of the total claims made) and over 150 live cases have been referred (0.06 per cent. of the total claims made). We are unable to provide a similar breakdown for VWF claims.
Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what procedure is used by her Department when an allegation of fraud is made by the insurers against a former miner claiming damages for work-related illness or his family; and whether the procedure has been agreed with the claimants' group of solicitors. 
[holding answer 21 December 2004]: Suspicious claims are referred to the fraud team within Capita, our claims handler. If they warrant further investigation we will ask to interview the claimant (and helper for VWF Services claims). If an interview is requested the solicitor will be advised, giving an outline of the issues involved and invited to attend.
11 Jan 2005 : Column 421W
We have not agreed the procedures with the claimant's group of solicitors because of the risk of fraud becoming harder to detect and prejudicing the possibility of being able to conduct a proper investigation.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|