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Mr. Rammell: I refer my hon. Friend to the written statement made by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary on 15 December 2004, Official Report, columns 13740WS, on Changes to the Overseas Network of Diplomatic Representation.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the Board of British Energy on bonuses likely to be paid to executives over the next six months; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I and my officials meet with British Energy (BE) regularly to discuss a range of issues affecting the company. Executive remuneration is a matter for BE, its remuneration committee and shareholders. As was required prior to the restructuring, Government were consulted on the terms of the company's proposals for its long-term incentive plan. However, it is ultimately for the company to decide on the terms of its bonus structure. BE's shareholders had the opportunity to vote on the proposals as part of their vote on the restructuring and, in future years, will receive and vote on the company's directors' remuneration report.
Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many new business start-ups there have been in Wales each year since 1996; and how many businesses in Wales have shut down or moved out of Wales in each of these years. 
DTI figures based solely on VAT registrations and de-registrations for Wales are shown below for 1996 through to 2003. Data for 2004 will be available in Autumn 2005.
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|VAT registrations||VAT de-registrations|
VAT registrations do not capture all start-up activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register will not necessarily have closed. Only 1.8 million out of 4 million enterprises were registered for VAT at the start of 2003.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the effect has been on the UK retail car market of the European Commission Regulation No. 1400/2002, which exempts EC competition rules arrangements in the EU for the distribution of new cars and subsequent servicing; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Since the introduction of Commission Regulation 1400/2002, the UK new car retail market remains substantially the same in terms of how and by whom new cars are supplied to consumers. However, agreements between manufacturer and retailer, or car repair and service business, made under the regulations provide considerably more freedoms for business, for example, to retail more than one make of new car, or to trade only in cars and carry out no servicing. The full effects of these new freedoms will not be felt before October 2005, the date when car dealers can set up subsidiaries and warehouses within any territory within the EU. The new freedoms will take a considerable time to work through, depending as they do on non investment decisions by individual businesses, but the result should be greater freedom for car sales and aftermarket businesses to operate as they wish, more competition, and better choice for consumers.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect of the new EU Block Exemption regulations EU 1400/2002 having on car repair and servicing; and if she will make a statement. 
There is more opportunity for business to compete in the market for repair and servicing new cars and more choice for consumers as to where they have their "within-warranty" new cars serviced as a result of the regulation. Any car repair or servicing business is free to become a part of any car manufacturer's or importer's approved repairer network, provided they meet the qualitative criteria set by the manufacturer. In addition,
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since the introduction of Commission Regulation 1400/2002 the Office of Fair Trading has ensured that manufacturers no longer include servicing ties to their approved repairer networks within the terms and conditions of new car warranties.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect of the Supply of New Cars Order 2000 on the price of new cars in the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: It is reported that, on average, car prices fell in real terms by 9 per cent. between June 1999 and June 2004. While some of this decrease might be attributable to the effect of the Order it is only one of many factors which reflect the final market price of new cars.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether independent car repairers are being given access to technical information under European Commission Regulation No. 1400/2002; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for her Department in each of the last two years. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when her target for 35 per cent. of large organisations to have completed a pay review by 2006 in connection with equal pay was set; what her estimate is
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of the percentage of large organisations which had undertaken or commenced such reviews by the end of 2004; and if she will make a statement. 
The EOC's report "Monitoring Progress on Equal Pay Reviews" in spring 2004, showed that by November 2003, 15 per cent. of large employers had carried out an EPR, 10 per cent. were in the process of conducting one, and a further 26 per cent. were planning to do one. If those employers planning to carry out an EPR actually do so, it will mean that around 45 per cent. of large employers should either have completed an EPR, or be in the process of conducting one, by the end of 2004. These findings suggest that our target for 35 per cent. of large organisations to have done an EPR by 2006 will be achieved.
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