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31 Jan 2005 : Column 623W—continued

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent on entertainment by her Department in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. [204344]

Ms Hewitt: Information on entertainment expenditure broken down as requested is not available. However, the table shows the total expenditure on entertainment by the Department of Trade and Industry in each year between 1998–99 and 2003–04. Information on spend for 1997–98 would be available only at disproportionate cost.

Most of the Department's entertainment expenditure represents the hosting of stakeholder events both in the UK and overseas. This includes refreshments at meetings, working breakfasts and lunches and official events.

All expenditure of official entertainment is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government accounting.
Total expenditure on entertainment


Digital Conversion

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support the Government have given to development of the digital tick kitemark indicating digitally compatible products and services amongst manufacturers and retailers. [211435]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The digital switchover logo, which brands reliable sources of information about digital switchover, and identifies products and services that meet agreed criteria related to switchover, was created by the Digital Television Project, a partnership between Government, broadcasters, industry, consumer groups and other stakeholders. The development of the logo was the responsibility of the Market Preparation Group, under the Digital Television Action Plan.

The logo is owned by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. The DTI licenses its use by trained retailers in conjunction with a point-of-sale consumer information leaflet. The DTI also licenses manufacturers of digital receivers, recorders, and aerials in accordance with agreed specifications. The DTI owns the licensing scheme, and is providing seedcorn funding to it. We are working with the aerial installation industries to establish a link between licensed use of the switchover logo, and the holding of a new vocational qualification, by means of a registered digital installer scheme.

The DTI has applied for certification mark status for the logo, to ensure the appropriate legal protection for the logo and its users. The licensing scheme will be supported by compliance monitoring, in line with
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requirements for having the logo confirmed as a certification mark. The DTI has also informed Trading Standards organisations about the logo and the requirements of the scheme.

Domestic Fuel Oil

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many oil installers and servicers in the UK are registered with Oftec. [211044]

Keith Hill: I have been asked to reply.

5,200 firms are registered.

Business Link

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her Department's total spending on rebranding the Business Link service was; and how much of the total spending was on external consultants. [210281]

Ms Hewitt: This rebranding work was carried out as part of a wider programme of development of the Business Link service. This work cost £67,000 and this amount has been spent with an external specialist branding consultant.

Fuel Poverty

Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people she estimates are fuel poor in (a) England and (b) Stoke-on-Trent. [211709]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: For the most recently available fuel poverty figures for England, I would refer my hon. Friend to the response which I gave to the hon. Member for Gordon (Malcolm Bruce) on 30 November 2004, Official Report, column 78W. This sets out how the fuel poverty figures for England are produced, and gives figures for each Government office region.

We are unable to provide a breakdown of the number of households in fuel poverty by individual towns

Hydrogen Economy

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the US Administration with regard to movement towards a hydrogen-based economy; and what joint research with the hydrogen economy is being undertaken. [210927]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK, like the US, participates in various multi-lateral fora dealing with hydrogen energy. These include the US-led International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE), the International Energy Agency (IEA) Hydrogen Coordination Group and the IEA Hydrogen Implementing Agreement. These provide mechanisms for international collaborative research and development to support the transition to a hydrogen economy.

Technology has been one of the key themes of the on-going energy dialogue between the US and the UK. There has been a particular focus on hydrogen, leading to a major conference held in London in November last year. At that conference, I announced the opening of a hydrogen scholarship scheme under which up to five British researchers per year will be able to spend time
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engaged in hydrogen research with US scientists at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research the Government (a) are undertaking and (b) have commissioned on the conversion of (i) oil and (ii) nuclear energy to a hydrogen-based economy. [211605]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Last year the DTI commissioned a study to develop a strategic framework for hydrogen energy activities in the UK. This was undertaken by E4tech, Element Energy and Eoin Lees Energy and was completed in December. A report of their analysis has been placed on the DTI's Sustainable Energy Policy Network website. We will be considering the specific recommendations carefully, and will publish these, together with our response, by the end of February 2005.

The analysis has found that for the UK six hydrogen energy chains could provide cost competitive carbon abatement together with enhanced upstream energy security by 2030. All six chains are for transport applications using fuel cell powered vehicles. The six chains are:

Online Shopping Fraud

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if the Government will investigate the effectiveness of measures to prevent fraud in online shopping transactions; [205549]

(2) what powers there are to protect online shoppers from fraud; [205550]

(3) what steps the Government plans to take to make internet shopping more secure. [210010]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government work with the police and industry to tackle fraud and other online crime through a number of initiatives. A key factor in dealing with online fraud is prevention and education and the Government take an active role in educating computer users about the risks of fraud committed through the internet. The Home Office website provides advice on avoiding internet fraud and the Home Office has also created, and maintains the 'e-tailing mini site', which forms part of the crime reduction website. The mini site provides information to help both businesses and consumers protect themselves specifically when using the internet.

The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 protect consumers against payment card fraud including credit cards. The Regulations apply to contracts made at a distance including online ones. The card issuer is required to reimburse consumers the full amount in the event of fraudulent use of the consumer's card.
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In addition, the Consumer Credit Act 1974 also allows consumers to recover the cost of a purchase made by credit card from either the supplier or the credit card provider. This provides additional protection should a consumer be unable to trace the company they were dealing with over the internet. The Banking Code stipulates that consumers' liability for misuse of a card will be limited unless there is evidence that they have acted fraudulently or without reasonable care.

Through the Department of Trade and Industry's Safe Internet Shopping initiative consumers have access to information on how to shop online safely. Consumers need to be aware of security features on websites and to look for a closed padlock sign when they are asked for personal details. The Consumer Direct website at also offers advice on internet auctions, online scams and information on a range of consumer-related issues.

The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 are included in a list of EC Directives, which is part of the Injunctions Directive. The Injunctions Directive requires all member states to have in place arrangements, which will allow certain unlawful actions harmful to consumers to be stopped in good time. The Injunctions Directive allows consumer protection bodies designated by the member states to apply to the courts or competent administrative authorities for orders to require traders to cease conduct that constitutes a breach of any of the consumer protection directives specified. Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 implements the Injunctions Directive in the UK.

Co-operation arrangements exist to ensure we can tackle scams that cross borders. In Europe member states have just agreed a Regulation (Consumer Protection Co-operation) to ensure that all consumer protection enforcement agencies are working closely together to combat cross border scams, and 30 OECD countries have all signed up to a co-operation agreement to tackle cross border fraud that affects consumers. The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) is a network of consumer protection enforcement agencies in over 30 countries that exists to facilitate cross border co-operation on cross border scams and consumer fraud.

The Home Office has published, jointly with the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS) a leaflet on card safety, which includes a section on using cards safely over the internet. The leaflet has been sent to all police forces in England and Wales, and to Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships. It is also available on the Home Office website and the e-tailing mini site, and APACS members (banks) will be sending a version of the leaflet to their cardholders.

The Home Office is represented on an industry-led Steering Group, which aims to tackle 'Card Not Present' (CNP) fraud (which includes fraud over the internet). We support practical measures being introduced by the industry to increase levels of security for internet transactions. These include Address Verification Services (AVS) and Card Security Code (CSC), along with Mastercard Secure Code and Verified by Visa which require password verification for internet transactions. These initiatives are already making a
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significant impact on CNP Fraud. The work of the CNP Steering Group has also led to the production of a manual (Spot and Stop Card Fraud Retailer Pack), which aims to educate merchants on the dangers of CNP fraud and the steps which can be taken to prevent it.

Government are also involved in the development of Project Endurance, an initiative that will launch an internet security public awareness campaign in spring this year. The project is an alliance of public and private sector, which brings together a number of UK Government Departments and law enforcement organisations with a number of high-profile private sector companies. This campaign is to be targeted at micro businesses and consumers, primarily aimed at helping these users gain confidence in using the internet.

We will continue to monitor and review the effectiveness of these many different initiatives.

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