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23 Mar 2005 : Column 822W—continued

Kidney Disease

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding the Medical Research Council has made available for research into kidney disease in each year since 1997. [222829]

Ms Hewitt: The figures for MRC expenditure on research into kidney disease for the financial years requested are as follows:
£ million

The figures for the first three financial years are estimates, while those for the latter three financial years are actual expenditure.

Maternity Pay

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the statistics relating to maternity pay, which, since 1997 (a) are no longer collected by her Department and (b) have had the way in which the figures are compiled changed. [221798]

Ms Hewitt: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given on 17 March 2005, Official Report, column 423W by the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for disabled people, my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Maria Eagle).

Music Industry

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps her Department takes to support the UK music industry; and what action her Department takes to protect the intellectual property rights in the industry. [222472]

Ms Hewitt: In addition to a range of business support solutions that apply to business generally, my Department has recently announced £0.5 million to promote the music industry in key markets like the US and China and, in response to advice from the music industry, UK Trade and Investment will be refocusing its resources and developing new strategies to help UK artists and companies enter the US market which is an export priority for the industry.

We have delivered legislative changes to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, including enhanced protection in the information society by UK implementation of the EC Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC). My noble Friend the Minister for Science and Innovation with responsibility for intellectual property, and my right hon. Friend the Minister with responsibility for sponsorship of the music industry in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, jointly chair the Creative Industries Forum on Intellectual Property, which includes representatives of the music industry and which is exploring new opportunities for exploiting IP in the digital environment as well as concerns about protection for rights threatened by IP crime and online infringement. This builds on the IP Crime Strategy which was launched by my Department in August last year and our work to raise awareness about IP.


Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many workers in Newcastle-under-Lyme she estimates have benefited from the minimum wage. [223262]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: Reliable figures cannot be produced for Newcastle-under-Lyme due to small sample size.

The DTI estimates that around 80,000 people in the North East have benefited from the October 2004 uprating of the national minimum wage. It is estimated that the October 2005 uprating will provide a guaranteed pay rise for around 80,000 workers in the North East. The DTI has based these estimates on the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings April 2004.

Phoenix Companies

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are in place to protect consumers from phoenix companies. [216868]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The information requested is as follows:

Measures in place to protect consumers:


Courts can disqualify directors from between two to 15 years if they are unfit. Phoenix" companies are particularly targeted and the courts take such cases very seriously. But hard evidence is needed in all cases.

Over 1,000 directors were disqualified in the period April 2004 to February 2005. Over 850 of these disqualifications involved directors offering an undertaking not to act as a director under the recently introduced (2001) new fast track process. It avoids the need for a court hearing where the director consents to a period of disqualification.

The Enforcement Hotline" was established in January 1998 to enable the public to report possible criminal activities by those who manage companies while disqualified. In the period April 2004 to February 2005, 152 calls were received by the Hotline, 82 of which were referred for investigation.


Directors can be and are prosecuted for offences relating to phoenix" operations and on conviction they can, additionally, be disqualified from being directors.

Regional Offices

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which (a) non-departmental public bodies and (b) Executive agencies within the remit of her Department have regional offices based on the
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Government offices for the regions' regional structure; and when the regional offices were established in each case. [219874]

Jacqui Smith: The Department is lead sponsor for the eight Regional development agencies, the boundaries of which reflect the Government offices for regions' regional structure. The regional development agencies were established under the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. The London Development Agency is based in London and was established by the Greater London Act 1999. None of the Department's other agencies and NDPBs has regional offices based on the Government offices for the regions' regional structure.

Printer Cartridges

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether she plans to refer the pricing of printer cartridges to the Office of Fair Trading; and if she will make a statement. [215355]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is the independent competition regulator. It is responsible for deciding what action to take to promote effective competition and address anti-competitive behaviour. Anyone with evidence of anti-competitive conduct should pass that information to the OFT.


Child Benefit

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have benefited from child benefit in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the north-east and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [223377]

Dawn Primarolo: Details of (a) , (b) , (c) and (d) for November 2003 appear in Child Benefit Statistics. Geographical Analyses. November 2003". The latest figures available for (d) also appear in Child Benefit Quarterly Statistics. November 2004". These publications are available on the Inland Revenue website at Geographical analyses for 2004 are not yet available.

I understand from the Department of Work and Pensions that the numbers of families claiming child benefit between 1999 and 2002 (and the numbers of children in these families) were as follows:
(a) Jarrow parliamentary constituency
(b) South Tyneside local authority
(c) North-east Government office region
Families326,170325,460321 ,620319,790
Great Britain1

(2) Figures for Northern Ireland are not available on exactly the same basis, and hence the UK figure is unavailable.
1. Figures are taken from a 100 per cent. sample of the child benefit centre.
2. In order to maintain anonymity of claimants, all 100 per cent. figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.
3. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
4. Produced by Information Directorate, DWP.

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Figures for previous years are not available on the same basis.

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