Previous Section Index Home Page

24 Mar 2005 : Column 981W—continued


Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations her Department has had with outside organisations about the best way to dispose of plutonium waste. [223541]

24 Mar 2005 : Column 982W

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department has had discussions with a range of organisations, including the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) which is responsible for advising the Government on the long-term management of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste, including any plutonium that comes to be regarded as waste. CoRWM is due to report its recommendations in 2006.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans her Department has for dealing with the plutonium stockpile; and if she will make a statement. [223542]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Future options for the management of the plutonium stockpile are kept under constant review and I welcome the work recently undertaken by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and the BNFL stakeholder dialogue working group on plutonium management.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will become the owner of UK's plutonium stockpile as of 1 April 2005. In the meantime the storage of plutonium in the UK continues to be managed in strict accordance with international requirements and has been updated post 9/11. UK plutonium will remain in protective storage pending decisions on whether to immobilise it as a waste or to use it as fuel.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much her Department has allocated to security measures to protect (a) nuclear power stations and (b) plutonium stores in each of the last five years; what budget has been allocated for each of the next five years; and if she will make a statement. [223543]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: It is the operators of the licensed civil nuclear sites that pay for the security measures to protect these sites, not the Department of Trade and Industry. The security arrangements are regulated by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS). OCNS approves the security measures in place and monitors compliance with these security plans.

Private Finance Initiative

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many private finance initiative and public private partnership contracts with her Department have been won by subsidiaries of Halliburton in each year from 1997; what the terms were of each contract; and if she will make a statement. [205076]

Nigel Griffiths: DTI officials are not aware of any PFI/PPP contracts between the Department and subsidiaries of Halliburton.

Road Safety

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what meetings her Department has recently held to discuss road safety issues in respect of vehicle use and construction regulations, with particular reference to the recall by Volkswagen of vehicles because of problems with outer drive shafts; and if she will make a statement. [223024]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.
24 Mar 2005 : Column 983W

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is responsible for supervising and monitoring vehicle recalls. VOSA's vehicle safety branch holds regular discussions with all vehicle and automotive part manufacturers, including Volkswagen, on issues of vehicle and component safety. Neither VOSA nor Volkswagen are aware of a drive shaft recall.

Sheffield Europe Week

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much her Department spent sponsoring Sheffield Europe Week; from which budget within her Department this cost was met; and what unit was responsible for this project. [221233]

Mr. Alexander: United Kingdom Trade and Investment (UKTI), whose parent Departments are the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, did not provide direct financial support to the Sheffield in Europe Week programme of events, which ran from 25 February to 6 March 2005. The UKTI regional team for Yorkshire and Humberside did endorse some of the events by agreeing to the use of the UKTI brand. UKTI endorsement was considered worthwhile in order to promote language training in the region through the Regional Language Network and to help foster an understanding of how different cultures and the European Union impact on businesses and international trade.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many small and medium-sized enterprises were established (a) between 1997 and 2001 and (b) since 2001. [222684]

Nigel Griffiths: Barclays Bank's latest survey of business creation includes non-VAT registered firms and shows that there were 453,000 business start-ups in England and Wales in 2004, the highest since the survey began in 1998.

Barclays data show that there were 1,554,000 business start-ups in total in England and Wales in the years 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 combined. There were 1,606,000 business start-ups in total in England and Wales in the years 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 combined.

DTI figures show there were 728,755 VAT registrations in total in the UK in the years 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 combined. There were 534,035 VAT registrations in total the UK in the years 2001, 2002 and 2003 combined. Data for 2004 will be available in autumn 2005.

Data on VAT registrations are available in the publication Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994–2003", available from the Library of the House and also at

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. Only 1.8 million out of 4 million enterprises were registered for VAT at the start of 2003.
24 Mar 2005 : Column 984W

Both Barclays and VAT registration data include enterprises of all sizes. However, 99.8 per cent. of enterprises are small or medium-sized.

Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the contribution made by small and medium-sized enterprises to the UK economy, with particular reference to the level of exports; and what steps her Department takes to assist small and medium-sized enterprises which rely on exports. [223338]

Nigel Griffiths: The business success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) underpins our national prosperity. At the start of 2003, the 4 million SMEs in the UK represented 99.8 per cent. of all businesses and contributed some 52.4 per cent. of all private sector turnover (excluding finance sector). Some 16 per cent. of UK SMEs are exporters. Through their international trade activity, these SMEs help to strengthen the existing drivers of UK productivity—innovation and competition; thus contributing to the UK's overall competitiveness.

Through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the Government deliver a range of support services to help SMEs win business overseas. Details of the assistance available is set out on UKTI's corporate website

UK Trade and Investment

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will announce the proposed changes to (a) the structure and staffing and (b) the focus of UK Trade and Investment; when these changes are to take effect; and if she will make a statement. [203895]

Mr. Alexander: The structure and staffing of the organisation has to be determined in the light of UKTI's future strategy and its focus, as set out in UKTI's Corporate Plan 2004–07, and the financial and manpower resources available following the SR2004 settlement.

UK Trade and Investment's future strategy is set out in its Corporate Plan 2004–07, available at<>. Details of the settlement are set out in the Efficiency Technical Note for UK Trade and Investment, also available at<>



Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what steps he has taken to assist in tackling money laundering in Bermuda; [223776]

(2) what discussions he has had with the Bermudan Monetary Authority on money laundering. [223777]

Mr. Rammell: The UK discusses money-laundering with the Bermudan Monetary Authority (BMA) mainly through our joint participation in the Caribbean
24 Mar 2005 : Column 985W
Financial Action Task Force (CFATF—the regional body for anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing in the Caribbean and Central America).

The UK has provided training to Bermudan officials and law enforcement officers both directly through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded Regional Financial Services Adviser and indirectly through the Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Programme (which we support financially). A senior staff member of the BMA also recently worked on secondment for two years with the UK Financial Services Authority.

Next Section Index Home Page