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Health Care Associated Infection

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research funding has been provided in the last five years by the Medical Research Council for research into the effectiveness of bacteriophages in controlling healthcare associated infection. [3347]

Alan Johnson: During the last five years the MRC has awarded two grants, totalling £303,000, to studies relating the effect of bacteriophages on bacterial
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infection which are, although not specifically, relevant to controlling healthcare associated infection. These are:

Government do not prescribe to individual research councils what research they fund. Research excellence and importance to health are the primary considerations in MRC's funding decisions. Research proposals received by MRC undergo full peer review and assessment by one of the MRC's research boards.


Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of trends in(a) personal and (b) corporate insolvencies since 1997. [3710]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Insolvency levels, both personal and corporate can and do fluctuate, influenced by a number of economic factors such as inflation rates, the availability and price of credit, employment levels and economic growth. The trend in personal insolvencies has been steadily upward since 1997 and reflects in part the extent to which access to personal credit has increased. Corporate insolvencies increased modestly between 1997 and 2002, since when they have fallen, due to a stable economic environment for business and an increasing tendency for businesses to address their financial problems at an earlier stage.

Internet Fraud

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to protect users of internet auction and sales sites from fraud. [4716]

Alun Michael: Government Departments are working with industry organisations and law enforcement agencies through groups such as the Internet Crime Forum to tackle internet crime.

Two of the main approaches used in dealing with fraud over the internet are prevention and education. A large amount of fraud can be prevented if organisations and individuals have proper fraud prevention measures in place. The Home Office publishes fraud prevention advice on the e-tailing mini website, which forms part of the Crime Reduction website. It helps consumers and businesses protect themselves when buying and selling over the internet.

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

The Government issued guidance in December 2003 advising consumers how to guard against the risks associated with internet auction sites. Details are available from Consumer Direct Online at

In 2004 the Office of Fair Trading published Tips for Safe Trading when buying from private sellers. Information is available from

The Home Office website provides information about internet crime, potential scams and how not be a victim of fraud. Their website address is

Laptop Computers

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many laptop computers have been used by (a) Ministers, (b) special advisers and (c) officials in his Department in each year since 1995; how many have been (i) lost and (ii) stolen in that period; what the cost was of the use of laptops in that period; and if he will make a statement. [4117]

Alan Johnson: We do not have figures for laptops prior to 1998. Before that laptops were expensive and were not widely available within DTI. In summary:

Ministers and Special Advisers

DTI officials (Remote access to DTI Network)

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LES Project

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 25 May 2005, Official Report, column 111W, on Nuclear Industry, to the hon. Member for Leyton and Wanstead (Harry Cohen), if he will give an undertaking that United Kingdom public funds will not be spent on this project. [4595]

Malcolm Wicks: Westinghouse operates in the United States as a commercial business. It generates its own profits and is free, within a strategic framework set by BNFL in consultation with its shareholder, to pursue business opportunities.

Miners' Compensation

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which claims handlers have sold miners' compensation claims to solicitors; and what action he is planning to take on this issue. [4859]

Malcolm Wicks: Although the Department is aware that claims farmers have been passing claims to solicitors, we do not keep a record of individual firms.

Currently, there are no laws covering the activities of claims handling agents where a client willingly enters into an agreement with them. However, following SirDavid Clementi's review last year into the regulation of legal services, the Lord Chancellor has announced that legislation will be put forward that will see all those companies involved in claims processing come under a new legal services regulator. Such a regulator will have responsibility for ensuring that the services provided by all claims handling agents are of a required standard.

Nuclear Power

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the amount of carbon that is released per unit of electricity through the lifecycle of a nuclear power station, taking into account the building of the nuclear station and the transportation of nuclear materials; and if he will make a statement. [2642]

Malcolm Wicks: We are aware of a number of non-governmental studies on this, but DTI has made no such estimate.

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