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Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies have issued shares (a) directly to their employees and (b) to an employee benefit trust in each year since 1997. 
Employers can give shares to their employees in a variety of different ways, including both taxed and tax-advantaged employee share schemes. These are reported to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). We do not know precisely how many companies have issued shares to UK employees in any year since 1997. This is because there are different reporting regimes for each type of tax-advantaged share scheme, plus taxed employment-related securities.
Published National Statistics show 6,427 companies were operating one or more tax-advantaged employee share or share option scheme in 200304. Of which, at least 1,045 operated a scheme that was open to all-employees. Other data show that in 200304 around 5,000 companies reported appropriations of employment-related securities subject to tax and national insurance. Many operate taxed and tax-advantaged arrangements simultaneously. For each tax-advantaged scheme, the following table contains either the total number of companies, or schemes operated by companies, where employees have been issued shares, or were granted or exercised share options:
|Number of schemes(26)||Number of companies|
|Approved profit sharing||Save As You Earn(27)||Company Share option plan(27)||Share incentive plan||Enterprise management incentives(27)|
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action he is taking to ensure that British companies are not adversely affected by higher energy costs than their European competitors. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 October 2005]: At the beginning of 2005 the Department set up the Gas Prices Working Group with the Energy Intensive Users Group and Ofgem to develop ideas for mitigating the impact of rising prices on industrial users. The group has agreed an Action List of short and medium-term measures, such as maximising gas supplies, improving the functioning of the gas market, encouraging demand side response and pursuing energy market liberalisation in the EU. We have made the latter a priority of our Presidency and I will be impressing on my colleagues in other member states at the Energy Council on 1 December the importance of full implementation of the EU Liberalisation package.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many licences were issued under export control regulations in connection with the Defence Systems and Equipment International Exhibition in September, broken down by type. 
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what UK companies have sought licences for the export of machines or parts to be used in the construction of a security barrier by Israel; and if he will set out the terms of any licences granted; 
Export licence applications are made to the Government in confidence and information on whether any UK company has applied for any such licence, and if so which, is therefore exempt from disclosure. I would make clear however, that construction machines or parts are not generally
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controlled under the UK's strategic export control regime unless they are military goods listed on the UK's Military List.
I would also make clear that all applications to export strategic goods from the UK are carefully considered on a case by case basis against the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account the circumstances prevailing at the time and other previously announced Government policies. These criteria make specific reference, for example, to
Every export licence application is considered against each of the criteria; should it be judged that an export would contravene any of the criteria, for example risk of the goods being used for internal repression in the Occupied Territories, the application would be refused.
The Government publishes detailed information on its export licensing decisions, by destination, in our Annual and Quarterly Reports on Strategic Export Controls, which are available from the Libraries of the House and the DTI Export Control Organisation website (www.dti.gov.uk/export.control).
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions his Department has had since May with representatives from other EU governments on football television broadcasting rights. 
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his assessment is of the impact on employment levels in the small shops sector of (a) the introduction of and (b) subsequent increases in the minimum wage. 
In the last quarter before the introduction of the national minimum wage in April 1999, employment in the retail sector in Great Britain was estimated to be
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2.525 million. Employment has since grown by over 11 per cent. to 2.823 million in the second quarter of 2005.
The DTI has estimated that 100,000 people in the East of England region will be covered by the October 2005 uprating of the national minimum wage. The DTI has based the October 1999 estimate on the Office for National Statistics central estimate of low pay; the 2005 estimate is based on data from the 2004 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultation has occurred with (a) the general public and (b) industry about the reduction in voltage on the national grid that may be required in the event of a one in 50 cold winter. 
Malcolm Wicks: My officials are investigating the impacts of voltage reduction measures undertaken in other countries in the past year. We will share the findings with industry and other interested parties.
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