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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 3 November 2005

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Employment Rights

10. Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions have taken place between the Government and the trade unions on employment rights. [24343]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department holds regular meetings with trade unions and employer organisations on employment rights.

Oil/Gas Reserves

11. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the current reserves of oil and gas are; and if he will make a statement. [24344]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department's latest estimates show that at the end of 2004 reserves of UK oil and gas amounted to between seven and 17 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with a central estimate of around 11 billion barrels. In addition it is estimated that between six and 26 billion barrels could be produced as a result of further exploration and appraisal. Full details are on DTI's oil and gas website.

West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy

12. Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations have been received by his Department and Advantage West Midlands from organisations in north Staffordshire regarding the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy. [24345]

Ian Pearson: I am advised that neither the Department of Trade and Industry nor the Government Office for the West Midlands nor Advantage West Midlands has received any representations from organisations in North Staffordshire specifically regarding the Strategy.

Company Law Reform Bill

13. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals he expects to make in the Company Law Reform Bill on tackling employment abuses by UK companies operating abroad; and if he will make a statement. [24346]

Alun Michael: The Company Law Reform Bill offers a fair, modern, and effective framework of company law, and will promote high standards of company behaviour and corporate governance. A company law bill is not the place to directly address employment abuses by UK companies operating abroad. We will continue to address such issues in other ways.
 
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15. Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Whether he expects the provisions of the Company Law Reform Bill to help to prevent labour rights abuses by UK companies operating overseas. [24348]

Alun Michael: The Company Law Reform Bill offers a fair, modern, and effective framework of company law, and will promote high standards of company behaviour and corporate governance. A company law bill is not the place to directly address employment abuses by UK companies operating abroad. We will continue to address such issues in other ways.

Uganda

14. Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the level of British business investment in Uganda has been in each of the last three years. [24347]

Ian Pearson: The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, show the UK's level of foreign direct investment in Uganda amounted to £54 million at the end of 2001, £25 million at the end of 2002, and £31 million at the end of 2003.

Nuclear Power Generation

16. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the future of nuclear power generation in the UK. [24349]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government will publish proposals on energy policy, including civil nuclear power, next year. Climate change and the reliance on imported energy supplies require an assessment of all options for future UK energy policy. These assessments will be made prior to the publishing of our proposals.

UK Manufacturing

17. Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government are taking to limit the flow of manufacturing jobs out of the UK. [24350]

Alun Michael: The Government believe that we need a successful manufacturing sector with high skilled jobs and is committed to providing the right macro-economic conditions and support through the Manufacturing Strategy to help companies to compete and thrive in the global market.

Monopolies/Monopsonies

18. Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will review the terms of reference of the Office of Fair Trading in relation to local monopolies and monopsonies. [24351]

Mr. Sutcliffe: No, I have no such plans. It is a matter for the Office of Fair Trading to consider the factors relevant to its analysis of markets in such circumstances.

Chinese Exports

19. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on EU trade restrictions on exports from China. [24353]


 
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Ian Pearson: The textiles agreement between the European Commission and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce concluded in June and subsequently revised in September limits imports into the EU from China of 10 textiles and clothing products until the end of 2007. This agreement provided a level of stability for trade in these products and avoided the uncertainty of the alternative of a succession of product-by-product safeguard investigations

Debt Recovery

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs on increasing enforcement powers for financial institutions seeking to recover unsecured debts; and if he will make a statement. [24302]

Mr. Sutcliffe: DTI was consulted on DCA proposals to increase enforcement powers for financial institutions seeking to recover unsecured debts, in particular proposals to widen access to charging orders, during development of the Effective Enforcement" White
 
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Paper of March 2003. DTI and DCA continue to liaise closely on the planned reforms of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and related issues.

It is the Government's position that responsible creditors who are owed money and having gained valid judgments through the courts should have the right to enforce that judgment by the most appropriate means available.

Such action is balanced by proposals to enhance consumer protections, including proposed tightening of the licensing procedure through the Consumer Credit Bill to tackle unscrupulous lenders at source, appropriate limits to the application of charging orders, and action to ensure greater use of time order" provisions.

Departmental Consultation

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list formal consultations being sponsored by his Department and its agencies; and what the (a) commencement date and (b) deadline for responses is in each case. [22576]

Alan Johnson: The information as follows:
Department/
Agency
Title
of consultation
Commencement dateDeadline for responses
DTIUse of net and gross calorific values for calculating energy balances28 July 200531 October 2005
National Weights & Measures LaboratoryRRO for self-verification—Weights and Measures Act 1985 to include adjusters"29 July 200529 October 2005
DTICost recovery arrangements for protected energy companies in energy administration4 August 200527 October 2005
DTIFuture sourcing of DTI energy price data15 August 200511 November 2005
Insolvency ServiceImplementation of UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency in Great Britain22 August 200514 November 2005
National Weights & Measures LaboratoryConsultation on the draft Regulations implementing the Measuring Instruments Directive/MED23 August 200514 November 2005
Patents OfficeConsultation on whether there is a continuing need for a UK Classification Key (UKC Key)30 August 200522 November 05
DTIPart 9 Enterprise Act—easier release of information for civil court cases23 August 200518 November 2005
DTIConsultation on proposals to implement two EC Directives on the safety of cosmetic products8 September 200525 November 2005
DTIStatutory Review of the Renewables Obligation19 September 20059 December 2005
DTINotice pursuant to section 91(2) of the Fair Trading Act 1973—Revocation of Monopolies & Restrictive Practices (Dental Goods) Order 195128 September 200528 October 2005
DTINotice pursuant to section 91(2) of the Fair Trading Act 1973—Revocation of Monopolies & Restrictive Practices (Imported Hardwood and Softwood Timber) Order 196028 September 200528 October 2005
DTINotice pursuant to section 91(2) of the Fair Trading Act 1973—Revocation of Restriction on Agreements (Estate Agents) Order 197028 September 200528 October 2005
DTIAdvancing equality for men and women: government's proposals for a gender duty4 October 200512 January 2006
Patents OfficeConsultation on proposed changes to the Patent Office's business hours for receiving and according dates to applications, forms and other documentation12 October 20056 January 2006
Patents OfficeModernisation and consolidation of the Patent Rules: An informal consultation17 October 200530 November 2005
Export Credit Guarantee DepartmentInterim Response to ECGD's consultation on changes to its anti-bribery and corruption procedures introduced in December 200421 October 200518 November 2005
DTIAmendment to the Noise of Outdoor Machinery Directive (2000/14/EC)26 October 200523 November 2005
DTIDraft Order raising the Maximum Penalty for Persistent Misuse of Electronic Communications Networks or Electronic Communications Services to Tackle Silent Calls31 October 200524 January 2006

 
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