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Funding is available to support the growing of energy crops for use in the generation of biomass heat and electricity and transport biofuels. £29 million was made available to farmers throughout England under the Energy Crops Scheme to support the planting of short rotation coppice (SRC) and miscanthus, and the setting up of producer groups to supply SRC to biomass heat and electricity end-users. The £3.5 million UK-wide
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Bio-energy Infrastructure Scheme, which is now closed for applications, provides grants to develop the supply chain for energy crops, straw and woodfuel from harvest through to delivery to biomass energy end-users. Several of the successful applications are based in the West Midlands area. Farmers who grow crops for biomass heat and electricity and transport biofuels can receive the single payment for certain crops grown on set-aside or where the €45/ha Energy Aid payment is claimed for crops on non set-aside land.
Funding is also available to develop markets for energy crops in the generation of heat, combined heat and power, electricity and transport biofuels. It was announced on 10 November that the Government will introduce a Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation which will require 5 per cent. of fuel sold in the UK to come from a renewable source by 2010. The Government are also considering further initiatives to support investment in biofuel processing plants. These measures may open up opportunities for farmers to supply crops to be used to produce biofuels. A number of biomass and biofuel projects are being established in the West Midlands area. Marches Energy Agency, the Community Renewables Initiative's local support team for Shropshire and Herefordshire is working to develop further projects in the area.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what guidance his Department issues to start-up small businesses to safeguard them against cold-calling scams; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 11 November 2005]: A person's credit reference file will automatically indicate when an account is in default. Communications between a debt collection agency and a debtor will depend on the circumstances concerned but the Office of Fair Trading, which is responsible for the licensing of debt collection agencies, has issued guidance that the debt collection sector must follow. The guidance sets out the types of behaviour that the Office of Fair Trading considers to be unfair and which could call into question a company's fitness to hold a licence. For example, the guidance makes clear that it is unfair for a debt collection agency to communicate with consumers in an unclear, inaccurate or misleading manner.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the quantity of fireworks used in October and November (a) by private individuals and (b) in public displays in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of firework-related injuries in each of the last 10 years, broken down by (a) age of victim and (b) type of injury. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 11 November 2005]: The Department publishes firework injury statistics every year. These are collected from every hospital Accident and Emergency Department in Great Britain for a period of approximately four weeks around November 5. Information of the type you request is available on the DTI website for the years 19972004. The web address is:
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 11 November 2005]: Legislation and guidelines are in place covering the importation, supply, use (including anti-social use) and the firing of displays. All of this legislation is kept under review, either by DTI or the Health and Safety Executive. Enforcement bodies will report on enforcement activities in due course.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of public firework displays held in England in October and November in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 11 November 2005]: None. Professionally fired displays are governed by legislation covering health and safety at work, which is the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The fireworks injury statistics collected on behalf of the DTI are broken down by country i.e. England, Scotland and Wales, by super region and by health trust. Statistics for West Lancashire are therefore not available.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sofas were seized by consumer protection staff because of the presence of combustible foam in 200405, broken down by region. 
The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture manufactured in or imported into the UK. These regulations are enforced by Trading Standards, who have powers to suspend the supply of products which do not meet the requirements of the regulations, to seize such products and to prosecute suppliers. This Department collates statistics on prosecutions under the regulations every five years and publishes them in a statutory report on consumer
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safety. The most recent report, published in 2003, records that 101 prosecutions were brought under the regulations between 1 April 1998 and 31 March 2003, of which 98 resulted in conviction. The Department does not collect statistics in relation to the presence of combustible foam in upholstered furniture.
Alun Michael: Information on how many furniture manufacturers have de-registered for VAT in the last five years can be provided on a national basis but figures for each region could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
DTI figures for the whole of the UK, based solely on VAT de-registrations for furniture manufacturers 1 , are shown below for 2000 to 2004. Data on the number of registered furniture manufacturers and the rate of de-registration are also shown. Data for 2005 will be available in autumn 2006.
|VAT registered stock at start of year||7,715||7,745||7,700||7,560||7,515|
|De-registrations per 100 registered stock||7.6||7.6||7.9||8.1||8.1|
VAT registration and de-registration data do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold. Similarly, businesses that de-register will not necessarily have closed. Only 1.8 million out of 4.3 million enterprises were registered for VAT at the start of 2004.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture manufactured in or imported into the UK. These regulations are enforced by Trading Standards, who have powers to suspend the supply of products which do not meet the requirements of the regulations, to seize such products and to prosecute suppliers. The Department does not collect statistics in relation to the presence of combustible foam in upholstered furniture.
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