Alun Michael: The spending plans of England's Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are set out in their corporate plans for the period 2005 to 2008. The RDAs consulted widely with all interested parties about the development of their corporate plans and have published the plans on their websites. The RDAs will also publish on their websites six monthly progress reports on the delivery of their corporate plan commitments.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much the regional development agencies have paid to businesses (a) in 2005 and (b) in the previous three years in respect of research and development grants, broken down into (i) amounts paid to small and medium sized businesses and (ii) amounts paid to large sized businesses. 
Alun Michael: I have asked each Regional Development Agency to provide me with the relevant information about the region's activities. I will write to the hon. Gentleman when I have the necessary information and place a copy of the letter in the Libraries of the House.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what formal co-ordination takes place (a) between the overseas offices of the regional development agencies and (b) between the regional development agencies and UK Trade and Investment to attract inbound investment into the UK; how frequently consultation takes place and at what level; and if he will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) overseas offices systematically hold regular in-country meetings, collectively and individually with RDA overseas offices. Frequency varies from country to country. Meetings include an annual peer review and systematic bilateral exchanges of pursuit lists to maximise effectiveness in attracting inward investment.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to ensure continuity of grant support to (a) school and (b) other community facilities for (i) wind, (ii) solar hot water, (iii) hydro, (iv) biomass and (v) ground source heat pump projects. 
Malcolm Wicks: A new Low Carbon Buildings Programme will continue to offer grant support to school and community projects once the current Clear Skies Programme comes to an end. The new programme, for which we recently announced a budget of £30 million over the years, will begin in April 2006, subject to EU state aids approval. The Department is also looking to work in partnership with major private sector players in the energy field in order to expand the micro generation sector, with a particular emphasis on renewable energy technologies on schools.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimates he has made of the average Government funding per annum for (a) 2002 to 2006 and (b) 2006 to 2009 for (i) the micro-renewables sector as a whole, (ii) the solar photovoltaic programme and (iii) the micro-renewable technologies hitherto supported by the Clear Skies initiative. 
The Clear Skies programme had a budget of £12.5 million from 200306. The new low carbon buildings programme will have a budget of £30 million over three years. It will start in April 2006 subject to EU State Aids clearance. £1.5 million of the £30 million budget has been brought forward to ensure a smooth transition between the old programmes and the new one to address industry concerns of a potential funding gap.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the performance of companies which rely heavily on investment in research and development in the last four years; and if he will make a statement. 
Alun Michael: On 24 October the Department of Trade and Industry published the 15th annual R and D Scoreboard. This gives financial information about the top 1,000 global companies by R and D investment and the top 750 UK-based companies by R and D investment.
Despite an overall fall of 0.5 per cent. in the R and D reported by UK-based companies from 2004, the 2005 R and D Scoreboard contains encouraging signs of growth in UK R and D-intensive companies. There were 7 per cent. more "R and D vigorous" firms (those with R and D spending of at least 4 per cent. of sales and over £l million) than in the previous year, and 32 per cent. more than in 2001. And there was a 77 per cent. increase in middle-sized, very R and D intensive companies with R and D intensity of over 10 per cent. substantial R and D of over £6.4 million and sales of over £26 million.
Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much government funding social enterprises in (a) West Yorkshire, (b) Wakefield district and (c) Normanton constituency (i) have received in the 200506 financial year and (ii) received in 200405. 
Alun Michael: DTI sees social enterprise as a key element in delivery of the enterprise agenda, and a specific social enterprise day this week as part of Enterprise Week has helped to make this point in Yorkshire and elsewhere.
Yorkshire Forward, as the regional development agency for Yorkshire and the Humber, has provided the following investment to support the Social Enterprise sector's development across West Yorkshire. This is being delivered through W.Y.S.E. Link, (a partnership between Business Link West Yorkshire and the Social Enterprise Support Centre) to deliver tailored support to social enterprises and grow the sector.
Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many new jobs have been created through social enterprise in (a) West Yorkshire, (b) Wakefield district and (c) Normanton constituency since 1997. 
Alun Michael: A total of 421 jobs have been created in West Yorkshire, including 24 in Wakefield, according to figures provided by W.Y.S.E Link which is a partnership between Business Link West Yorkshire and the Social Enterprise Support Centre. It's purpose is to deliver tailored support to social enterprises and grow the sector. It is supported jointly by Yorkshire Forward as the regional development agency to the region and Business Link West Yorkshire.
Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to encourage the growth of social enterprises in the most deprived areas of Wakefield district, with particular reference to Normanton constituency. 
Alun Michael: The continued development of the social enterprise sector across the region remains a key priority for Yorkshire Forward, the regional development agency for Yorkshire and the Humber. Yorkshire Forward recognises the unique potential of social enterprises to stimulate economic regeneration and business growth in some of our more deprived areas.
As a result, providing support for the social enterprise sector is a key priority within the consultation draft of the revised regional economic strategy, and via its corporate plan, Yorkshire Forward has committed to working with partners to mainstream social enterprise support within the Business Link brokerage networkssomething that is already well established within West Yorkshire via WYSE Link, a partnership between Business Link West Yorkshire and the Social Enterprise Support Centre to deliver tailored support to social enterprises and grow the sector.
In addition, Yorkshire Forward is one of the key partners in the Social Economy Development Framework for Yorkshire and Humber, and 'Onwards and Outwardsan investment plan for social enterprise for Yorkshire and Humber 2004 to 2014'.
As part of this region-wide commitment, Yorkshire Forward has already invested over £1.5 million in WYSE Link, and has recently made an additional investment of some £5.7 million to further expand WYSE Link's provision up to March 2009. This ongoing support will help to ensure that social enterprises across West Yorkshire continue to receive a comprehensive and expert business support service.
In addition the Yorkshire and the Humber European Objective 2 programme has also recently developed a specific measure aimed at social enterprises. The total amount of funding available is £6 million ERDF which, with matched funds, should deliver £15 million worth of
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assistance by 2008. So far one project has been approved in West Yorkshire, based in Wakefield, which will assist 35 social enterprises.
In 2005, all local authorities in receipt of neighbourhood renewal funding have been invited to apply for funding under the local growth initiative, LEGI, to promote and remove barriers to enterprise in the most deprived areas in England. Those authorities have been given between £80,000 and £120,000 pump priming funds, to help with the development of their proposals. Entry is through a three year rolling programme of annual competitions. Successful applicants will receive anything from £2 million to £10 million, available from five to 10 years.