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6 Dec 2005 : Column 1138W—continued

Torbay Mayor

Mr. Steen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister following the affirmative referendum on a Torbay mayor in September, what consultative and other processes were needed to implement the proposal; and how long after the referendum the post of mayor was established. [32164]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 29 November 2005]: Before holding a referendum on whether to have a directly elected mayor, a local authority is required to draw up and consult its electorate and other interested parties on proposals for its governance arrangements.

The referendum on whether Torbay should have a directly elected mayor was held on 14 July 2005. Torbay implemented the proposals endorsed by that referendum result immediately following the mayoral election on 20 October 2005.

Valuation Office Agency

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 23 November 2005, Official Report, column 2063W, on council tax revaluation, whether the Valuation Office Agency continues (a) to collect and (b) to collate (i) dwelling house code data and (ii) value significant code data following the postponement of the English council tax revaluation. [33449]

Mr. Woolas: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on the 23 November 2005, Official Report, column 2063W.


British Technology Group Act

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the operation of the British Technology Group Act 1991. [28270]

Alan Johnson: The British Technology Group Act 1991 was a paving measure to provide for the privatisation in early 1992 of the British Technology Group, a body formed in 1981 by an amalgamation of two public bodies known as the National Research Development Corporation and the National Enterprise Board.

Several of the provisions of the 1991 Act, including those dealing with the nomination of the new privatised company 1 and the arrangements whereby the Government would acquire a shareholding in that company 2 were repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2004. Also repealed were provisions for extinguishing certain
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outstanding reserves and liabilities of the two public bodies 3 , financial provisions relating to the new company 4 , a provision as to the status of shares in the new company for trustee investment purposes 5 and a provision relating to parliamentary scrutiny of orders made by the Secretary of State 6 .

Business Start-ups (Women)

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact of changes to Phoenix funding on his target of 20 per cent. of business start-ups being undertaken by women by 2006, with particular reference to the Women's Employment, Enterprise and Training Unit in the Norwich North constituency. [33911]

Alun Michael: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is confident that the target of 20 per cent. of businesses being female owned by 2006 will be reached.

The Phoenix Fund was introduced as a time-limited programme to help build good practice on business support for under-represented groups including women. The Small Business Service is working with the Regional Development Agencies to pull through this good practice to improve access to the full range of business support services for women.

Carbon Management Programme

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2005, Official Report, columns 527–8W, on carbon management programme, if he will place in the Library a copy of the Carbon Trust's survey report. [31831]

Malcolm Wicks: DTI have made arrangements for the Carbon Trust report to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Climate Change

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the oral statement of the Energy Minister of 11 November 2005, column 621, on climate change, if he will make a statement on the £83.5 million for micro-generation installations since 2002; how this funding was split across the programmes run by his Department; when funding started under each programme; how much was granted under each micro-generation scheme for each year since their commencement; and how much funding granted under each micro-generation scheme is expected to be provided up to March 2007. [33963]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government have committed the following funding to microgeneration installations since 2000:

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I regret that due to an administrative error, my statement on 11 November 2005 inadvertently referred to an incorrect date. Since 2000 the total committed to microgeneration installations was £83.5 million, as set out.

Coal Production

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on current coal production in the United Kingdom. [34796]

Malcolm Wicks: Coal production in the UK in the three months to September 2005, at 4.8 million tonnes, was 19.5 per cent. lower than in the corresponding period of 2004.

Deep mined production was down 27.7 per cent. and opencast production was down 12.4 per cent.

Common Fund for Commodities

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the outcome of the recent meeting to discuss the Common Fund for Commodities. [33944]

Ian Pearson: The Governing Council of the Common Fund for Commodities met on 29–30 November 2005 in Amsterdam. As well as a number of administrative and financial issues, the meeting also considered a report on the mid-term review of the Fund's five-year action plan 2003 to 2007.

Companies Act Regulations

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list meetings between his Department and the Treasury at which the decision to remove the obligation on businesses to publish operating and financial reviews was discussed. [35015]

Alun Michael: There are frequent meetings between DTI and the Treasury. Policy in relation to corporate governance and reporting frequently crops up directly or indirectly.


Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department takes to ensure that consultancies do not claim excessive expenses while working for the Department and its agencies. [29058]

Alan Johnson: The Department fully supports the joint Management Consultancies Association (MCA), Institute of Management Consultancy (IMC) and Office of Government Commerce (OGC) statement of best practice document Delivering world-class consultancy services to the public sector". This document emphasises the working relationships that the public sector client and consultant will seek to achieve in the development and execution of a consultancy contract.
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The Department's standard Invitation to Tender (ITT) document requires potential consultants to provide documentary evidence of their proposed expenses, with which the Department must be satisfied prior to entering into contract. The Department's contract documentation stipulates that only travelling and other expenses that are properly and necessarily incurred in providing the services will be reimbursed.

I have asked the Department's Executive Agencies to respond directly to the hon. Member.

Letter from Desmond Flynn, dated 6 December 2005:

Letter from Claire Clancy, dated 6 December 2005:

Letter from Dr. Jeff Llewellyn, dated 6 December 2005:

Letter from Jeanne Spinks, dated 6 December 2005:

Letter from Ron Marchant, dated 6 December 2005:

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