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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost was of supporting borrowing by local authorities in England and Wales for each year since 1997; and what estimates have been made for each of the next five years. 
Mr. Woolas: Government support for borrowing by local authorities is issued as part of the Revenue Support Grant Settlement. Revenue Support Grant is an unhypothecated resource and therefore it is not possible to separately identify figures for the costs of supported borrowing. Neither are there estimates of supported borrowing for future years.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that the quality of British environmental science is not harmed by the proposed closure of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology at Monks Wood; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner [holding answer 9 January 2006]: The Government are fully committed to maintaining the quality of environmental science in the UK and provides funding to the Natural Environment Research Council for this purpose. NERC is currently consulting widely with stakeholders on proposals on how best the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology can contribute on a sustainable basis to this. I am sure that NERC Council will consider all evidence and views on the potential impact of the proposals, including proposals for the closure of the CEH site at Monks Wood.
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the merits of a statutory race Committee in relation to the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: The Government believe that Committees can play a valuable role in supporting the work of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights through enabling engagement with the communities it serves and ensuring that they can contribute to its strategy and policies. It has therefore provided wide ranging and flexible powers in the Equality Bill for the Commission, as an independent body, to establish Committees as it sees fit and to delegate functions to them. It will be open to the Commission to decide to establish a Committee to oversee its race equality work including its partnership with the Racial Equality Councils and its role in promoting good relations between communities.
Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department has taken to ensure that users of internet data storage companies are informed of the data protection legislation governing providers based in the EU and US. 
Alun Michael [holding answer 9 January 2006]: Enforcement and guidance regarding, the Data Protection Act, which is derived from the EU Data Protection Directive, is the responsibility of the Information Commissioner, details of the Commissioner's work can be found at (http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/). The Data Protection Act puts an obligation on UK-based companies to ensure that data is adequately protected, regardless of where the data are stored.
Advice regarding data protection legislation has been provided as part of the DTI's information security business advice web pages (http://www.dti.gov.uk/industries/infonnation_security/) and through various information security publications. The advice is generic and not targeted at any specific sector. It's based upon how Information Security standard BS 7799 can contribute towards meeting the security requirements of the UK Data Protection Act.
Alun Michael [holding answer 9 January 2006]: The DTI's Technology Programme supports strategically important technologies and knowledge transfer, often cutting across the needs of specific sectors. The Programme aims to fund industry-academic collaborative research and development projects focusing on industrially relevant leading-edge technology development. It is currently funding a £10 million competition focusing on Data and Content Storage, Management, Retrieval and Analysis".
In addition, UK Trade and Investment aims to attract key businesses to set up or extend high value added operations in the UK, as well as to market the strengths of the UK's ICT sectors generally. Activities include inviting overseas companies that are interested in buying from, partnering with or exchanging technology to the UK to meet with UK companies. The UK has attracted and retained several businesses with interests in data storage. Notable examples are, Hewlett Packard, which conducts storage research within its laboratories in Bristol, Seagate Technologies which manufactures key magnetic components in Northern Ireland and an
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Atlanta based company called Iron Mountain who recently established a data storage centre in Scotland, providing 100 jobs.
The Government recognises that information technology more widely is a key source of business competitiveness and productivity and is backing a coherent strategy and action plan for IT skills, spearheaded by e-Skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for IT, Telecoms and Contact centres. Employers across the sector are pledging support for the concept of an e-Business Academy as a national hub for IT-related skills development and support.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his answer on 31 October 2005, Official Report, column 698W what the total cost of (a) publications and (b) surveys by his Department were including (i) commissioning costs and (ii) printing costs. 
Alan Johnson: To distinguish between surveys and other types of publications and to identify separate costs for commissioning and printing could only be done at disproportionate cost as this information is not held centrally.
Pursuant to my answer on 31 October 2005, when I informed you that between 1 January 1997 and 20 October 2005, the number of titles produced by my department was 10,066, the total cost of producing these titles including commissioning and printing amounted to £66,007,130. This equates to an average cost of £6,600 per title.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many meetings of the (a) Standing Committee for the approximation of the laws of the member states concerning pressure equipment, (b) Committee on electronic signatures and (c) Advisory Committee on the implementation of open network provision (ONP) have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; which other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. 
(a) The mandate of the pressure equipment Standing Committee is contained in Article 7.2 of the Pressure Equipment Directive 97/23/EC. The provisions of this Article have not yet been put into effect and the Committee has therefore never met.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many meetings of the (a) Committee for the adaptation to technical progress
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of directives on the removal of technical barriers to trade in the sector of measuring instruments and methods of metrological control, (b) Committee for the adaption to technical progress of directives on the removal of technical barriers to trade in the sector of construction plant and equipment and (c) Committee for the adaption of technical progress of directives on the removal of technical barriers to trade in the sector of pressure vessels have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; which other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. 
(a) Unfortunately it is not possible to identify a committee which precisely fits the description provided. However no meeting of the Measuring Instruments Committee set up under directive 2004/22/EC (concerning measuring instruments and methods of metrological control) have taken place in the UK presidency.
(b) Unfortunately it is not possible to identify a committee which precisely fits the description provided. The sort of plant and equipment mentioned might typically fall under the scope of directive 98/37/EC on the approximation of the laws of the member states relating to machinery. The Standing Committee set up under Article 6 of this directive met in Brussels on 1112 October 2005. The meeting was chaired by the European Commission and one official from the Department of Trade and Industry and one from the Health and Safety executive represented the United Kingdom.
(c) There is no 'pressure vessels directive' and so there is no such Committee. There is a Simple Pressure Vessels Directive (87/404/EEC) but this does not include any provision for such a Committee to be established. Issues concerning the administration of 87/404/EEC would, in principle, be handled by the Committee provided for under the Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC). I am responding separately to the hon Member's question about the Directive.
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