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30 Jan 2006 : Column 110W—continued

Regional Aid Guidelines

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when his Department will begin its consultation on Article 87 (3) of the Regional Aid Guidelines; and which areas he expects will be included. [46124]

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Alun Michael: The European Commission adopted the Regional Aid Guidelines on 21 December 2005. I will be consulting shortly on the best way for the UK's discretionary coverage to be applied.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support his Department is providing in 2005–06 to research into the development of tidal power; and at what locations tidal power is being piloted. [46193]

Malcolm Wicks: For the financial year 2005–06 the DTI has provided funding to tidal power research totalling £2.56 million.

At present one prototype tidal power research device is located in the sea, near Lynmouth in Devon and another is under construction in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. In the next year it is anticipated that at least two more prototypes will be installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Stromness, Orkney and one prototype in the Humber Estuary at Hull.

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessments he has commissioned of the potential for exploiting micro-hydro power generation in Wales as part of the energy review. [46573]

Malcolm Wicks: No assessment has been commissioned on the potential for exploiting micro-hydro generation in Wales as part of the energy review. However, the DTI did commission a report looking into the costs and benefits of a range of micro generation technologies including micro-hydro. This report was published on 12 December 2005 and can be found at generation-est-report.pdf

Scottish Coal

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much Scottish Coal received from the Coal Aid Scheme in each month of 2001; and whether any of this assistance was ring-fenced for redundancy assistance. [46542]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 26 January 2006.

Small Business Research Initiative

Kitty Ussher: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the timescale is for making it mandatory for Government departments to implement the Small Business Research Initiative; how that will be enforced; and if he will make a statement. [45285]

Alun Michael [holding answer 26 January 2006]: The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) was launched in April 2001 as a cross-departmental Initiative. It is designed to stimulate and increase the demand for research and development (R and D) from high tech small firms and give them the opportunity to demonstrate that they have the ability to undertake and deliver high quality R and D to the public sector. The
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participating government departments agreed to a target of purchasing at least 2.5 per cent. of their extramural R and D from SMEs by 2004–05. The Research Councils are also participating in their own arrangements.

The Chancellor mandated departments with extramural R and D budgets to take part in the Initiative in his Budget on 16 March 2005, at which time the implementation process commenced.

Compliance with the mandatory requirement is monitored by the DTI's Small Business Service. The present focus is on making a success of the relatively newly introduced mandatory option. To this end, in order to improve access for small firms, departments will be required to use the Supplier Route to Government (CSRG29) website to offer Government R and D contract opportunities, when it is launched shortly.

Until the 16 March Budget participation was voluntary. We aim to publish the voluntary phase performance figures for 2003–04 and 2004–05 under SBRI as soon as possible.

In future, we will publish performance figures on an annual basis. Apparent poor performance by individual departments will be investigated initially by the Small Business Service and Ministers will decide what action to take in order to bring about an improvement.

VAT (Pendle)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses (a) registered and (b) deregistered for VAT in Pendle in each year since 1997. [45929]

Alun Michael: The number of businesses registering and de-registering for VAT in the Pendle constituency, are shown in the table for the period 1997 to 2004. Data for 2005 will be available in autumn 2006.
VAT registrations and de-registrations in Pendle constituency 1997 to 2004


Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994–2004, Small Business Service, available from the Libraries of the House and also at

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.
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Telephone Preference Service

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2005, Official Report, columns 291–92W, on the Telephone Preference Service, with which regulations the 925 complaints received were concerned. [46011]

Alun Michael: The 925 complaints referred to in the reply as having been considered by the Information Commissioner were complaints under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 regarding alleged breaches of Regulation 21, which relates to unsolicited direct marketing telephone calls.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 2212, on waste electrical and electronic equipment, if he will provide an estimate of the range of unit costs involved in compliance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive; and what the Department's estimate is for compliance over the next three years. [46523]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested by the hon. Member can be found in the WEEE Directive partial impact assessment. This is available on the Department of Trade and Industry's website at:

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what regulations the Government plan to implement to transpose the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive 2002/96/EC into domestic law; and when he will publish such regulations. [34119]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 2 December 2005]: On 14 December 2005, I announced a review of proposals for implementing the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive in the UK. A new timetable for implementation will not be set until the review is concluded.

Wave Power

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding his Department allocated for (a) demonstration and (b) pre-commercial trials of wave power in the UK in each of the last five years. [43313]

Malcolm Wicks: During the five-year period between January 2000 and the present approximately £9.95 million has been committed to a total of 27 wave energy R&D projects concerning all stages of technology development from initial proof of concept to full scale demonstration. This is broken down by year as follows:

Year in which project startedTotal funding endorsed

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A further £50 million 'Marine Renewables Deployment Fund' has been allocated to support the continued development of wave and tidal-stream technologies of which £42 million is for direct support to early-stage pre-commercial trials.

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