Previous Section Index Home Page

31 Jan 2006 : Column 326W—continued

Compensation (UK Courts)

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will assess the merits of introducing legislation to allow individuals who are denied justice in their own country to seek compensation in UK courts for (a) environmental and (b) human rights abuses committed by United Kingdom companies abroad. [38686]

Ian Pearson: The Government are not considering legislation on this issue.

UK companies that operate overseas are subject to the laws applicable in those countries which will take account of the particular circumstances and practices of each host country.

We actively encourage UK-based international companies which operate in other countries to apply high standards of corporate behaviour, including adhering to relevant internationally agreed standards which respect human rights and the environment.

In April 2005, the UN Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Representative of the Secretary General to take forward work on the area of business and human rights. The two year mandate of the Special Representative includes the identification and clarification of standards of corporate responsibility and accountability
31 Jan 2006 : Column 327W
for transnational corporations with regard to human rights, as well as an elaboration of the role of States in effectively regulating and adjudicating the role of business.

The UK also plays a leading role in ensuring that the international framework to promote and to tackle abuses of workers rights throughout the world is in place, particularly through its work with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which is the UN specialized agency responsible for developing, promoting and monitoring labour standards. We play an active role in the ILO Committee on Multinational Enterprises and support the promotion and follow-up of the ILO Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy which seeks to enhance the positive social and labour effects of multinational corporations' operations throughout the world.

The Government also strongly supports the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises as a standard of good corporate behaviour and as a model to assist companies to develop their own codes of conduct. The issues they cover include labour relations and environmental and social impacts.


Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people are registered as directors who are under the age of 16 years. [47504]

Alun Michael: On 31 December 2005, there were 431 directors under the age of 16. All these appointments were to companies registered in England and Wales.

Employment Status Review

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the results of the employment status review initiated in 2002 will be announced. [47210]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government intend to respond to the Employment Status Review shortly.

Energy Review

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which organisations were invited to the launch of the Energy Review, Our Energy Challenge, on 23 January; and what criteria were used to decide upon suitability of invitees. [46565]

Malcolm Wicks: A range of organisations were invited to the launch of the Energy Review to ensure a. broad and diverse set of participants and views. Attendees included representatives from unions; energy providers; energy generators; industry associations; network operators; non-governmental organisations with an interest in energy, environment or fuel poverty issues; regulatory bodies; official advisory bodies to the Government; national, devolved, regional and local government and Government Agencies; think tanks and academia.

The launch of the Energy Review, Our Energy Challenge, on 23 January was the first outreach event in a twelve week consultation period. In the weeks until April 14, Ministers and officials will continue to engage with the stakeholders invited to the launch event and others, including parliamentary bodies. The consultation is
31 Jan 2006 : Column 328W
open to all and details of how to feed in comments are available on the DTI website (

Energy Technology Safety

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what aspects of (a) renewable energy technologies and (b) distributed generation are being examined by the Health and Safety Executive in respect of their potential risk to workers and the public. [46570]

Malcolm Wicks: In the context of the Energy Review, the Health and Safety Executive has been asked to prepare an expert report on the potential health and safety risks to workers and the public arising from recent and potential energy developments, including an increasing penetration of renewable technologies and distributed generation. The report will include an assessment of the health and safety risks associated with developments, such as wind, wave, and biomass generation projects, and their approach to ensuring that such risks are managed sensibly by industry.

Export Credits Guarantee Department

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what contracts the Export Credits Guarantee Department has paid out claims in each of the last five years; and for what amounts in each case. [42566]

Ian Pearson: The Export Credits Guarantee Department has paid out claims totalling £1.1 billion over the last five financial years (2000–01 to 2004–05), which can be broken down as follows:

A breakdown of claims payments by financial year, sector and case will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Green Ministers

Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry at which meetings his Department has been represented regarding the delivery of sustainable development across Government as co-ordinated by the Ministerial Sub-committee of Green Ministers. [16245]

Malcolm Wicks: Following the general election in May, the Cabinet Sub-committee of Green Ministers (ENV(G)) was replaced by the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Sustainable Development in Government (EE(SD)) whose members are departmental Sustainable Development Ministers.

As the Minister of State for Energy I was appointed as our departmental Sustainable Development Minister in June 2005. In July, I attended a breakfast seminar for
31 Jan 2006 : Column 329W
Sustainable Development Ministers to discuss the sustainable development strategy and Ministers role in delivering it.

Harworth Colliery

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to respond to the loan guarantee proposal made by UK Coal with regard to Harworth Colliery. [45839]

Malcolm Wicks: The proposal is under active consideration. A response will be given to UK Coal plc as soon as possible.

Indian Companies

Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the five Indian companies with a presence in the UK (a) information technology, (b) pharmaceutical and (c) food sector, which had the greatest turnover in the UK in 2004–05. [42727]

Ian Pearson: According to publicly accessible information from Companies House (2004 figures), the following Indian companies are the top five in their sector in the UK based on turnover:

IT sector

Pharma sector

Food and Drink sector

Next Section Index Home Page