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Coal Health Claims

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the firms of solicitors that have been involved in processing coal health claims; and how much has been paid to each firm in costs. [50802]

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Malcolm Wicks: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd (Chris Ruane) on 31 January 2006, Official Report, columns 329–30W.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much Thompson's Solicitors have received in fees for coal health claim cases in (a) total and (b) North Durham. [50803]

Malcolm Wicks: In total, Thompsons solicitors have received £92.5 million for handling coal health claims as of 8 February 2006, of which £2.5 million relates to cases in North Durham.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been paid in coal health claim compensation to clients of Thompson's Solicitors (a) in total, (b) in County Durham and (c) in North Durham. [50804]

Malcolm Wicks: As of 8 February 2005, £518 million has been paid in compensation in coal health claims handled by Thompsons solicitors, of which £118 million was in cases in County Durham 1 and £14.5 million in North Durham.

Company Audits

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will limit each auditing firm to auditing no more than 10 per cent. of the FTSE 350 companies. [50022]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government do not propose to introduce such measures.

Company Director Duties

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will bring forward legislation to give company directors a duty of care to (a) each shareholder and (b) employers in respect of the probity and efficacy of the actions of the board. [50823]

Alun Michael: Part 10 of the Company Law Reform Bill provides a statutory statement of directors' general duties, which is in line with the current law and states the general duties that are owed by a director to the company. Clause 156 provides that a director of a company must act in the way he considers in good faith, is most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole. In fulfilling this duty, he must (so far as reasonably practicable) have regard to the factors listed in subsection 156(3), including the interests of the company's employees and the need to act fairly as between members of the company.

Company Fraud

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will provide a list in relation to those cases where all proceedings are complete regarding the (a) prosecutions and (b) successful prosecutions for insider trading since 1997. [49723]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: The following is a list of individuals against whom prosecutions have been brought by the DTI for offences contrary to s52 Criminal Justice Act 1993 or s1 Criminal Law Act 1977 (insider dealing) have been instituted since 1997. Other prosecutions may have been brought by other prosecution agencies. Prosecutions have been considered successful" where a conviction has been recorded. Those that did not result in convictions may be due to the prosecution withdrawing those offences or not guilty verdicts being entered by the jury or at the judge's direction. Since 1997 proceedings have been brought against 15 individuals of which nine were successful".
Name of Defendant
Laurence Henry ChampionConvicted
John CahillConvicted
Gerald CahillConvicted
Richard Philip KingConvicted
Stuart AxamNot Convicted
Jonathan Richard Arthur TownsendNot Convicted
Wayne DawConvicted
Christopher WilliamsConvicted
Anthony HadnuttNot Convicted
Stephen PorterConvicted
Gareth Wynne DaviesNot Convicted
Timothy BlackstoneConvicted
Stephen ZiffNot Convicted
Stuart Neil RonsonNot Convicted
Richard SteeleNot Convicted

Company Law

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek to introduce legislation to require companies to publish a list in their annual accounts of the names and locations of all (a) subsidiaries, (b) affiliates, (c) shell companies and (d) trusts, together with the (i) turnover, (ii) profit and (iii) tax paid by each. [50023]

Alun Michael: The Government's intention is that Clause 382 of the Company Law Reform Bill (Information about related undertakings) will replace the provisions of section 231 of the Companies Act 1985. The Government intends to make regulations under clause 382 to replace the current Schedule 5 to the 1985 Act.

Schedule 5 requires the disclosure of the names and locations of subsidiary undertakings. It also covers joint ventures, associated undertakings and other significant holdings. Shell companies are covered by Schedule 5 to the extent that they fall within these categories. If subsidiaries, affiliates and shell companies are Companies Act companies they will have to publish their own Companies Act accounts. There are also detailed accounting rules which, depending on the degree of control of the parent company, will require any of these categories to be brought into its consolidated accounts.

Trusts are not specifically covered in the Companies Acts. However, to the extent that a trust or other undertaking qualifies as a quasi subsidiary under Financial Reporting Standard 5, accounting standards require lengthy disclosures relating to the trust. The Urgent Issues Task Force of the Accounting Standards Board has issued UITF abstract38 on accounting for
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Employee Share Ownership Plan trusts. This requires the disclosure of information sufficient to enable readers to understand the significance of the ESOP trust in the context of the sponsoring company. Trusts which relate to pension schemes of a company (more specifically, their obligations under the scheme) are subject to lengthy disclosure requirements by accounting standards.

The EU is expected later this year to adopt a directive amending the 4th and 7th company law directives on accounting. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State intends to consult fully on implementation of its requirements, including on the disclosure of off balance sheet arrangements and related party transactions. The latter are also covered by the disclosure requirements of accounting standards.

Consultants/Special Advisers

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) consultants and (b) special advisers were employed by his Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of each was in each year; and if he will make a statement. [27423]

Alan Johnson: Specific data on the number of consultants employed by the Department of Trade and Industry is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

With respect to special advisers, this information is published on an annual basis. For the most recent information I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, on 21 July 2005, Official Report, columns 158–62WS.


Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to reply to letters from the hon. Member for Canterbury dated (a) 3 August 2005 and (b) 10 October 2005. [38770]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 20 December 2005]: I apologise for the long delay in responding to the hon. Member's letters, this was due to an administrative error. The issue he was raising is a matter for HM Treasury and has been transferred to them for reply.

Departmental Assets

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the items of departmental property worth over £100 that have been reported as (a) lost and (b) broken in the last 12 months. [47675]

Alan Johnson: Thirty items of small portable equipment which have a value of £100 or above (21 laptops, one monitor and eight data projectors) have been reported as missing or stolen from all DTI buildings in the last twelve months. No separate record is kept of broken items as these are replaced or repaired as part of the Department's normal maintenance regimes.

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