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Alun Michael: There are no specific statutory instruments under which the Business Link services are provided. Business Link must comply with all statutory requirements set out in relevant Acts of Parliament.
In addition, organisations delivering Business Link services receive funding from the regional development agencies on a contractual basis. The terms of these contracts provides the regional development agencies with the right of suspension or clawback of funding.
The Business Link contract, originally agreed between the DTI and Business Link providers, has been managed by the regional development agencies since April 2005, and contains provisions for termination and breach.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his statement during the debate on 14 March 2006, Official Report, column 1303, on gas supply and demand, what the source was of the statement that Germany's wholesale gas prices have increased by 80 per cent. 
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his statements during the debate on 14 March 2006, Official Report, column 1303, on 16 February 2006, Official Report, column 1551 and on 12 January 2006, Official Report, column 486, on gas supply, how he calculated the figures regarding the costs of energy to British and German industry. 
"Our liberalised markets mean that the cost of industrial gas is also competitive. In the past 14 years, the cost of energy to British industry has been around £8 billion less than the cost to German industry"
referred to the difference in cost were UK industry to have paid German prices for the gas they consumed over the period 1990 to 2004. The statistics for the prices to UK and German industries were taken from the IEA publication 'Energy Prices and Taxes' and Ofgem estimates, while the consumption of UK industry was taken from the IEA publication 'Energy Statistics of OECD countries'. A similar exercise undertaken by Ofgem came to the same figure.
referred to the difference in cost were UK industry to have paid German prices for the gas and electricity they consumed over the period 1995 to 2004. The statistics for the prices to UK and German industries were taken from the IEA publication 'Energy Prices and Taxes',
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while the consumption of UK industry was taken from the IEA publication 'Energy Statistics of OECD countries'.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) annual running costs and (b) total costs to date have been incurred by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship. 
Alun Michael [holding answer 18 April 2006]: The Department of Trade and Industry Small Business Service and The Department for Education and Skills jointly fund the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE). The NCGE is awarded a combined grant of £700,000 per year to fund its activities. The NCGE has just completed its second year and has received a total of £1,400,000.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to support the UK based photovoltaic industry to compete in the international photovoltaics market; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department has supported photovoltaics since 2000 through the £31 million major photovoltaic demonstration programme which ended in March 2006 and £10 million on field trials which are still to report. Photovoltaics will continue to receive support, along with other microgeneration technologies, through the new £80 million low carbon buildings programme over the next three years. In addition, the Government have just launched their microgeneration strategy which will seek to tackle non-grant barriers hindering development of sustainable markets for these technologies. This will include working with industry to develop a route map for each microgeneration technology. These measures will help the photovoltaic industry to continue to develop in the UK, building a platform for business to take decisions on international developments.
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether change in legislation is being considered regarding the number of unsolicited nuisance telephone calls made to members of the public after an application has been processed to the Telephone Preference Service to ensure no such calls are made. 
[holding answer 18 April 2006]: No change is being considered as under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, consumers are offered protection from unsolicited telephone sales calls through the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) scheme. This has proved to be an effective deterrent with 11.2 million registrations to date. No one is allowed to make an unsolicited telephone sales call to a subscriber who has either previously notified the caller that they do not wish to receive such calls or has been registered with the TPS scheme for at least 28 days.
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Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what process was used to grant the contract to manage the telephone preference service registers to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA); and if he will place in the Library correspondence between his Department and the DMA on the matter. 
Alun Michael: The matter raised is the responsibility of the Office of Communications (Ofcom). Ofcom is the independent regulatory for the communications sector, deriving its main powers and duties directly from statute rather than by delegation from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and accountable to Parliament in its own right. The Chief Executive of Ofcom has pointed out that under the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 ("the Regulations") Ofcom is required to maintain registers of the numbers allocated to subscribers who have notified Ofcom that they do not for the time being wish to receive unsolicited communications for direct marketing purposes by means of telephone (Telephone Preference Service) or fax (Fax Preference Service). Ofcom is permitted by the Regulations to make arrangements for the provision of the registers to be discharged by some other person.
Ofcom undertook a full, competitive and open tender process prior to the award of the contract to Telephone Preference Service Limited (TPSL). The invitation to tender can be accessed at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/about/jobs/contracts_tenders/mngd_fax_tgel_reg/.
The invitation to tender includes: the aims and objectives for the registers; services and tender retirements; and minimum criteria for evaluation of tenders. I am informed by Ofcom that eight companies expressed an interest in tendering for the new contract, although three tenders were actually received by Ofcom. Having evaluated the tender and interviewed the bidders, Ofcom decided to award the new contract to TPSL, the existing provider of the registers.
Accordingly, my officials have asked the Chief Executive Officer of Ofcom to reply to the hon. Member and to send me a copy of his response. Copies of the Chief Executive's letter will also be placed in the Libraries of the House.
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