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24 Apr 2006 : Column 819W—continued

Departmental Websites

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list (a) the websites operated by his Department and (b) the reports placed on the internet in March 2006, indicating in each case whether paper copies were also made available. [65198]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office operates and its parallel Welsh language site

No reports were placed by the Wales Office on the internet in March 2006.
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Business Links

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how his targets on diversity and equality apply to contractors to the Business Links scheme. [63108]

Alun Michael: As from April 2005, responsibility for the local delivery of Business Link services was transferred from the Small Business Service to the regional development agencies. Regional development agencies are independent bodies. As scheduled bodies under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the public sector race duty requires regional development agencies to have a duty to make race equality a central part of their functions. Similar duties are being introduced for gender and disability.

Business Incorporation

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the forms required to start a business in (a) 1990 and (b) 2005. [64174]

Barry Gardiner: To incorporate a company in 1990 applicants had to file the following forms and documents on paper with Companies House:

The same information had to be filed in 2005.

Not all businesses choose to incorporate. For example, sole traders and partnerships do not have to complete these forms.

Over 85 per cent. of companies are now incorporated electronically. The electronic process can take a matter of minutes and costs £15; the equivalent paper service cost £50 in 1990.

Computer Access (Disadvantaged Groups)

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to bring forward schemes to assist disadvantaged groups to gain access to computers; and what involvement he anticipates the private sector will have in the delivery of these schemes. [63835]

Alun Michael: Discussions are already taking place between my Department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and other Government Departments on addressing the important issue of digital inclusion.

The Government digital strategy, Connecting the UK", sets out a number of actions that contribute to digital inclusion and encourage and facilitate participation in a digital society. We need to now find workable solutions for those hard to reach groups that most need assistance.

This is quite clearly a complex question and I believe the appropriate approach is to engage with all the relevant stakeholders, including those representing excluded and vulnerable groups, before arriving at conclusions about the best way forward.
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Conditional Fee Agreement Regulations 2000

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Tradeand Industry whether reference has been made to the Serious Fraud Office about breaches of section 4(2)c of the Conditional Fee Agreement Regulations 2000. [64514]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer my hon. Friend to the answerI gave him on 6 March 2006, Official Report, column 1154W.

Contracts (Voluntary Sector)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many contracts are let by his Department to voluntary sector organisations; of those how many are let on an annual basis; and of those how many had received finalised contracts for 2006–07 by 31 March. [63213]

Alan Johnson: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford of 20 December 2005 on behalf of Ms Michelle Langton of Galleywood, Chelmsford. [63771]

Alan Johnson: My hon. Friend the Minister for Employment Relations responded to the hon. Member on 16 January 2006.

Defence Export Services Organisation

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the staff of the Defence Export Services Organisation are engaged in facilitating sales to (a) Israel and (b) Saudi Arabia; and if he will make a statement. [64465]

Mr. Ingram: I have been asked to reply.

The Defence Export Services Organisation implements Government policy in respect of supporting legitimate defence exports by industry to a range of countries, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. Export licensing policy requires the Government to take into account concerns that proposed defence exports might be used for internal repression or international aggression, risks to regional stability, or other considerations.

Currently, less than 1 per cent. of DESO staff are engaged in export-related business to Israel and around 40 per cent. to Saudi Arabia. The latter figure includes staff in the Saudi Project Office who undertake a range of tasks principally associated with the performance of existing contracts.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many and what proportion of (a) staff and (b) new staff employed in (i) his Department and (ii) each of the agencies for which he has responsibility were registered as disabled in each of the last three years for which data are available. [61386]

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Alan Johnson: The Cabinet Office collects and publishes annually statistical information on the civil service by Department. These include data on the number of staff in departments who have declared a disability.

The latest available information at April 2004 is available in the Libraries of the House and on the civil service website at the following addresses:

for data relating to 1 April 2004, and

for previous reporting periods.

Between 1 April 2003 and 1 March 2006, 2.6 per cent. of new staff employed by DTI chose to declare a disability. Declaration of a disability is voluntary.

Information is not available for DTI agencies and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Astronomy Projects

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the cost to (a) the UK and (b) each participating country of the (i) EU Extremely Large Telescope project and (ii) design study for the EU ELT project; which agency is responsible for the UK's contribution to the costs of the project; and if he will make a statement on the progress of the project. [62416]

Barry Gardiner: The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council is responsible for UK participation in astronomy research projects.

The international astronomical community is currently reviewing options for the building of an extremely large telescope with a diameter of between 40 and 60 metres. The total cost of a European ELT project would be about €750 million. The UK would have access to this ELT through its membership of the European Southern Observatory.

The share of costs in the project is still to be finally determined, but if it is funded through the ESO subscription the UK's share of the costs would be about 20 per cent.

The design study required for the European ELT project involves 30 organisations from 11 countries, and a total of €30 million has been provided for this phase of the project. This includes €12 million from the 30 organisations involved in the project, of which PPARC is investing a total of €2.4 million (spread over four years until 2008–09), €9.5 million from ESO, and €8.5 million from the European Union. It is not possible to give a more detailed breakdown of the investments made by each of the countries involved in the project.

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