Previous Section Index Home Page

26 Apr 2006 : Column 1119W—continued

South Africa

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the prevalence of alcohol abuse in South Africa; and what steps he is taking to support the government of South Africa in tackling alcohol and drug abuse. [65705]

Hilary Benn: The South African Medical Research Council is the primary agency measuring the nature and extent of alcohol use and its associated consequences. It has detailed information concerning its impact on mortality, trauma and violence and risky sexual activity that increases the risk of HIV. For example, recent studies in Cape Town, Durban, and Port Elizabeth (PE) have found that:

DFID does not provide support to the Government of South Africa to address alcohol abuse. Our support for the health sector concentrates on HIV prevention and care as the priority area of intervention.

For more information on alcohol and drug abuse in South Africa, the South African Medical Research Council provides useful additional information at
26 Apr 2006 : Column 1120W

Strategic Defence Reviews

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the aid allocated to the Ugandan strategic defence review was spent, broken down by budget heading. [64846]

Hilary Benn: DFID provided approximately £500,000 between December 2001 and December 2005 to help the Ugandan Ministry of Defence carry out Uganda's first strategic Defence Review. This was provided as technical assistance to support the review process which came largely from the UK Government's Security Sector and Defence Advisory Team and the Centre for Defence Studies King's College. The support provided included consultancy services, training in areas such as change management, management of local consultation, dissemination of the review's findings and an assessment of lessons learned.


Bank Holidays

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he plans to bring forward proposals to allow agency workers to have paid bank holidays without having to take them as part of their annual leave allowance. [65715]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government intend to make paid leave for bank holidays additional to the annual leave entitlement, on a pro-rata basis for those working part-time. To ensure that the impact of this change does not affect the employment security of those involved, we will consult with stakeholders before detailed proposals are made.


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many individuals have declared themselves bankrupt in each year since 1997, broken down by age. [66035]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Figures quoted in the following table relate to England and Wales. Bankruptcy figures make up only part of the headline individual insolvency series, which also includes individual voluntary arrangements (IVA's) and deeds of arrangement. These figures are not analysed by age, however, the Insolvency Service has recently published the report Characteristics of a Bankrupt", which includes information by age group for financial years 2001–02 to 2004–05 and is available here:

TotalBankruptcy ordersIVA's and deeds of arrangement

26 Apr 2006 : Column 1121W

British Energy

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what stake the Government hold in British Energy; what its value is; and what plans he has to sell off that stake. [63590]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 25 April 2006]: The Nuclear Liabilities Fund holds £265 million of British Energy bonds as well as a right to approximately 65 per cent. of British Energy's annual adjusted free cash flow (the 'cash sweep'), a right that is convertible into British Energy shares. The Department applies a proxy valuation to the cash sweep based on the prevailing British Energy share price.

Based on a market valuation, at the close of play on 24 March 2005, the British Energy bonds were valued at about £284 million and the 'cash sweep' was estimated to be around £6.6 billion based on converting the 65 per cent. stake at current share prices.

As the Chancellor stated in his Budget statement, the Government are prepared to consider selling part of the stake in British Energy but only after the Energy Review has concluded.

British Nuclear Group

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Health and Safety Executive will decide whether to prosecute British Nuclear Group over the leak at the Thorp reprocessing plant in April 2005. [64356]

Malcolm Wicks: As Minister with accountability to Parliament for matters relating to civil nuclear safety, this question has been passed to me for reply. Decisions regarding enforcement action against British Nuclear Group are quite rightly a matter for the independent safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive. I understand that HSE is still considering what, if any, action to take, but that a decision is anticipated by the end of April.


Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much coal was produced by each company licensed by the Coal Authority in each year since 1994. [65898]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department collects data from the Coal Authority on the basis that information relating to individual coal companies is not disclosed in published statistics unless they are already publicly available. The available information on coal production is contained in Table 2.1.1 of the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2005 and Table 2.1 of Energy Trends. Both are available on the DTI website at:

26 Apr 2006 : Column 1122W

An extract showing total production by licensed mines since 1994 is as follows:
Thousand tonnes


(14) Includes slurry.
(15) Provisional.

Compensation Claims

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the 20 firms of solicitors who (a) have received the most in costs, (b) have the most claims outstanding, (c) have received the highest average settlement, (d) have had most claims (i) refused and (ii) withdrawn and (e) have pursued the most claims through common law court action in relation to (A) vibration white finger, (B) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (C) noise-induced hearing loss. [64455]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 19 April 2006]: The figures requested are set out in the tables, which I have placed in the Libraries of the House.

Debt Advice Helpline

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how much was spent on advertising the Debt Advice Helpline before the launch of the helpline; and how much has been spent since the launch of the helpline; [65839]

(2) in what ways the Debt Advice Helpline has been advertised; [65840]

(3) how many people per month were expected to use the Debt Advice Helpline pilot before its launch; [65841]

(4) how many people used the Debt Advice Helpline pilot in the first month since its launch. [65842]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government welcome the establishment of the Debt Advice Helpline, which is an important initiative to look at ways of ensuring that those who need it get help with their debt problems. However, it is an initiative of the debt advice sector, and DTI has no direct involvement in it. The Helpline is operated on behalf of all the participants by the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (contact Jan Smith on 0113 2355 333) and is governed by an independent charity, The Debt Advice Gateway Trust (contact Geron Walker on 020 7653 9725).

Next Section Index Home Page