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Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations the Government have made to the European Court of Justice in the Azores state aid case brought by the Commission against Portugal. 
Mr. McCartney: The United Kingdom has made written and oral representations in support of Portugal who instigated this case. We intervened in order to protect the constitutional arrangements for tax varying powers in the Devolved Administrations. We await the Court's judgment in this matter.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Twickenham of 26 April 2006, Official Report, column 1120W, on bank holidays, when the planned consultation will begin. 
Malcolm Wicks: The British Gas Corporation (BGC) existed from 1973 to 1986. During this period BGC had various gas production interests, as an operator or through an interest in production licences in the Rough, Morecambe South and Indefatigable fields; the extent of the interests varied between the different fields and through time. Full details are not readily available from the Department of Energy Brown Books but the total production from these fields was:
|Production (million cubic metres|
Margaret Hodge: The stimulation of business start-up activity involves complex and long-term issues, which need to be tackled through the coordinated efforts of a range of public, private and community sector organisations.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) supports, both centrally and through agencies such as the Small Business Service and Regional Development Agency ONE NorthEast, a range of initiatives which are achieving increases in the numbers of entrepreneurs across all sectors of the community in the north east of England.
ONE NorthEast has produced the North East of England Enterprise Strategy in association with regional public and private sector partners. The strategy draws together the priorities for encouraging and developing existing and potential entrepreneurial talent across all sectors of the community, and outlines the actions, timescales and responsibilities for their delivery.
Recognising the importance of high-quality business support in enabling entrepreneurship, the DTI is leading on the restructuring and simplification of business support across Government, with the aim of reducing the number of schemes from some 3,000 to around 100. Regionally, ONE NorthEast is working with regional partners to create a single regional business support network that is easy to access and easy to use.
A number of specific initiatives in the region are also contributing to the encouragement of increased business start-up activity and promotion of opportunities within under-represented groups, including:
£26.4 million to be shared by Easington, Derwentside, Wear Valley, Sedgefield and South Tyneside under the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI);
Some £2 million Phoenix Fund support for four Community Development Finance Institutions in the region to provide finance and support to enterprises and entrepreneurs in under-represented and disadvantaged groups;
Development of a North East Women's Enterprise Action Plan by ONE NorthEast;
Women into the Network, backed by ONE NorthEast, has already achieved success in encouraging an enhanced culture of entrepreneurship in the region by assisting the integration of aspiring women entrepreneurs into existing business networks;
The establishment of a pilot Women's Enterprise Unit to assess measures needed to accelerate rates of women's entrepreneurship in the north east of England;
The ASPIRE initiative, backed by the public and private sectors, is working to raise aspirations among young people, including the encouragement of self-employment.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will ask the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the car insurance market, with particular reference to personal injury cover; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: It is for the Office of Fair Trading, as the UK's independent competition authority, to decide whether to investigate competition in particular markets. If anyone has any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour or market failure in the provision of car insurance they should inform the OFT directly.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the European Union on the granting of Market Economy Status to China; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 17 May 2006]: The Government believes that China should be granted Market Economy Status (MES) as soon as possible and made this point to the European Commission and the member states in the run-up to the EU/China summit on 5 September 2005.
There was no consensus within the EU in favour of granting MES to China. The summit concluded with an agreement between the EU and China to launch a high-level political dialogue on MES, among other issues, with a view to achieving positive progress.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what schemes his Department is promoting to encourage crematoriums to increase their energy efficiency by recycling energy and heat generated. 
There is no scheme specific to crematoriums, however Government provide funding to the Carbon Trust, a private company that takes the lead on business and public sector energy efficiency and encourages the development of a low carbon sector in the UK. It also provides advice to businesses on how to become more energy efficient.
|(1 )Accounts not yet published; subject to audit|
Export Credits Guarantee Departments Annual Review and Resource Accounts
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for how many companies the Export Credits Guarantee Department has provided guarantees in the last eight years; and what the total value was of those guarantees. 
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects the tripartite discussions on energy consents between the Wales Office, the National Assembly for Wales and his Department to be concluded. 
Malcolm Wicks: The issues that the tripartite working group have been exploring are very complex and their discussions will need to be informed by the outcome of the Energy Review, which is due to report
in the summer. I am therefore not in a position to give a precise date at this time, but I would expect the discussions to be concluded as soon as possible following completion of the Energy Review.
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