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VAT registration and de-registration data do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if their turnover falls below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register will not necessarily have closed. Only 1.8 million out of 4.3 million businesses (42 per cent.) were registered for VAT at the start of 2004.
Barclays Bank provides estimates of the total number of business closures each quarter in England and Wales, based on closures of business bank accounts. Barclays estimate that there were 321,500 business closures in England and Wales in 2004. However, Barclays does not publish a regional breakdown of closures.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which of the competition authorities is responsible for monitoring (a) regulatory compliance of companies involved in the food supply chain and (b) fair trade between suppliers and retailers. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 22 May 2006]: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Supermarket Code of Practice which seeks to put transactions between supermarkets and their direct suppliers on a clearer and more predictable basis. The Competition Commission is responsible for the undertakings that form the basis of the code.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with (i) the Computer Sciences Corporation and (ii) trade unions on a support package for those affected by redundancies; 
(2) what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with the Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) on the implications of the announcement to cut 1,200 jobs for the agreement reached between CSC and Amicus in August 2005. 
Margaret Hodge: There have been no discussions between Ministers or officials and either Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) or the trade unions in respect of a support package for those potentially affected by the announced redundancies. There have also been no discussions on the implications of the announcement on the agreement CSC reached with Amicus in 2005.
However, we do know that CSC notified the Insolvency Service of its intention to make some of its employees redundant, as all companies planning to lay
off 20 or more people from any one site are legally required to do under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, the DTI is permitted to offer redundancy support packages for employees of companies that become insolvent. In this particular case CSC has not become insolvent and we are therefore not able to offer financial support to those affected. Support is offered to individuals through the Jobcentre Plus network to help those individuals return to work.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with the Computer Sciences Corporation on the implications of the announcement to cut 1,200 UK jobs for (i) the UK economy and (ii) trends in the outsourcing of UK jobs in the computing industry. 
Margaret Hodge: There have been no recent discussions between Ministers or officials with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). Prior to the UK announcements, officials were in touch with the company headquarters concerning the implications of their global announcement, including possible effects in the UK.
However, recent Labour Market Statistics data (May 2006) show that employment levels remain around record levels, with nearly 2.5 million more people in work then there were in 1979. The loss of jobs with the Computer Science Corporation needs to be seen in the context that every month there are approximately 200,000 people moving into, and out of, work.
The Office for National Statistics does not record the number of jobs outsourced. However in ICT-enabled jobs, which are among those more likely to be affected by outsourcing, employment has over the last four years grown by 8.8 per cent., nearly three times the national average of 3.2 per cent.
Globalisation is changing the shape of skills requirements in the UK workforce. The Department is working with e-skills UK as the lead UK body in addressing these skills challenges. Ministers and officials have supported the work to improve professionalism in IT led by the British Computer Society and other UK bodies. These and other initiatives aim to improve the competitiveness of the UK's skills as well as enhance the basis for lifelong learning and career development. The Department also continues to monitor information from the IT industry in the light of offshoring as an input to policy.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the operation of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000; and what recent
representations he has received about the operation of the Regulations. 
Mr. McCartney: The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 implement European Council Directive (97/7/EC) to increase consumer protection throughout the EU and give consumers confidence when buying at a distance. Distance selling is where there is no face-to-face contact between the supplier and consumer, such as by phone, mail order, via the internet or digital TV.
It lays down basic requirements to suppliers of goods and services on the information to be given to consumers before and after they buy, including deadlines for the delivery of goods or performance of services and protection against credit card fraud. The Regulations provide a seven day cooling off period during which the consumer can withdraw from the contract, this gives consumers an opportunity to examine the goods. Consumers who exercise their right to cancel must be refunded all money paid within 30 days.
Following representations from stakeholders, the Regulations were amended on 6 April 2005, making changes to the requirements to provide information and to cancellation periods for the supply of services.
Designated enforcers such as the Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards Services have a duty to consider complaints about possible breaches of the Regulations. To ensure compliance enforcers may apply for a court injunction or accept undertakings from a supplier that they will comply.
The European Commission has begun a review of eight consumer directives known as the Consumer Acquis, which includes the Distance Selling Directive. The review of the Acquis aims to simplify and improve these eight directives. The Commission will review each Directive looking at how successful they are at protecting consumers and enhancing the internal market across the EU. My Department has consulted and continues to consult UK business and consumer stakeholders as part of this process.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when section 107A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 will be implemented; when trading standards authorities will be provided with related funding; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Effective implementation of this provision requires agreement with local authorities on how it will be funded and implemented. The Patent Office is working together with the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Authority Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services on a number of proposals to achieve this.
Mr. Graham Stuart:
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people in (a) Beverley
and Holderness and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber have switched to digital television; what percentage of the population this represents; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: Ofcom collates and publishes information on the take-up of digital television as part of their Communications Market: Nations and the RegionsEnglish regions report. Their latest report shows that by the end of 2005, 67 per cent. of all households in the Yorkshire and Humberside region had converted at least one television set in the house to digital TV via either satellite, cable or terrestrial. This is an increase of 10 per cent. since December 2004.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many households in England spent over 10 per cent. of their disposable income purchasing fuel for their homes (a) in 2003 and (b) in the last period for which figures are available. 
Malcolm Wicks: The proportion of households in England that spent over 10 per cent. of their disposable income purchasing fuel for their homes was 5 per cent. in 2003-04 and was also 5 per cent. in 2004-05. There was no statistically significant change between 2003-04 and 2004-05.
Kitty Ussher: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library the evidence obtained from the public consultation run by his Department on energy policy from May 2002 to the publication of the Energy White Paper in March 2003, including the results of polling and focus group research. 
Malcolm Wicks: A written statement by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, West (Ms Hewitt) (the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry), and a summary of the White Paper were placed in the Libraries of the House in February 2003. Supporting analysis for the 2003 White Paper is available on the DTI website at:
Kitty Ussher: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the potential for job creation from the environmental technology industries; and if he will make a statement. 
The Governments manifesto says that we will work with the environmental goods and services sector to promote new green technologies and industries. We are working with the Environmental Innovations Advisory Group to enable greater innovation in the environmental industries sector. This includes work on procurement, technology support,
state aids, finance and regulation. We also work with the regional development agencies and the devolved Administrations to estimate the size of the sector, and we published data in 2004 showing that the sector already employed over 400,000 people.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the European Commission on which additional sectors will be covered by future EU anti-dumping legislation. 
Mr. McCartney: The European Commission website (europa.eu.int/comm/trade/issues/respectrules/anti_ dumping/stats.htm) lists the following current anti-dumping investigations. EU member states were consulted when each of these investigations was initiated. In cases marked with an asterisk (*) provisional anti-dumping measures have, after consultation with member states, been imposed by means of a Commission regulation. Member states will be consulted on all cases when the Commission has completed its investigation on a proposal either to terminate the investigation or to impose definitive anti-dumping measures by means of a Council regulation.
|Current European Commission anti-dumping investigations|
|Product name||Exporting country(ies)|
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the percentage of EU exports to Vietnam coming from (a) the UK, (b) Germany, (c) France and (d) Italy in 2005. 
|Shares of EU25 exports of goods to Vietnam2005|
| Source: Eurostat Intra and Extra EU Trade (Comext).|
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the percentage of EU exports to China which came from (a) the UK, (b) Germany, (c) France and (d) Italy in 2005. 
|Shares of EU25 exports of goods to China2005|
| Source: Eurostat Intra and Extra EU Trade (Comext)|
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