Previous Section Index Home Page

10 July 2006 : Column 1478W—continued

There are presently no grants specifically for on-farm biomass power generation—however on-farm power generation may be an eligible renewable source under the Renewables Obligation.

There is currently no capital funding available for town-size power plants. Funding for such projects had been available under the Bioenergy Capital Grants Scheme, which is supporting the construction of projects with an installed capacity of at least 30 MW in Lockerbie and in Teesside. Town-scale biomass projects may also be eligible for the Renewables Obligation and grants under DEFRA’s Energy Crop Scheme.

Business

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department has taken to increase enterprise in Hartlepool constituency since 1997. [80548]

Margaret Hodge: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has, over the last nine years, initiated and been closely involved with a wide range of measures aimed at creating the best possible environment for business success in the UK. Each year the Department directly invests over £400 million nationally in grants, loans and subsidised consultancy to stimulate enterprise and assist business growth. The Department—directly, through public sector agencies and in association with the business community—delivers a comprehensive suite of business support measures including direct grants for investment and R and D, subsidised loans and encouragement of collaboration, knowledge transfer and the adoption of best practice.

The Enterprise Act, which received Royal Assent in 2002, covers a range of measures designed to enhance enterprise. It strengthens the UK’s competition framework, transforms our approach to bankruptcy and corporate rescue, and empowers consumers. The Act builds on the progress made by the Competition Act 1998, recent insolvency reforms and measures already implemented in the 1999 White Paper “Modern Markets: Confident Consumers”.

As well as actively promoting measures to address competition, the burden of regulation and company law, the Department has been closely involved with a significant number of initiatives to promote an enterprise culture and to help with business funding. These include the establishment of the Task Force on Women’s Enterprise, the commitment of over £100 million for Enterprise Capital Funds, the Schools Enterprise Education Network and the Enterprise Promotion Fund.


10 July 2006 : Column 1479W

Specific responsibility for economic development and increasing enterprise in the North East of England falls to regional development agency One NorthEast. The agency administers a number of business support schemes on behalf of the DTI, and has worked with regional partners to create a single regional Business Link network that will deliver top quality business support services and will be easy to access and easy to use. The agency is also developing and delivering a significant programme aimed at bringing about a lasting cultural change in attitudes towards entrepreneurial activity across the North East of England, including raising aspirations of the region’s young people, and under-represented groups. One NorthEast is also a key supporter of the Launch Pad initiative being developed through the North East Enterprise Bond. The Bond is an innovative, private sector led, initiative which will provide proactive support towards stimulating a greater enterprise culture in communities across the North East of England.

Although there are no specific DTI initiatives aimed at promoting enterprise in Hartlepool, the national and regional initiatives mentioned—along with other public funding being used to establish of business incubator units and provide business start-up advice and tailored local business support measures—will contribute to stimulate enterprise within the town.

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what effect he expects the provisions of the Company Law Reform Bill to have on directors’ duties in respect of the human rights of employees and the local community in relation to their operations in Zimbabwe. [77690]


10 July 2006 : Column 1480W

Margaret Hodge: Clause 158 of the Company Law Reform Bill requires directors to have regard to the interests of the company’s employees and the impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment in promoting the success of the company for the benefit of its members collectively. The duty applies regardless of where the directors are and regardless of the location of the employees or the location of the local community affected by their decisions.

Clause 399 requires all companies, other than those subject to the small companies regime, to produce a business review as part of the directors’ report. Information on the company’s employees and the local community in which the company operates must be included in the review where relevant to provide a balanced and comprehensive analysis of the company’s business consistent with the size and complexity of the business.

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses in Bexley borough (a) started up and (b) ceased trading in each of the last nine years; and if he will make a statement. [81946]

Margaret Hodge: Value added tax (VAT) registrations and de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business start-ups and closures. DTI data on the number of VAT registrations and de-registrations in Bexley borough in each year from 1997 to 2004 are shown in the following table. Data for 2005 will be available in autumn 2006. For comparison, the start of year stock of VAT-registered businesses is also given.

VAT de-registrations and registrations 1997 to 2004
Bexley borough 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Registrations

650

580

560

590

620

540

570

535

De-registrations

490

490

435

505

505

475

535

560

Start of year stock

4,415

4,575

4,665

4,795

4,875

4,995

5,060

5,100

Note:
Due to rounding, the stock at the beginning of the year, plus registrations during the year, minus de-registrations during the year, may not exactly match the stock at the start of the next year.
Source:
Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994 to 2004, Small Business Service, available from the Library of the House and also at http://www.sbs.gov.uk/vats.

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.

In Bexley borough VAT registrations exceeded de-registrations every year except 2004. The proportional increase in the stock of VAT registered businesses from 1997 to 2004 was bigger for Bexley (16 per cent.) than for England as a whole (13 per cent.).

Regional disparities in start-up and closure rates can have their root in the different economic history and different opportunities available in each region. The Government's aim is for every region to achieve success and good economic growth, which is why increasing resources have been put at the disposal of each Regional Development Agency.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many firms have ceased trading in (a) Yeovil constituency, (b) Somerset and (c) the South West in each year since 1997. [82139]

Margaret Hodge: Value added tax (VAT) registrations and de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business start-ups and closures. DTI data on the number of VAT registrations and de-registrations in (a) Yeovil constituency, (b) Somerset county and (c) the South West in each year since 1997 are shown in the following table. For comparison, the start of year stock of VAT-registered businesses is also given.


10 July 2006 : Column 1481W

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
10 July 2006 : Column 1482W
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.

VAT registrations, de-registrations and start of year stock, 1997 to 2004
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Yeovil constituency

Registrations

250

250

210

220

245

240

240

270

De-registrations

205

185

215

225

215

205

245

230

Start of year stock

2,840

2,885

2,950

2,950

2,945

2,975

3,015

3,005

Somerset county

Registrations

1,505

1,540

1,505

1,555

1,425

1,555

1,610

1,605

De-registrations

1,275

1,255

1,305

1,325

1,320

1,300

1,545

1,575

Start of year stock

17,595

17,830

18,110

18,310

18,540

18,645

18,900

18,965

South West GOR

Registrations

15,840

15,600

15,285

15,340

14,350

15,445

16,380

15,310

De-registrations

12,660

12,545

12,960

13,535

12,745

13,205

14,455

14,970

Start of year stock

154,285

157,465

160,520

162,845

164,650

166,255

168,500

170,430

Note:
Due to rounding, the stock at the beginning of the year, plus registrations during the year, minus de-registrations during the year, may not exactly match the stock at the start of the next year.
Source:
Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994-2004, Small Business Service, available from the Library of the House and also at http://www.sbs.gov.uk/vats.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of independent retail shops which (a) opened and (b) closed in Yeovil constituency in each year since 1997. [82140]

Margaret Hodge: Value added tax (VAT) registrations and de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business start-ups and closures. DTI data on the number of VAT retail business registrations and de-registrations in Yeovil from 1997 to 2004 are shown in the following table. For comparison, data on the stock has been provided.

VAT registrations, de-registrations and stock in retail( 1) in Yeovil, 1997 to 2004
Registrations De-registration Stock at end-year

1997

30

40

340

1998

30

20

345

1999

15

35

325

2000

25

30

320

2001

35

25

335

2002

30

30

335

2003

35

30

340

2004

25

30

335

(1 )Standard Industrial Classification 52, retail trade (except of motor vehicles), repair of personal and household goods.
Note:
Figures are rounded to the nearest 5 for data protection reasons.
Source:
Small Business Service figures based on data from the ONS Inter Departmental Business Register.

Next Section Index Home Page