Previous Section Index Home Page

9 Oct 2006 : Column 546W—continued

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many businesses in rural areas filed for bankruptcy in each year since 1997. [92341]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Official bankruptcy statistics are not currently available classified by rural/urban areas.

The latest available published bankruptcy figures, including a breakdown by business sector, are available on the Insolvency Service website. The only geographic information currently collated (and available on request) is based around the locations of official receivers offices and of courts having insolvency jurisdiction.

Berkeley Magnox Power Station

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the storage implications of continuing the decommissioning of Berkeley Magnox power station and the nuclear laboratories; and if he will make a statement. [89503]

Malcolm Wicks: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) assumed responsibility for the decommissioning and clean up of the UK’s civil nuclear legacy—which includes the Berkeley nuclear site—on 1 April 2005.

The NDA requires each of its sites to produce Life Time Plans which set out the total scope of activities which need to be undertaken over the sites’ planned lifetime to bring it to its proposed end state. As part of the Life Time Plan process, Berkeley produces an integrated waste plan which details—in respect of both the Magnox power station and the nuclear laboratories—the categories of waste which will be generated and how such waste will be processed. Intermediate Level Radioactive Waste (ILW) arising from the site’s operations, the decommissioning of the laboratories and remaining power station facilities will be stored on site in a purpose-built facility throughout the site’s ‘care and maintenance’ phase—pending an agreed national long-term ILW management solution. There are no plans to store Low Level Waste (LLW) or High Level Waste (HLW) on site. The LLW will be dispatched to an authorised low-level waste repository, currently the national facility near Drigg. HLW is not generated on site.

In addition, the NDA is in the process of preparing a business case for accelerating the decommissioning of its Magnox reactor sites with a view to achieving site clearance in about 25 years—implications for the storage of waste are being investigated as part of that case. Details of the NDA’s proposals for the decommissioning of Berkeley and all the NDA’s activities can be found on its website at


Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which Minister in his Department is responsible for monitoring his Department’s compliance with its duty under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity in carrying out its functions; and if he will make a statement. [73938]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department has only a small, inter-city estate, and so section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act has little direct relevance to the Department.

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the extent to which public bodies which report to him comply, from October, with their duty to conserve biodiversity in exercising their functions, under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. [74396]

Malcolm Wicks: Compliance with statutory obligations is an operational matter for which each
9 Oct 2006 : Column 547W
public body is directly responsible. I will ensure that the bodies for which the Department is responsible are aware of their obligations under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.

British Shipbuilders

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much money in legal costs was spent by British Shipbuilders to pursue the case of Murray v. British Shipbuilders Hydrodynamics Ltd. and Patterson v. Smiths Dock to the House of Lords. [87727]

Malcolm Wicks: British Shipbuilders spent £175,000 in pursuing the cases of Murray v. British Shipbuilders Hydrodynamics Limited and Patterson v. Smiths Dock on appeal to the House of Lords.

As British Shipbuilders were successful in the House of Lords British Shipbuilders anticipate that the House of Lords will order that these costs be met by the after the event insurers that issued policies of insurance to the claimants’ solicitors in exchange for a commercial premium. The costs will not therefore be paid out of the public purse or by the claimants themselves.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether Ministers took advice from the Attorney-General about British Shipbuilders pursuing the cases of Murray v. British Shipbuilders Hydrodynamics Ltd. and Patterson v. Smiths Dock to the House of Lords. [87750]

Malcolm Wicks: No.

British Summer Time

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment he has made of the effect on energy costs of the switch from British summer time to Greenwich mean time, with particular reference to the late afternoon; and if he will make a statement; [91785]

(2) if he will assess the merits of retaining British summer time throughout the year as an energy saving measure. [91784]

Jim Fitzpatrick: We consider that the present situation is a satisfactory compromise between those who prefer lighter mornings and those who prefer lighter evenings and we are not convinced that a change to our wintertime and summertime arrangements would be in the best interests of the UK.

Portugal experimented with a move to central European time (1992-96) and we understand their Government concluded that there was insignificant energy saving to offset the negative impact of the change and reverted to Greenwich mean time.

Therefore there are no plans to change the summer time arrangements at this time or to conduct any further research into the matter.

9 Oct 2006 : Column 548W


Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to ensure effective competition in the wholesale broadband market; what plans he has to encourage investment in local loop unbundling; and if he will make a statement. [92444]

Margaret Hodge: The matter raised is the responsibility of the Regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) which is accountable to Parliament rather than Ministers. Accordingly, I have asked the Chief Executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the Chief Executive’s letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Business Continuity Planning

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures he is taking to promote testable business continuity planning in the small and medium-sized enterprises sector following the Buncefield disaster; and if he will make a statement. [87904]

Margaret Hodge: All employers should recognise the importance of ensuring that they have comprehensive and tested business continuity plans in place to meet the risks arising from major physical disasters such as the Buncefield explosion and other potentially disruptive incidents, such as terrorist activity, pandemic flu and industrial action. The Government are, therefore, working closely with the business community as a whole to encourage and support robust, flexible business continuity planning.

The DTI is actively engaged with companies in those parts of the critical national infrastructure for which the Department of Trade and Industry has policy responsibility, ie fuel, power, telecommunications and chemicals, to ensure that plans are fully developed and that these are regularly tested. Similar sector-specific forums are in place in other key areas such as the finance industry.

In addition, the Government have now set up a Business Advisory Group on Civil Protection with the aim of strengthening the relationship between Government and business in work to manage the risk from civil emergencies and to ensure that businesses maintain the capability to respond to and recover from such emergencies. The Government will also be seeking to use this Group as a channel to provide guidance and support to the business community to assist them in implementing their individual business continuity plans. The Group is attended by a wide range of business organisations, including representatives of the small and medium-sized sector such as the Federation of Small Businesses.

The Government have also published extensive guidance for businesses to assist them with business continuity planning. The Preparing for Emergencies website was re-launched in March, and is delivering a single portal for advice to business on emergencies and business continuity.

At the local level, civil protection practitioners in local authorities already work closely with businesses to assist in emergency preparedness and planning. The
9 Oct 2006 : Column 549W
Civil Contingencies Act (2004) has also placed a new duty on local authorities to provide advice and assistance to businesses and voluntary organisations in relation to business continuity planning. This came into force on 15 May 2006. The statutory guidance under the Act relating to this business promotion duty “Emergency Preparedness” clearly emphasises that

Business Support

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance is available to people (a) under and (b) over 30 who want to start up their own business. [89344]

Margaret Hodge: The Department for Trade and Industry and the Small Business Service schemes are available to all regardless of whether they are seeking to start or maintain a business. There are strict criteria for our business support schemes, however there are none in place with regards to age. Details of the DTI's business support schemes are in Annex A.

Responsibility for managing the delivery of business support products and services has largely been devolved to the Regional Development Agencies. The regions receive funding from six Government Departments (DfES, DWP, DTI, DCMS, DCLG, DEFRA), which forms part of their “single pot” of
9 Oct 2006 : Column 550W
money that they can draw from to deliver the help and support they feel is necessary for the region. As a result, the support available for start-up businesses does vary from region to region.

We strongly encourage people to approach Business Link to find out what support is available in their region. Business Link provides information, advice and support to all businesses seeking to start or grow their business. Advisers delivering the service will help customers to identify their needs, prioritise the areas they need to tackle and fast-track them to the support they need to make the most of their opportunities.

Business Link will be able to signpost users to other schemes that are available from other Government Departments, Regional Development Agencies and local authorities, some of whom have their own start-up programmes. There are also initiatives from charities and the private sector such at the Prince's Trust and Shell LiveWire. The devolved Administrations will also have their own initiatives for assistance, as Business Link is only available in England.

It is also worth noting the Department of Trade and Industry is leading a Government-wide initiative to simplify and streamline business support at local, regional and national level. The work is being done in partnership with the RDAs, other Government Departments and local bodies. The programme was formally announced in the Budget of March 2006.

Annex A
Succeeding through innovation
The product Who is it for? What does it provide? Notes

Knowledge Transfer Networks

All businesses wanting to grow by exploiting technology.

A grant to an intermediary to set up a network in a priority technology area, bringing together businesses, universities and others with an interest in technology applications.

1, 4

Collaborative Research and Development

All UK-based businesses wishing to exploit technology.

Funding for collaborative R&D projects between businesses, universities and other potential collaborators. Eligible projects include business to business collaborations as well as science to business collaborations.

1, 4

Grant for Research and Development

Small businesses wishing to research and develop technologically innovative products and processes.

A grant to help businesses carry out R&D that could lead to a technologically innovative product or process.

2, 4

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

All businesses needing expert help to innovate.

A grant to cover part of the cost of using a person to transfer and embed knowledge into a business from the UK knowledge base via a strategic project.


Achieving best practice in your business
The product Who is it for? What does it provide? Notes

Business Performance Diagnostic

Small businesses wanting practical help in implementing best practice.

A free diagnostic run by a Business Link adviser, with subsidised consultancy for selected projects.

3, 4

9 Oct 2006 : Column 551W

9 Oct 2006 : Column 552W

Raising finance
The product Who is it for? What does it provide? Notes

Small Firms Loan Guarantee

Small businesses with viable proposals unable to obtain conventional loans because of a lack of security.

A government guarantee covering 75 per cent. of the loan, encouraging commercial lenders to provide loans to businesses lacking security. Borrowers pay DTI a premium of 2 per cent per annum in return for the guarantee.

3, 4

Regional investment
The product Who is it for? What does it provide? Notes

Selective Finance for Investment in England

Viable businesses of any size (excluding those in certain EC restricted sectors), looking to invest in the Assisted Areas but needing financial assistance to proceed.

A grant towards a project's capital cost, subject to criteria on viability, productivity, creation / safeguarding of skilled jobs and quality, and need.

2, 4

1 The DTI is delivering the Technology Strategy and Programme through these products. Applications can only be made in the priority technology areas specified by the Strategy. More details are available at
2 Available in England only. In many cases similar schemes are offered by the appropriate organisations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All other solutions are UK-wide.
3 The DTI also funds various programmes to provide SMEs with better access to venture capital. 4 Participants may be contacted on behalf of DTI as part of the Department's routine evaluation and monitoring system.

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what total expenditure was on all regional versions of the (a) Accelerate, (b) Access to Work, (c) Arts Grants, (d) Business Advice, (e) Business Advice and Support, (f) Business Advisors, (g) Business Development, (h) Business Planning, (i) Business Start-Up, (j) Grant for Research and Development, (k) HIE Network Financial Assistance for Business, (l) Historic Building Grants, (m) Manufacturing Advisory Service, (n) New Entrepreneur Scholarship, (o) Selective Finance for Investment England, (p) Start-Up and (q) Workforce Development schemes in each of the past three financial years. [91225]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 18 September 2006]: I have listed the details requested for the programmes that are the responsibility of the Department. However, several of the programmes for which information is requested are managed and financed by other Government Departments, as shown.

2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

(a) Accelerate




(b) Access to Work

Jobcentre Plus (DWP)

(c) Arts Grants

Arts Council (DCMS)

(d) Business Advice

Business Links (see below)

(e) Business Advice and Support

Business Links (see below)

(f) Business Advisers

Business Links (see below)

(g) Business Development

Business Links (see below)

(h) Business Planning

Business Links (see below)

(i) Business Start-Up

Business Links (see below)

(j) Grant for Research and Development




(k) HIE Network Financial Assistance for Business

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (Scottish Executive)

(l) Historic Building Grants

English Heritage (DCMS)

(m) Manufacturing Advisory Service




(n) New Entrepreneur Scholarship

Learning and Skills Council (DfES)

(o) Selective Finance for Investment England




(p) Start-Up


(q) Workforce Development schemes

Learning and Skills Council (DfES)

Business Links (as per (d) to (j) above)




Next Section Index Home Page