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For emissions across the UK, the steps being taken by the DTI and the rest of Government to reduce carbon dioxide are set out in the 2006 climate change programme (http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/ukccp/index.htm), published on 28 March 2006, and in the Energy Review Report (http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/review/page31995.html), published on 11 July 2006. The third annual report on the implementation
of the Energy White Paper published on 25 July 2006 (http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/policy-strategy/energy-white-paper/third-annual-report/page32491.html) provides further information, including a specific section on Reducing carbon emissions. DTIs responsibilities within Government relate primarily to the policies and measures designed to reduce emissions from the energy supply and business sectors. This includes support for the development of renewable and low carbon energy technologies.
For the Departments own emissions, these are being reduced in accordance with the Framework for Sustainable Development in Government (http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/government/estates/index.htm). In particular, the Department has reduced the size of its main London estate by over a third in the last two years. Associated environmental impacts include reductions in energy use by more efficient use of space and the adoption of flexible working throughout the Department, on the basis of eight desks for 10 staff. The Department purchases about a third of its energy from renewable sources compared to a Government target of 10 per cent.
DTI progress in meeting the targets set out in the framework is monitored by the Sustainable Development Commission. Full details are published on their website http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog/.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from the Scottish Executive about introducing the blending of coal and biomass in the coal industry. 
Malcolm Wicks: The blending of biomass with coal (co-firing) is supported under the renewables obligation. The Government have made proposals regarding the future treatment of co-firing in the Energy Review Report, which we will be consulting on shortly. These proposals were agreed across Government, including with the Scottish Executive in the normal way.
Mr. Salmond: (1) To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from the Scottish Executive about making resources available to develop clean coal burn technology in the coal industry; 
Malcolm Wicks: The Scottish Executive's response to the Energy Review consultation included support for both clean coal and carbon capture technology. The Executive's submission can be found at http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file34195.pdf
Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has reassessed the viability of the gasification of coal as a means of production in the light of increased wholesale natural gas prices. 
Malcolm Wicks: The assessment of different means of electricity production is a matter for electricity generators, taking into account their own views of factors such as comparative fuel prices, carbon costs, future demand and supply etc.
Margaret Hodge: We have no plans to amend the Communications Act 2003 in this regard. The provisions of the Privacy of Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 will be reviewed in the context of the current review of the overarching regulatory framework for electronic communications in the European Union.
Margaret Hodge: Small shops are eligible for the same support measures as other small businesses. These include a range of grants, funds, loan guarantee schemes and advice available through Business Link. In addition, we ensure that representative bodies of smaller retailers are involved with our key retail forumsthe Retail Policy Forum (better regulation) and the Retail Innovation Group (identification and exploitation of good practice). The representative bodies have been invited to join the steering group for the regional retail strategy that is exploring good practice in working with retail at regional and sub-regional level. We also ensure that the main trade associations representing small shops are notified directly about relevant public consultations. We are also, as part of the Skills for Business agenda, supporting the Train to Gain programme which will help employers of all sizes to ensure that their staff have access to the right training and development.
As a first port of call, we strongly encourage people to approach Business Link for any assistance or advice they require concerning their businesses. Business Link provides the information, advice and support that small and medium-sized enterprises need to maintain and grow their businesses. Business Link will fast-track customers to the expert help they need to make the most of their opportunities.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effect on costs to UK businesses of the amendments in Standing Committee to the Companies Bill. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 13 September 2006]: The majority of the amendments made in Standing Committee were of a technical nature and are unlikely to give rise to major costs to UK businesses. Among the more substantive amendments that are likely to have the largest economic impact was the amendment relating to indirect investors in what is now Part 9 of the Bill. This amendment in some respects reverses the effect of an amendment originally made in the House of Lords. Following discussions with key representatives from the corporate, investor and broking communities, it was clear that the Bill as it left the Lords imposed significant costs to businesses, and the amendment brought forward in Standing Committee should reduce these considerably. Around 400 clauses restating other provisions of the Companies Act were also added. While there will be costs of familiarisation there are expected to be sizeable benefits for users of the law from having it together in one place.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what total amount of company accounts late filing penalties was (a) levied and (b) collected in 2005-06; and what the (i) length of delay and (ii) company status was in each case. 
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The total amount of late filing penalties collected and passed to the Treasury in 2005-06 was £30.3 million pounds. This revenue does not relate solely to penalties issued for the year 2005-06 as there is often a time lag between penalties being issued and collected.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) USB (i) flash drives and (ii) memory sticks, (b) compact discs, (c) DVD-ROM discs, (d) laptop computers, (e) external computer hard drives, (f) internal computer hard drives and (g) desktop computers were purchased for use in his Department in each month since March 2005. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The vast majority of the Departments IT goods and services have been provided through a PFI agreement with Fujitsu Services. This agreement covers desktops, laptops, hard drives, however they are on a lease basis only. Items such as CDs/DVDs, USB devices, memory sticks are purchased at a local level using the stationery catalogues or local suppliers. Due to this devolved nature of procuring IT consumables, consistent data of all the information requested cannot be obtained without disproportionate cost.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of reports that British companies are engaged in illegal mineral extraction in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Mr. McCartney: The Consumer Credit Act 2006, which received Royal Assent in March 2006, introduces a number of ways in which we intend to deter and, if necessary, deal with those lenders who abuse the current system through unfair and excessive interest rates. These include updates to legislation relating to the licensing of consumer credit businesses, changes to make it easier for customers to challenge extortionate or unfair credit bargains and providing the regulatory bodies with more effective powers of enforcement. We will monitor the impact of these measures and the cost of credit.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what tax efficient schemes for the purchase of bicycles his Department makes available to its employees; how many and what percentage of his Departments staff purchased bicycles through such schemes in 2005-06; whether the schemes are available through a range of suppliers; and whether arrangements are made to enable staff with disabilities to purchase adapted bicycles from a specialist supplier. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department of Trade and Industry introduced DTI Choices in March 2006, a benefit scheme enabling DTI staff to obtain tax-efficient computers, child care and bikes on a salary sacrifice basis. Safety equipment for the participant or their bike attracts the same tax savings. In accordance with Her Majestys Revenue and Customs guidelines, bikes and safety equipment are loaned to employees, not purchased by employees.
The scheme uses one bike supplier, though this supplier has a national presence and is able to provide a wide range of bicycles to order in addition to standard store stock. This includes bicycles adapted for people with disabilities.
In addition to the DTI Choices scheme, DTI continues to offer interest free loans for staff to purchase bicycles. Many DTI sites also offer facilities for bike users such as covered secure cycle parking, showers, lockers and changing facilities.
Alan Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations his Department made to the European Commission in relation to its evaluation of Directive 96/6/EC on the legal protection of databases. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: During the evaluation period, officials from the Patent Office heard many diverse views from stakeholders. Given the diversity of opinion and the absence of conclusive economic evidence for changing the directive, the UK did not make representations to the Commission. Instead, it was felt that the views of UK stakeholders would be better heard if they made representations to the Commission directly, and the Patent Office actively encouraged interested parties to do so.
Alan Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Governments policy is on the treatment of sporting fixture lists under the provisions of the 1996 EC Database Directive. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The European Court of Justice has clarified which databases are protected by the directive, and found that certain sporting fixture lists are not protected. The UK has an obligation to follow European law, and domestic law will be applied so as to be consistent with the judgment of the Court.
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