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John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims have been made for (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (b) vibration white finger in the name of John Mann of Nottinghamshire; by which solicitor the claims were made; and in which parliamentary constituency Mr. Mann resides or resided. 
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which solicitors submitted more than 100 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims on 31 March 2004; how many claims were submitted on this date by each solicitor; how many of these solicitors are based in Bassetlaw; and how many of these claims (a) in total and (b) from solicitors in Bassetlaw related to deceased miners. 
|Practice name||Number of claims submitted||Number of deceased claims|
Malcolm Wicks: The Department is working with the independent nuclear regulators to develop a system for the pre-licensing of generic nuclear power plant designs, in line with the commitments given in the 2006 Energy Review report. Details of these arrangements will be included in the guidance for applicants to be issued in early 2007.
Malcolm Wicks: The UK has a robust licensing regime enforced by HSE's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) which places a clear legal duty on the nuclear power plant licensees to ensure that safety is maintained at all times throughout a nuclear plant's operational life and its decommissioning. This requires regular assessments by the licensees which are submitted for regulatory scrutiny by the NII. The NII will not allow the continued operation or restart of a nuclear reactor unless it is satisfied that it is safe to do so.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures his Department is taking to ensure that sufficient radio spectrum will be available to the programme making and special events sector to ensure the smooth running of the 2012 Olympics; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 19 October 2006]. The Government were required to provide guarantees to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
regarding the availability of spectrum as part of the London bid to stage the games. DTI officials are therefore working with the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the independent regulator of communications, responsible for managing civil radio spectrum in the UK including the allocation and licensing of frequency bands used by programme making and special events, to ensure that sufficient and suitable spectrum is available to meet the essential requirements of users at the 2012 Olympics.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what applications to his Department for new power stations are outstanding; what the size of each proposed station is; when each application was submitted; and what the (a) status and (b) anticipated date for commissioning is of each application. 
Malcolm Wicks: The DTI website details current applications at: www.dti.gov.uk/energy/markets/electricity-developments_-_consents/applications/page23224.html. Decisions on these applications will be made when they have completed scrutiny in the process, which may or may not include consideration at a public inquiry. Should approval be given, actual commissioning is a commercial matter for the developer.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from (a) the Countryside Council for Wales and (b) other organisations on the proposed RWE power station in Pembroke. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Countryside Council for Wales and the Environment Agency Wales have both lodged holding objections to the application subject to further work being undertaken to show that the cooling water discharge will not have a detrimental impact on the Haven.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 12 October 2006, Official Report, column 867W, on retirement age, what the evidential basis was for the decision to impose a national default retirement age of 65 years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Our decision to provide for a default retirement age of 65 took into account evidence from a number of sources including responses to extensive consultationsTowards Equality and Diversity in 2002 and Age Matters in 2003and research conducted on behalf of the Department.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his Department's review of the default retirement age, (1) on what basis decisions were made to allow working beyond 65; 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 introduce a default retirement age of 65 together with procedures whereby the employee has a right to request that he or she be allowed to continue in work beyond the employer's normal retirement age. The employer has a duty to consider this request, and if both employer and employee agree the employee can continue in work. This will move towards a culture where a retirement decision is influenced by the individual circumstances and preferences of employers and employees, rather than an assumption about the norm. These arrangements were introduced in order to deliver the Government's labour market objectives recognising the need for workforce planning and avoiding adverse impact on the provision of occupational pensions and other work-related benefits.
In March this year we published the Survey of Employers' Policies, Practices, and Preferences Relating to Age that will provide the baseline for assessing the impact of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. Once the legislation has bedded in, we intend to carry out a follow-up survey, to inform the review of the default retirement age in 2011. We will also explore, with the Office for National Statistics and the Department for Work and Pensions, the process for collating better statistical data on employee retirement intentions and behaviour.
The default retirement age has been developed as a result of extensive consultation. We have been interested in how other countries have approached age discrimination and seeing what lessons we could draw on. However, we have developed legislation that is right for Britain and which takes into account our own particular domestic and economic circumstances.
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 26 October 2006]: The Department is working closely with the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to drive up skills by implementing the Government's Skills Strategy. The Learning and Skills Council (a DfES non-departmental public body) is responsible for planning and funding initiatives to retrain low skilled workers.
As part of its Skills Strategy, the Government are providing funding for basic skills provision and first full Level 2 qualifications (equivalent to 5 GCSEs A-C). Employers can access this support for their low skilled workers via Train to Gain, a new service run by the Learning and Skills Council, designed to help businesses get the training they need to succeed and delivered at a time and place that suits their business.
Furthermore, in the North West and West Midlands, subsidised level 3 qualifications (equivalent to two A levels) are also being offered in this flexible way through Train to Gain and in London a third trial offering subsidised training to achieve a Level 3 qualification to women at a disadvantage is in place in response to the Women and Work Commission's recommendations of earlier this year.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Government's policy is on the imposition by the EU of duties on shoes from China and Vietnam; and how the policy was formulated. 
Malcolm Wicks: The UK opposed the imposition of anti-dumping duties on imports of footwear with uppers of leather originating in China and Vietnam. We did so after examining the economic case for imposing duties and carefully considering the representations made to us by UK retailers and importers.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the competitiveness of (a) South Korea and (b) the United Kingdom in terms of (i) educational attainment, (ii) levels of profit reinvested in research and development and (iii) improvement of skills levels through further and higher education. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: For international comparisons of educational attainment and skill levels, the main source of comparable international data is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's annual publication, Education at a Glance. The most recent statistics available are for 2004 and the relevant figures for the United Kingdom and Korea are presented in the following table.
|Educational attainment of the adult (aged 25-64) population, 2004|
|Percentage of the adult population with their highest qualification classified as:|
| Source: OECD Education at a Glance 2006. Low, intermediate and high are derived from the International Standard Classification of Education. Low relates to the successful completion of compulsory schooling with the skills required for further study; intermediate skills prepare an individual for higher education; high skills are degree or equivalent qualifications.|
For R and D, data collected by the Office for National Statistics from the UK Business Enterprise R and D Survey shows that in 2004, £13.5 billion was spent on R and D performed within UK businesses. This represents 1.15 per cent. of gross domestic product. The OECD reports the equivalent business enterprise R and D statistics for Korea.
|Business Enterprise R and D as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)|
| Source: ONS (UK) and OECD (Korea)|
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