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2 Nov 2006 : Column 553Wcontinued
John Mann: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will amend the draft Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill so as to regulate bailiffs to protect the interests of vulnerable debtors. 
Bridget Prentice: The draft Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill already contains measures that will protect the interests of vulnerable debtors by requiring all private bailiffs to hold a certificate issued by a county court judge. Certificates will only be issued subject to certain strict conditions, including proof of the applicants ability to deal with vulnerable or potentially vulnerable client groups and subject to the outcome of a criminal record check.
Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with appropriate bodies in Wales on the commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hain: In 2007 we will commemorate the 200(th) anniversary of the passage of the 1807 Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. This Act outlawed the slave trade throughout the British empire and made it illegal for British ships to be involved in the trade. The bicentenary will be marked with a series of events throughout the United Kingdom. It is important that the people of Wales are aware of its role in the slave trade, so the Wales Office is seeking to play an active role in the commemorations in Wales.
I have already had discussions with the First Minister on how best Wales can mark this anniversary. My officials at the Wales Office will also be liaising with relevant organisations and I intend to host a Wales Office event next year to mark the bicentenary.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who is responsible for remaining contingent liabilities arising from the shipbuilding activities of Brooke Marine Ltd. 
Malcolm Wicks: British Shipbuilders is not responsible for Brooke Marine Ltd.s remaining contingent liabilities. As part of the privatisation process, records show that British Shipbuilders sold Brooke Marine Ltd., with liabilities, to Brooke Marine Holdings Ltd., on 9 May 1985.
Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what volume of chlorofluorocarbon gas was imported into the UK in 2005. 
Malcolm Wicks: Overseas Trade Statistics suggest that about 1,377 tonnes of chlorofluorocarbons were imported into the UK in 2005.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his Departments policy is on the display of religious (a) artefacts, (b) symbols and (c) dress by its staff; how many staff have been subject to disciplinary proceedings regarding this policy in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
There is no specific policy within the Department governing the display of religious artefacts, symbols or dress. The Departments equal
opportunities and diversity policies set out the requirement for all staff to respect the dignity of others and to ensure that their behaviour does not cause offence. It is contrary to the policy of the Department to discriminate on grounds such as age, gender, gender reassignment, marital status, race, colour, ethnic origin or nationality, sexual orientation, disability, religion/belief or hours of work.
The Department has recently established a Multi-Faith Advisory Group, which aim to:
Help DTI treat fairly people of all faiths and none;
Promote understanding of religious beliefs and practices and how these may affect the ways that some staff may want to work flexibly in DTI; and
Be a forum for DTI staff to bring issues and concerns related to their religious beliefs at work, and a respected channel of those views to DTI as a whole.
No staff have been subject to disciplinary proceedings regarding the display of religious artefacts, symbols or dress within the past five years.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what options for the future of his Department are being explored by (a) officials and (b) Ministers within his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Neither officials nor Ministers are exploring options for the Departments future. We are concentrating on delivering a set of objectives of great importance to the UKs prosperity, and on helping to shape our objectives for the next Spending Review period.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will prioritise assistance for those who wish to introduce renewable energy to their property who do not have access to mains gas. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Government wish to encourage all householders to install microgeneration technologies. We recently re-allocated £6.2 million from within our Low Carbon Buildings capital grant programmes to allow more householders to obtain grants for microgeneration technologies.
DTIs Design and Demonstration Unit is working on partnership programmes with the regional development agencies in the north-east and Yorkshire and Humberside to assist 4,000 low-income households in 40 communities. Among other measures, these programmes are examining the provision of cost-effective renewables technologies where connection to the gas network is not economically viable.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he plans to publish the terms of reference of the review of the Export Control Act 2002 due to take place in May 2007. 
Malcolm Wicks: As indicated in my response to the hon. Members question of 4 May 2006, Official Report, column 1751W, and by my colleague, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Industry and the Regions, in her response to the hon. Gentlemans question of 13 September 2006, Official Report, column 2326W, it is my intention to start the review of the regulations introduced under the Export Control Act after they have been in force for three years i.e. from May 2007. The details of the review are being actively considered but have yet to be finalised.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to stimulate innovation in British industry. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 26 October 2006]: The 10 year science and innovation investment framework 2004-14 published in 2004 lays out our policies on science and innovation. We are pursuing a wide range of policies to encourage innovation:
The technology programme supports collaboration, knowledge transfer and research and development in promising new technologies. The business-led technology strategy board (TSB) ensures that the programme is focused where it can add most value. Since the TSB was established in October 2004:
Over £750 million of R and D activity has been leveraged from £365 million of Government support;
Over 40 specific technology areas have been supported;
Over 500 projects have been approved for funding; and
20 Knowledge transfer networks have been established.
The higher education innovation fund (HEIF) encourages knowledge transfer from universities to business. This takes advantage of the UKs strengths in basic research to stimulate business innovation. It also helps those in academia to better understand, and benefit from, the commercial opportunities of their work.
The patent office is building on its role as protector of intellectual property rights (IPR) by running a successful programme of activities educating people about innovation and the role IPR plays.
Public procurement spend is worth around £150 billion a year. Initiatives such as the small business research initiative (SBRI) and work by the Office for Government Commerce are helping to make government a more intelligent customer. This stimulates business innovation and increases value for money.
Research and Development tax credits encourage businesses to invest in R and D by providing tax relief on R and D expenditure.
Skills are a major contributor to improving levels of innovation and productivity. We are therefore investing to raise skills in science, engineering, technology and mathematics, and emphasise the importance of management and leadership skills.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking to increase the Low Carbon Buildings Programme budget for household renewable energy systems. 
Malcolm Wicks: When the Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 1 was launched in April 2006, £6.5 million from the £28.5 million budget was set aside to fund the household stream over three years. To date, over £4 million has been committed to successful projects.
Taking into account the higher than anticipated demand, we announced on 25 October 2006 that we would be re-allocating a further £6.2 million from the phase 1 budget to the household stream.
Based on current projected demand levels, this additional amount should allow householder funding to continue until mid-2008.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many households have been allocated grants under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. 
Malcolm Wicks: Under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 1, we have currently committed £4.1 million to 2,701 successful household applicants. Of this amount, £0.4 million has bee paid to 404 grant claimants. Further information can be found in the Low Carbon Buildings Programme website, at the following link: http://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk/lcpb/statistics/statisticsView.action.
Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of his Departments Low Carbon Buildings Programme budget was allocated to individual household installations in each year of the programme. 
Malcolm Wicks: The original budget for Low Carbon Buildings Programme phase 1 was £30 million. £1.5 million was brought forward for use on the Clear Skies and Solar PV Major Demonstration Programmes to smooth the transition between the legacy schemes, and the new scheme.
From the remaining £28.5 million, £6.5 million had been set aside at scheme launch to fund the household stream over the next three years. The percentage breakdown by year was as follows:
Taking into account higher than anticipated demand in year one, we announced on 25 October 2006 that we would be re-allocating a further £6.2 million from the phase 1 budget to the household stream. No details on how this figure will be distributed by year are available
as yet. However, my officials will be meeting with industry representatives on 31 October to discuss in more detail how the programme will operate going forward.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims had been made by residents of Bassetlaw constituency on 31 March 2004, broken down by solicitor. 
Malcolm Wicks: The number of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) claims made by the residents of Bassetlaw on 31 March 2004, broken down by claimants representatives is shown in the following table:
|Practice name||Number of claims submitted|
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many estates of deceased miners are still awaiting adjustments to their final settlement due to the ongoing discussions relating to the loss of pension entitlement. 
Malcolm Wicks: There are 274 outstanding chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from estates of deceased miners which remain outstanding due to ongoing discussions about loss of pension entitlement. 126 of these claims are from widows.
The issues to be resolved are primarily between claimants solicitors and co-defendants representatives and thus to some extent out of the Departments control. However, we continue to use whatever influence we can to achieve resolution.
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