|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much funding his Department gave to the (a) Hearing Aid Council, (b) British Hallmarking Council, (c) Manufacturing Advisory Service, (d) Industrial Development Advisory Board, (e) Ethnic Minority Business Forum and (f) Equal Opportunities Commission in each of the last five years; and how much has been provided to each body in 2006-07. 
Industrial Development Advisory Board and Ethnic Minority Business Forum are advisory non-departmental public bodies which do not directly receive funding from the Department. However, they are provided with secretariat support from the Department, which also meets the costs of members' honoraria and expenses where appropriate.
|Expenditure (£ million)|
The Equal Opportunities Commission has since April this year been the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government. Funding for previous years is set out in the annual Public Bodies Directory for the respective years.
Jim Fitzpatrick: There is no definition of the term statistics relating to the work of the department and no centrally held information on either the volume or costs of statistics published each year on this basis.
Estimates for the annual costs of National Statistics are contained in the relevant National Statistics Annual Report and Accounts, which are available on the National Statistics website at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=1051. Copies are also available in the Libraries of the House for the reference of Members.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) marketing officers, (b) communications officers and (c) press officers are employed in his Department; and what the total expenditure on communications for his Department was on (i) Government Information and Communication Service staff and (ii) other (A) press officers, (B) special advisers and (C) staff in the last year for which figures are available. 
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that bilateral trade negotiations between the EU and countries in Africa prioritise the development needs of the latter. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are currently being negotiated between the European Union and African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. These agreements will replace the trading arrangements established through the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the ACP, which will lapse at the end of 2007.
The UK recognises that trade can be an important driver of development and we are acting to ensurethat EPAs promote long-term development. The Government published a position paper on EPAs in March 2005. This states that, among other things, we will push for duty-free quota-free access for all ACP countries to the EU, simple and liberal Rules of Origin and that ACP should have maximum flexibility over their own market opening.
The UK has expended considerable effort over the last year to ensure that the review of EPAs negotiations currently taking place provides a significant opportunity for the ACP to raise any concerns. Ministers take every opportunity to meet with ACP Ministers, negotiators and representatives in order to listen to any concerns they may have. We continue to work with our EU partners and other member states to ensure that the ACP should be in the driving seat of their own reform.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of the expected electricity plant margin (a) in each year between 2006 and 2009 and (b) after 2009. 
This gives projections against three generation scenarios, reflecting the extent to which proposed new transmission contracted plant does, in the event, proceed to completion, provided both by customers and national grid itself.
|Percentage plant margin (SYS( 1) update, May 2006)||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10||2010-11||2011-12||2012-13|
|(1) In addition to all existing plant: plant where an appropriate contract is in place for connection to and use of the transmission system, less notified reductions in capacity from plant closures or plant being mothballed|
(2 )In addition to all existing plant: plant that has obtained consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act and section 14 of the Energy Act 1976, less notified reductions in capacity from plant closures or plant being mothballed
(3 )In addition to all existing plant which is actually under construction, less notified reductions in capacity from plant closures or plant being mothballed.
Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employment agencies have been prosecuted in the last 12 months for breaches of the (a) Employment Agencies Act 1973 and (b) Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003, broken down by offence. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: In the last 12 months, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate has brought one successful prosecution. This case related to a person breaching Section 3 of the Employment Agencies Act 1973, operating an employment agency while prohibited. There have been no prosecutions under the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.
Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what length of cooling-off period energy suppliers are legally obliged to offer small businesses which agree to energy supply contracts. 
Malcolm Wicks: Suppliers are not required, either in general consumer law or the regulations governing the marketing of gas and electricity, to offer a cooling-off period to non-domestic customers when offering a supply contract. Non-domestic customers, who have a complaint against a supplier that they have been unable to resolve, may pursue it through the statutory gas and electricity consumer body, Energywatch, or through the courts.
Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) regulatory and (b) self-regulatory protection is afforded to small business consumers in the (i) energy and (ii) fixed-line telecommunications markets. 
Malcolm Wicks: GB energy markets are regulated by Ofgem, whose principal statutory objective is to protect the interest of consumers, including small businesses. Ofgem's main role is to issue and enforce licences by which participation in the GB energy sector is required. Attached to these licences are various industry and best practice codes to ensure all users get the best deal. Energywatch, the statutory consumer body, can investigate complaints on behalf of electricity and gas users.
The regulation of the fixed line telecommunications market is the responsibility of Ofcom. Ofcom's principal statutory duty is to further the interests of consumers, including small businesses. Ofcom imposes conditions on fixed line providers to ensure all users get the best possible deal from the market and there are also various industry codes in place to protect the interests of users. In addition Ofcom requires that all fixed line providers must be members of dispute resolution schemes, which can investigate complaints on behalf of users, including small businesses.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with
(a) Ofgem and (b) energy suppliers on the level of regulatory protection afforded to small businesses in the energy market. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department has regular meetings with Ofgem and suppliers, at which a range of issues are discussed. As both my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and Ofgem share a statutory principal objective of protecting the interests of consumers, including small businesses, consumer protection is at the heart of energy regulatory policy. Specifically, I recently met intermediaries representing suppliers to the industrial and commercial market at which a broad agenda was addressed.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the level of regulatory protection afforded to small businesses in the energy market; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: GB energy markets are regulated by Ofgem, whose main role is to issue and enforce licences by which participation in the GB energy sector is required. Attached to these licences are various industry and best practice codes to ensure all users get the best deal. Ofgems principal statutory objective is to protect the interest of consumers, including small businesses. As such, GB customers are well protected by the current regulatory regime. There is also the statutory consumer body, Energywatch, which can investigate complaints on behalf of electricity and gas users.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been collected in fees by the Farepak administrator; at what hourly rate fees are charged for a (a) partner and (b) (i) senior and (ii) junior members of staff; how much revenue has been generated through telephone charges from creditors; what estimate he has made of the final fees of the administrator; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The administrators have not yet charged their fees to this case and the legislation does not require any account to be prepared until after they have been in office for six months. However details of the administrators charge-out rates are likely to be included in the report to creditors which will be issued in January.
In most cases, the general body of creditors determine whether the remuneration should be based on a percentage of the value of assets dealt with by the administrators or their time costs. It is possible for the court to reduce the amount of remuneration where creditors claim that it is excessive.
With regard to cost of telephone inquiries, the administrators had to set up a specific call centre to deal with the large volume of inquiries about this case. I am advised that the cost of the calls is purely to cover the costs of the call centre and will not result in any profit accruing to the administrators.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|