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11 Dec 2006 : Column 812W—continued

Retirement Age

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his answer of 27 November 2006, Official Report, column 386W, on retirement age, which (a) aspects, (b) sections and (c) findings of his Department's economic impact assessment he took account of when formulating the policy. [105411]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to my answer given on 27 November 2006, Official Report, column 386W. We considered all aspects of our regulatory impact assessments in formulating our policy on retirement age.

Softwood

Mr. Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will meet representatives from the wood panel industry to discuss the lower forecasts of softwood availability. [107519]

Malcolm Wicks: Officials are meeting with the wood panel industry to discuss the Renewables Obligation (RO). A consultation on changes to the RO began on9 October 2006 and will close on 5 January 2007. The Government will consider the Forestry Commission’s report “United Kingdom: New Forecast of Softwood Availability” as part of the consultation on the RO. The consultation is available through the following link:

Solar Power Plants

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of using overseas-based concentrated solar power plants to help the UK to meet its long-term energy requirements. [105124]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government have not made any assessment into using overseas-based concentrated solar power plants to help the UK meet its long-term energy requirements. However, the economics, in particular the amounts of energy required, to justify the investment in the High Voltage Direct Current link required needs more work. There would need to be a massive source of surplus electricity to make this worthwhile and considerable investment.

Television Sets: Disposal

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact of the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive on disposal of pre-digital television sets; and if he will make a statement. [107952]


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Malcolm Wicks: The implementation of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive is not expected to have a significant impact on disposal of pre-digital television sets, as these have been subject to the requirements of the Hazardous Waste Regulations since July 2005.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the unit cost is of disposal of a current model standard television set. [107953]

Malcolm Wicks: Industry estimates are that it costs around £3 to £5 per unit to treat a standard television set.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his most recent estimate is of the number of standard television sets which will become redundant following the national changeover to digital. [107954]

Margaret Hodge: Digital switchover does not require disposal of any equipment, as an existing analogue television can normally be upgraded by adding a digital set-top box. However, as the Government's “Regulatory and Environmental Impact Assessment on the timing of digital switchover” (September 2005) acknowledges, there may be a temporary acceleration in the disposal of some secondary television sets that people choose not to adapt after switchover in each region. In light of this, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs jointly commissioned the Market Transformation Programme to establish and quantify any changes in patterns of disposal of consumer equipment, including televisions, due to digital switchover. The results from this research should be available in early 2007.

Tobacco

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions about reduced ignition propensity cigarettes officials in his Department have had with representatives of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association. [107422]

Mr. McCartney: Following the Government’s written ministerial statement on Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes on 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 67W5, the Tobacco Manufacturers Association arranged a presentation for officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health on 5 October, setting out their concerns regarding the introduction of reduced ignition propensity of cigarettes and a possible European technical standard.

UK Trade and Investment

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many commercial officers were allocated to UK Trade and Investment in (a) China, (b) Vietnam, (c) India, (d) Saudi Arabia, (e) Malaysia, (f) Russia, (g) Brazil and (h) the Gulf States in each of the last three years; and how many will be allocated to each office in each of the next three years. [106970]


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Mr. McCartney: Under current plans, the allocation of UKTI staff across these markets for the last three years and next three years is as set out in the following table. UKTI will continue to review how it can best deliver against its objectives across the network, including in the markets listed in the following table:

2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

China

87.74

94.63

98.75

106.05

113

113

Vietnam

11.71

11.43

11.45

10.70

12.75

12.75

India

81.26

76.12

76.34

80.34

91.34

91.34

Saudi Arabia

21.08

20.86

13.9

15.9

15.9

15.9

Malaysia

20.8

20.71

18.18

18.18

18.18

18.18

Russia

17.19

17.92

16

20

26.5

26.5

Brazil

51.11

39.13

39

42

45

45

Gulf States

46.94

46.36

41.32

45.49

43.29

43.29


Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many commercial officers serve in each branch of UK Trade and Investment in (a) the European Union and (b) the United States of America; and what percentage change is expected in these offices in the next (i) 18 months and (ii) 36 months. [106971]

Mr. McCartney: Expressed as Full-Time Equivalents (FTE), there are current 342.7 staff engaged in trade and investment work in the European Union (288.35 on trade development and 54.35 on inward investment work). In the USA, where UKTI has a fully integrated trade and inward investment network, there are129 staff engaged on UKTI work.

In order to deploy increased UKTI resources in the emerging markets as required in UKTI’s strategy “prosperity in a Changing World”, published in July 2006, UKTI’s resources in the EU and USA in the period through to 2008 will reduce by 9.5 per cent. and 13 per cent. respectively. It is not possible to predict how resources will change over 36 months.

The UK’s traditional markets are changing and UKTI’s strategy, based on extensive consultation, is adopting a new approach in such countries. For example, a “hub and spoke” arrangement is being introduced in some parts of the overseas network, to provide a more cost-effective and integrated service to British business. In the USA, resources will be better focused on the US states which offer real export or inward investment opportunities for the UK. Although there have been reductions in some parts of the US network, we are strengthening UKTI’s teams in California and Florida, to reflect their importance for British business.

Unions 21

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether public money has been given to Unions 21 since 1999. [105570]

Jim Fitzpatrick: A total of £19,995 has been paid to Unions 21 since 1999.


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Culture, Media and Sport

Buxton Memorial Fountain

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to renovate the Buxton Memorial Fountain in Victoria Tower Gardens. [108369]

Mr. Lammy: Work to renovate the Buxton Memorial Fountain in Victoria Tower Gardens began in September this year and is expected to be completed in March 2007.

Departmental Energy Policy

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to make her Department carbon neutral. [105743]

Mr. Lammy: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2012. To fulfil this commitment we have developed an energy strategy supported by a detailed action plan. We are making full use of the refurbishment of our headquarters at Cockspur Street to reduce our carbon emissions. For example we are using light fittings that are 30-60 per cent. more efficient than the current fittings. The Department is supplied by 100 per cent. renewable energy supplied under the OGC Buying Solutions Energy Contract.

DCMS is working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Office for Climate Change to ensure that we offset any carbon emissions which we cannot reduce. We have devised a scheme to assist and advise our sponsored bodies to offset their emissions which we hope to launch early next year.

Departmental Staff

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many value for money exercises on the use of (a) management consultants and (b) professional advisers were conducted by her Department in each of the last five years for which information is available; and if she will make a statement. [103017]

Mr. Lammy: Whilst value for money underpinsthe Department's project methodology, it has not conducted any specific value for money exercises on the use and employment of consultants and advisers in the last five years.

Departmental Studies

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which studies have been commissioned by her Department from (a) external agencies, (b) companies, (c) academics and (d) individuals in 2006. [107154]

Mr. Lammy: Studies commissioned by DCMS in 2006 are as follows:


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Academics

Companies


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