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Industrial Diseases: Compensation

Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what total amount of compensation payments to mineworkers suffering from industrial diseases has been paid directly to claimants; what deductions have been made from these payments by solicitors; and what payments have been made directly to third parties including solicitors, unions and companies administering the scheme on behalf of the Government. [118456]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department does not deal directly with individual claimants but with their representatives. All payment cheques are therefore sent to those representatives. The Department pays those representatives separately for their costs and therefore there is no need for deductions by solicitors or others to cover legal costs.

The Department has been made aware that deductions have been made from those compensation payments in a limited number of cases. The Department however has no powers in this respect though it had made it clear that no deductions should ever be made without the agreement of the claimant. The Law Society has investigated a number of such cases and has taken action where it has been established that there has been a breach of the Law Society rules.

The total amount of compensation paid to mineworkers suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Vibration White Finger (VWF), and the total amounts paid to claimants' solicitors and third parties are shown in the table:

£ million
at 28 January 2007 At 1 December 2006 At 1 October 2006



Claimants Solicitors

Third Parties





Figures for third party payments include payments made to the Compensation Recovery Unit at Department of Work and Pensions.


Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance is being given to British companies to help them to export to Kuwait. [112381]

Mr. McCartney: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) provides a broad range of support services to British companies wishing to trade with or invest in Kuwait through commercial teams based in the UK and in the British embassy in Kuwait.

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As regards exports, UKTI support in Kuwait focuses on the oil and gas, construction, education and training, financial services and security sectors and is delivered in partnership with a range of key business stakeholders. A recent visit by the Lord Mayor of the City of London provided the opportunity not only to lobby for better market access for financial services, but also to promote, by means of a seminar, education and training in the financial sector. Recent visits by HRH the Duke of York in his role as UK Special Representative for Trade and Investment have been used to provide high-level support to UK firms in bidding for major projects in the oil, financial and construction sectors. A mission and seminar by British Expertise (ex BCCB) in March this year will showcase UK capabilities in the area of intelligent and energy efficient building design. In terms of inward investment the embassy works closely with the City of London and Kuwaiti institutions to maintain the current high level of investment made in and through London.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the amount of (a) agricultural, (b) service sector and (c) military exports from the UK to Kuwait was in 2005-06. [118878]

Mr. McCartney: The information is as follows.

Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reasons grants of up to £30,000 will no longer be available for small community groups under Phase 1 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. [117585]

Malcolm Wicks: The higher than anticipated demand from the household stream under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 1 meant that the limited funds available to householders would have been exhausted by early 2007. As a result, we announced on 25 October 2006 that £6.2 million from the £28.5 million budget would be re-allocated to the household stream in order to satisfy demand through to June 2008. This re-allocation of funding to the household stream was made possible by transferring the majority of pubic and non-profit sector projects to the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2, where £50 million of funding is being made available to specifically support projects in the public and non-profit sectors.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reasons a monthly cap of £500,000 has been introduced on grant allocations to
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domestic renewable energy installers under Phase 1 of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. [117586]

Malcolm Wicks: Since the launch of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 1 in April 2006, the higher than anticipated demand from the household stream meant that the limited funds available to householders would have been exhausted by early 2007. By introducing a monthly cap, it will contribute to funding household installations through to June 2008, when some of our wider measures to promote microgeneration should be taking hold.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the budget is of the Low Carbon Building Programme. [117588]

Malcolm Wicks: The programme has a total budget of £80 million divided into two phases. When the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 1 was launched in April 2006, there was a budget of £30 million to be allocated to successful projects over three years. Of this amount, £1.5 million was brought forward for use on the Clear Skies and Solar PV Major Demonstration Programmes to smooth the transition between these legacy programmes, and the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. A further £50 million has been made available for the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2, which was launched in December 2006, providing funding specifically for the public and non-profit sectors.

Low Carbon Heating

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions (a) he and (b) his Ministers have had with stakeholders about the potential role of electricity in providing low carbon heating ahead of the publication of the Energy White Paper. [112570]

Malcolm Wicks: I have been asked to reply.

The Government have held discussions with a variety of stakeholders on numerous issues since the publication of the Energy Review Report to inform the Energy White Paper, which we intend to publish in March.

Medical Research

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) real terms and (b) percentage change was in Government funding for medical research between 1997 and 2006. [112426]

Malcolm Wicks: Government funding for medical research is provided through (i) the Medical Research Council and (ii) the national health service research and development budget. Between 1997-98 and 2005-06 there has been (a) a 29.2 per cent. real terms increase and (b) a 56.8 per cent. cash increase in budget allocations.

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1997-98 (£ million) 2005-06 (£ million) Cash terms (percentage) Real terms (percentage)

Medical Research Council





NHS R and D





Net government funding





The Medical Research Council figures are the Science Budget Allocations from the Department for Trade and Industry. The NHS R and D budget figures have been provided by the Department of Health.


Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how often the Nanotechnology Issues Dialogue Group meets; and what advice it has given the Government on the strategic direction of Government policy on nanotechnology. [118031]

Malcolm Wicks: The Nanotechnology Issues Dialogue Group meets approximately every three months. It is not an advisory body. Its primary role is to co-ordinate and monitor the delivery of Government policy and activities on nanotechnology described in the Government's response to the report by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering: “Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties”.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government are taking to encourage universities (a) to engage in the nanotechnology debate and (b) to carry out nanotechnology research activities. [118032]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government are committed to addressing the science and society agenda as it relates to nanotechnologies. A substantial programme of public engagement on nanotechnologies has involved universities, scientists and research councils. Beyond this, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser has developed “Rigour, respect and responsibility: a universal ethical code for scientists” that includes guidance on engagement and communication. Similarly, the research councils provide their PhD students with a range of training modules to enhance their research skills. Social and ethical reflection and science communication are part of these research training requirements.

Research councils fund fundamental nanoscience and nanotechnology research and encourage applicants to submit research proposals, for example by issuing subject-specific highlight notices such as the one the Medical Research Council is currently finalising for nanotoxicology. Research councils, Government Departments and their agencies are working together to encourage the development of nanotechnology research capacity in university departments, for example, through the Environmental Nanoscience Initiative, which is funded by Defra, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Environment Agency and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s future strategy for nanotechnology. There is representation from academia on the task forces set up under the cross-Government Nanotechnology Research Coordination Group to take forward health, safety and environment-related nanotechnology research objectives. DTI and the research councils encourage the participation of universities in science-to-business collaborative R and D projects under the DTI Technology Programme. The Government also encourage UK researchers to take full advantage of the significant nanotechnology funding opportunities in the EU Framework Programme 7.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in what ways the independent regulatory review the Department commissioned to identify regulatory gaps has informed the Government’s approach to nanotechnology. [118034]

Malcolm Wicks: On 21 December 2006 this Department published on its website the report: “An Overview of the Framework of Current Regulation Affecting the Development and Marketing of Nanomaterials” (at: This was produced by the Economic and Social Research Council Centre for Business Relationships Accountability Sustainability and Society (BRASS) at Cardiff university. The Government are currently considering the conclusions of this recent report.

Nuclear Power Stations

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate of the number of new nuclear power stations likely to be built in the near future was carried out prior to the sale of Westinghouse Engineering. [116996]

Malcolm Wicks: None. We considered the matter carefully before agreeing to a sale. We did not believe that ownership of Westinghouse would be likely to have any bearing on the UK’s ability to satisfy any future nuclear energy needs. In the event of a new build programme we would want the private sector, most likely the existing generators, to take the lead in funding and purchasing any new generation of reactors untainted by whether the technology was Government owned.

Parliamentary Questions

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to reply to question 109624, on UK Trade and Investment tabled by the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire. [118634]

Mr. McCartney: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given today PQ No. 109624.


Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many patents were held by (a) the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, (b) the Central Science Laboratory, (c) the Public Health Laboratory Service, (d) the Veterinary Laboratories
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Agency and (e) other Government laboratories in each of the last five years; and how many of these patents have been licensed. [117703]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 30 January 2007]: For questions (a) to (d) the answers are as follows:

(a) The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

(b) The Central Science Laboratory

(c) The Public Health Laboratory

(d) The Veterinary Laboratories

In terms of “other Government Laboratories” we have identified the following as possible examples of many.

The first two have been supplied by the Ministry of Defence who have provided the information for each of the past five years on each patent family; a patent family being defined as a patent application having a patent granted in at least one territory. The MOD has been able to supply license information on these two bodies.

Defence Clothing and Textile Agency "DCTA" (now disbanded)

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