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Trade and Industry

Broadband: Rural Areas

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what correspondence he has had with internet providers about people in rural communities who cannot receive broadband and for whom dial-up connection will be phased out. [140491]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 4 June 2007]: I have had no such correspondence with internet service providers.

There are currently no plans to phase out dial-up internet. The universal service obligation on BT and Kingston to provide telephony and functional internet access remains in place. This means that everyone who has a telephone connection has the potential to access a dial-up internet service. In addition to this, 99.6 per cent. of households are connected to a broadband enabled exchange.

The European Commission plans to review the scope of universal service next year and access to broadband is one of the issues that the Government will ensure is at the centre of the debate.

Business: Government Assistance

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the merits of providing for Government aid to industries in need of restructuring or short-term financial assistance; and what discussions he has had with the Trades Union Congress on this matter. [143152]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 19 June 2007]: We are spending money to support industry but we only do so where the intervention will be effective in securing a sustainable future for the company. Where there are no such prospects the intervention usually distorts competition, prevents the emergence of new companies and inhibits innovation.

Support for business is available through a range of measures: Selective finance for industry (SFI), DTI business support and the R and D tax credit. Government will consider support where it helps enhance UK competitiveness and productivity.

Support for industry must be compatible with the EU rules on state aid. These increasingly favour aid for small, growth businesses and aid for research, innovation and environmental enhancement, rather than aid for companies in difficulty. The Government support this.

The Secretary of State last met the TUC to discuss state aid and support for industry champions at the TUC conference in September 2006.

Consumer Goods: Labelling

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what regulatory regime governs the display of ingredients on (a) alcoholic, (b) tobacco and (c) cosmetic products; and if he will make a statement. [145992]


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Mr. McCartney: The Department of Trade and industry is not responsible for regulations covering alcohol or tobacco products. These are matters for the Department of Health.

As regards cosmetic products, all such products sold in the UK must comply with The Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2004 (as amended). The regulations implement the requirements of the European Directive on cosmetic products and require that all the cosmetic products supplied to consumers must be safe under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use. They must also be labelled with a list of their ingredients in descending order of weight.

Economic Growth

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what figures his Department records relating to recent (a) investment levels and (b) business growth, broken down by constituency. [139616]

Margaret Hodge: Data on investment levels are not available at constituency level. Data are produced at regional level by the Office for National Statistics and can be found at:

Data on the growth in the number of VAT registered businesses in each of the 640 parliamentary constituencies, can be calculated from data published by the DTI at:

For illustrative purposes this is calculated for Torbay parliamentary constituency. Between the start of 2001 and 2006 the number of VAT registered businesses in Torbay constituency increased by 135, or 6 per cent.

Data on employment and turnover growth in existing businesses are not available at constituency level. They are published by DTI at the regional level and are available at:

Calculated by dividing the change in stock between 2001and 2006 by the 2001 start of year stock.

Iran: Export Credit Guarantees

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1492-3W, on Iran: export credit guarantees, when the arrangement that Ministers should be consulted before export credit cover is provided to Iran was made; and if he will make a statement. [145822]

Mr. Darling: On 13 April 2007, I asked ECGD to consult me before any new cover was provided for exports to Iran.

New Businesses: Suffolk

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many new businesses established in Suffolk received Government funding assistance in each of the last five years. [139138]

Margaret Hodge: Unfortunately, departmental and RDA management information systems do not
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differentiate between new and existing Suffolk businesses in receipt of government funding.

However, data are available for the total number of businesses in receipt of financial support in Suffolk for the five year period ending 31 March 2007 (unless otherwise stated).

In addition to which, Business Link and Local Enterprise Agencies provided advice to 2,609 new businesses to help them start-up. And Business Link Suffolk provided European Social Fund backed training to 702 businesses.

Post Offices: Reform

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the departmental annual report for 2006, page 188, J8, how much has been paid in fees to advisers in connection with the proposed restructuring of the post office network, broken down by (a) adviser and (b) category of advice; and what estimate he has made of the final overall expenditure in relation to such advice. [145996]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Since December 2005, the Department has used Deloitte and Herbert Smith to provide financial and legal advice respectively relating to POL and the Government's support for the company. The individual fees for these advisers are commercially confidential. The combined final estimate for the cost of this advice is just under £800,000.

Regulations: British Overseas Territories

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will set out how each recommendation of the 1998 Edwards report into the regulation regime in Britain's overseas dependent territories has been implemented. [142481]

Ed Balls: I have been asked to reply.

The 1998 Edwards report covered Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey) and not Overseas Dependent Territories.

I understand that Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have implemented the majority of the recommendations made in the Edwards report. More detailed information about implementation of particular recommendations can most easily be obtained through contact with the relevant Crown Dependency.

South East Development Agency: Chelsea Flower Show

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what expenditure the South East England Development Agency has undertaken in relation to the Chelsea Flower Show in each of the last three years. [142384]


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Margaret Hodge: The RDA is responsible for decisions on expenditure. In 2007 South East England Development Agency spent £88,000 at Chelsea Flower Show. This expenditure included a garden in the lifelong learning section to showcase new scientific and innovative uses of plants. This was done in partnership with South East agricultural colleges and they received a gold medal for plants with industrial uses. Investment in 2006 was £10,800 which part sponsored two gardens which highlighted the importance of the horticulture sector in industry and sustainable development. They did not invest in the show in 2005.

South East Development Agency: Taxis

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much the South East Development Agency has spent on taxis in the last two years for which figures are available. [142383]

Margaret Hodge: South East England Regional Development Agency (SEEDA) has several company accounts for cars and taxis. The cost for car and taxi services invoiced to them was £62,006 in 2005-06 and £79,026 in 2006-07. The contracts for the larger company accounts are tendered.

In addition, SEEDA staff have claimed for other taxi costs on individual expense claim forms, but accounting information on this is held combined with other travel and accommodation expenses and cannot be supplied due to disproportionate costs of manual disaggregation.

Defence

Afghanistan: Politics and Government

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the security situation in Afghanistan. [143180]

Des Browne [holding answer 15 June 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Gordon (Malcolm Bruce) on 18 June, Official Report, columns 1069-1071.

Armed Forces: Deployment

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason military personnel have been transported by road from RAF bases in Scotland to Brize Norton for deployment to theatre; and how much rest time they have been granted on arrival in theatre before commencing air patrols. [144779]

Mr. Ingram: The air-bridge to Iraq and Afghanistan operates from RAF Brize Norton. Where possible, military personnel based at Scottish RAF bases are moved to RAF Brize Norton by RAF Air Transport for onward transport to operational theatres. However, in order to make the optimum use of available aircraft this is not always possible, particularly for moves of small numbers of personnel or individuals. Guaranteeing the overseas air programme has to remain the priority.


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Personnel on arrival in theatre have a minimum period of rest and acclimatisation of 48 hours prior to assignment to air patrols. This period can be reduced by operational commanders if required and it is assessed that doing so would not increase the risk to flight safety.

Armed Forces: Housing

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel in the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force were living in substitute single service accommodation in each year since 1997. [135415]

Derek Twigg: Since 1997, the number of service personnel living in Substitute Single Service Accommodation (SSSA) in Great Britain is provided in the following table:

Financial year Army Navy RAF

2006-07

2,536

1,426

906

2005-06

2,120

1,332

865

2004-05

2,006

1,328

816

2003-04

1,841

1,393

687

2002-03

1,683

1,523

587

2001-02

1,606

1,442

455

2000-01

1,382

1,281

385

1999-2000

1,048

1,573

372

1998-99

933

1,508

310

1997-98

665

1,234

199

1996-97

26

100

7


In financial year 1996-97, this Department commenced a new contract with a specialist rented property locator, to provide SSSA across Great Britain. The number of personnel living in SSSA is low for this period, as the contract commenced near the end of the financial year.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether families are allowed to view Ministry of Defence accommodation before occupying it. [141842]

Derek Twigg: The allocation system does not allow accommodation to be viewed before families move. This is currently being reviewed.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service families have been moved from Modern Housing Solutions-maintained accommodation into temporary private accommodation in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [145713]

Derek Twigg: Officials are working to establish the information requested. Once information is available, I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many gas leaks have been reported in Modern Housing Solutions-maintained accommodation in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [145714]


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