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To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what applications have been received for export licences for
the sale of arms to Sri Lanka since 1 January 2007; what type of arms were included in each application; whether each application was approved; and what the grounds for refusal were for each application which was refused. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Government publish detailed information on export licences issued and refused, including the overall value and number of export licences approved for Sri Lanka and a summary of the items covered by these licences, in its annual and quarterly reports on strategic export controls. For licences refused, the reports provide, by destination, information on the number of licences refused, and a description of the nature of those goods (by reference to the relevant entry in export control legislation), and indicate which of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria applied.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) bankruptcy orders and (b) company liquidations there were in the agriculture sector in each year since 1997. 
Mr. McFadden: The closest available estimates for bankruptcies in the agriculture sector are among self-employed farmers under the category agriculture according to the Insolvency Trade Classification (ITC). Also provided are the numbers of company liquidations in the agriculture sector.
|Bankruptcies and company liquidations in England and Wales in the agriculture sector, 1997Q3 2006|
|Bankruptcy orders||Company liquidations|
|(1) Figures from October 2006 are not available due to development work to update the classification to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2003. These will be available for new cases from July 2007.|
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discussions he has had with colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the potential of the digital switchover programme to increase access to the internet for (a) older people and (b) people with a disability. 
Malcolm Wicks: Discussions on the potential of the digital switchover programme to facilitate increased internet usage have been ongoing between the Department for Trade and Industry/Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport throughout the development of the policy for whether, and if so, how and when, full switchover to television should be implemented. The joint GovernmentIndustry Digital Television Action Plan which operated from January 2002 to November 2004 included a number of actions to explore the potential synergies between television switchover and providing access to services provided over the internet. With further technological advances since 2005, the issue has continued to be considered in the digital switchover programme. However, it remains the case that, while some means of electronic communications such as broadband networks can also offer reliable access to digital television services, digital television does not of itself provide easy-to-use access to the internet.
The Government have asked the BBC to establish and fund the Digital Switchover Help Scheme to assist those aged 75 or over, and younger people with significant disabilities, including those registered as blind or partially sighted to convert to digital television. The scheme will provide practical help with obtaining and installing equipment, and aftercare support. Providing access to the internet would add significantly to the complexity of the scheme and of the communications which support it. It is also likely to add significantly to the complexity for many of the recipients of the Help Scheme assistance and so act counter to the objectives of the scheme. We will continue to keep under review the options for accommodating new and emerging technologies into the scheme to help ensure that the equipment provided best suits the needs and interests of older and disabled people.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of (a) older people and (b) people with a disability using broadband to enhance their access to goods or services; what further scope there is for increasing the number of older and disabled people who can gain such access; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department does not collect statistics on this matter. Statistics on the elderly and people with disabilities using broadband to enhance their access to goods and services are collected by Ofcom and the Ofcom Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People.
Ofcoms UK Communications Market 2007 report shows that penetration falls with age when you look at internet usage with just 16 per cent. of over-65s using the web, although this age group spend on average almost 42 hours online every month, more than any other group. One quarter of all Britons online are over 50 and 30 per cent. of total time spent on the internet is by over-50s.
There are a number of industry and the third sector groups looking at ways of increasing the number of older and disabled people with access to online who can then benefit from using broadband to access goods and services. Organisations like, UK Online Centres, Citizens Online, RNID, RNIB, Help the Aged, Silver Surfers club, i2010, eAccessibility/Design for all, Action plan against Poverty, the Governments LinkAgePlus and local authorities through the DC10plus are all helping to get more people online.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how
much was paid by his Department and its predecessor to Capita Group plc and its subsidiaries in each financial year since 2000; which contracts were awarded by his Department to Capita Group plc in each year from 2000-01 to the most recent available date; what the cost was of each contract; what penalties for default were imposed in contract provisions; what the length was of each contract; whether the contract was advertised; how many companies applied for the contract; how many were short-listed; what criteria were used for choosing a company; what provision was made for renewal without re-tender in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
|(1) To date.|
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) percentage of UK companies that store data indefinitely in compliance with one or more of (i) the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, (ii) the single euro payments area, (iii) the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and (iv) the Companies Act 2006. 
(i) There is no obligation imposed by the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive to store data indefinitely. MiFID requires that documents be held for at least five years and that certain client records be held for at least the duration of the firm's relationship with the client.
(ii) The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is an industry initiative. For this reason the Government have not requested firms to store SEPA compliance data. The European Payments Council, which oversees the SEPA initiative, requires firms to hold information in order to comply with SEPA. To date 16 UK banks have adhered to SEPA, representing 84 per cent. of UK retail banking payment volume.
(iii) The UK Government do not hold data on UK companies that are required to comply with the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
(iv) There is no requirement under company law for UK companies to store any historic data indefinitely. The Companies Act 2006 introduced time limits, of 10 years, for certain records including, for example, minutes of a meeting. This was primarily to allow UK companies to dispose of such information, as some had previously been storing it indefinitely. All companies are required to hold certain documents and records, which should be kept up to date for the lifetime of the company. For example the company's registers of members and directors must be kept available for inspection.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent representations he has received on the creation of a single set of competency standards for the construction industry; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The issue of competency standards for construction has been raised briefly by the Specialist Engineering Group (SEC) at meetings with the Department. No formal representations have been received.
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