some default text...
Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Mar 2008 : Column 2654W—continued

Departmental Pay

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was claimed in reimbursable expenses by senior civil service staff in his Department and its agencies in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. [187532]

Mr. Thomas: ( )Expenses claimed by BERR staff are not recorded separately by grade. To obtain the( )requested information would entail a disproportionate cost.

Departmental Property

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what property has been lost or stolen from his Department and its predecessor since 1997; and what the cost of replacement was. [187473]

Mr. Thomas: From 1997 to date, the total number of items reported lost or stolen from my Department and its predecessor's HQ Estate amounted to 375. The total value of these items amounted to £145,500.

The figure does not include small, low value, personal items reported lost or stolen by staff.


5 Mar 2008 : Column 2655W

Departmental Sick Pay

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the cost of sickness pay to staff in his Department was in the most recent year for which figures are available. [187514]

Mr. Thomas: The Department does not routinely calculate the average annual cost of stress. As this would involve manually investigating employee sickness records and pay details on an individual basis, the cost of doing this would be disproportionate to the benefit to be derived.

The Department’s sickness, and long term sickness absence rates have consistently been lower than the Whitehall average over the past three years. The average number of working days lost due to sick leave for the period January 2007 to December 2007 is 4.9.

Departmental Translation Services

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what proportion of his Department's translation and interpreting work is outsourced under framework agreements with commercial providers; and if he will make a statement. [189161]

Mr. Thomas: ( )The Department has a service level agreement with the Foreign and Commonwealth( )Office from whom individual directorates purchase translation services.

Individual directorates make their own arrangements for purchase of interpreting( )services from external suppliers. Information is not available centrally about such( )purchases or arrangements with individual suppliers and could be provided only at( )disproportionate cost.

Energy: Complaints

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking on the effective disclosure by gas and electricity suppliers of complaints handling data to the National Consumer Council; and if he will make a statement. [190481]

Mr. Thomas: The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 confers, on the New National Consumer Council a power to require the disclosure to it by gas and electricity suppliers of such information as it requires for the purpose of exercising its functions.

Precise disclosure arrangements are a matter for the new council, in discussion with suppliers.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) if he will take steps to ensure that the forthcoming complaint handling standards set by Ofgem contain provision for energy companies' complaints data will be subject to regular independent verification; and if he will make a statement; [190482]

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that the gas and electricity complaint handling standards being formulated by Ofgem set levels of performance that will improve protection for consumers; and if he will make a statement. [190483]


5 Mar 2008 : Column 2656W

Mr. Thomas: The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 provides that setting of complaint handling standards for gas and electricity is a matter for the regulator, Ofgem (GEMA).

Ofgem consulted on its proposals for complaint handling standards in November last year and will be publishing its decision at the end of March. Ofgem is working closely with consumer groups on these standards to ensure that consumers remain protected.

Honours

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many members of the Senior Civil Service have been awarded an honour while working in his Department. [187134]

Mr. Thomas: There are currently 16 BERR Senior Civil Servants with an honours award. The breakdown is as follows: KCB (1), CMG (2), CB (5), CBE (5), QBE (3).

Industry Regulators: Fines

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what arrangements there are for the allocation to spending areas of revenue from fines imposed by those industry regulators for which his Department is responsible. [190551]

Malcolm Wicks: Fines by regulators would be treated as Consolidated Fund Extra Receipts (CFERs), which go directly to the Treasury, unless specified otherwise in legislation.

INTO University Partnerships Limited

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when the last accounts were (a) due from and (b) filed at Companies House by INTO University Partnerships Limited and its subsidiaries. [190859]

Mr. Thomas: INTO University Partnerships Ltd. was incorporated on 13 July 2005, their first set of accounts were therefore due to be filed at Companies House no later than 13 May 2007. I have been advised by the Registrar of Companies that Companies House has written to the company to advise them that the accounts are overdue and requesting they be filed.

Companies House does not keep a register of subsidiary companies, however a company’s subsidiaries are often listed on its accounts. As they have not filed any accounts the Registrar of Companies is unable to provide any information of its subsidiary companies.

Investments: Companies

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assistance his Department provides to businesses from the Isle of Man wishing to (a) invest in the United Kingdom and (b) take part in joint ventures with UK companies; how much was made available for these purposes in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [190788]


5 Mar 2008 : Column 2657W

Mr. Thomas: In line with its guidelines for eligibility to services, UKTI does not provide services for companies from, or based in Crown Dependencies (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and the Overseas Territories (Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, British Virgin Islands, Cayman, Islands, Turks and Caicos etc.). However, where a request is made for assistance in liaising with a foreign government, the case is examined on its merits.

Kelda: Yorkshire

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will take steps to evaluate the effects on the Yorkshire economy of the takeover of Kelda by a private equity group; [189612]

Mr. McFadden: The acquisition of Kelda Group by Saltaire Water is a commercial matter for the enterprises concerned and their shareholders.

Members: Correspondence

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he will reply to the letters of (a) 9 November 2007 and (b) 14 December 2007 from the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean on firework regulations, reference FD4276. [189868]

Mr. Thomas: I apologise for my delay in responding to the hon. Member. I have been considering the issues raised and am now in a position to respond. A reply will issue from my office shortly.

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 21 December 2007, transferred from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (CMS 85948), about the withdrawal of CapTel. [191156]

Mr. Thomas: I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. The letter was originally sent to the wrong Department, a reply will be issued shortly.

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 23 January, on mobile telephone dealers. [191224]

Mr. Thomas [holding answer 3 March 2008]: I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member, a reply will be issued shortly.

Origin Marking

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what UK and European legislation governs whether goods may be labelled as made in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) the UK. [190249]


5 Mar 2008 : Column 2658W

Mr. Thomas: Generally speaking, there is no UK or European Union legal requirement for goods to bear marks indicating their origin, nor is there anything to prevent voluntary origin marking where traders wish to do so. Where such marks are applied to goods, the law requires this information to be accurate.

Overseas Investment: Taiwan

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the value of (a) UK investment in Taiwan and (b) Taiwan’s investment in the UK was in each year since 1997; what steps he (i) has taken and (ii) plans to take to increase (A) trade and (B) joint ventures between the UK and Taiwan; and if he will make a statement. [190789]

Mr. Thomas: The following table shows the UK’s foreign direct investment (FDI) net flows to and from Taiwan for the period 1997-2005, the latest year available.

UK net foreign direct investment flows with Taiwan 1997-2006
£ million
UK outward FDI in Taiwan UK inward FDI from Taiwan

1997

-32

(1)

1998

39

(1)

1999

28

2

2000

122

24

2001

357

14

2002

118

12

2003

37

-7

2004

161

-8

2005

150

10

2006

-37

(1)

(1) Not disclosed by companies for commercial reasons
Note:
A minus sign indicates net disinvestment
Source:
BERR analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics

However, there are many ways to invest. Net FDI flows do not provide the full picture of investment. The following table records the project wins and job numbers of which we are aware.

Taiwanese investment in the UK 2001-08
Project numbers Jobs created

2001-02

4

230

2002-03

6

302

2003-04

8

214

2004-05

7

221

2005-06

5

120

2006-07

12

318

2007-08

(1)9

928

(1) Up to February 2008

UK Trade and Investment offers a range of services to UK companies. For Taiwan, we have identified the following priority areas: Construction (specifically Urban regeneration), Creative Industries, Healthcare, Information Communications Technology (ICT), Infrastructure (specifically Rail), Nanotechnology, Environment and Renewable Energy.


5 Mar 2008 : Column 2659W

In the coming year UK Trade and Investment will host the Taiwan British Business Council (TBBC) and the UK Taiwan Trade Talks with the aim of further building up the business relationship and addressing barriers to trade.

Overseas Trade: Israel

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) his officials last met the Chairman of the Israel Britain Chamber of Commerce to discuss trade between Great Britain and Israel; for what dates the next such meetings are planned; and if he will make a statement. [189036]

Mr. Thomas: I have not yet had the opportunity to meet Len Judes, Chairman of the Israel-British Chamber of Commerce. My right hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield, as Minister for Trade, met Len Judes when he addressed a meeting of the Israel Britain Business Council in London in May 2006.

Contacts in Tel Aviv are regular and ongoing. UKTI officials based in London who are responsible for business with Israel meet representatives of the Israel-British Chamber of Commerce when they travel to Israel. The last two such contacts were in June 2007 and February 2008.

UKTI officials in London will next meet Len Judes, at the time of the Israel-Britain Business Council meeting, in the UK in May 2008.


Next Section Index Home Page