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26 Nov 2008 : Column 1941W—continued


Table 2 shows the number of prosecution cases and individual offences brought by HSE concerning both illegal gas installations and unregistered gas workers since 1 April 1999 (the earliest date for which figures are available). The prosecutions are for breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, or their predecessor Regulations. A prosecution case can be brought for more than one offence. A successful prosecution of a case occurs when there is a guilty conviction against one or more of the offences heard by the courts.


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1942W
Table 2

Number of prosecution cases concluded (including for more than one offence) Number of successful prosecutions Number of individual offences prosecuted Number of individual convictions

1999-2000

87

66

210

147

2000-01

59

55

183

149

2001-02

59

50

193

112

2002-03

52

49

120

104

2003-04

46

39

98

74

2004-05

32

32

74

69

2005-06

33

32

82

69

2006-07

33

30

91

77

2007-08

30

26

79

64

Total

431

379

1130

865


Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans are in place to inform users of gas and solid fuel energy that the gas fitter registration scheme will from April be run by Capita and not Corgi; what estimate his Department has made of the expenditure required to establish the new registration brand; and what monitoring his Department undertake of awareness of the new registration brand. [237053]

Jonathan Shaw: I have been asked to reply.

Raising awareness of the new Capita operated gas installer registration scheme is a key feature in the contract the organisation has entered into with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Capita is required to have a clear marketing and communications plan to achieve this. This is in place and a substantial sum has been earmarked for its delivery. Capita will address the cost; there is no cost to public funds. Capita's performance in relation to promoting awareness of the new gas safety brand will be judged by HSE against a key performance indicator agreed in the contract. That performance will be measured by a variety of techniques to determine the unprompted brand awareness of the new registration scheme among gas consumers.

New Businesses: Kent

Damian Green: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many new businesses were started in (a) Kent and (b) Ashford constituency in each year since 2001. [236873]

Ian Pearson: The numbers of businesses registering for VAT and the total number of VAT registered businesses in the county of Kent and in Ashford constituency are shown in the following tables.

Data for the number of VAT registrations during 2007 will be available on 28 November 2008.

VAT registrations

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Kent county(1)

4,120

4,405

4,695

4,355

4,245

4,515

Ashford constituency

395

425

470

470

430

455


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1943W

Start of year VAT stock( 2)

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Kent county(1)

40,705

41,465

42,325

43,520

44,335

44,855

45,980

Ashford constituency

4,040

4,085

4,150

4,290

4,400

4,425

4,550

(1) Kent county excludes Medway unitary authority
(2) Although start of year stock data is available for 2007, data on new VAT registrations during 2007 will not be available until 28 November 2008.
Source:
BERR National Statistics publication ‘Business start-ups and closures: VAT registrations and de-registrations 2006’ available at: http://stats.berr.gov.uk/ed/vat/index.htm

Although the number of new registrations has fluctuated since 2001, the total number of VAT registered businesses in Kent increased from 40,705 at the start of 2001 to 45,980 at the start of 2007, an increase of 5,275 (13 per cent.). The total number of VAT registered businesses in Ashford constituency increased from 4,040 at the start of 2001 to 4,550 at the start of 2007, an increase of 510 (13 per cent.).

VAT registrations do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which was £60,000 at the start of 2006. Only 1.9 million out of 4.5 million UK enterprises (43 per cent.) were registered for VAT at the start of 2006.

Nominet

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his plans are for the future of Nominet; and if he will make a statement. [239260]

Mr. McFadden: The Government have no current proposals in relation to Nominet. Officials in the Department have written to the company seeking clarification of how the present governance of the company reflects the wider stakeholder interest in Nominet's activities in regard to the management of .co.uk Domain Name System. We understand that the company has commissioned an independent review in order to reply fully to that request. We look forward to the outcome of that review.

Non-Profit Making Associations: Coastal Areas

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many social enterprises there were in each of the principal seaside towns on the latest date for which figures are available; and what percentage of all businesses in each town this represents. [238666]

Kevin Brennan: I have been asked to reply.

The most recent figures suggest there are at least 55,000 social enterprises in the UK. However, social enterprises are not defined by particular legal forms and as a result are not required to register with any one body. Information on the number of social enterprises in each of the principal seaside towns; and what percentage of all businesses this represents in each town, is therefore unavailable.


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1944W

Post Office Card Account

Mr. Leech: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much compensation the private firms affected by the Government’s decision to withdraw the Post Office Card Account contract from tender will receive. [237569]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply.

The other bidders who were still in the competition at the point at which it was halted will be reimbursed for their reasonable bid costs. The precise amounts payable will be subject to commercial confidentiality.

Postage Stamps

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether his Department issues guidance to the Stamp Advisory Committee on its work. [233090]

Mr. McFadden: Operational matters, which include decisions relating to Royal Mail’s stamps, are the direct responsibility of the company’s management.

The Department for Business (BERR) does not issue any guidance to Royal Mail’s Stamp Advisory Committee. Royal Mail’s special stamps are governed in accordance with criteria which have been developed and established by the company. As the Government Department responsible for postal affairs, BERR would, as a matter of course, review any proposed changes to the criteria before progressing the company’s proposal to Buckingham Palace for formal agreement.

The Stamp Advisory Committee is run by Royal Mail to review stamp designs commissioned by the company under themes for its stamps programme. The Committee includes representatives of the stamp collecting community, of the design and arts community, of the public, and a representative from BERR.

Small Businesses: Government Assistance

Mr. Leech: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many applications for funding under the Government’s Small Firms Guarantee Scheme have been refused in each year since 2003. [233652]

Ian Pearson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 762W, Small Firms Loan Guarantee.

Small Businesses: Hampshire

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many small to medium-sized enterprises were registered in (a) Southampton, (b) the Test Valley borough and (c) Eastleigh borough and (d) Romsey constituency in each of the last five years. [239843]

Ian Pearson: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member before Prorogation.


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1945W

Small Businesses: Leeds

John Battle: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many small to medium sized enterprises were registered in the Leeds, West constituency between 1997 and 2008. [238803]

Ian Pearson: VAT registration data provide the only accurate indicator of the number of VAT-registered business at the start of each calendar year.

The number of businesses registered for VAT in Leeds, West constituency for the start of 1997 to at the start of 2007 is shown in the table below. Data for the number of VAT-registered businesses at the start of 2008 will be available on 28 November 2008.

Only data for businesses of all sizes registered for VAT is published by BERR. However, it is estimated that the majority (97.9 per cent) of these will be small (with fewer than 50 employees) and 1.7 per cent will be medium-sized (with 50-249 employees).

Number of VAT-registered businesses in Leeds West parliamentary constituency

Start of year stock of VAT-registered businesses

1997

1,285

1998

1,295

1999

1,335

2000

1,355

2001

1,400

2002

1,415

2003

1,440

2004

1,470

2005

1,515

2006

1,575

2007

1,645

Source:
BERR National Statistics publication ‘Business start-ups and closures: VAT registrations and de-registrations 2006’ available at:
http://stats.berr.gov.uk/ed/vat/index.htm

The number of VAT-registered businesses in Leeds, West parliamentary constituency rose from 1,285 at the start of 1997 to 1,645 at the start of 2007—a rise of 28 per cent. compared with an average rise of nearly 20 per cent. across UK.

VAT registrations do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which was £61,000 at the start of 2007. Only 1.96 million out of 4.7 million UK enterprises (42 per cent.) were registered for VAT at the start of 2007.


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