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2 Apr 2009 : Column 1443W—continued

The RRAC's work has involved Ministers in the Cabinet Office, the Home Office, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department of Health, and others, as important players in their respective fields. Case studies have focussed on risk aversion in policing, implementation of appropriate health and safety measures by small organisations, and the promotion of community resilience. The consensus on appropriate policy action,
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which emerges from on-going work facilitated by the RRAC, has been discussed with relevant Ministers and other key stakeholders including the heads of ACPO, HMIC and HSE, to allow better coordination, development and adaptation of new and existing policies where necessary.

The RRAC's period of operation ends in April 2009. Soon after this the council will publish further information on the case studies, as well as a report summarising the findings of the RRAC. Specific recommendations may be published at this time, both in relation to areas studied in depth, and as a consequence of overarching conclusions the council have been able to draw on how government and society might better respond to public risk.

John Penrose: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what annual budget was allocated to the Risk and Regulation Advisory Council in the last year for which figures are available; and how much was budgeted for, including on (a) council members' salaries, (b) council members' expenses and (c) secretarial and administrative costs. [266930]

Ian Pearson: The Risk and Regulation Advisory Council was set up in January 2008 for a time-limited period, with its period of full-scale operation due to end in April 2009. The RRAC's only full financial year of operation is therefore 2008-09. As this financial year is not yet completed, the following figures are the best indicative figures available currently.

The total annual budget allocated for the RRAC in 2008-09 was £463,000.

Other costs accounted for within the 2008-09 budget relate to the council's forum events, research, publications and public relations.

Royal Mail

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his most recent estimate is of the cost of modernising Royal Mail. [268187]

Mr. McFadden: Royal Mail has spent or committed £600 million on modernisation so far and expects to draw down the full £1.2 billion of debt facilities Government have made available to it over the next two years to fund its existing modernisation plans.

However, Royal Mail needs to modernise further and faster if it is to cope with the challenges it faces. It will also need to find new sources of revenue by moving into new areas of business. It is clear Royal Mail will need more capital but in such a fast developing market it is not possible to give a precise indication of the amount, however it is likely to be in the order of hundreds of millions of pounds.

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Emily Thornberry: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will put in place mechanisms to prevent onward sale of shares in Royal Mail which are sold to a preferred partner. [268188]

Mr. McFadden: It is expected that the legally binding agreements to be agreed between HMG and its preferred partner will place restrictions on any shares sold to the partner. The detail of these arrangements will be subject to negotiation with the successful bidder.

Royal Mail: Pensions

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many meetings the Chair of Royal Mail's pension fund has had with Mr. Richard Hooper since he published his report. [260127]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 2 March 2009]: Richard Hooper's review of the postal services sector was submitted last year and published on 16 December 2008. Since then, I understand that Jane Newell, chair of Royal Mail Pension Trustees, and Richard Hooper have met once, on 3 March 2009.

This was a private engagement and not part of the review process.

Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade

Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2009, Official Report, columns 397-8W, on Saudi Arabia: arms trade, whether there is any extant cover for (a) the Salam Project and (b) any other BAE Systems' military sales to Saudi Arabia; and if he will make a statement. [267772]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 March 2009]: ECGD currently provides no support for any BAE Systems contracts in Saudi Arabia.

Small Business Finance Scheme

Tony Baldry: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform by what means businesses in Banbury constituency may access the Small Business Finance Scheme. [240395]

Ian Pearson: The Small Business Finance scheme announced in the pre-Budget report was launched as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee on 14 January 2009 and is available from 26 approved lenders including all the main UK high street banks.

Businesses across the UK have access to a comprehensive range of support through Real Help Now, including the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme and the Capital for Enterprise Fund. These schemes can be accessed through:

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Small Businesses

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many meetings of the (a) Small Business Lending Monitoring Panel, (b) Small Business Lending Forum, (c) Regional Risk Finance Forum, (d) West Midlands Council of Economic Advisers and (e) Joint Economic Commission for the North West have taken place to date; who the members of each of the bodies are; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each meeting. [253639]

Ian Pearson: The SME Lending Monitoring Panel has met on five occasions and the Small Business Finance Forum (SBFF) have met on four occasions.

The SME Lending Monitoring Panel discusses commercially sensitive data and as such no minutes are published. It is made up of officials from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Bank of England and HM Treasury.

The SBFF is an informal body and minutes of proceedings are not published.

It is comprised of UK banks (RBS, Barclays, HBOS, Abbey, Lloyds TSB, HSBC, Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank), the Bank of England, the British Bankers' Association (BBA), key small business representative bodies (CBI, BCC, IoD, FSB, FPB, SEC, EEF, FLA) as well as individual entrepreneurs and small businesses. They also include representation from the regional development agencies (RDAs), the devolved Administrations, BERR's Access to Finance Expert Group, the Women's Enterprise Taskforce, the Ethnic Minority Business Taskforce, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and HM Treasury.

The Regional Risk Forum has been meeting in the East Midlands since 2002. However the recorded dates of meetings only goes back to 16 June 2005.

The following dates are the recorded dates for the East Midlands Risk Forum:

The minutes of any meeting held contain commercially sensitive information and cannot therefore be released. The current membership of the group includes:

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Steve Brown (Chair)

East Midlands Development Agency

Jeff Moore

East Midlands Development Agency

Adrian Fern

Royal Bank of Scotland

Angus Ferris

Advantage Transition Bridge Fund Limited

Barrie Egan

Business Link East Midlands

Chris Brown

Bank of England

David Browne

Cooper Parry

George Caldicott

Advantage Transition Bridge Fund Limited

John Griffiths

Connect Midlands

Jonathan Lowe

East Midlands Development Agency

Leo Magee

Lloyds Banking Group

Penny Attridge

The Lachesis Fund

Robert Cawdron

East Midlands Early Growth Fund

Steve Blount

Growth Investment Network East Midlands

Mike Bowman

East Midlands Early Growth Fund

Nick Wright

East Midlands Early Growth Fund

Paul Bevan


Justin Brown

Lincolnshire county council

Rob Carroll

Catapult Venture Managers Limited

Karen Hickling

Barclays Bank

Graham Mold

Catapult Venture Managers Limited

John White

East Midlands Early Growth Fund

The first meeting of the West Midlands Council of Regional Economic Advisers took place on 7 November 2008. Further meetings took place on 2 January and 2 February 2009.

The members of the council are as follows:



Ian Austin MP—Regional Minister (Chair)

Pat McFadden MP—Minister of State, BERR

Ian Pearson MP—Minister of State, BERR and Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Sion Simon MP—Parliamentary Under-Secretary, DIUS

Trudi Elliott, Regional Director, GOWM

Advantage West Midlands

Nick Paul—Chairman

Mick Laverty—Chief Executive

Richard Hutchins—Corporate Director, Economic Development

Key Business Representation

Chris Clifford—Regional Director, CBI West Midlands

Simon Topman—Chair, West Midlands Chambers of Commerce

Barrie Williams—Chairman, West Midlands Business Council

David Caro—Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses

Martin Wassell—Regional Director, Engineering Employers Federation

Richard Boot—Chairman, Institute of Directors West Midlands

Mohammed Nazir—Chair, West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum

Ben Reid—Chair, West Midlands Learning and Skills Council

Trade Unions

Gerard Coyne—Regional Secretary, Unite West Midlands

Roger McKenzie—Regional Secretary, TUC West Midlands

Local Government

Cllr Roger Philips—Leader of the Regional Forum of Leaders (Herefordshire county council)

Cllr Ken Taylor—Chair, West Midlands Local Government Association

Mark Barrow—Chief Executive, Newcastle-under-Lyme council

Professional Services

Norman Price—Chairman of the Regional Finance Forum and Enterprise Board

Richard Brennan—Chief Executive, Birmingham Forward

Minutes of these meetings are confidential.

The Joint Economic Commission for the North West has met four times.

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It is jointly chaired by the Regional Minister, the right hon. Beverley Hughes MP and the Chair of the NWDA, Bryan Gray. The member organisations are:

The agreed actions from each meeting are available on Government office for the North West's website:

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