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7 May 2009 : Column 350W—continued


Swine Flu

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will put in place arrangements for the decontamination of passenger airplanes between flights in cases where there is a risk of swine influenza infection. [272353]

Dawn Primarolo: Airlines have standard procedures for decontaminating aircraft where a passenger exhibits symptoms suggestive of an infectious disease. This is in accordance with normal International Air Transport Association guidance. In light of the recent outbreak of swine flu, the Health Protection Agency has issued Interim guidance reminding airlines of the procedures that should be followed. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Trade Unions

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2009, Official Report, column 391W, on trade unions, what office facilities his Department provides for the exclusive use of each recognised trade union; and what the notional annual value of such provision is. [271923]


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Mr. Bradshaw: The Department provides office space and facilities for the Public and Commercial Services Union and for members of the departmental trade union side in London and Leeds.

In London, space is provided in Skipton house with a total notional cost of £20,620 per annum. In Leeds, space is provided in Quarry house with a total notional cost of £17,109 per annum.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Car Scrappage Scheme

7. Mrs. Lait: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress has been made on plans for the introduction of the car scrappage scheme. [273166]

14. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects the vehicle scrappage scheme to come into operation. [273175]

Ian Pearson: The scrappage scheme announced in the Budget will be operational from 18 May 2009.

Consumer Rights

9. Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent steps he has taken to strengthen consumer rights. [273169]

Mr. Thomas: Over recent months the Government have developed further our work tackling illegal money lending and improving access to debt advice and affordable credit.

We have ensured that credit card companies adopt a breathing space for consumers who are in debt, and have announced that we will take action to outlaw unsolicited credit card cheques.

We launched Consumer Focus, the new advocacy body to ensure a stronger voice for consumers and have introduced new protections against rogue traders who sell to consumers on the doorstep.

Post Bank

11. Danny Alexander: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent representations he has received on proposals for a Post Bank. [273172]

Mr. McFadden: In addition to representations from hon. Members, my right hon. Friend has recently received representations from the “Post Bank Collection” and the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters about the creation of a Post Bank.

WTO Negotiations: Doha

12. Richard Ottaway: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of progress
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on the Doha round of World Trade Organisation negotiations; and if he will make a statement. [273173]

Mr. Thomas: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave earlier today in the Chamber in response to a question from the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry).

Small Business: Credit

13. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent representations he has received from small businesses on the availability to them of credit. [273174]

Ian Pearson: BERR is in regular contact with small business representative organisations and with small businesses themselves on many issues, including access to credit.

Trade Credit Insurance Scheme

15. Gordon Banks: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what eligibility criteria will apply to assistance under his Department's trade credit insurance scheme; and if he will make a statement. [273177]

Ian Pearson: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the Member for Glenrothes (Lindsay Roy).

Unscrupulous Lenders

16. Lyn Brown: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking against unscrupulous lenders; and if he will make a statement. [273178]

Mr. Thomas: We are funding a specialist team in every region of England, Wales and Scotland to help crack down on illegal money lending and in March we launched a national hotline and an awareness campaign, to warn consumers against the dangers of illegal lending.

Regulatory Budgets

Mr. Spring: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress the Government have made in their consultation on introducing a system of regulatory budgets. [273159]

Mr. McFadden: As set out in the statement to the House on 2 April, the Government have decided not to implement a system of regulatory budgets at this stage. Rather we will undertake a programme of better regulation measures tailored to the present exceptional economic circumstances.

Business Support

Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps regional development agencies are taking to support small and medium-sized businesses during the recession; and if he will make a statement. [273168]


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Mr. McFadden: Strong RDAs are crucial in the current economic climate to support businesses through these challenging times and bring forward major capital investment schemes to act as an economic stimulus.

RDA support for small and medium-sized businesses during the recession includes: the provision of free ‘Health Checks’ for business from Business Links; delivery of the Government’s streamlined business support portfolio Solutions for Business; and Regional Transition Loan Funds.

Government Industrial Strategy

Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans his Department has for the implementation of the Government's new industrial strategy. [273171]

Ian Pearson: ‘New Industry, New Jobs’ was published on 20 April. Implementation has already started across Government and a plan of action will be published shortly.

Ammunition: Exports

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what (a) guidelines and (b) restrictions apply to the export of white phosphorus munitions. [272317]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 5 May 2009]: All munitions are strategically controlled Military List goods and as such cannot be exported without a license.

All applications for export licences are rigorously assessed on a case by case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria and any other relevant announced policies. There are no specific guidelines on the export of white phosphorous munitions but assessments of applications take account of all available information at the time of the application, including information about the situation in the receiving country and licences will not be issued if the proposed exports would be inconsistent with any of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. As part of the assessment process consideration is given to the past behaviour of end users.

Business: Government Assistance

Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what (a) advice and (b) financial assistance his Department provides to (i) small, (ii) medium-sized and (iii) large companies; how many companies in each category in each region sought (A) advice and (B) assistance from his Department in the last 12 months; how many officials in each pay band in his Department are engaged in the provision of advice to businesses; how much his Department spent on providing (1) advice and (2) financial assistance to companies during the last year; and if he will make a statement. [256577]

Ian Pearson: This Department delivers advice and access to business support primarily through the national Business Link service. The regional development agencies
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manage Business Link advisory services, which are delivered locally throughout England by external providers. For further information see

In the 12 months ending December 2008, advisers helped over 942,000 businesses and the website attracted 9.8 million visitors.

In addition to Business Link, this Department sponsors the work of UK Trade and Investment and the Manufacturing Advisory Service. Our annual report describes these and the other forms of business support provided by this Department more fully. The RDAs fund the Business Link service from monies provided by this and other Departments. In 2008-09, we estimated that the value of Business Link contracts in the regions amounted to approximately £190 million.

The remaining information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many businesses have received assistance from the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme; and how much funding has been committed to date. [259007]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 26 February 2009]: Since its launch on 14 January, the Enterprise Finance Guarantee has nearly £300 million of eligible applications from over 2,600 firms that have been granted, are being processed or assessed.

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many businesses in Braintree have received assistance from the (a) Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, (b) Capital for Enterprise Fund and (c) Working Capital Guarantee Scheme; and how much funding has been committed to businesses in Braintree under each scheme. [259009]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 26 February 2009]: The Enterprise Finance Guarantee, Capital for Enterprise Fund and the Working Capital Scheme were announced under the Real Help with Finance package on 14 January.

Since its launch on 14 January, the Enterprise Finance Guarantee has nearly £300 million of eligible applications from over 2,600 firms that have been granted, or are being processed or assessed.

With respect to the £75 million Capital for Enterprise equity scheme, the appointed fund managers are in discussions and conducting due diligence on companies from whom they have received serious proposals seeking a total of around £60 million of investments

The Working Capital Scheme is not available directly to businesses. The scheme enables participating banks to increase the amount of working capital they can make available to businesses.

Manufacturing Industries

Mr. Bone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of prospects for the manufacturing industry in the next three years. [273225]


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Ian Pearson: The Manufacturing Strategy launched in September 2008 sets out clearly the importance of manufacturing to the UK economy. It provides a powerful vision for how the UK can take advantage of global trends and brings together £150 million of support to seize new opportunities.

The Government are also taking steps to help manufacturers through the current economic downturn by boosting capital and liquidity in the market, and ensuring that the policies within the Manufacturing Strategy work to bolster UK manufacturing and help businesses to prepare for the upturn when it comes.

In April, the Government published “New Industry, New Jobs”, which identifies key areas where Government action can speed recovery through investing in growth and building manufacturing and services essential to ensure business can compete successfully in future markets.

Motor Vehicles

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to support research and development of environmentally-friendly car technologies within the automotive sector. [271352]

Ian Pearson: BERR has been working with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), other Government Departments (including the Department for Transport and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) and other organisations to further the development of low carbon technologies for the automotive sector, primarily through the TSB’s Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform. Details of Government’s vision for the development of ultra-low carbon vehicles in the UK were announced on 16 April 2009. BERR has also supported the industry-led New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (which published its report on 6 May) articulating a strategic vision for low carbon cars in the UK. In addition, the £2.3 billion Automotive Assistance Programme has been designed to help support the development of green technologies.

Motor Vehicles: Manufacturing Industries

Mr. Byers: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his most recent assessment is of the progress made by the European Investment Bank to (a) Nissan and (b) Jaguar Land Rover in agreeing terms for financial assistance; on what date he estimates the financial assistance will be made available; and if he will make a statement. [272261]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 30 April 2009]: The European Investment Bank announced on 7 April that its Board had approved in principle a loan of €400 million to Nissan to support fuel efficiency projects in the UK and Spain, and a loan of €360 million to Jaguar Land Rover to support low carbon projects in the UK. Both companies are now engaged in separate discussions with the EIB to agree terms for the respective loans.

John Hemming: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will seek to provide interim funding of £4 million for LDV to facilitate the purchase of the business and to enable it to continue to trade. [272841]


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Ian Pearson: The government have agreed to make available a one-off £5 million bridging loan facility to prevent LDV going into administration, and to facilitate the purchase of the company by Weststar of Malaysia. Weststar’s proposed purchase of LDV offers the only credible chance of keeping this manufacturing plant in the UK, sustaining UK jobs and a platform for future model development.


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