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11 Nov 2009 : Column 606W—continued

Monitor Group

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether any Minister or official in his Department and its predecessors has had (a) meetings, (b) communications and (c) other contacts with the Monitor Group in the last five years. [295328]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 26 October 2009]: According to departmental records there has been infrequent contact between the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (and its previously named Departments) and the Monitor Group, whose headquarters are based in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Department's main contact with the Monitor Group has been with the Foresight 'Horizon Scanning Centre', an initiative operated within the Government
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Office for Science (formerly the Office of Science and Technology within the Department of Trade and Industry).

On 3 March 2005 the Horizon Scanning Centre issued an invitation to tender to a number of organisations, including Monitor Group Europe, for a project seeking research and other support to write the 'Sigma Scan': a collection of papers looking forward at emerging trends, potential new issues, opportunities and threats, and the possible implications.

On 15 March 2005, Monitor Group Europe wrote to the Department indicating they did not wish to proceed to tender.

In addition, a Director of the Foresight programme (of which the Horizon Scanning Centre is part), Professor Sandy Thomas, met a representative of the Monitor Group, in 2008, for an introductory meeting about Foresight's plans to develop a new communications strategy. However, no further meetings were held, and Monitor was not subsequently involved in development of the strategy.

The Department received a letter from the Monitor Group in 2005 relating to a general inquiry on the allocation of funding in the education sector and a request in 2008 from the Group's Munich office for information on the UK building sector.

We have no records of any Minister meeting with the Monitor Group on departmental business.

National Federation of Sub Postmasters: Finance

Mr. Hands: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding Royal Mail has contributed to the National Federation of Sub Postmasters in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08 and (c) 2008-09. [298944]

Mr. McFadden: The Department does not hold the information requested. I have therefore asked Alan Cook, Managing Director of Post Office Ltd, to respond directly to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries.

North West Development Agency: Public Appointments

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 12 October 2009, Official Report, column 657W, on the North West Development Agency: public appointments, when the Secretary of State received for approval the nomination of Robert Hough as the Chair of the North West Development Agency. [294839]

Ms Rosie Winterton: My noble friend the Secretary of State was sent a submission on the 23 April to consider who to recommend as the Chair of the North West Development Agency to the Prime Minister.

Official Residences

Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether the Secretary of State has requested the use of an official residence. [299471]

Mr. McFadden: No.


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Post Offices: Bank Services

Mr. Hands: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has to enable the Post Office to provide banking services. [298858]

Mr. McFadden: The Post Office already provides a wide range of banking services-including savings, lending, insurance, and foreign exchange. The Prime Minister recently announced that he wanted

The Government will be taking this forward, in the first instance, by launching a full national public consultation, asking people what banking services they want from the Post Office.

Redundancy: Leeds

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what representations he has received on the rate of staff (a) voluntary and involuntary redundancies and (b) dismissals at each university in Leeds in each of the last five years. [299650]

Mr. Lammy: We have received no representations on this matter. However, as we made clear in "Higher Ambitions", published on 3 November, Government will not become involved in decisions about staffing matters made by universities.

Royal Mail

Mr. Hands: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many commercial customers Royal Mail has had in (a) each of the last six financial years and (b) in 2009-10 to date. [298946]

Mr. McFadden: The Department does not hold the information requested. I have therefore asked Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of Royal Mail, to respond directly to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries.

Shareholder Executive: Olympic Games

Lorely Burt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many Shareholder Executive employees attended the Beijing Olympics in an official capacity. [295908]

Ms Rosie Winterton: No Shareholder Executive officials attended the Beijing Olympics.

Small Businesses: Sussex

Mr. Soames: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department is providing to small and medium-sized businesses in (a) Mid Sussex constituency and (b) West Sussex. [295691]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) provides a full range of
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business support services to small and medium sized businesses across West Sussex. The support falls into two broad categories:

SEEDA recognise East and West Sussex as individual counties. Mid Sussex is one of seven local district authorities which comprise West Sussex. SEEDA do not break down their data into districts and would only be able to separate information on Mid Sussex by carrying out a manual trawl of all the data provided.

Mid Sussex is one of the six district and borough authorities which makes up the Gatwick Diamond for Investment and Growth.

1. Direct support to businesses in West Sussex most of which is available to all businesses across the South East

Business Link

Business Link provides business support and advice for all individuals and businesses already trading or thinking of starting. Benefits include:

Business Link Sussex

SEEDA has invested circa £4,490,000 annually to Business Link Sussex.

Health checks were introduced on 23 October 2008 and are reported on a monthly, cumulative basis. Since that date Business Link Sussex has completed 2,713 health checks across Sussex.

Further figures provided by Business Link Sussex (measured by key performance indicators) show that the number of customers assisted has increased as have the number of intensively assisted customers.

Satisfaction in the service provided by Business Link Sussex has risen by nearly 5 per cent. over a three-year period

Key performance indicator 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

Total number of customers assisted

25,315

24,661

27,157

Number of intensively assisted customers

3,145

3,068

3,814

Customer satisfaction (percentage total satisfied)

86

84

90.92



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Innovation and growth team-Gatwick Diamond/ West Sussex

SEEDA will be investing £2.6 million over three years to the innovation and growth team who will be responsible for creating communities of innovation and growth and delivering specialist services to businesses that have potential for significant growth. Strong partnerships, including the universities of Chichester, Brighton and Surrey, have developed across West Sussex and the Gatwick Diamond. A business plan is being finalised and the innovation and growth team will be operational from 1( )January 2010.

Investor development manager (IDM)

SEEDA funds an investor development manager (IDM), Chris Chapman, who works with strategically important companies across all of West Sussex. The investor development manager's objective is to retain and develop these companies, identifying and helping to resolve any barriers to growth. In the last six years, the investor development manager has made nearly 800 company visits to West Sussex businesses. It is estimated that over 2,500 jobs have been gained or saved as a result of this intervention. Referrals have covered a range of topics including:

Continuous Employment Support Service (CESS)

Between April and June 2009 CESS has helped 10 companies and 664 staff across the whole of Sussex Between July 2009 and September 2009 CESS helped seven companies and 405 staff in West Sussex

Companies thinking about making staff redundant or undertaking a redundancy programme can access the free 'Continuing Employment Support Service' run by Jobcentre Plus in partnership with SEEDA. CESS offers a free in-house package of support to all affected workers before they leave their employment, offering tailored advice on future options.

Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS)

Since January 2009, 70 companies have been assisted through the Manufacturing Advisory Service

MAS South East aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of manufacturers in the region to create sustainable improvements. Businesses can access hands-on advice and tailored support from experts to suit the individual requirements of their business to produce real results.

Inward investment

From April 2007 to April 2009, SEEDA has successfully located six companies into West Sussex

SEEDA has an inward investment team who aim to attract business from other countries to locate in the South East.

Rural

SEEDA manages a £60 million Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) EU Programme (previously termed ERDP). Of this budget, £1,952,647 has been invested into businesses in West Sussex since 18 January 2008.


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In addition, the rural leader programme for West Sussex (Sussex and Low Weald) has provided £2.5 million. This wholly EU funded programme is aimed at farmers and forestry diversification with a strong element of community projects.

Grants for research and development

There have been four grants for research and development in West Sussex between 2007-09 totalling £1,126,419

The grants for research and development, now managed by Finance South East are focused on encouraging businesses to carry out projects that they would not necessarily undertake without the grant and lever in to these projects finance from reluctant private investment sources

Finance South East (FSE) accelerator fund

One company in West Sussex has been offered the accelerator fund totalling £100,000

The accelerator fund is a loan fund which supports small and medium sized companies in the South East with the potential for significant growth (early stage or established companies). It is a response to the needs of entrepreneurial businesses who require the level of growth investment provided by risk capital, but which are reluctant to relinquish an equity stake in the company at an early stage.

Transition Loan Fund

One company has been offered the Transition Loan Fund totalling £150,000

SEEDA is providing up to £3 million in a new regional transition fund known as the Bridging Mezzanine Debt Fund to be directed at fully established, viable and growing businesses that are currently facing difficulties in obtaining credit through banks and other traditional routes.

Funding is provided at commercial rates for these unsecured loans, and interest is rolled up and paid at maturity, thereby making the fund attractive to some businesses urgently needing to address liquidity problems.

2. Strategic business development and engagement

West Sussex Sub Regional Partnership

SEEDA provides funding to West Sussex county council which as the accountable body for the West Sussex Economic Skills and Enterprise Board (ESEB). The aim of the ESEB is to bring together key organisations and business representatives to establish shared objectives and priorities to improve the economic well being of West Sussex. The ESEB was set in the context of the developing sub regional partnerships covering Gatwick Diamond, Rural West Sussex and Coastal West Sussex.

Each of these sub regional partnerships is different reflecting the local issues and key stakeholder perspectives. Each has its own governance structure, strategies and action plans. SEEDA is a key partner in all of these partnerships.

West Sussex Sub Regional Partnership specifically:


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