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Mr George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will instruct the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to give greater consideration to the relevance of low patient population numbers in its appraisal processes for ultra-orphan drugs. 
Mr Simon Burns: We have no plans to do so. As an independent body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is responsible for developing its technology appraisal methodology. NICE has appraised treatments for conditions with very small patient populations where they have met the published criteria for referral.
The estimated size of the patient population for a treatment is considered alongside other factors in assessing whether it is suitable for appraisal. The overarching consideration in determining whether a topic should be referred to NICE is whether NICE guidance can add value.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether those GP commissioning consortia which employ staff previously employed by primary care trusts will take on associated TUPE liabilities. 
Mr Simon Burns: The application of Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) will always be a matter of law based on the individual circumstances of the particular transfer. Employers will need to establish the legal position for their own specific transfer situations. In circumstances where TUPE does not strictly apply, public sector transfers may be covered by the Cabinet Office 'Staff Transfers in the Public Sector Statement of Practice' (COSOP), where the transfer is effected on terms that are overall no less favourable than if TUPE had applied.
Mr Simon Burns: The "two-tier" code (Code of Practice on Workforce Matters in Public Sector Service Contracts) would not have applied to the transfer of staff from primary care trusts to general practitioner consortia, which will be statutory bodies subject to legislation. Therefore, its removal is not relevant in this situation.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health under what terms the debts of primary care trusts will be partially or wholly written off after the creation of GP commissioning consortia. 
Mr Simon Burns: The strategic health authorities will be working with the primary care trusts (PCTs) in their region to ensure that through the planning process for 2011-12 and 2012-13 all existing legacy debt is dealt with.
Mr Simon Burns: No estimate has been made of the proportion of primary care trust staff who will be employed by general practitioner (GP) commissioning consortia. GP commissioning consortia will have the opportunity to plan how they intend to carry out their future functions. In particular, they will be able to decide what activities they will undertake for themselves by employing or engaging their own staff, what activities they will carry out on a collaborative basis (e.g. through a lead consortium arrangement or through collaboration with local authorities), and what activities they wish to buy from external support organisations.
Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the total running costs for the Queen Alexandra hospital in Portsmouth was paid to the PFI provider in 2009-10; and what proportion of the total is projected to be paid to that provider in (a) 2010-11 and (b) each subsequent year for which projections have been made. 
Mr Simon Burns: The information is not held in the format requested. Information is collected by trust, not by individual hospital. Queen Alexandra hospital is part of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which comprises more than one site. The data provided in the following table relates to the proportion of total revenue expenditure by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust in respect of its private finance initiative (PFI) scheme.
|Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust-proportion of total revenue expenditure relating to PFI scheme|
|Percentage of total operating expenses relating to PFI|
1. The figures provided represent the net operating expenses in respect of PFI schemes as a proportion of total operating expenses.
2. 2009-10 accounts were compiled under International Finance Reporting Standards, under which PFI costs in the audited summarisation schedules of trusts are split between capital repayments and revenue expenditure elements. An estimate of the PFI unitary payment for 2009-10 is held centrally by the Department as well as the audited outturn revenue expenditure figure for the Trust for this year. The percentage figure for this year is calculated using these two figures.
Audited Summarisation Schedules 2009-10
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he has taken to ensure consistent assurance by strategic health authorities of acute provider CQUIN data returns, with regard to the requirement under the national goal to reduce avoidable death, disability and chronic ill health from venous thromboembolism for census data returns, rather than sample data returns. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department issued guidance on the national mandatory venous thromboembolism (VTE) risk assessment data collection in March 2010 and May 2010. This guidance included a specific expectation that medical directors of provider organisations take responsibility for local assurance of VTE risk assessment procedures and also the involvement of strategic health authority medical directors in respect of quality assurance of our national approach to VTE risk assessment data collection.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the amount of money that has been paid in each strategic health authority area to acute providers through commissioners as part of the CQUIN National Goal to reduce avoidable death, disability and chronic ill health from venous thromboembolism; 
(2) whether any primary care trusts have withheld CQUIN payments to acute providers in any cases where the acute provider has met the requirements of the CQUIN National Goal to reduce avoidable death, disability and chronic ill health from venous thromboembolism. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department does not hold information centrally on commissioning for quality and innovation (CQUIN) payments. This is solely for commissioners and providers to agree and manage through their local contractual relationship.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to ensure that strategic health authorities have made primary care trust commissioners aware of the contractual obligations contained in the standard NHS contract for acute hospitals
under which acute service providers must report to their lead commissioner through monthly audits of the percentage of patients receiving appropriate prophylaxis after risk assessment using the national tool, coupled with a report of root cause analysis of all confirmed cases of hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism. 
Mr Simon Burns: The national health service standard contracts are used by primary care trusts (PCTs) when commissioning NHS funded care from all provider types. Strategic health authorities as local system managers, are responsible for ensuring that PCTs have signed contracts with their providers in line with requirements set out in the Operating Framework. Where a provider fails to provide the information required by a PCT, commissioners can levy a financial withholding until the data are provided. The withholding is based on 1% of the total of the monthly contract value.
This report supports the need for the Department's plans to take a radical new approach to public health, with more effective national and local systems for tackling key public health challenges, such as tuberculosis.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when his Department last published a Welsh language scheme in accordance with the provisions of the Welsh Language Act 1993; and at which web addresses such schemes can be accessed in (a) Welsh and (b) English. 
Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether (a) his Department and (b) the public bodies for which it is responsible contracts services from Addison Lee private hire taxi company. 
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people attended adult education courses in (a) the London Borough of Newham and (b) London in (i) 2008 and (ii) 2009. 
|Further education adult (19+) participation by geography in 2007/08 and 2008/09|
|(1) Figures for 2008/09 are not directly comparable to earlier years as the introduction of demand-led funding has changed how data is collected and how funded learners are defined from 2008/09 onwards. More information on demand led funding is available at:|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.
2. Age is based on learner age at the start of the academic year.
3. Government office region and local authority are based upon the home postcode of the learner. The England figure includes learners whose postcode is outside of England or unknown.
4. Information in this table is based on all Government-funded learners.
5. These data include FE, apprenticeships/work based learning, Train to Gain, Adult Safeguarded Learning and University for Industry funding streams.
Individualised Learner Record
Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the redundancy costs arising from the closure of Consumer Focus in the next three years. 
Mr Davey: We are working closely with Consumer Focus, Citizens Advice, and others on the; proposed transfer of sectoral advocacy functions to Citizens Advice. The number and cost of any redundancies will depend on the number of staff required to participate in the proposed new model of consumer representation. We will consult in the spring of 2011 on our proposals, including options for implementation.
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which buildings occupied by his Department were damaged during the demonstration in Parliament Square on 9 December 2010; what estimate he has of the cost of repairs; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to protect from damage the buildings leased by his Department from damage during demonstrations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Davey: The Department is currently liaising with the police on what measures we should take to protect our buildings during demonstrations and looking at experience across departments as well as normal security sources.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department has spent on (a) consultants and (b) temporary employees in each month since April 2010. 
Mr Davey: The following table shows monthly spend by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on consultants and temporary employees since April 2010. In producing these figures, we have used the Office for National Statistics (ONS) definition of 'temporary/casual employees' which is:
"those who have a fixed term contract of 12 months or less or are employed on a casual basis."
|2010||Spend on consultants||Spend on temporary employees|
Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of quality management statements in assisting with contract decisions by his Department; and what assessment he has made of the effects on the prospects for small businesses of winning contracts of such statements. 
Mr Davey: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills assesses quality management statements at pre-qualification and tender stages and uses these to evaluate both the ability of the company to deliver the project and any value for money implications. A wide range of suppliers including small businesses have proved themselves successful in satisfying the requirements of quality management statements.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department spent on overtime for staff working within his private office in each of the last five years. 
|(1) 2005-06: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).|
(2) 2006-07: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
(3) 2007-08: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) until June 2007 and then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
(4) 2008-09: Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
(5) 2009-10: Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) until June 2009 and then merged with Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) in June 2009 to form Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Therefore 2009-10 figure includes overtime costs for both Departments during the period April to June 2009.
Dr Creasy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many submissions his Department received to his call for evidence on consumer credit and personal insolvency; and how many such submissions (a) referenced the need for steps to address the cost of credit and (b) called for a cap on the amount that can be charged for credit. 
Mr Davey: As of 15 December the call for evidence has received 184 substantive submissions. The call for evidence closed on 10 December but to ensure we obtain all the evidence to enable us to make the best decisions for consumers and business, my Department has agreed to accept late submissions and these are still being received.
We have received 43 responses to the questions on an interest rate cap for credit and store cards and 56 responses that referenced interest rate caps on high cost credit products have been received. 53 responses to the questions on OFT's review of high cost credit have also been received.
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many posts in his Department have been unfilled in each month since April 2010; and what the saving from the non-filling of such posts has been in that period. 
Mr Davey: As part of the £6.2 billion savings announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in May, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills committed to making savings of £38 million (11% reduction in running cost budgets) in 2010-11.
The Department's systems do not currently monitor the number of posts that are unfilled in each month. As part of the £38 million savings, we have successfully concluded a voluntary exit scheme which has seen a 330 reduction on the core Department's headcount. The full year saving from this will be £16.4 million, with £8.2 million of these savings accruing in the current financial year.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment Ofcom has made of the effects of the formation of Everything Everywhere on the competitive position of the broadband market in the UK. 
Mr Vaizey: The matter raised is the responsibility of the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which is accountable to Parliament rather than Ministers. According to Ofcom, the competition issues relating to the merger between T-Mobile and Orange that resulted in the formation of Everything Everywhere were looked at by the European Commission, involving Ofcom in the process. This considered all potential impacts that the merger might have in the various affected markets.
A particular potential concern was the joint venture's holdings of spectrum and the potential impacts these would have on future competition in mobile broadband services. The Commission also focused on the impact that the merger would have on the network sharing agreement held between T-Mobile and Hutchison 3G. The Commission accepted undertakings to divest spectrum holdings in the 1.8 GHz band and the merging parties' commitment to maintain the network sharing agreement to enable competition in the future.
Furthermore, and separately from the merger, in terms of the future development of the mobile broadband market, the Secretary of State will direct Ofcom to do a competition assessment in connection with the release of spectrum in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands, and Ofcom is already working on such an assessment.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2010, Official Report, columns 594-5W, on export credit guarantees, with how many exporters in (a) Lancashire, (b) Haslingden and (c) Hyndburn the Export Credits Guarantee Department has engaged since 2005. 
Recently, ECGD attended an exhibition and conference run by the Energy Industries Council (EIC), a national trade association, in Manchester where local companies as well as others were represented including the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) local representatives. ECGD has also engaged with the International Trade Adviser representing UKTI in the north-west.
ECGD does not have comprehensive details of all the companies with which it made contact in this context and has no record of having specifically made contact with companies in Haslingden and Hyndburn, but does not rule this out.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has assessed the merits of (a) applying a total cost of borrowing figure to high street bank overdraft fees and charges and (b) temporarily applying an annual percentage rate to high street bank overdrafts to enable consumers to compare the cost of such overdrafts to other short-term cash solutions. 
Mr Davey: As part of the review of consumer credit and personal insolvency, BIS and HM Treasury issued a joint call for evidence in October. The call for evidence closed on 10 December. As part of this review evidence was collected on the impact of high bank charges. BIS and HMT are working through this evidence and will be coming forward with proposals in due course.
|UK trade in goods and services with Israel 2000-2009: (£ million, current prices)|
|UK exports to Israel||UK imports from Israel|
United Kingdom Balance of Payments, The Pink Book, ONS
Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of students beginning undergraduate degree courses in English universities in (a) 1990, (b) 1995, (c) 2000, (d) 2005 and (e) 2007 completed their course and graduated. 
Information on completion rates at English higher education institutions is shown in the table for the 1996/97, 2000/01, 2005/06 and 2007/08 academic years. Completion rate refers to the proportion of UK-domiciled full-time first degree starters who are projected to gain a first degree qualification. Figures for 1990 and 1995 are not available and the earliest available information on completion rates, for the 1996/97 academic
year, is provided here as an alternative. More information on completion rates in higher education is available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency at the following link
|Projected completion rates for full-time first degree starters( 1) English higher education institutions: Academic years 1996/ 97, 2000/ 01, 2005/ 06 and 2007/ 08|
|Academic Year||Completion rate (%)|
|(1) Refers to UK-domiciled full-time first degree students of all ages starting a first degree who were projected to gain a first degree qualification: this completion rate is calculated by identifying a group of starting students known as a cohort, consisting of all students who started at UK higher education institutions on a full-time first degree course of study in a particular year. Their future progression outcomes-whether they qualify, transfer to another institution, or do not continue-are then projected, based on current progression patterns at higher education institutions.|
Percentages are given to one decimal place.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA): Performance Indicators in higher education in the UK
Liz Kendall: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many pupils not eligible for free school meals took up a place at each university in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-7 and (c) 2007-8. 
Mr Willetts: The information requested is shown in the table. These figures relate to pupils who were not in receipt of free school meals (FSM). The figures may include pupils who are eligible for FSM but do not claim. These figures have been estimated using matched data from the National Pupil Database and the Higher Education Statistics Agency Student Record. These rounded estimates allow for a small margin of error that arises as result of the matching procedure deployed.
|Estimates of the number of non-FSM pupils aged 15 in English maintained schools who progress to HE by age 19, by higher education institution|
|UK Higher Education Institution||2005/06||2006/07||2007/08|
1. All figures are estimates and have been rounded to the nearest five, figures less than 5 are shown as '-', zero counts are shown as '0'.
2. Pupils' eligibility for free school meals is based on those recorded as such on Pupil Level Census. As this is a snapshot of pupils in one year, this may include pupils who claimed free school meals in previous years.
Matched data from the National Pupil Database, the Higher Education Statistics Agency Student Record and the Learning and Skills Council Individualised Learner Record.
Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people resident in Birmingham, Ladywood constituency (a) applied to attend university in the academic year 2010/11 and (b) were successful in their applications; and what proportion of each were from disadvantaged backgrounds. 
Applicants who were not accepted for entry can include: individuals who did not receive any offer; individuals who received an offer (conditional or unconditional) but decided not to go to University; individuals who received a conditional offer and fail to meet the specific conditions (e.g. they do not achieve certain grades); and individuals who decided to withdraw from the UCAS system.
|Area background||Applicants||% of total||Accepted applicants||% of total|
|(1) For the purposes of their funding allocations, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) treat entrants from the most disadvantaged 40 per cent of neighbourhoods as 'disadvantaged'|
HEFCE uses two different groupings of areas to define disadvantage which are based on the historic levels of participation or qualification in higher education by the local population: one based on the participation rates of young (19 and under) people in HE (which is used by HEFCE when looking at young full-time entrants); and one based on the proportion of adults in the area who hold HE qualifications (which is used by HEFCE when looking at part-time and mature full-time entrants). Because this table includes applicants and accepted applicants of all ages disadvantage is defined by the HE qualified adults measure.
UCAS provisional end of year data (represents applicants and accepted applicants at October 13 2010; end of year data will be available from 20th January 2011).
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the proportion of students at higher education institutions who (a) have a physical disability and (b) use a wheelchair. 
|Enrolments( 1) by Disability UK Higher Education Institutions-academic year 2008/09|
|Disability||Percentage of known|
|(1) Covers enrolments of all domiciles on all levels and modes of study.|
Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population and have been rounded to the nearest five.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
Mr McFadden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much he plans to allocate to each of the access and participation funds for higher education set out in footnote 62 on page 60 of the Browne Review of higher education funding. 
Mr Willetts: The; annual grant letter the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) was issued on 20 December. It sets out the council's budget for 2011-12 and our priorities for the use of that funding. We restate in the letter our commitment to the continuance of funding to encourage widening access and participation. However, it is for the council to determine the level of funding to particular streams such as these. The Government's response to Lord Browne's recommendations on an Access and Success fund will be set out in the Higher Education White Paper.
Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has made an assessment of the effects of his proposals to reduce the teaching grant on (a) the University of Liverpool, (b) Liverpool John Moores University and (c) Liverpool Hope University. 
Mr Willetts: Our proposals for reform are a package which involves university funding flowing via the informed choices of students rather than through teaching grant. It will be for each individual institution to respond to the opportunities given by the new arrangements. We see no reason why the institutions in Liverpool should not thrive in the new environment given their existing reputations.
Mr Willetts: This information is not held by the Department. There is information about the financial health of the higher education sector in Universities UK's annual survey 'Patterns of Higher Education in the UK: 10th Report', published in
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what (a) crtieria and (b) timescale he has set for assessing the effects of the proposed East End of London HighTech Hub in terms of (i) jobs created, (ii) level of exports and (iii) other factors. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 November 2010, Official Report, column 644W,
on the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which contracts his Department had with the IFS between 2005-06 and 2010-11; what the monetary value was of each such contract; and what tender process was undertaken in each case. 
|Contract purpose||Procurement method||Value (£)|
|(1) All figures are inclusive of VAT|
The original contract values were, in some cases, slightly higher than the final amounts paid.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 November 2010, Official Report, column 1049, on Lloyds Banking Group shareholders, whether the terms of reference of the Independent Commission on Banking include consideration of the position of shareholders of Lloyds Banking Group; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Prisk: The Terms of Reference of the Independent Commission on Banking were published at the time of its creation on 16 June 2010. The Terms of Reference are available to view on the Commission's website. The Commission is independent and will report to the Cabinet Committee on Banking.
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he plans to take to facilitate and support shared local enterprise partnership projects between regions. 
Mr Prisk: In the White Paper on Local Growth we encourage co-operation between partnerships where this would result in a more efficient use of resources and secure a better outcome than operating in isolation. This co-operation need not be restricted to neighbouring partnerships and will be particularly important where partnerships share a common interest. We will not be prescriptive how this co-operation is achieved; local enterprise partnerships are not Government bodies and are being developed from the bottom up.
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the likely number of approved local enterprise partnerships that will be in place by April 2011. 
Mr Prisk: To date 27 local enterprise partnerships have met the Government's expectations and have been asked to put their governance arrangements in place. Other partnerships continue to develop their proposals so they can be in a similar position. We will continue to engage with prospective partnerships at a speed that is appropriate for them.
Mr Prisk: The Government are committed to working with each new local enterprise partnership to enable them to establish their roles and functions. Partnerships will differ across the country in both form and functions in order to best meet local circumstances and opportunities. As such there will be no one process for this engagement.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 December 2010, Official Report, column 799W, on the Newcastle Gateshead Local Enterprise Partnership, what he considers to be an appropriate economic geography for the coverage of a local enterprise partnership. 
Mr Prisk: As set out in the White Paper on Local Growth, the Government's consideration regarding economic geography are whether the geography proposed represents a reasonable natural economic geography and whether the geography is supported by business and is sufficiently strategic.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans his Department has to increase the level of remanufacturing as part of the UK's low carbon economy agenda. 
Mr Prisk: Remanufacturing is an important feature of the move to a low carbon economy. Any process which reduces costs, waste and carbon emissions, while meeting demand and serving the economy, is to be welcomed.
This Department, working with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, is carrying out a review of energy intensive sectors, such as iron and steel and aluminium, which will consider how remanufacturing-and recycling-will play a role in ensuring the future competitiveness of these sectors in the low carbon economy. It is without doubt that there will be a growing global demand for these goods over the course of this century, so the challenge for Governments is to find a way to meet this demand whilst also ensuring carbon emissions are reduced to acceptable levels.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many complaints his Department received on (a) Mortgage Express and (b) Bradford and Bingley in the latest period in which figures are available. 
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the recommendations of the First Report from the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, Session 2010-11, HC 434, on the new local enterprise partnerships: an initial assessment, if he will put in place mechanisms to ensure that assets owned by the regional development agencies which are not of national strategic importance are not sold to developers unless they can demonstrate that their proposed use of the relevant asset will benefit the local economy. 
Mr Prisk: Any sale of regional development agency assets will be in accordance with the principles outlined in the Local Growth White Paper (CM7961) paragraphs 2.45-2.47. These include as a primary consideration the aim to achieve the best possible outcome for the region consistent with achieving value for the public purse.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department to date of work by Opinion Leader Research as part of Ofcom's review of relay services. 
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what consultation with groups representing deaf and hearing-impaired people was undertaken by Opinion Leader Research as part of Ofcom's review of relay services. 
Mr Vaizey: Ofcom commissioned Opinion Leader to conduct research among UK adults (aged 16+) who either currently use, or may have a need for, access to relay services. They conducted qualitative research with 94 individuals and 323 people took part in quantitative research. During the design of the research Opinion Leader took some informal advice from organisations with some experience of conducting research with similar groups of individuals.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the principal (a) assets and (b) liabilities are of One North East; what plans he has for the future of those residual assets and liabilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Prisk: The principal assets and liabilities of One North East are set out in its report and accounts for 2009-10 (HC125). These will be handled in the accordance with the principles outlined in the Local Growth White Paper (CM7961) paragraphs 2.45-2.47.
Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he plans to promote trade and investment opportunities between the UK and other Commonwealth countries. 
Mr Prisk: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) are the Government's lead trade and investment promotion organisation and is present in 96 markets around the world. Working with other Departments, UKTI's strategy is to focus its resources in the markets where there is greatest demand from business for UKTI services, reflecting actual and potential opportunities in these markets.
UKTI recognises that many Commonwealth countries represent key markets for the UK and its teams are working to encourage more UK companies to do business in and with them. Dealings with Commonwealth countries reflect the diversity of UKTI's overseas market coverage, including:
The development of business opportunities in high growth markets such as Singapore and India. The Prime Minister, for example, led a major visit to India, including a business delegation, earlier this year.
Maintaining and developing business links with the UK's major developed markets, such as Canada and Australia.
Maximising the benefits from British cultural links in developing opportunities in the Caribbean and Africa.
UKTI also works where appropriate with Commonwealth institutions, particularly the Commonwealth Business Council, on maximising the business benefit from high profile events where these are in line with UKTI's strategic priorities. Examples of such activities include the Commonwealth games; the business elements of visits to the UK by Commonwealth Heads of State from high growth markets; and business events in the margins of Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings (e.g. in November 2009, UKTI's team in Trinidad and Tobago hosted the Commonwealth Business Forum-UKTI Business Breakfast, in the margins of the CHG meeting).
These figures exclude notional budgets to cover non-cash costs such as depreciation.
An indicative allocation for the London Development Agency will be communicated to them in due course. Final allocations to all RDAs are expected to be issued in March 2011. Additional funds are being held centrally to cover transition and closure costs.
Subject to the passage of the Public Bodies Bill, the Regional Development Agencies outside London are expected to close by 31 March 2012. No allocations are being made to them after that date. It is expected that legal commitments remaining at the time of closure will transfer to successor bodies and that resources to enable project completion will be provided from the spending review settlement.
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what mechanism is in place for the transfer of EU funding from regional development agencies to local enterprise partnerships. 
Mr Prisk: Regional development agencies (RDAs) will continue to manage the European regional development funds (ERDF) until new arrangements are in place. New arrangements will be announced next March. The programmes remain open with projects continuing to be appraised and approved. Going forward, we expect that local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) will be beneficiaries of EU funds.
Delivery of funding through the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) will transfer from RDAs to DEFRA. DEFRA will engage with LEPs with a rural interest on future arrangements for the programme.
Mr Prisk: The transition plans, which are still being developed, are owned by individual regional development agencies (RDA). RDAs have significant assets and liabilities, and the plans for their disposal will be commercially sensitive. The plans will also contain details of how staffing numbers are proposed to be reduced in the run up to closure, anticipated in March 2012. I do not therefore believe publication will be possible though the RDAs will continue to adhere to the normal transparency requirements.
Mr Prisk: The Regional Growth Fund is a challenge fund that is open to bids from the private sector, or public private partnership from any part of England. Bids will be expected to demonstrate how they meet the Fund's two published objectives:
stimulate enterprise by providing support for projects and programmes with significant potential for economic growth and create additional sustainable private sector employment; and
support in particular those areas and communities that are currently dependent on the public sector make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity.
BIS has also published an outline of the Fund's appraisal process, part of which includes an assessment by an independent Advisory Panel chaired by my noble Friend Lord Heseltine. All of these are available on the Regional Growth Fund web page:
At all stages in the appraisal and approval process, the only criteria applications will be judged against are those that are published. A ministerial decision-making panel will consider bids recommended by the advisory panel, and will take into account in their decision, the extent to which different areas are reliant on public sector employment by looking at a range of evidence, including official statistics, evidence supplied in bids and the work of the DWP labour market group.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on what dates (a) he, (b) other Ministers in his Department and (c) departmental officials have met representatives of Royal Mail Group on the future of Royal Mail since 1 October 2010. 
7 October with Moya Greene;
2 November with Moya Greene;
29 November with Donald Brydon and Moya Greene;
9 December with Donald Brydon and Moya Greene.
8 December with Moya Greene.
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