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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what detailed assessment was made of the cost associated with building the new synchrotron at (a) Daresbury and (b) Oxford. 
Ms Hewitt: In May 1999 the OST commissioned ADD Consultants to consider the comparative advantages, benefits and costs of the site location and its effect on the New Synchrotron project. Their report (completed in June 1999 and made public in January 2000) considered both the Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. This report indicated some saving in running costs if the facility were located at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry commissioned a further survey into the same two sites in November 1999 and this was carried out by Allott and Lomax. Their report (completed and made public in January 2000) concluded that there were no differences in cost between constructing the facility at the Daresbury Laboratory and at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory site, within their estimation errors.
Ms Hewitt: ADD Consultants were originally commissioned by CCLRC (the Council for the Central Laboratories of the Research Councils) to write a business case for the New Synchrotron in January 1999. Because of ADD's existing involvement in the project, and the time constraints, they were a natural choice to carry out the additional study on the suitability of the sites for the new synchrotron.
Mr. Caborn: The range of assistance available to new and existing small and medium-sized businesses in East Devon, and other parts of the UK, is included in this Department's "A Guide to Help for Small Business", a copy of which I am sending to the right hon. Member. In addition, the new Small Business Service will, from April 2001, provide an enhanced service to business in England. There is also new assistance under the £180 million Enterprise Fund which will provide risk capital to the UK's small companies with growth potential.
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Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the basis of his policy for co-operating with the Wellcome Foundation and its board of trustees in funding scientific research. 
Ms Hewitt: The Office of Science and Technology is committed to working with all organisations that make a contribution to the science base and where there are clear benefits to be realised from working together. The Wellcome Trust is one of the largest biomedical research charities in the world. OST therefore co-operates with the Wellcome Trust on a number of funding initiatives aimed at ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of scientific research. In addition, the individual Research Councils work with the Trust on projects of mutual interest.
Ms Jenny Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to take action on shareholder remedies (a) within the wider review of company law and (b) as a separate issue. 
Dr. Howells: The independent Company Law Review is carrying out a fundamental review of all aspects of core company law, including shareholder remedies. The Company Law Review Steering Group is due to present its final report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in the spring of next year. The Government will then set out their response and the proposed way forward in the light of the Steering Group's recommendations.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many spin-off companies have been established in each year since 1994 by each university in the United Kingdom; how many such companies failed in each year since 1994, broken down by university; and what basic research and science underpinned each such company. 
There have however been several surveys, two conducted on behalf of the Innovation Unit in the Department of Trade and Industry and one on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. These were, respectively, the University-Industry co-operation surveys of 1995 and 1996 and the Industry-academic links in the UK report (December 98/70 Hefce).
Further measures are being introduced to monitor the spin-out activities of universities more routinely, including through the Higher Education Reach-Out to Business and the Community fund, University Challenge Fund and Science Enterprise Challenge initiatives.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what basis he monitors the performance of spin-out companies; and what makes a company eligible to be classified as a university spin-off. 
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The Government have been using the definition of a university spin-out from the Industry-Academic links in the UK report by PREST, the Policy Research in Engineering and Science & Technology Unit in the University of Manchester (December 98/70 produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England). The definition is encapsulated on page 35 in the sentence
|Year||Compensation paid (£)||Number of animals||Average amount/animal (£)|
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compensate pig farmers in the United Kingdom for the disposal of specified material on the same basis as that which applies in the Netherlands. 
Ms Quin: The Dutch authorities have confirmed that there is not a specific compensation scheme for the disposal of specified material in the Netherlands. Like the UK, however, the Netherlands is planning to introduce a restructuring scheme for its pig industry.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list those coastal areas of the UK in respect of which decisions have been taken since 1995 to abandon sea defences; and if he will make a statement. 
The responsibility for taking decisions on the abandonment of individual sea defences rests with the relevant operating authority (primarily the Environment Agency and local authorities) or private owners of defences. Information on local authorities and private owners is not readily available. The Environment Agency advise that they have taken no such decisions in this period.
Following the preparation of Shoreline Management Plans, operating authorities are undertaking detailed investigations into the continuing justification and sustainability of some sea defences. This may involve decisions about the abandonment of defences, but more likely decisions to establish a new line of defence.
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