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TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Corus

Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what factors arising from the downsizing of Corus will be taken into account in his current review of company law. [154515]

Dr. Howells: The wide-ranging review of company law launched by Government in 1998 is being conducted by an independent steering group of company law experts, business people and others. It is expected to present a final

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report to Ministers later this year. I am sure that the steering group will take all relevant factors into account in reaching its conclusions and recommendations.

Miners' Compensation

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what arrangements his Department has made for undertaking further medical assessment procedures in the north east of Wales since the current office was refused planning permission by Wrexham County Borough Council. [154545]

Mr. Hain: Healthcall has been asked to cease assessments in May. There are only a small number of claimants in the Wrexham area and Healthcall is investigating alternative sites in the area for the portakabin modular unit with the help of the local council.

In addition, Healthcall is in the process of equipping two mobile testing units to be used throughout Great Britain. If it is unable to identify an alternative site for the portakabin it plans to use the mobile units to test in Wrexham as and when the need arises.

I visited this site recently and have given an undertaking that there will be no disruptions or delay to the processing of claims of appointments.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many more claims for compensation his Department expects to receive from ex-miners and their families from the north east of Wales. [154547]

Mr. Hain: It is difficult to forecast the number of further claims of compensation for respiratory disease expected. Nation-wide, there are currently 1,000 new claims initiated in respect of respiratory disease each week. The current number of claims is currently 140,000.

In relation to vibration white finger, VWF, there was a cut-off date on 30 September 2000. The total number of claims is 118,000.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what timescale his Department has for processing claims for compensation from ex-miners and their families from the north east of Wales. [154546]

Mr. Hain: It is difficult to say how long it will take before the last claim is assessed in the north east of Wales. New claims can still be made and across the UK there are about 1,000 new claims each week. We are prioritising the most injured and eldest miners and widows.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims from ex-miners and their widows from the north east of Wales coalfield his Department has received in the last five years. [154548]

Mr. Hain: In the area of north east Wales, as defined by the postcodes LL11-16, 18-22, 24, 26, 28-29, 32-34, CH1 and 4-8, IRISC, the Department's claims handlers, have registered 1,256 claims in respect of compensation for respiratory disease and 549 claims in relation to vibration white finger, VWF. To date, there have been 371 individual payments totalling £1.37 million in respect of respiratory disease and 139 individual payments in respect of VWF amounting to £0.66 million.

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Gas and Electricity Prices

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the price paid for electricity and gas (a) by very large consumers in the United Kingdom steel industry and (b) by their competitors in Europe. [154276]

Mr. Hain: Figures are not separately available for energy prices to the iron and steel industry.

In general, industrial consumers in the UK paid lower prices in real terms for electricity in 2000 than in any year since 1970. Average prices paid by industrial consumers for electricity in the UK in 1999 were seventh lowest of the 12 EU member states for which data are available. We recognise that some large industrial consumers may be paying more for electricity than their EU counterparts.

In general, industrial consumers in the UK paid higher prices in real terms for gas in 2000 than in 1999, however they remain lower than in any year prior to 1996. Average

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prices paid by industrial consumers for gas in the UK in 1999 were the lowest of the eight EU member states for which data are available. The latest information available suggests that large industrial consumers are continuing to pay less for gas than their EU counterparts, despite the recent increases in prices.

The Department conducts a quarterly survey of 1,200 manufacturing companies in Great Britain, the results of which are published in "Energy Trends". Data collected by this survey for Quarter 3 2000 indicate that extra large industrial users of electricity, i.e. those consuming more than 150 GWh per annum, pay 2.54 p/kWh and that large industrial users of gas, i.e. those consuming more than 8.8 GWh per annum, pay 0.529 p/kWh.

Data from Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Commission, for electricity and gas prices to different sizes of consumer are published twice a year in their "Statistics in Focus" publication. The latest available information for the largest consumers from this source are presented below:

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Natural gas prices for industry, pence per kwh

1 January 2000 1 July 2000
Size I4-2 (116.3 GWh p.a.)Size I5 (1163 GWh p.a.)Size I4-2 (116.3 GWh p.a.)Size I5 (1163 GWh p.a.)
Belgium--National0.66n/a0.84n/a
Denmark--Nationaln/an/an/an/a
Germany--Dusseldorf0.940.771.190.85
Spain--Madrid0.840.841.021.02
France--Paris0.83n/a0.97n/a
Ireland--Dublinn/an/an/an/a
Italy--Milan0.84n/a1.05n/a
Luxembourg--City1.08n/a1.34n/a
Netherlands--Rotterdam0.820.65n/an/a
Austria--Viennan/an/an/an/a
Finland--National0.860.720.960.75
Sweden--Nationaln/an/an/an/a
UK--National0.650.520.710.52

Notes:

1. Prices include all taxes unless refunded. Prices converted using monthly average exchange rates.

2. n/a indicates that data are not available, usually because of confidentiality issues.

Source:

Derived from Eurostat Statistics in Focus


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Electricity prices for industry, pence per kWh

1 January 2000 1 July 2000
Size Ih (50 GWh p.a., 10MW, 5,000 hrs)Size Ii (70 GWh p.a., 10MW, 7,000 hrs)Size Ih (50 GWh p.a., 10MW, 5,000 hrs)Size Ii (70 GWh p.a., 10MW, 7,000 hrs)
Belgium--National3.012.583.172.72
Denmark--Nationaln/an/an/an/a
Germany--Dusseldorf2.862.593.873.44
Spain--Madrid3.503.233.503.23
France--Paris2.802.52n/an/a
Ireland--Dublin3.313.013.313.04
Italy--National4.073.664.544.13
Luxembourg-Grand Duchy2.712.382.722.40
Netherlands--Rotterdamn/an/an/an/a
Austria--Viennan/an/an/an/a
Finland--National1.921.851.931.85
Sweden--National1.791.671.911.78
UK--National3.173.113.323.09

Notes:

1. Prices include all taxes unless refunded. Prices converted using monthly average exchange rates.

2. n/a indicates that data are not available, usually because of confidentiality issues.

Source:

Derived from Eurostat Statistics in Focus

Data from a private consultant, "Energy Advice", indicate the latest prices for these sizes of consumer are as follows:


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Gas prices for industry, pence per kWh

1 January 2000 1 July 2000 1 February 2001
Size D (106 GWh p.a.)Size F (1164 GWh p.a.)Size D (106 GWh p.a.)Size F (1164 GWh p.a.)Size D (106 GWh p.a.)Size F (1164 GWh p.a.)
Belgium0.760.690.960.891.211.13
Germany0.990.721.301.011.621.18
France0.850.801.000.951.251.20
Italy0.940.841.171.021.391.19
Netherlands0.830.691.000.861.251.12
UK0.560.510.570.510.770.73

Notes:

1. Prices include non-refundable taxes.

2. UK prices are estimated averages of all suppliers. New contract prices in mid February are estimated as 1.01-1.06 pence per kWh for large consumers on firm supply terms and 0.92-1.01 pence per kWh for interruptible supplies.

Source:

Energy Advice


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Electricity prices for industry, pence per kWh

1 January 2000 1 July 2000 1 February 2001
Size Ciii (52.5 GWh p.a., 10MW, 5,250 hrs)Size Civ (70 GWh p.a., 10MW, 7,000 hrs)Size Ciii (52.5 GWh p.a., 10MW, 5,250 hrs)Size Civ (70 GWh p.a., 10MW, 7,000 hrs)Size Ciii (52.5 GWh p.a., 10MW, 5,250 hrs)Size Civ (70 GWh p.a., 10MW, 7,000 hrs)
Belgium3.142.723.242.833.272.87
Germany3.202.793.132.523.312.68
rance3.002.702.822.552.842.56
Italy3.853.434.634.504.834.72
Netherlands3.262.963.353.152.812.77
UK3.523.413.082.973.082.97

Note:

Prices include non-refundable taxes.

Source:

Energy Advice


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21 Mar 2001 : Column: 227W

Electricity prices for industry, pence per kWh

Size Eiv. 80MW Special Contracts/ "As Found", 1 February 2001
Minimum Maximum
Belgium2.402.62
Germany2.102.52
France2.032.21
Italy3.974.10
Netherlands2.252.45
UK2.352.87

Note:

Prices include non-refundable taxes.

Source:

Energy Advice



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