Previous Section Index Home Page


TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Motor Industry

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints were received by the Director General of Fair Trading of unfair practice by insurance company-owned motor industry vehicle body repair shops in 2000. [155141]

Dr. Howells: The Director General of Fair Trading received six complaints of unfair practice by insurance company-owned motor industry vehicle body repair shops in 2000.

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his policy towards competition in the UK motor vehicle body repair industry; and if he will make a statement. [155139]

Dr. Howells: Under UK competition law, it is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading to monitor competition in the UK motor vehicle body repair industry.

Gas and Electricity Licences

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to publish the standard licence conditions for gas and electricity licences. [155950]

Mr. Hain: The final draft of the standard licence conditions for gas and electricity have been published today. Following the two consultations which were undertaken last year, I am inviting final comments--particularly on drafting--from all interested parties by the end of April.

It is currently planned that the standard licence conditions should be formally determined in May, and should come into effect shortly afterwards.

Business Investment (London)

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what total new investment was in business in London in (a) 1996 and (b) the most recent year for which figures are available. [154778]

Mr. Caborn: Regional statistics on business investment are currently available for manufacturing only. The Office for National Statistics' 'Annual Business Inquiry' shows that in 1996 business investment in

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 436W

London was £1.16 billion. In 1997 (the most recent year for which information is available) investment in London was £1.3 billion.

ONS plan to extend coverage to include the service sector later this year.

Sub-post Office Closures

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sub-post offices have closed in each quarter since 1990 in Essex; and how many have been newly established. [151459]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 26 February 2001]: I understand from the Post Office that the information requested is not available, as data on post office closures are not maintained on a county basis.

Commodity and Service Prices

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in what form his Department maintains records of prices of commodities and services (a) in different regions of the United Kingdom, (b) in urban and rural areas, (c) comparatively with other EU member states and (d) in the Republic of Ireland; and if he will list those categories of goods and services for which price information is monitored. [154560]

Dr. Howells: The Department collects information on energy prices as set out; however it does not routinely collect information on the prices of other commodities or services.

Petroleum product prices

Average UK prices of lead replacement petrol, premium unleaded petrol, ultra low sulphur diesel, standard grade burning oil and gas oil are collected on a weekly basis by the Department. These figures are published by the European Commission in its weekly "Oil Bulletin" which contains comparable prices for the other EU member states. Average prices are also collected on a monthly basis for these fuels and for super-unleaded petrol. These are also published in the "Oil Bulletin", as well as in the DTI monthly publication "Energy Trends" and in the annual "Digest of UK Energy Statistics".

Industrial energy prices

The DTI collects average prices for fuel purchased by manufacturing industry in Great Britain on a quarterly basis. These figures are published in "Energy Trends" and in the annual "Digest of UK Energy Statistics". Average prices are published for gas, electricity, coal, heavy fuel oil and gas oil, broken down by size of consumer. The average prices for medium fuel oil, liquefied petroleum gases and hard coke are also published, however these are not broken down by size of consumer. The data are not analysed on a regional basis.

Certain elements of these data are also provided to the International Energy Agency (IEA) for inclusion in their publication "Energy Prices and Taxes" where information on prices paid by industry in other OECD countries is presented.

The DTI also collects data on industrial prices for gas and electricity for Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities), as part of the directive on transparency of gas and electricity prices. The figures are published by Eurostat in their series "Statistics in Focus".

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 437W

The data are for certain sizes of consumers in specific towns in the UK and also for the UK as a whole. Comparable data for other EU member states are presented in the publication.

Household energy prices

Average household prices for gas and electricity are collected on a regional basis and on a UK basis. For electricity, the regions follow those of the regional electricity distribution companies. For gas, the regions follow those of Transco's local distribution zones. These figures are published in the annual "Digest of UK Energy Statistics".

Information on household electricity and gas prices for different consumption levels and in different towns in the UK is published in the Eurostat series "Statistical in Focus". Comparable data for other EU member states are presented in the publication.

Prices paid by households for other fuels are collected by the Office for National Statistics as part of the Retail Prices Index.

Non-energy prices

With the exception of energy prices, the Department does not routinely collect information on the prices of commodities, such as bread, or services, although from time to time prices may be collected as part of an individual investigation initiated by the Department. Most regular collection of price information in the UK is carried out by the Office for National Statistics. The main domestic measure of inflation in the UK is the Retail Prices Index (RPI) which includes 130,000 separate price quotations in compiling the index each month. The European Union member states compile the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HCIP) which provides similar information to the RPI across the member states of the EU. Average UK prices based on the RPI price collection are published each month for certain food items, petrol, tobacco and alcohol.

Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities) co-ordinate the European Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) exercise which compares prices of goods and services in each of the 15 countries in the European Union, and several other European countries. Results are published annually for groups of commodities and services, in the form of purchasing power parities expressed in national currencies and price level indices compared against the EU average. Detailed average prices for individual goods or services are confidential and are not published. No regional analyses for the RPI, HCIP or PPP are available.

Comic Relief (Telephone Calls)

Mr. Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to review the regulations governing the charging by telecommunications companies for telephone calls to charity events, with particular reference to Comic Relief. [155258]

Ms Hewitt: I understand that BT has made substantial donations to charity to reflect the increase in its traffic revenues generated by calls to Comic Relief. While this is a matter for the company, I welcome BT's generosity.

26 Mar 2001 : Column: 438W

Sudan

Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much ECGD cover was given for exports by British companies to Sudan in the past two years. [154906]

Mr. Caborn: None.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many export credits have been granted by the UK Government for British companies exporting to Sudan in each of the last three years; and if he will list the (a) value of each export credit and (b) companies to which they were granted. [155145]

Mr. Caborn: No export credit facilities have been provided by ECGD for exports to the Sudan during the last three years.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advice the UK Ambassador in Khartoum gives to UK (a) companies considering investment in Sudan and (b) oil companies investing in Sudan. [155136]

Mr. Caborn: The British Embassy in Khartoum provides a full range of Trade Partner UK services including frank and comprehensive advice about doing business, including the political climate.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with UK companies (a) operating and (b) considering operating in Sudan. [155149]

Mr. Caborn: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has not recently met with any UK companies to discuss Sudan or related issues.


Next Section Index Home Page