Previous Section Index Home Page


Learning Disabilities (Shropshire)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Social Services Inspectorate expects to inspect Shropshire County Council Social Services' provision for people with learning disabilities; and if he will make a statement. [160362]

Mr. Hutton: The Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) and audit commission joint review team reviewed Shropshire Social Services Directorate (SSD) earlier this year and their report is due for publication in June. The joint reviews are conducted by audit and the SSI and make a broad assessment about how SSDs deliver their services, and manage their resources. The joint review of Shropshire did consider the services with learning disabilities and the findings will become public on the publication of the report.

When the SSI inspects local council social services it examines their quality in more depth on significant issues than the Joint Review. Currently there are no plans in the SSI work programme to undertake a further examination of learning disabilities services in Shropshire.

Infertility Treatment

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 13 March 2001, Official Report, column 583W, on surgical treatments, when he expects the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to produce guidance on the management of infertility to improve services and reduce the postcode lottery in this area of health care; and if he will make a statement. [160162]

Yvette Cooper: We expect that the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) will produce guidance on the management of infertility by December 2002. Through this work, NICE will assist us in our determination to ensure that, in the future, couples get fairer and faster access to clinically cost-effective and appropriate infertility treatments.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Arms Brokering

12. Mr. Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the proposals on arms brokering in the draft Export Control and Non-Proliferation Bill will apply to the activities of UK citizens operating wholly abroad. [159072]

Mr. Byers: The draft Bill contains a new general power to control trafficking and brokering carried out by persons in the UK or by UK persons abroad. The Government will use this power to control trafficking and brokering activities carried out by persons in the UK and by UK persons abroad, which involve the supply of arms to embargoed destinations, the supply of torture equipment or the supply of long-range missiles.

The Government have also proposed to introduce a general licensing requirement on trafficking and brokering in weapons, ammunition and other key military and para-military equipment, to any destination. We are now consulting on the possibility of applying this licensing requirement to the activities of UK persons carried out

3 May 2001 : Column: 768W

wholly abroad. A decision on this issue will be made in the light of the results of the consultation which closes on 24 May.

Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government's proposals on arms brokering, set out in conjunction with the draft Export Control and Non-proliferation Bill, will apply to activities carried out by UK passport holders operating wholly abroad. [159707]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 2 May 2001]: The draft Export Control and Non-Proliferation Bill published on 29 March contains a new general power to control trafficking and brokering carried out by persons in the UK or by UK persons abroad. As explained in the introduction to the draft Bill, the Government will use this power to control trafficking and brokering activities carried out by persons in the UK, or by UK persons abroad, which involve the supply of arms to embargoed destinations, the supply of equipment designed primarily for torture or the supply of long-range missiles.

The Government have also proposed, following their review of the proposals contained in the 1998 White Paper on Strategic Export Controls, to introduce a general licensing requirement on trafficking and brokering in weapons, ammunition and other key military and para- military equipment, to any destination. The consultation document published with the draft Bill invites views on the possibility of applying this licensing requirement to the activities of UK persons carried out wholly abroad. A decision on this issue will be made in the light of the results of the consultation which closes on 24 May.

Wind Energy

14. Mr. Savidge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to promote energy from offshore wind. [159074]

18. Mr. Corbett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to encourage the development of electricity from offshore windfarms. [159080]

Mr. Hain: I refer my hon. Friends to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Waveney (Mr. Blizzard).

Foot and Mouth

15. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received regarding the impact of the foot and mouth outbreak on rural businesses. [159075]

Ms Hewitt: My Ministerial colleagues and I have to date received 320 pieces of correspondence about the foot and mouth outbreak, nearly all of them relating to the impact on rural businesses. Apart from that correspondence, I have had no specific representations from business but the issue has been raised with me in the context of other meetings.

I recently addressed members of the Federation of Small Businesses at their conference in Plymouth and met affected businesses there.

3 May 2001 : Column: 769W

In addition, David Irwin, the Chief Executive of the Small Business Service, recently met a number of small businesses in Cumbria affected by the outbreak.

26. Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the role played by the Small Business Service during the current foot and mouth outbreak. [159089]

Ms Hewitt: The Small Business Service is playing an active role--directly--and via the Business Link network, in supporting small businesses during the crisis. SBS has set up a Rural Helpline and recently produced an information leaflet to ensure that small businesses are fully aware of the package of help available. Over 1.5 million leaflets are being distributed via, for example banks and rural post offices.

SBS has also made provision for Tourist and retail business suffering financial problems due to the effects of the disease. Such businesses are now eligible to apply for loans of up to £250,000 as a result of the SBS' extension to their Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme.

Gas Prices

16. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on recent trends in gas prices. [159076]

Mr. Hain: The wholesale price of gas has followed the upward trend set in the spring of 2000 and is now trading at around 10p per therm more than a year ago.

This has had a direct effect on prices to all classes of consumer. Centrica, the main domestic supplier, increased their retail price of gas by 4.7 per cent. on 1 April and other domestic suppliers have also raised prices. Industrial and commercial prices have risen on average by around 50 per cent. in the year to 1 March 2001. However they are still substantially lower than in other EU member states.

National Working Council Directive

17. Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the proposed National Working Council directive. [159078]

Mr. Alan Johnson: Neither the Government nor the European Commission are proposing to bring forward a National Working Council directive.

High-tech Businesses (Milton Keynes)

19. Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action his Department is taking to create the environment for growing high-tech businesses in Milton Keynes. [159082]

Ms Hewitt: We are doing a great deal. The Department supports high-tech businesses through a range of initiatives and programmes.

Universal Bank

20. Mr. Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on progress with the universal bank. [159083]

3 May 2001 : Column: 770W

Mr. Alan Johnson: Discussions with the banks on Universal Banking Services are at an advanced stage. I hope that they will be resolved shortly.

UK/Romania Aerospace Co-operation

21. Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the aerospace industry regarding developing industrial co-operation with Romania. [159084]

Mr. Alan Johnson: During the recent visit to the UK of President lliescu of Romania, my hon. Friend the Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs attended a luncheon to encourage the development of closer co-operation between the UK and Romanian aerospace industries. At this event the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) and the Association of Romanian Aerospace Companies (OPIAR) signed a Memorandum Of Understanding to reinforce the commitment to promoting and developing the relationship between our respective industries.

My Department is keen to further develop our existing industrial relationship with Romania and will continue to fully support progress in this area.


Next Section Index Home Page