Post Offices (VED)
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many VED licences were issued through post offices in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Alan Johnson:
I understand from the Post Office that the numbers of motor vehicle licences issued through post offices in each of the last five years for which verified figures are available was as follows:
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will bring forward proposals to allow all post office and sub-post office outlets to issue VED licences; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alan Johnson:
We are giving active consideration to increasing the number of post offices and sub-post offices that can issue VED licences.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post office outlets there are in Scotland; and how many of these are authorised to issue VED licences. 
Mr. Alan Johnson:
I understand from the Post Office that at the end of December 2000 there were 1,948 post offices operating in Scotland, of which 519 were authorised to issue motor vehicle licences.
Textile and Apparel Manufacturing
Mr. Nicholas Winterton:
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what proportion of national industrial capacity is made up of textile and apparel manufacturing; 
(2) what recent representations he has received regarding the future of the United Kingdom textile manufacturing and apparel industry; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the reasons for the declining capacity of the UK textile manufacturing and apparel industry; 
(4) what recent steps his Department has taken in the domestic and international markets to promote the interests of the UK textile manufacturing and apparel industry; 
(5) what recent steps his Department has taken to encourage expansion in the capacity of the UK textile manufacturing and apparel industry. 
8 May 2001 : Column: 72W
Mr. Alan Johnson:
The Government are committed to retaining a viable textile and clothing industry and are keen to ensure that it remains as competitive as possible. With this aim in mind, my Department has worked closely with the industry-led Textile and Clothing Strategy Group (TCSG), which was established in 1999 in response to concerns from the industry about its future. We have extensive contact with the industry but it is through this forum that we receive the most comprehensive representation. The TCSG report, "A National Strategy for the UK Textile and Clothing Industry", was published on 6 June 2000, and includes a series of recommendations for action, directed both at Government and industry.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry together with my hon. Friend the Minister for Employment, Welfare to Work and Equal Opportunities made an immediate and positive response to these recommendations at the launch of the Strategy with an initial 12 Point Plan for the Industry. This package of measures is designed to enable the industry to develop and to adapt to the challenges of the knowledge economy.
The plan includes measures to support design talent, to promote and support the development and exploitation of technical textile materials as well as additional help to exporters. The extended support for exporters includes the temporary relaxation of the rules for trade fair support to enable more textiles and clothing companies to receive assistance at certain events. Trade Partners UK spent £2.8 million on SESA supported events for the financial year 2000-01 in the textiles and clothing sectors. This compares with £1.5 million in 1999-2000.
The package also provides programmes to help retrain workers who might be affected by decisions that have been taken on closures. Details of the 12-point plan and its implementation and other support available can be found on http://www.dti.gov.uk/support/textile.htm
The Government fully recognise that for a variety of reasons, including globalisation, new technology and restructuring, the textile industry in particular is under significant pressure. Government assistance in total to the textile and clothing industry since coming into office in May 1997 amounts to more than £75 million, including more than £40 million granted to textile and clothing companies by way of regional selective assistance (RSA). This RSA support has been spread across a large number of companies and has led to investment by the companies concerned of a further £250 million, safeguarding or creating 10,000 jobs in the sector.
The DTI's Consumer Goods and Services Directorate is also currently helping to fund around 30 projects aimed at supporting innovation and boosting competitiveness, and these will also encourage growth in the sector and contribute to safeguarding employment.
Value added of the UK textile and clothing industry represented 4.3 per cent. of manufacturing Gross Value Added (0.8 per cent. of total Gross Value Added) in 1999, the latest whole year for which data are available.
8 May 2001 : Column: 73W
Comprises Standard Industrial Classification Subsection DB--Manufacture of textiles and wearing apparel; dressing and dyeing of fur.
Office for National Statistics--derived from United Kingdom National Accounts 2000 ("The Blue Book", Table 2.3
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what telephone helplines to assist the public are administered by his Department and its agencies. 
[pursuant to the reply, 2 May 2001, c. 686-87W]: The Chief Executives of the Insolvency Service and the Patent Office have now replied.
Letter from Peter Joyce to Mr. Tom Levitt, dated 8 May 2001:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about telephone helplines administered by The Insolvency Service Executive Agency.
While The Service cannot give advice on specific insolvency problems, it operates the following telephone helplines;
The Insolvency Service Central Enquiry Line for general enquiries on insolvency procedures. The telephone number is 020 7291 6895 and is manned between 9 am and 5 pm. General enquiries can also be e-mailed to the Central Enquiry Line at [email protected]
The Service publishes a range of information leaflets. All its publications appear in full on its website at www.insolvency.gov.uk; and can be downloaded or ordered in hard copy from the site or by e-mailing [email protected] or from The Insolvency Service Publications Order Line on 0121 698 4241: the order line is manned between 9 am and 5 pm with an answer machine outside those hours on which an order can be left.
The disqualified directors 'hotline' answer machine is open 24 hours a day on 0845 601 3546 for members of the public to provide information about disqualified directors and bankrupts who may be contravening the law. The hotline questionnaire can also be completed and submitted online via the website.
Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses are advertised in The Service's publications and on its website. If a member of the public requires more information or has a query about a particular service or case he/she can contact the relevant Official Receiver Office or Headquarters Section direct: the postal and e-mail addresses and telephone numbers are given on The Service's website at www.insolvency.gov.uk or are available from the Central Enquiry Line.
Letter from Alison Brimelow to Mr. Tom Levitt, dated 8 May 2001:
I am replying to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 26 April 2001 which asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what telephone helplines to assist the public are administered by his Department and its Agencies.
The Patent Office, an Executive Agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, operates a Central Enquiry Unit (CEU) to deal with a wide range of intellectual property (IP) enquiries made by telephone, Email, letter and in person. The CEU operators provide advice on general IP issues; detailed advice on particular scenarios; and, handle requests for our entire range of advisory publications.
The telephone helpline can be reached via a single "lo-call rate" number (0845 9 500 505). A "lo-call rate" Minicom service is also available (0845 9 222250). These numbers are advertised on our publications and are also signposted on our website (www.patent.gov.uk) and the intellectual property Portal (www.intellectual-property.gov.uk).
8 May 2001 : Column: 74W
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the United Kingdom Passport Service will publish its Corporate and Business Plan. 
The United Kingdom Passport Service Corporate and Business Plan for 2001-06 will be published today and a copy of the plan will be placed in the Library.