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Mortality Rates

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mortality rates are for (a) those aged between 55 to 60 years and (b) those aged 60 years, broken down by (i) social class, (ii) sex and (iii) socio-economic ranking. [161050]

Miss Melanie Johnson: This is a matter for the National Statistician, whom I have asked to write to the hon. Gentleman.

11 May 2001 : Column: 436W

Tax Law Rewrite

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress has been achieved by the tax law rewrite project in the last year; and what plans it has for the coming year. [161124]

Dawn Primarolo: I am pleased to announce that the Tax Law Rewrite project has continued to make excellent progress in the past 12 months. The Inland Revenue will shortly publish a report which reviews the recent progress of the project and outlines its work programme for the current year.

The Capital Allowances Act 2001, the project's first Act, became law in April. This is a major achievement and one that has been warmly welcomed by the main users of tax law. The tax community is keen that the project should continue and looks forward to further rewritten legislation in the future.

Valuation Office Agency

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if a revised framework document for the Valuation Office Agency is available. [161123]

Dawn Primarolo: A Revised Framework Document for the Valuation Office Agency has now been drawn up, incorporating the recommendations of the recent 5-yearly review. It is available on the Inland Revenue's website at, together with the report of the review which was published on 13 Septemeber 2000. Copies of the Revised Framework Document are also being placed in the House Libraries.


Buy British Initiatives

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department is taking in respect of Buy British initiatives consequent on the foot and mouth outbreak. [160502]

Ms Hewitt: British Trade International are working with MAFF and the Foreign Office and Food for Britain to ensure foreign markets for British food products remain open whenever possible. An additional £18 million has been provided by DCMS to the British Tourist Authority and English Tourism Council to help promote tourism in domestic and overseas markets.

Efforts by rural businesses to strengthen the marketing of their products may also be eligible for support under the £50 million rural business recovery fund to be managed by RDAs which was announced on Monday 7 May. The Small Business Service telephone helpline is also providing advice to businesses affected by foot and mouth disease which may include assistance on marketing and the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme has been extended to help rural businesses suffering cash flow problems.

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Liquid Petroleum Gas

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average price of LPG was (a) overall, (b) in rural areas and (c) in urban areas in each of the last three years. [160907]

Mr. Hain: The average price paid for LPG by manufacturing industry in Great Britain is published regularly in the DTI publication "Energy Trends". No additional breakdown is available for rural and urban prices. Average prices for each of the last three years are as follows:

Average price of LPG purchased by manufacturing industry in Great Britain(29)

£ per tonne

(29) Figures are based on the results of a survey of manufacturing industry in Great Britain. They do not include LPG used for transport purposes.

(30) The figure for 2000 is provisional



Fossil Fuels

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much his Department has spent on research into the use of (a) LPG, (b) hydrogen and (c) electricity as an alternative to fossil fuels in each of the last five years. [160912]

Mr. Hain: Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) has been available in the market for a long time and the technology involved is well developed. The Government have not viewed it as appropriate to carry out their own research programme into LPG.

Over the past five years, the DTI has provided support averaging some £1 million per year for research on fuel cells, which could provide a major application for hydrogen in the medium term. The DTI is currently reviewing hydrogen research, and a report has been commissioned.

It is unclear what the hon. Member intends by his reference to research on the use of electricity as an alternative to fossil fuels, since of course electricity can be generated from both fossil fuels and other fuels such as renewable energy. My recent announcement of £55.5 million funding for R&D on renewables over the next three years represents a substantial boost for renewables R&D, as part of the Government's £260 million wide-ranging package of incentives for renewable energy.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much of the additional sums to promote the development of new sources of renewable energy announced in the 2000 Spending Review has been spent to date; on what schemes; and what plans he has for the remaining sums. [160913]

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Mr. Hain: The new money announced in the 2000 Spending Review and the other new funding for renewable energy, comprising a total package in excess of £250 million, relates to the three year period 2001-04.

The package includes £89 million for capital grants for offshore wind, energy crops and biomass generation; £55.5 million for an expanded DTI R&D programme; £12 million from MAFF for their energy crops planting scheme; an initial £10 million as the first phase of a market stimulation programme for photovoltaic roofs; £3 million investment in a solar housing trial; and £100 million to be allocated later in the year.

My Department is working in consultation with the wind energy industry on detailed arrangements for the new capital grants scheme for offshore wind energy projects. The New Opportunities Fund will be consulting the biomass industry and other interested parties on the details of the energy crops electricity generation and small-scale biomass heating schemes.

The precise allocation of the £100 million announced by the Prime Minister for different renewable technologies will be decided in the light of recommendations of the Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit later in the year. The Prime Minister indicated that this new money will help promote solar photovoltaics, give a boost to offshore wind, kick start energy crops and bring on stream other new generation technologies.

Decisions on the allocation of the DTI's increased R&D budget for renewable energy will be made in the light of consultation with industry and the universities. Of the £18 million available for renewables R&D in the current financial year, some £8 million has already been allocated to a range of renewable energy projects.

Telecommunications (Gibraltar)

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has made (1) in the European Union Council of Ministers to press Spain to recognise Gibraltar's international dialling code; [160929]

Ms Hewitt: HMG are deeply concerned about the problems which Gibraltar is experiencing, including the issue of the handling of internationally dialled, least-cost routed telephone calls destined for Gibraltar, and we are pressing the European Commission and the Spanish Government for an early resolution.

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The European Commission, which under the EC Treaty has the primary responsibility for upholding Community Law, is considering two private competition complaints relating to these problems, one of which concerns mobile roaming. HMG are in frequent contact with the Commission on this matter and have made it clear that they support these complaints.

Mr. McWilliam: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will make representations to the Council of Ministers to press Spain to recognise Gibraltar's international dialling code; [161038]

Ms Hewitt: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given today to my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Thamesmead (Mr. Austin) by my hon. Friend the Minister for Europe.

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