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Objective 1

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will list the Objective 1 project applications (a) approved and (b) refused European funding; and how much funding has been awarded to each during the past year; [6317]

Alan Johnson: I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible and place a copy of that letter in the Libraries of the House.

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Trade, Tourism and Inward Investment


Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has for promoting Scottish trade, tourism and inward investment; if she will list the events or activities she has specifically arranged for the next six months in (a) the UK, (b) Europe and (c) the rest of the world for such promotion; and if she will list the documents her Department has produced, and the events her Department has organised over the last three years which specifically and exclusively promote Scottish trade, tourism and inward investment. [5707]

Ms Hewitt: My Department—through British Trade International—promotes the whole of the UK as a location for inward investment and delivers export advice and support to companies throughout the UK. It works closely with Scottish Trade International and Locate in Scotland both within the UK and overseas. The promotion of the UK as a destination for tourism is primarily a matter for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Employment Regulations

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the cost to the private sector of new employment regulations introduced since May 1997. [6277]

Alan Johnson: Regulatory Impact Assessments have been prepared in support of all new employment legislations that have involved significant costs to business. The annual costs to employers for those provisions that can be quantified is £4.8 billion. This includes recurring administration costs of £25 million to £29 million and one-off administration costs of £37 million to £45 million. The remainder has involved direct benefits to workers through higher pay, more annual leave and better treatment in the workplace.

These are the costs to all employers. It is not possible to separate costs between private sector employers and public sector employers. The Government's employment legislation also brings benefits to employers.

Petroleum Licensing

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will announce further petroleum licensing opportunities in Great Britain and on the UK continental shelf. [6459]

Mr. Wilson: I am today launching the 10th Round of Landward Petroleum Licensing and issuing an invitation for companies to apply for three blocks in the North sea.

The Landward Round will, as in recent licence offers, invite applications for Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences over all unlicensed acreage in Great Britain above the Mean High Water Mark. While there are still prospects for conventional oil and gas discoveries, I anticipate that a large number of applications will be made from companies keen to exploit the potential of coal bed methane, either through direct drilling or by tapping into the gases released from abandoned coal workings.

The invitation to apply for landward licences fulfils commitments given by Ministers in the past to hold annual rounds and satisfies a demand from industry for further licensing opportunities.

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The three blocks in the North sea—30/24, 42/25 and 43/21—are being offered through the 'out of round' process because of the benefit that early activity might bring. One of the blocks contains the abandoned Argyll Field and I hope that it will be possible for the eventual licensees to re-activate the field and bring it back into production, thus ensuring that the valuable petroleum resources still trapped in the ground can be extracted.

The formal notices for each of these licensing opportunities will appear in the Official Journal of the European Communities in the near future. Applications for both the onshore and offshore must be submitted to the Department on 31 October.

Electronic Signatures

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on progress on the implementation of the European electronic signatures directive. [6458]

Mr. Alexander: My right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State announced on 28 March 2001, Official Report, columns 652–53W, that we were issuing a consultation document on the implementation of those parts of the directive which had not been implemented by the Electronic Communications Act 2000. We received 54 responses to the consultation and a number of issues were raised. Some respondents thought that these were of sufficient weight to require further discussion. Points were raised about the data protection requirements which I believe could only be resolved by a further discussion on how they should be implemented. I will therefore issue in the next few weeks a summary of the consultation, a note of the conclusions we have drawn from the consultation and a draft of the regulations. We will seek comments on the implementation of data protection elements. I believe that this process will enable us to introduce regulations in the near future which will best take into account the views of those most directly impacted by this directive. We will also publish the responses to the consultation on the DTI's website.

Ferry Services (Isle of Wight)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what powers she has to investigate competition in ferry fares and services to the Isle of Wight; what plans she has to use such powers; and if she will make a statement. [5555]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Under UK competition law in the first instance it is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading to investigate allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and possible abuses of a dominant position. I understand that the Office of Fair Trading has initiated inquiries under the Competition Act into the activities of Isle of Wight ferry companies.

Departmental Contracts

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the top 10 companies to which her Department contracted out their construction and refurbishment work in the last 12 months. [6416]

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Ms Hewitt: The list of companies is as follows:

Nuclear Power

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the Government's targets for the proportion of electricity to be produced by nuclear power in the next (a) 10 years and (b) 20 years; and if she will make a statement. [6312]

Mr. Wilson: The Government have no targets for the proportion of electricity to be produced from any source other than the renewables for which a target of 10 per cent. by 2010 has been set.


Groundwater Regulations

Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what help and advice has been given to farmers to help them to comply with the requirements of the Groundwater Regulations when dipping sheep. [6512]

Mr. Meacher: A groundwater protection code for sheep dipping is currently being printed for publication by my Department shortly. The code gives advice on what to do before, during and after dipping to protect groundwater and to comply with the Regulations. The advice covers matters such as training, maintaining and siting dip baths, managing sheep when dipping, washing equipment, and disposing of used dip safely. Copies of the code will be available on request, free of charge, and a copy will also be placed in the Library of the House. Copies of a checklist and a poster will be sent to all sheep farmers and dippers. Farmers dipping sheep also continue to benefit from the waiver of annual charges for groundwater authorisations which was introduced last year under the Prime Minister's Action Plan for Farming.


Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of money available in (a) local government, (b) county councils, and (c) West Sussex county council can be switched between budgets by council decisions. [4792]

Dr. Whitehead: I have been asked to reply.

According to statistical returns submitted to my Department, local authorities in England have budgeted for £61,158 million of general revenue expenditure in 2001–02. That is funded from general and ring fenced grants from central Government, council tax income, and reserves. Of that total amount, £6,470 million is budgeted

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by authorities responsible for only a single service such as police or fire; by definition, that money cannot be switched to spend on a different service. For other authorities, all these sources of funding except for ring fenced grants can be switched between service budgets. The proportions that can be switched between service budgets are:

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