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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many regulations affecting business have been abolished since 1997. [20126]

Ms Hewitt: Records relating to the regulations introduced since 1997, which would provide details of how these regulations related to existing regulations, showing how they amended or abolished them, are held not centrally but by the management units responsible for the policy areas concerned. They could be assembled and analysed only at disproportionate cost.

Energy Supply (Middle East)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment she has made of energy supplies and the middle east in response to the events of 11 September; and if she will make a statement; [19768]

Mr. Wilson: Although the UK is a net exporter of crude oil, significant quantities of particular grades of crude oil are imported for processing in UK refineries. The table provides the full detail requested. Of the total of 88 million tonnes of crude oil and refinery feedstocks processed in the UK during 2000, 44 per cent. was of crude oil from the UK sector of the North sea, 37 per cent. from the Norwegian sector, with crude oil from middle east countries accounting for 3 per cent. of total UK refinery throughput during the year. Of this, the majority came from Saudi Arabia.

In light of the events of 11 September I am keeping security of energy supplies under constant review. Despite the response of the coalition against terrorism to the tragedy in the US on 11 September there has been no impact on oil and gas supplies from the middle east or from elsewhere in the world. As mentioned above, the UK has a low reliance on the middle east as a source of oil supplies.

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UK imports of crude oil and refinery feedstocks in 2000

Country of originThousand tonnesAs a percentage of total UK refinery intake
Saudi Arabia2,0532.3
Other near and middle east1440.2
Total middle east2,4312.8
Other countries9361.1
Total imports49,38656.1


Data supplied to DTI by UK oil companies

Caspian Oil Pipelines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make an assessment of the Russian-Kazakhstani pipeline schemes for the Caspian oil fields; and if she will make a statement. [19767]

Mr. Wilson: Kazakhstan is the second largest oil producer (after Russia) among the former Soviet republics and is committed to the development of multiple oil pipelines from the country to international markets. Currently, Kazakhstan sends the majority of its oil exports via Russia using three main existing pipelines:

These pipelines, and other projects in the Caspian region which do not involve Russia, help to provide more diverse regions of world oil supply.

Natural Gas

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what procedures are in place to ensure that the energy (a) policy and (b) regulation of Great Britain does not discriminate against the Northern Ireland natural gas Industry. [18613]

Mr. Wilson: The energy market in Northern Ireland is separate from that in Great Britain. However, both the Department of Trade and Industry and Ofgem consult

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widely on all proposals and there is an opportunity for Northern Irish companies to comment if they believe they may be affected. Ofgem and DTI also keep their counterparts in Northern Ireland informed of relevant proposals.

Women Entrepreneurs

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what help her Department is offering to women entrepreneurs; and if she will make a statement. [17329]

Ms Hewitt: My Department recognises the increasingly important contribution that women entrepreneurs make to the nation's economy. It also recognises however that relatively fewer women set up business in the UK than in comparable countries such as the US. Through the Small Business Service (SBS) my Department is therefore working to research and better understand their needs and tackle any specific barriers that they may face in starting and running their own businesses.

Women who are thinking of setting up or who are already running their own businesses are able to make use of the full range of services provided by the SBS through Business Link operators. In addition the SBS:

First Class Post

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the achievement of the Government target for first class post being delivered next morning. [18920]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 29 November 2001]: It is the Postal Services Commission and not the Government which is responsible for setting and enforcing standards of service. It has, on the advice of Postwatch, set a target for the average performance in February and March 2002 of 92.1 per cent. of first class post to be delivered next day. An assessment of whether the target has been achieved will be made by the Postal Services Commission with Postwatch.

Atomic Energy Police

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the operational value is of running three Volkswagen, two Mitsubishi and one Peugeot vehicle for the Atomic Energy Police. [19758]

Mr. Wilson: The Constabulary employ their vehicles on patrol and escort duties. Two of the four-wheel drive Volkswagen Transporter Synchro vehicles are employed as dog patrol vehicles and one is employed on general

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patrol duties. The Mitsubishi products are armoured vehicles performing duty as escort vehicles for special material convoys. The Peugeot Expert van is another general patrol vehicle.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the advantages are of (a) not operating and (b) operating a central purchasing policy for the Atomic Energy Police. [19757]

Mr. Wilson: The UK Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary (AEAC) operates a Central Purchasing Policy. Vehicles are purchased through the Home Office Framework Arrangement for the purchases of vehicles and spare parts by the Police and Fire Authorities. The advantage of operating such a policy is the value for money that this provides. The negotiation with the various manufacturers is made on behalf of the entire Police Service and the rates of discount are applied across the Service. Rates of discount available outside the framework arrangement are nowhere near as beneficial. In relation to clothing, the Constabulary purchases from a consortium with other forces, again being able to take advantage of the benefits that buying on a larger scale brings. Both of these initiatives are supported by the Police Authority as best value initiatives.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what personal vehicle is available to the Chief Constable of the Atomic Energy Police. [19759]

Mr. Wilson: A range of vehicles is available to the Chief Constable up to a certain value. He has selected a Mercedes 'C' class saloon.

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