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Computer Hardware

Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact of computer hardware suppliers tying their customers to a particular software operating system, with particular reference to small businesses. [24514]

Mr. Alexander: All UK consumers of computer hardware are free to make purchases from a range of suppliers and to choose one providing a package that will meet their individual software requirements. I am not aware of any limitation of consumers' choice in this area. If, however, there is any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour this should be forwarded to the Director General of the Office of Fair Trading.

Select Committee Reports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in meeting the Government's commitments (a) in response to recommendation (d) of the Eighth report of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, UK Online Reviewed: The First Annual report of the E-Minister and E-Envoy, dated March 2001 and (b) in response to recommendation (e) of the Fourteenth report of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry on the Electronic Communications Bill, dated October 1999. [27107]

Mr. Alexander: (a) Progress in response to this commitment was reported on pages 18–19 of the UK Online Annual Report 2001, and in a memorandum to the Select Committee on Trade and Industry dated 20 December. Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library of the House.

(b) Departments have until recently proceeded with the task of identifying statutory requirements of writing for updating on the basis that an order under section 8 of the Electronic Communications Act, or other amending

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legislation, was necessary to authorise or facilitate electronic communication in fulfilment of the requirement. The Law Commission published an Advice to Government on 19 December which gives a different view on what constitutes 'writing' in the context of electronic communications. The Government are still considering the implications of this advice. The Government have, however, in the light of the advice and other developments, modified their approach to updating the law to authorise or facilitate electronic communication. Their revised policy is set out in the memorandum to the Select Committee on Trade and Industry dated 20 December, which also includes lists of legislation so far identified by Departments for updating.

ECGD

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she intends to publish the ECGD's Annual Report and Resource Accounts for 2000–01. [27108]

Ms Hewitt: The Export Credits Guarantee Department's (ECGD's) Annual Report and Resource Accounts for 2000–01 were laid before the House this morning. I am pleased to say that they demonstrate once more that British capital goods exporters and investors have been successful in winning valuable overseas orders with Government insurance and guarantee support worth £5.6 billion. Furthermore, they show that ECGD is in a good financial position from which to continue supporting further business while protecting the interests of the taxpayer, in what is a difficult period for the global economy.

Trade Credits

Andy Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what was the value of trade credits to heavily indebted poor countries guaranteed by the UK Government which were cancelled in each year since 1983. [25238]

Nigel Griffiths: No such debts in relation to trade credits were cancelled between 1983 and 1990 inclusive. Amounts cancelled in each year since were as follows:

Year£Million
19916.62
199217.80
199326.89
19948.76
199523.74
1996180.69
199722.49
199833.04
199956.91
200048.13
2001135.04
Total560.11

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Performing Arts

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the (a) new companies,

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(b) new work and (c) new venues that have been funded by her Department in order to increase access to the performing arts in the last 12 months. [22541]

Dr. Howells: We have contacted the Arts Council of England to request the information required, and my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for the Arts will write to the hon. Member as soon as it is available, placing copies of her letter in the Libraries of the House.

Public Libraries

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the libraries based in the Buckingham constituency which have received funding from the (a) Public Library Volunteer scheme and (b) People's Network programme indicating (i) the nature of the project, (ii) the date of the award and (iii) the amount provided in each case. [23743]

Dr. Howells: My Department, in conjunction with the Home Office Active Community Unit, is match funding the "Lending Time" scheme led by CSV (Community Service Volunteers) to promote the use of volunteers in libraries. Expressions of interest were invited from libraries through the Library Association and six libraries have been selected to pilot the scheme. Buckinghamshire did not express an interest in this scheme.

All eight public libraries in Buckingham constituency have been awarded funds from the New Opportunities Access to Lifelong Learning Programme to support the People's Network programme. The funding will have provided, by summer 2002, 24 new terminals within Buckingham. The award was announced on 11 April 2001. Awards for individual libraries are not available. In total, Buckinghamshire library service will receive £827,138 to connect all its libraries to a high speed broadband network, and provide new PCs and appropriate training for librarians.

Sports Drug Tests

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussion she has had with UK Sport about the number of drug tests on British triathletes. [25529]

Mr. Caborn: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no direct discussions on the number of drug tests on British triathletes, although she receives UK Sport's annual reports of the testing programmes for all sports covered by their anti-doping programme.

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions UK Sport has had with the International Triathlon Union about drug testing; and if she will make a statement. [25530]

Mr. Caborn: UK Sport works in partnership with the national federations in the UK to deliver testing programmes both in and out of competition. There are a small number of events in the UK which fall under the international federation's responsibility and on these occasions UK Sport liaises with the international federation direct. The last such event was the London Triathlon in September 1998.

In 2000–01 triathlon was introduced to the Olympic Games in Sydney. The focus of the testing programme was on the pre-Olympic testing of UK triathletes both in

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the UK and in Australia. This programme was arranged in partnership with the British Triathlon Association. In 2001–02, so far two triathlon events in the UK have been tested and one World Class Squad Training Day making a total of 37 tests to date.

Discussions are on-going about triathlon introducing an out of competition testing programme for individual triathletes, and the British Triathlon Association have been actively working towards increasing their anti- doping efforts.

Royal Parks Agency

Mr. Luke: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what performance targets were set for the Royal Parks Agency for 2001–02. [26901]

Dr. Howells: The following performance targets were set for the Royal Parks Agency for 2000–01:












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