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Local Post Office

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advice she has received from the Postal Services Commission on transitional financial assistance to local post offices from 2003. [28372]

Mr. Alexander: The advice I received at the end of last year from the Postal Services Commission on transitional financial assistance to the rural network is currently under consideration.

Energy Sources

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on renewable sources of energy and on the funding which has been made available for such projects since 1997. [28018]

Mr. Wilson: In the four-year period 1997–2001, the Department of Trade and Industry provided a total of £61.1 million for the support of research and development in renewable energy. Over the same period, total indirect support for renewable energy provided through the Fossil Fuel Levy was £374.8 million.

For the three-year period 2001–04, provision for research and development in renewable energy is £80.6 million, and for the newly introduced capital grants for renewables projects, £191 million. It is estimated that indirect support to be provided through the renewables obligation, planned to come into effect on 1 April 2002, could total £687 million over its first two years of operation. Some continuing support through the Fossil Fuel Levy is also expected.

Looking ahead, introducing the new renewables obligation, exempting renewables from the Climate Change Levy and protecting existing non-fossil fuel obligation (NFFO) contracts will together create a long-term market incentive for renewables expected to be worth over £1 billion per year by 2010.

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much of Britain's energy requirements are found in (a) renewable and (b) non- renewable sources of energy. [28017]

Ms Hewitt: Renewable energy sources provided 1.3 per cent. of the United Kingdom's total primary energy requirements in 2000, and 2.8 per cent. of the electricity generated in the UK.

Fireworks

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many injuries involving fireworks have been reported since 1 September 2001; and if she will make a statement. [29393]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: Figures from accident and emergency departments for the 2001 firework period are not yet available. We will publish the figures as soon as possible.

European Directive on Fixed Term Work

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her plans to implement the European Directive on Fixed Term Work. [29578]

Alan Johnson: I am today publishing a consultation on the draft Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of less favourable treatment) Regulations 2002. The consultation period will last for 12 weeks, until 15 April, and I look forward to receiving views from as many interested parties as possible by this date. A Government response to the consultation on the fixed term directive that took place from 9 March to 31 May 2001 is also being published today. Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library. The regulations will be made under clause 45 of the Employment Bill. They will prevent fixed term employees from being less favourably treated than comparable permanent employees and transpose the EC Fixed Term Work Directive.

Small Business Service

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on how many occasions the Chief Executive of the Small Business Service has met the Prime Minister since 1997. [27634]

Ms Hewitt: He has met him six times: 16 December 1999; 30 March 2000; 11 May 2000; 27 November 2000; 17 July 2001; 6 November 2001.

He also has regular contact with No.10 via Private Office and No.10 Policy Unit.

Mobile Phones

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will introduce measures to require the manufacturers of mobile phones to provide stronger deterrents to theft in their products. [27485]

Mr. Alexander: Mandating anti-theft measures in the short-term would be disproportionately expensive. In the longer term, the operators and manufacturers are working with the Home Office and the DTI to investigate ways in which mobile phone handset security might be improved.

Galileo Project

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has made to the European Commission concerning the Galileo project. [27483]

Ms Hewitt: I have made no representations to the Commission. The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions leads for the UK in discussions with the European Commission on the Galileo project. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Transport attended the most recent Transport Council meeting on 7 December and I would refer my hon. Friend to his report on 12 December 2001, Official Report, column 875W.

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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the concerns expressed to her by the United States Government on the Galileo global positioning system. [27888]

Ms Hewitt: The UK Government are aware of the US Government's concerns over technical, trade and security aspects of the Galileo project. Galileo is a European Union (EU) project, on which the European Commission leads in negotiations with the US. The UK participates fully in these and will continue to seek an acceptable way forward.

Correspondence

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she intends to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton dated 27 November 2001 with regard to Mr. J. McHugh. [27321]

Ms Hewitt: My right hon. Friend's letter of 27 November on behalf of his constituent Mr. J. McHugh has been transferred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for the reply, as the subject falls within her responsibilities.

Fraud

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate her Department has made of the cost to its budget since 1 May 1997 of fraud; and if she will make a statement. [27291]

Ms Hewitt: Cases of fraud and irregularity involving staff and direct contractors are reported annually to the Treasury for inclusion in the Treasury Fraud report which is laid before Parliament. From April 1997 to date the total value of losses reported as due to fraud and irregularities is £197,445. When taken as a proportion of DTI expenditure for the same period this represents a loss of less than 0.002 per cent.

No large organisation is totally free of fraud but we continue to promote an environment of zero tolerance and to act promptly in all suspected cases of impropriety.

Public Relations Consultants

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was spent by (a) her Department and (b) bodies for which it is responsible on external public relations consultants in each of the last five years. [27386]

Ms Hewitt: Information on expenditure of this kind is not held centrally and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.

Consignia

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the occasions in the last six months when (a) she, (b) her ministerial colleagues and (c) their private offices have had (i) meetings, (ii) telephone conversations and (iii) correspondence with executives of Consignia. [27718]

Ms Hewitt: Our records show that my hon. Friend the Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness and I have had five meetings with executives of Consignia in the last

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six months. In addition, supporting these meetings, there have been a number of telephone conversations and 12 items of correspondence with Consignia executives.

Export Licence Applications

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list, for each of the last five years, the number of export licence applications that have been (a) approved and (b) rejected in respect of products that have a potential military end use. [28250]

Nigel Griffiths: The number of export licence applications in respect of items controlled for strategic reasons that have been approved and rejected since 1997 are published in the Government's annual reports on Strategic Export Controls. Copies of the 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 annual reports are available in the Libraries of the House.

The 2001 annual report on Strategic Export Controls will be published as soon as possible.

Scientific Research Budget

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has for the Department's scientific research budget; and what impact this will have on (a) continuing research projects funded by her Department and (b) future schemes (i) earmarked for and (ii) hoping to receive departmental funding for scientific research and development. [27850]

Ms Hewitt: The Spending Review 2000 set the Science Budget provision for the years 2001–02 to 2003–04. My Department published an account of how the budget was to be allocated—principally among the research councils—over that period in November 2000 "Science Budget 2001–02 to 2003–04", Department of Trade and Industry. A copy was placed in the Libraries of the House and the document is available on my Department's website at http:// www2.dti.gov.uk/ost/whatsnew/index.htm.

Like all Government Departments, my Department is at present planning its input to the next spending review which covers the period 2003–04 to 2005–06 and it is too soon to say what the level of provision for the science budget will be in those years.

Some of the funding allocated to the research councils in the last spending review was earmarked at a high level for specific areas of research: genomics, e-science and basic technology. However, decisions about funding of individual science research projects—whether in these earmarked areas or not—are, by long-established convention, matters for the research councils, not for my Department.


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