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Ministerial Transport

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for her Department in each of the last four years. [27901]

Ms Hewitt: (a) I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office on 30 January 2002, Official Report, columns 405-06W.

(b) This information is not held centrally.

Oil Suppliers and Retailers

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she and the Office of Fair Trading have held and on what dates since September 2001 with the (a) major oil suppliers, (b) United

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Kingdom Petroleum Industries Association, (c) Institute of Petroleum, (d) Petrol Retailers Association and (e) Association of United Kingdom Oil Independents to discuss mechanisms for the supply of road transport fuels; and if she will make a statement. [35070]

Mr. Wilson: Ministers regularly meet a wide range of representatives from business. However, it is not normal practice to release details of ministerial meetings.

Accountancy Contracts

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will publish the (a) number and (b) value of contracts awarded by her Department to (i) Arthur Andersen, (ii) Deloitte Touche, (iii) Ernst and Young, (iv) KPMG and (v) PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants in each year since 1997. [34993]

Ms Hewitt: Information from the Department's systems indicate that contracts let by core DTI to PWC Consulting or PricewaterhouseCoopers are as follows:

PricewaterhouseCoopersNo. ContractsTotal Value
01 April 1999–31 March 20009354,657
01 April 2000–31 March 200116636,623
01 April 2001–04 January 200213870,199

Contracts let by core DTI to Ernst & Young are as follows:


Ernst & YoungNo. ContractsTotal Value
01 April 1999–31 March 20003407,165
01 April 2000–31 March 200158829,043
01 April 2001–04 January 200210879,679

Contracts let by core DTI to Deloitte & Touche are as follows:


Deloitte & ToucheNo. ContractsTotal Value
01 April 1999–31 March 200061,265,252
01 April 2000–31 March 200161,839,428
01 April 2001–04 January 200244,489,189

Contracts let by core DTI to KPMG are as follows:


KPMGNo. ContractsTotal Value
01 April 1999–31 March 2000111,642
01 April 2000–31 March 2001430,009
01 April 2001–04 January 2002392,131

Information is not held centrally for the earlier years and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

For contracts let to Andersen I would refer to the answer given to the hon. Member for East Carmarthen and Dinefwr (Adam Price) on 14 January 2002, Official Report, column 41W, where exceptionally information was given for earlier years.

The Department's Executive Agencies will be responding separately.

Job No: 713438 Folios: 2015


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Post Office Closures

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices are undergoing a consultation process for considered closure in connection with Postwatch, broken down by county. [35544]

Mr. Alexander: 73 post offices are currently undergoing consultation with Postwatch under the procedures of the Code of Practice for Post Office branch relocation, closure and conversion. The figures on a country basis are:





Figures are not available on a county basis.

I understand from Post Office Ltd that the majority of these consultations concern outlets in rural areas where the subpostmaster has resigned and there are no applicants for the vacancy. The Code of Practice requires seeking alternative ways of continuing provision of post office services.

Pakistan (Imports)

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received from representatives of (a) industry and (b) trade unions about the effect on the UK textile industry of the removal of duty from finished goods imported from Pakistan. [36250]

Mr. Wilson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry received representations from the British Apparel & Textiles Confederation (BATC) and the Knitting Footwear and Allied Trades Union (KFAT) last October, including at a meeting to discuss the effect on the UK textile industry of the removal of duty from finished goods imported from Pakistan. In addition, and following on from correspondence, I met with representatives from the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) and BATC on this subject earlier this month.

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Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how she will ensure that the decision to support Pakistan by the removal of duty from imported made up goods will not have a destabilising effect in the far eastern region. [36252]

Mr. Wilson: The Government's view is that the removal of duty on imports of made up goods from Pakistan will not have a destabilising effect on the far eastern region. Imports of most made up goods from Pakistan are currently subject to quantitative restriction by the EU under the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA), limiting the effect of the removal of duty.

Gas Refuelling Points

Mr. Lazarowic: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many public refuelling points in the UK, broken down by area, sell (a) liquid petroleum gas and (b) natural gas for vehicles. [36386]

Mr. Wilson: The website of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (www.lpga.co.uk) gives a regional breakdown of the number of public refuelling points in the UK. As at 13 February 2002, it is recorded as follows:

England840
Wales89
Scotland89
Northern Ireland21(1)

(1) The data for Northern Ireland were obtained from the website of the Energy Saving Trust (www.est-powershift.org.uk) as at 7 February 2002. Both websites also give further detail on regional breakdown.

New sites are currently opening at more than one per day. On 14 February I launched a 1 million Boost initiative, as a supplement to the DTLR's PowerShift program, which aims to increase the uptake of LPG vehicles by:


    raising consumer awareness through a targeted publicity campaign;


    introducing, for the first time, grants for garages to become PowerShift approved converters;


    promoting the benefits to rural communities where motoring costs tend to be higher taking rural mid-Wales, East Anglia and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as focus areas for the initiative; and working with manufacturers to put more production line LPG vehicles in show rooms.

According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Association (NGVA), there are 30 sites for refuelling with natural gas in the UK, 29 in England and 1 in Scotland. According to the NGVA, third party access is possible by arrangement with the suppliers at about 50 per cent. of these sites.

Oil and Gas Directorate Posts

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Angus (Mr. Weir) of 24 January, Official Report, column 1064W, what plans she has to increase the proportion of oil and gas directorate posts in Aberdeen; and if she will make it her policy to ensure that by the next election a majority of oil and gas directorate posts are based in Aberdeen. [36446]

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Mr. Wilson: Oil and Gas Directorate maintains offices in both London and Aberdeen in order to provide an effective service to its wide range of clients and stakeholders. Decisions on the location of particular posts are based on operational considerations. For example, staff dealing with downstream oil issues and international oil policy are located in London; whilst staff dealing with the Scottish and north-east parts of the oil industry supply chain are located in Aberdeen. The oil and gas responsibility of Trade Partners UK are located in Glasgow.

Job No: 713438 Folios: 2017

Universal Banking Services

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made on establishing the proposed Universal Banking Service. [37491]

Mr. Alexander: While there are still issues to be resolved, substantial progress is being made towards delivery of the project as planned.

European Energy Markets

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when (a) she, (b) her Ministers and (c) officials from her Department last met (i) the European Commission, (ii) the Government of France and (iii) the Government of Germany to discuss liberalisation of European energy markets and completion of the single market in energy; and if she will make a statement. [36788]

Mr. Wilson [ holding answer 25 February 2002]: Ministers and officials are in frequent and regular contact with the Commission, France and Germany to take forward European energy liberalisation objectives.

I last met Loyola de Palacio, Vice President of the Commission, in Norway in February when we discussed this topic.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry is next meeting Loyola de Palacio, to discuss this topic on 7 March.


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