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Staff Numbers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many staff have been employed by her Department in each of the last 10 years. [42461]

Ms Hewitt: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 19 March 2002, Official Report, column 295W, by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office.

Internet/e-Government

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of (a) internet and (b) e-Government access in rural areas; and what measures she it taking to broaden access. [41917]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 11 March 2002]: The 2001 UK online annual report: http://www.eennovy.gov.uk/ukonline/champions/anrep— menu.htm detailed progress towards our internet and e-Government targets.

A copy has also been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Correspondence

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 11 March 2002, Official Report, column 678W, on correspondence, for what reason 21 letters sent to her Department were awaiting a reply; and for how many of the 21 an acknowledgement of their correspondence has been sent to the letter-writer. [43689]

Ms Hewitt: There are several reasons why a letter may not receive an answer within my Department's target of 10 days. On this occasion I am unable to give specific reasons as I am unable to identify which letters were outstanding at the time, but all outstanding correspondence will be dealt with as quickly as possible and my Department will continue to endeavour to respond to letters within 10 days.

26 Mar 2002 : Column 791W

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the target time will be in 2002–03 for (a) Ministers to reply to letters from hon. Members and (b) officials in her Department to reply to letters received directly from members of the public. [44939]

Ms Hewitt: The agreed target time for my Department to reply to hon. Members is 10 working days for the year 2002–03.

The target for letters received directly from members of the public for the year 2002–03 is 15 working days.

Aerospace Industry

Mrs. Irene Adams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many jobs she estimates are dependent on the aerospace industry in the United Kingdom. [43919]

Mr. Wilson: The latest figures I have are for 2000. DTI working with the Society of British Aerospace Companies estimates that the UK aerospace industry employed 150,000 and indirectly supported a further 200,000 jobs in the supply chain.

Sellafield

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 14 February 2002, Official Report, column 529W, on Sellafield, if she will place in the Library the review of the B30 nuclear waste storage facility performed by BNFL. [44286]

Mr. Wilson: I understand no such document exists.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 14 February 2002, Official Report, column 529W, on Sellafield, what remedial work has been carried out on the B30 nuclear waste storage facility. [44287]

Mr. Wilson: Management of the B30 facility is an operational matter for BNFL subject to regulations by the Health and Safety Executive's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (HSE's NII). The effective management of the facility and the historic legacy wastes it contains is a high priority for both the Government and BNFL. BNFL is taking forward a range of work programmes at B30. These are aimed at improving the way the building itself is cared for as well as characterising the contents of the building and retrieving these and converting them into a more stable form.

Legal Costs

David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much her Department has paid to lawyers dealing with chronic bronchitis and emphysema, broken down by firm. [44378]

Mr. Wilson: There are 471 firms of solicitors/organisations who are processing claims in relation to respiratory disease. The following list details the costs for the 10 solicitors/organisations who represent the largest numbers of claims in ascending order based on total claims intimated.

26 Mar 2002 : Column 792W

No.SolicitorCosts paid (# million)
1Thompsons10.8
2Hugh James Ford Simey8.0
3Union of Democratic Mineworkers3.0
4Raleys4.5
5Mark Gilbert Morse0.7
6Browell Smith & Co3.5
7Graysons2.1
8Watson Burton1.5
9Irwin Mitchells2.3
10Randell Saunders0.5

David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much her Department has paid to lawyers dealing with vibration white finger/carpal tunnel syndrome, broken down by firm. [44379]

Mr. Wilson: There are 460 firms of solicitors/organisations who are processing claims in relation to vibration white finger. The following list details the costs for the 10 solicitors/organisations who represent the largest numbers of claims in ascending order, based on total claims intimated.

No.SolicitorCosts paid (# million)
1Thompsons6.0
2Browell Smith & Co4.3
3Union of Democratic Mineworkers3.7
4Raleys3.1
5Hugh James Ford Simey3.1
6Graysons2.1
7Moss1.5
8Watson Burton2.0
9AMS Law1.1
10Towells1.4

Textile Industry

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many firms in the textile industry that received grants from the Department have subsequently ceased production in Britain and utilised grants in overseas locations in each of the last five years. [44559]

Mr. Alexander: Offers of grant from the Department are subject to a finite period of monitoring.

The Department's selective assistance database shows that in the last five financial years to 31 March 2001, 242 offers of Regional Selective Assistance or Enterprise Grant were made in England to firms in the textile sector. Of those which received payments of grant and were subject to conditions of the grant offer letter, 10 firms ceased trading. Eight of these firms went into liquidation. In the other two cases, one closed without notice after receiving #8,000 grant. The second, involving grant of #825,000 was subject to a Management Buy Out and remains active in the UK.

Electricity

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions her Department had with representatives of (a) Powergen, (b) East Midlands Electricity and (c) the US Department of Commerce in 1997 and 1998. [44666]

26 Mar 2002 : Column 793W

Mr. Wilson: The Department has discussions on a wide range of issues from time to time with UK Electricity Companies and with the Departments of other Governments.

Nuclear Reactors

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evaluation her Department has made of emerging pebble-bed nuclear reactor design and operation in other countries; and if she will make a statement. [44809]

Mr. Wilson: None. BNFL has a minority investment in the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) project, the feasibility of which is currently being studied. I look forward to seeing the results in due course.

CISWO

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many partnerships CISWO has with Sport England, regional development agencies and the private sector; and how many jobs have these created in the last three years. [45095]

Mr. Wilson: CISWO collaborates with Sport England in many areas in preparing bids for National Lottery money for projects that will develop or enhance local sporting facilities. Such activity is not formalised as a partnership and does not have job creation as an objective although extra employment opportunities may be created. CISWO is associated with seven RDA projects and, as before, although job creation is not a central feature, there has been, for example, an education project in Yorkshire has created five jobs and a similar number at a project in the West Midlands.

CISWO's involvement with the private sector is a matter for CISWO.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what Government funding has been received by CISWO in each of the last five years. [45096]

Mr. Wilson: CISWO has not received any Government funding in any of the last five years. CISWO was given a cash endowment from the Bristol Coal Corporation upon the Corporation's privatisation in 1994 and, in addition, between 1994 and 1999 received under covenant #1 million per annum from the successor mining companies to the Corporation.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what requests for Government funding have been made by CISWO this year. [45094]

Mr. Wilson: In October of last year the Chair of the Trustees of CISWO wrote to me seeking a meeting to discuss funding. In January of this year I attended a presentation given by the Chief Executive and a number of the organisation's trustees and at that presentation I undertook to give careful consideration to CISWO's concerns over their future funding requirements.


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