7 May 2002 : Column 1W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 7 May 2002



Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will provide a breakdown of the investment her Department made in 2000–01 to the programmes designed to improve the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector. [49877]

Mr. Wilson: The Department's expenditure in this area is reported under the objective of "Promotion of enterprise, innovation and increased productivity". The total cash outturn for this objective is shown in the Appropriation Accounts 2000–01 (HC 335-IX), and the resource outturn in the Consolidated Resource Accounts 2000–01 (HC503). Further breakdowns will shortly be published in the Department's Expenditure Plans Report for 2002–03, and also in the Treasury's Supplementary Budgetary Information (SBI) tables. I regret that a breakdown between manufacturing and service sectors is not available. However, a good proportion of this money, though not all, will have benefited manufacturing directly or indirectly.

Better Quality Services Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which of the services of her Department have not been reviewed under the Better Quality Services Initiative; and when they will be reviewed. [50319]

Ms Hewitt: The Department has been reviewing its services under the Better Quality Services programme for some time (see Trade and Industry—The Government's Expenditure Plans 2001–02 to 2003–04), and building on this work, my Department has recently undertaken a review of its role, priorities and structure, and a review of its business support. As a result of these reviews, from 2 April 2002, a new structure has been put in place that is designed to help facilitate change and help the Department become more customer-focused. Tools and techniques from BQS will now be included in the Department's change management programme as part of improving customer focus and the effectiveness and value for money of service delivery. The Department is continuing its reviews of its agencies in line with BQS principles.

Waste Electrical and

Electronic Equipment Directive

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how the draft EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive will be applied in the UK in respect of (a) foreign manufactured equipment and (b) equipment personally imported into the UK from outside the EU. [50915]

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Mr. Wilson: The Common Position text requires the end of life costs for equipment imported into the UK to be met by the manufacturer in the case of EU-made goods or the professional importer in the case of goods made outside the EU.

A decision on personal imports will be taken after full consultation on implementation options.

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government will seek to prevent adoption of the draft EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive in the form recently approved by the European Parliament. [50913]

Mr. Wilson: The UK continues to support the Common Position text adopted by member states at the Council of Ministers meeting in June 2001.

The Government will consider the European Parliament text carefully in conjunction with other member states.

Research Council

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 18 March 2002, Official Report, column 86W, on the Research Council, what the Government's policy was on the work of the expert group on bioterrorism. [50993]

Ms Hewitt: The Government's policy was to welcome the establishment of the EU R and D expert group on countering biological and chemical terrorism which should lead to improved coordination of member states' research efforts in this field.


Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many net additional staff her Department has recruited in each month since June 2001 at (a) executive officer level and (b) administrative level. [52426]

Ms Hewitt: The figures requested for my Department are set out in the table.

Administrative gradesExecutive officer

Young People

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what subjects and on which dates her Department has consulted organisations representing young people; and if she will list such organisations. [52492]

Ms Hewitt: I regret to inform my hon. Friend that the information is not held centrally in the manner requested and that the information can be secured only at disproportionate cost.

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However, the Department of Trade and Industry will be guided by the new core principles for the involvement of children and young people in the design, provision and evaluation of policies and services that affect them. These principles were published by the Minister with responsibility for young people in November 2001.

Construction Industry

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what progress her Department is making in establishing a quality mark scheme for the construction industry; [52990]

Ms Hewitt: My hon. Friend the Minister with responsbility for energy and construction announced his decision to roll out the scheme across the country over a three to four year period, in his answer to the question from the hon. Member for Wirral, South (Mr. Chapman) on 12 March 2002, Official Report, column 891W. A Quality Mark Shadow Ownership Group has since been set up and, at its first meeting on 19 April, it began developing a comprehensive implementation strategy and detailed business plan. The group is finalising decisions about the next stages of the roll out.

Following recommendations in the pilot review, the scheme is developing recruitment mechanisms to accelerate achievement of a critical mass of members. So far 175 builders have been awarded the Quality Mark and 247 are in the assessment pipeline, with more firms expected to apply shortly.

The DTI is also working with local authorities, financial services groups, consumer groups and others to promote the scheme to tradesmen and encourage their participation.

The national launch of the Quality Mark at the Ideal Home Show produced extensive television and radio coverage and articles in regional newspapers. The scheme is already being marketed successfully to consumers in Birmingham and Somerset through a variety of media, including Yellow Pages and Thomsons directories, household leaflet distribution with advertising and editorial coverage in a number of local papers and radio stations. Further targeted marketing will follow in new areas once sufficient numbers of builders and tradesmen are registered, to satisfy consumer demand.

The DTI is working with a number of trade bodies to fast-track members into the Quality Mark scheme through use of trade association vetting procedures adapted as necessary. The DTI is also examining the scope for developing closer links between the Quality Mark and Constructionline, looking for some form of passporting system between the two schemes that might allow fee reductions and reduce duplication of assessments. However, the schemes do have different client targets and operating systems and a number of issues need to be considered carefully. In addition, the DTI has been liaising closely with DTLR on self-certification schemes and extension of non-notification of building work under amendments to Part L of the Building Regulations.

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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the dates since 1 May 1997 when (a) Ministers and (b) officials have met representatives of Westfield. [52164]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Ministers and civil servants meet many people as part of the process of policy development and analysis. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code and Guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists. Some of these discussions take place on a confidential basis, and in order to preserve confidentiality, it is not the normal practice of Governments to release details of specific meetings with private individuals or companies.


Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total value of imports of (a) paper, (b) cloth, (c) chemicals, (d) foodstuffs, (e) medical supplies, (f) fruit, (g) grain, (h) cars, (i) computer equipment, (j) steel, (k) alcohol and (l) livestock to Wales was in each year since 1997. [53487]

Nigel Griffiths: The information requested is not available since it would require local firms to divert resources to fill in forms and submit them to Government and therefore pose a significant additional burden on respondents.

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