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National Missile Defence

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions her Department has had with UK firms bidding for work on the US-initiated programme of National Missile Defence; and if she will make a statement. [53596]

Alan Johnson: A decision to bid for work on the US-initiated programme of National Missile Defence is a commercial one for individual firms to make. DTI Ministers and officials have regular meetings with UK aerospace and defence companies on a range of issues and is supportive of decisions to bid for work in this and in other areas.

Office for Civil Nuclear Security

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, (1) pursuant to her answer of 22 October 2001, Official Report, column 7, to my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North, (Mr. Chaytor) when she received the annual report from the Office for Civil Nuclear Security; and when she plans to place a copy in the Library; [54209]

Mr. Wilson: I have not yet received the report, but understand that I shall do shortly. I shall publish it and place a copy in the Libraries of the House before the end of May.

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Overtime Payments

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government will introduce improved safeguards to stop employers requiring their employees to work overtime without payment. [54187]

Alan Johnson: Payment for overtime is a contractual matter for negotiation and a agreement between employers and employees (or their representatives). Employees can already seek redress in the form of a breach of contract claim if they suffer financial loss because any terms of their contracts of employment are changed without their consent. Workers can also seek redress if unlawful deductions are made from their wages.

Holiday Entitlement

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government will introduce legislation to require employers to agree holidays with their employers on an annual basis. [54186]

Alan Johnson: Under the Working Time Regulations, which implement the European Working Time Directive, employers are already required to ensure that their workers are given the opportunity to take four weeks leave with pay each year.

Icelandic Trawlermen


Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it her policy to accept sworn statements from those wishing to make claims under the Icelandic waters trawlermen compensation scheme whose services records are lost; and if she will make a statement. [54512]

Ms Hewitt: The Scheme rules state that, in exceptional cases, e. g. where it can be demonstrated that fishing records were lost in a fire or similar circumstances, the Redundancy Payments Service, to assist in validating claims under the Scheme, may be prepared to accept a sworn statement from the claimant in lieu of documentary evidence.

Small Businesses

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance the Government have given to small businesses to help them through the global downturn. [54194]

Nigel Griffiths: Government provide a range of assistance to small firms experiencing difficulties.

Small businesses dependent on UK airlines affected by 11 September will benefit indirectly from the aid package provided by the UK Government to the aviation industry which is in addition to the significant financial contribution the Government make to the aerospace industry generally.

There are also other forms of generic business support available to small firms facing difficulties:

The SBS launched its Company Rescue Pilot scheme in September 2001. The pilot scheme will initially run for 6–12 months. It is aimed at giving SMEs suffering from short-term financial difficulties a second chance.

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The Business Link network provides advice and support for businesses suffering as a result of a recent crisis including advising on a range of disaster management issues. Businesses should telephone 0845 600 9 006 in order to contact their local Business Link Operator.

The Government have recently established the Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) to improve the UK's resilience to disruptive challenges at every level through improved anticipation, preparation, prevention and resolution. In addition, the Small Business Service (SBS) is identifying current market weaknesses in the provision of emergency loans to small businesses affected by disaster and will report back to Government with its findings and recommendations.

Finally, the National Business Debtline is in place to help Micro Businesses in England and Wales facing debt problems to obtain free, confidential and impartial advice.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the written questions asked of her between (a) 1 to 30 June 2001, (b) 1 to 31 July 2001, (c) 1 to 30 September 2001, (d) 1 to 31 October 2001, (e) 1 to 30 November 2001, (f) 1 to 31 December 2001, (g) 1 to 31 January 2002, (h) 1 to 28 February 2002, (i) 1 to 31 March 2002 and (j) 1 to 30 April 2002 that had not received a substantive answer by 30 April; and if she will state (i) the name of the hon. Member asking the question and (ii) the reasons the question had not received a substantive answer. [54091]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 2 May 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 2 May 2002, Official Report, columns 949–50W, by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.

Questions that remain unanswered within the dates listed are as follows:

The delays in answering these questions have been due in part to work pressures throughout the Department. However answers will be provided shortly.

Liquid Petroleum Gas

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what measures her Department is taking to encourage the use of liquid petroleum gas; [54228]

Mr. Wilson: This Department is actively working with colleagues in DTLR and HMT, and with the energy and transport industries, to promote wider uptake of alternative fuels, in particular liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

At the opening to the 1,000th LPG filling station in February this year I announced LPG Boost, a £1 million DTI funded programme over two years to boost the uptake of LPG as a vehicular fuel. This programme (in conjunction with DTLR funded PowerShift) is aimed at

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boosting consumer demand for, and availability of, good quality LPG vehicles, especially in three target areas, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Mid Wales and rural East Anglia.

Additionally, the LP Gas Association inform us that new retail sites are opening at a rate approaching one per day, with 1,076 sties as of 29 April. Given these incentives and the rate at which sites are opening the Government feel that it is not necessary to offer direct capital incentives to retailers.

Beer Production

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total annual UK production of beer is in pints. [52983]

Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Nigel Evans, dated 7 May 2002:


Data Protection Act

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will place in the Library copies of each version of the internal guidance which have been drawn up by her Department since 1 January 1999 to assist staff in her Department to answer subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998. [53377]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 2 May 2002]: My own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, has not produced separate internal guidance on answering subject access requests.

In the Department for which the Attorney-General is responsible, details are as follows:

The Crown Prosecution Service issued guidance to staff about the Data Protection Act in February 2000 (Inform Insert Issue 6) and September 2001 (Data Protection Act 1998 Update), and has also produced a poster.

The Treasury Solicitor's Department issued guidance to staff in February 2000 (Office Notice 9/2000).

The Serious Fraud Office has not produced separate internal guidance on answering subject access requests.

I have placed copies of this guidance in the House Library. No other separate guidance has been issued.

All Departments also have the central guidance on handling subject access requests issued by the Lord Chancellor and placed in the House Library on 25 April 2002.

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