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Cold Calling

David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans the Government have to regulate the practice of cold calling. [55181]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Protection is provided by the Consumer Protection (Cancellation of Contracts Concluded away from Business Premises) Regulations 1987, the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999 and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

Business Grants

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the grants and other help that she administers that are available to industrial and commercial businesses located in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Pendle. [55428]

Alan Johnson: DTI does not administer any grants or funding for businesses in Scotland or Wales with the exception of the Coal Operating Scheme. Other grants and funding are covered by the relevant devolved Administrations.

Grants and business support services for small companies can be accessed via the local business link which is administered by the Small Business Service. The Small Business Service itself covers the whole UK but in Scotland and Wales the arrangements for business support delivery are again a matter for the devolved Administrations.

In addition, small and medium sized enterprises in Pendle can apply for the Enterprise Grant Scheme, most of Pendle is covered by transitional Objective 2 of the European Structural Funds until 2005, and the North West Development Agency aims to promote business development in the region.

The DTI publication 'Financing your Business' describes the various types of business finance available and lists sources of further information.

Postal Deliveries

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many derogations there are for addresses in (a) Aberdeenshire and (b) Banffshire where Royal Mail are not obliged to provide a delivery service direct to the door; and if she will make a statement. [55164]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 9 May 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. Brown) on 25 February 2002, Official Report, columns 847–48W.

13 May 2002 : Column 466W

Since I gave that answer Postcomm issued a third interim Direction (which is still in force) on 26 March 2002 and I am placing a copy of that Direction in the Libraries of the House.

CASIM Project

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in the assessment and location of the CASIM project. [55482]

Ms Hewitt: Peer review assessments of both elements of the project, CASIM 4GLS and CASIM SIRIUS were considered by the Director General of Research Councils and the Research Councils' chief executives at a meeting on 16 April 2002. It was agreed that 4GLS should proceed to the next stage of the Office of Government Commerce Gateway review process. In the case of SIRIUS it was recommended that further discussions between the Office of Science and Technology and the Department of Health, the two main prospective funders, should take place before any decision was taken on project viability or location.

Edmonton B Power Station

Mr. Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will decide on the development of the Edmonton B power station. [55349]

Mr. Wilson: A decision will be announced shortly.

Unfair Trading

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints have been received by the Competition Commission in respect of unfair trading in each year since its formation. [55812]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Complaints of unfair trading are received by the Office of Fair Trading. Relevant statistics can be found in the OFT's annual report, a copy of which is available in the Libraries of the House.

Electricity Regulation

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she intends to update the electricity safety, quality and continuity regulations; and if she will make a statement. [56139]

Mr. Wilson: The proposed Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations will replace the existing Electricity Supply Regulations 1988 (as amended). The main objective of the proposed Regulations is to improve safety standards in the new electricity market while preserving important public safety, power quality and supply continuity requirements in the existing Regulations. The draft Regulations will be finalised shortly following the public consultation exercise carried out last year and further discussions with interested parties since then. Allowing time for the approval process and publication of detailed Guidance Notes 12 weeks in advance of the introduction of regulations in accordance with Government guidelines, it is anticipated the new regulations will commence in November 2002.

In addition to the Guidance Notes, the Government's response to the comments received during the public consultation exercise will be published in due course.

13 May 2002 : Column 467W

Energy Review

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry as a result of the recent energy review, what discussions she is having with energy providers to ensure that account is taken of local security of supply. [55617]

Mr. Wilson: I have requested a study into the resilience of the electricity supply networks in an emergency, in order to obtain reassurance that we have the best possible systems in place to avoid or minimise supply failure, together with examples of good practice in emergency preparedness. Our consultants, British Power International (BPI), visited all the electricity transmission and distribution licence-holding companies in mainland Britain during March, and will be reporting shortly.

DTI's Engineering Inspectorate has been dealing with a small number of cases in which consumers in rural areas are complaining about frequent interruptions to their electricity supply, and Ofgem has taken important steps to strengthen the incentives on distribution companies to provide a good quality of service to consumers. From 1 April 2002 a new Guaranteed Standard of Performance was introduced which will mean that consumers that suffer more than three interruptions of more than three hours duration over the course of the year will receive a compensation payment of £50. This protection is directly aimed at 'worst-served' consumers. Ofgem has also introduced an incentive scheme for distribution companies that focuses on key areas quality of service—the number of interruptions to supply, the duration of interruptions to supply and the quality of telephone response provided by distribution companies. Taken together these mechanisms provide significant additional protection to consumers in respect of the quality of service they receive from distribution companies.

The introduction of widespread distributed generation in electricity networks will certainly raise some technical issues not previously faced by electricity distributors. Close monitoring of developments in embedded generation is necessary by all those involved to ensure the emerging security of supply issues are identified and managed. Following on from the report of the joint DTI-Ofgem Embedded Generation Working Group (EGWG) in June 2001 index.htm, the Government has recently established a Co-ordinating Group, jointly led by the DTI and Ofgem, to monitor the implementation of the EGWG recommendations and to advise Ministers of potential problems.


Royal Family

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the agreement in force between the Government and the Royal Family on the payment of death duties by members of the Royal Family. [55572]

The Prime Minister: The inheritance tax arrangements are set out in paragraphs 20 to 23 of the Memorandum of Understanding in the Royal Trustees report (HC 464) published on 11 February 1993.

13 May 2002 : Column 468W

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister if he will take steps to ensure the will of the Her late Majesty the Queen Mother is published. [55826]

The Prime Minister: In line with a long standing convention for dealing with the wills of senior members of the Royal Family, an order has been made by the High Court for the sealing up of the will of the late Queen Mother, which means that the will cannot be inspected or published. Therefore, I do not intend to take any steps to ensure publication of the will.

European Commission

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his policy towards the direct election of the President of the European Commission. [55692]

The Prime Minister: It is not our policy.

Annual Government Report

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Prime Minister if he will reconsider publishing an annual Government report. [56277]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) on 12 July 2001, Official Report, column 638W.

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