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10 Jun 2002 : Column 992W
to the regional development agencies on delivering the commitments set out in the Prime Minister's Better Public Buildings Initiative. 
Alan Johnson: DTI is working with all its property centres, including RDAs, to develop its response to the Prime Minister's Better Public Buildings Initiative. An action plan will be published in due course.
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The table shows the total number of staff in DTI HQ with the number of staff aged over 50 and over 60 shown as a number and as a percentage of the total. Staff aged 60 have been included in the lower age band.
|5160||61 and over||Grand total|
|Per cent. of total||23.67||1.81|||
Alan Johnson: The Inland Revenue enforce the minimum wage on behalf of the Department. They completed almost 1,700 investigations in Scotland between April 1999 and 31 March 2002, with non- compliance being discovered in 27 per cent. of cases. During this period wages arrears of £600,000 were identified in Scotland. There are no separate figures for the 18 to 21 age group.
Alan Johnson: The national minimum wage rates are set by Government following recommendations from the independent Low Pay Commission. The Commission recommended the establishment of a lower rate in their first report (June 1998). The Government were happy to accept that recommendation and we have no plans to
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abolish the separate rate for those aged 18 to 21 inclusive. We expect shortly to issue the Commission with new terms of reference and will carefully consider any recommendations that they subsequently submit to us.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people aged (a) between 18 and 21 and (b) over 21 years are receiving the national minimum wage in Scotland, broken down by parliamentary constituency or nearest available area. 
Mr. Wilson: A partner contractor for the Liabilities Management Unit has yet to be appointed. My officials are in discussion with the preferred bidder over contract arrangements. I will make an announcement when a contract has been agreed.
Mr. Wilson: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made clear in her statement to the House on 28 November 2001, the establishment of the Liabilities Management Authority will require primary legislation. A Bill will be introduced at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many staff, by grade, are (a) planned for and (b) appointed to her Liabilities Management Unit; and what its budget will be (a) this year and (b) in the next two years. 
Mr. Wilson: The Liabilities Management Unit (LMU) comprises a mix of private and public sector employees, the majority of whom are secondees from BNFL and UKAEA. The Director is on loan from the private sector
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and is a Senior Civil Service equivalent. The remaining staff are mostly Band C or equivalent. There are currently 19 staff in the LMU. The make up of the team will be kept under review but it is not expected to increase significantly. The LMU's administrative budget for 200203 is around £1.5 million and similar amounts are likely to be needed in the following two years.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent measures she has taken to ensure that new regulations do not place an unnecessary burden on small business. 
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 24 May 2002]: Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs) have to be produced for all new regulations, setting out clearly the costs and benefits with full recognition of small business concerns. The Department's policy is to "think small first": the Small Business Service has to be consulted on all RIAs to ensure that the impact on small firms is not disproportionate.
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The Government recognises that the creation of new businesses is important for the health of the economy. The Small Business Service (SBS) is encouraging more people to start their own businesses. Through the network of Business Link operators, it operates a number of programmes aimed at helping small businesses, including start-up businesses, gain access to finance. The latest of this is the Regional Venture Capital Funds launched in January 2002.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how the Export Credits Guarantee Department's financial support for British industry complies with the Government's policy of world trade negotiation for the elimination of subsidies; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: The basis on which ECGD provides support is consistent with multilateral trade agreements such as the OECD Arrangement on Guidelines for Officially Supported Export Credits. The arrangement, which has been adopted into EU law by means of a Council Decision, provides a framework regulating, inter alia, credit terms, risk premium, officially supported
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interest rates and tied aid. Such support is consistent with the Government's policy in WTO negotiations of seeking to eliminate trade distorting subsidies on a multilateral basis.
Ms Hewitt: A study is currently being carried out by National Economic Research Associates (NERA) to assess the overall contribution that ECGD makes to the UK economy. This work will look at both the potential resource cost to the Government of the use of its balance sheet in providing export credit support and the economic benefits to the UK that accrue through the public provision of export credits to UK industry. The results of the NERA report will be used to develop the policies needed to maximize the benefits to the UK economy of ECGD's activities.
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