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Arms Exports

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much in export credit guarantees has been made available in support of military exports; and how much aid has been given to African countries, since June 2001. [62161]

Ms Hewitt: Since June 2001, ECGD has provided support with a value of #7.2 million in respect of one defence related case in Africa.

Figures for aid are produced by the Department for International Development. The information for the financial year 2001–02 is currently being audited and will appear in the 2002 edition of Statistics on International Development which is due for publication this Autumn.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total is of export credit guarantees granted for defence-related sales to (a) Pakistan and (b) India in each of the last five years. [62035]

Ms Hewitt: No ECGD support for defence exports to Pakistan was provided in the last five years. One defence related guarantee was provided to India in 1998, with a value of #14 million.

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what export licences have been granted since 2 May 1997 for the export of technical packages or upgrade packages for the production of sub-machine guns to (a) Pakistan, (b) Turkey, (c) Switzerland, (d) Iran and (e) Saudi Arabia. [62018]

Nigel Griffiths: The export of technical packages and upgrade packages for the production of sub-machine guns is controlled under entries ML1, ML16, ML18, ML21, ML22 and PL5017 in the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994 as amended.

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Details of all export licences issued since 2 May 1997, including any for technical packages and upgrade packages for the production of sub-machine guns, are published by destination in the Government's Annual Reports on Strategic Export Controls. Copies of the 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 Annual Reports are available from the Libraries of the House. The 2001 Annual Report will be published soon.

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on how the Government intend to address offshore arms trading through the mechanisms of the Export Control Bill. [62556]

Nigel Griffiths: The Government have stated that they will use the new powers in the Export Control Bill to introduce extra-territorial controls on trade in controlled goods to embargoed destinations, trade in equipment the export of which has already been banned because of evidence of its use in torture, and trade in long-range missiles.

Minimum Wage

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she takes to monitor and collate information on the pay of 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland. [62154]

Alan Johnson: Information on the pay and hours of 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland is available form the annual New Earnings Survey. The latest data available, obtained from the Office for National Statistics for April 2001, show that gross average weekly pay for 16–17 year old full-time employees in Scotland was #156.20.

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on evidence she has collated of substitution of employees for 16 and 17-year-olds following introduction of the national minimum wage in Scotland. [62153]

Alan Johnson: There is no evidence to suggest that there has been substitution of 16–17-year-olds for adults following the introduction of the national minimum wage in Scotland.

According to the Labour Force Survey, published by the Office for National Statistics, the employment of 16–17-year-olds actually fell during a time when overall employment rose. The employment of 16–17-year-olds as a percentage of all in employment fell from 2.9 per cent. in spring 1998 to 2.4 per cent. in spring 2000.

Coal Mining Industry

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been paid by the Government for the handling agreement for compensation claims from the coal mining industry. [62355]

Mr. Wilson: As of 21 June 2002, the Department has paid out over #870 million to claimants under the respiratory disease and vibration white figure compensation schemes.

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End of Life Vehicles

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to introduce a last owner pays system for end of life vehicles; and if she will make a statement. [62045]

Mr. Wilson: We have consistently made clear our intention to implement the End of Life Vehicles Directive with a light regulatory touch and without disrupting the existing legitimate vehicle dismantling, shredding and recycling market.

We will require vehicle manufacturers and importers to meet the costs of take-back and treatment of vehicles sold after 1 July 2002, as soon as regulations to that effect can be introduced. From 1 January 2007, vehicle manufacturers and importers will similarly become responsible for such costs for vehicles sold before 1 July 2002, in accordance with the terms of the Directive. This will ensure that a broadly level playing field is maintained with other main car-producing EU countries, such as France and Germany.

The Directive require treatment facilities to meet new environmental standards when depolluting and dismantling ELVs. We intend to introduce these standards during 2003. The cost of depolluting and dismantling an ELV will offset, and may exceed, its scrap value, but this will depend upon a number of factors, including the age, marque, model and condition of the ELV, the prevailing value of scrap ferrous and non-ferrous metals and other materials at the time, and the efficiency of the treatment facility. Until 2007, and the introduction of producer responsibility for vehicles sold before 1 July 2002, Xlast owners" will continue to be responsible for the disposal of their vehicles, and will be free to negotiate their end-values with treatment facilities. Some ELVs will retain a positive value, and we would expect that new depollution and dismantling costs to be reflected in the market value of second-hand vehicles.

Additional costs incurred by local authorities as a consequence of the transposition and implementation of the Directive would, under the XNew Burdens" arrangements, fall to be met by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Competitive Tendering

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on how many occasions in the last 12 months the requirement to engage in a competitive tendering process has been waived by her Department due to national security obligations under paragraph 6(h) of the supply regulations. [62822]

Ms Hewitt: There have not been any such occasions.

Post Office

Dr. Cable : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to her answer of 31 October 2001, on Post Office cash accounts, if she will make a statement on targets for accounts being operational. [62937]

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Mr. Timms: Our operational assumption is that around 3 million benefit and tax credit recipients will open a card account at the Post Office, but there will be no cap on numbers on eligibility criteria for these accounts.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the forecast profit or loss for 2003 by the Post Office is, including extraordinary items. [63343]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 20 June 2002]: Consignia indicated on 13 June that they expected trading losses to continue into 2002–03 at a similar level to 2001–02, with further exceptional items of around #500 million in the first half of the year.

Rural Network Advisers

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many rural network advisers there were for the Post Office on 31 March; and how many there are now. [62695]

Mr. Timms: I am informed by Post Office Limited that on 31 March 2002 there were 31 Rural Transfer Advisers, and that is the number now.


Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people form organisations outside her Department have been seconded to start work in her Department since 1 January. [63094]

Ms Hewitt: Centrally held records show that 44 inward secondments have started between 1 January 2002 and 17 July 2002.

Energy/Industry Council

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the outcome of the Energy/Industry Council of 6 and 7 June. [64324]

Mr. Wilson: My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Employment, Industry and the Regions represented the UK at the EU Industry Council held in Luxembourg on 6 June. I represented the UK at the EU Energy Council held on 7 June.


The Council held a round table debate on competitiveness and enterprise policy in the EU. This followed a Commission presentation of its Communication XProductivity: the key to competitiveness". All Member States agreed on the need for further steps to promote productivity, particularly in services, in order to meet the targets set in the Lisbon strategy. The important role of enterprise policy was noted, in particular: improving the regulatory environment, promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing competitiveness. The UK identified the key obstacles in services as being productivity underperformance by the sector, the lack of a true single market in services, the slow pace of technology diffusion, and rigidities in the labour markets.

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Council Conclusions were adopted on Competitiveness and on the e-Economy. The latter build on the Commission Communication XThe Impact of the e-Economy on European Enterprises" aiming to lay foundations for a more strategic approach to EU policies and initiatives for e-business. The Presidency gave a short presentation about the Charter for Small and Medium sized Enterprises, underlining its importance as an area for the Council to focus on, and noting both the Barcelona Council Conclusions on the subject and the full discussion that had taken place at the informal Council of Ministers for Small and Medium sized Enterprises in Aranjuez in February.

The Commission set out progress on the strategy for chemicals. The first phase of a business impact study was completed, and had been largely endorsed at a conference at the end of May. Costs for business would vary a great deal depending on the details of implementation. This led into a wider Council discussion on the contribution of sustainable development to enterprise policy, on which conclusions were adopted. All Member States saw a role for the Industry Council in looking at environmental dossiers with a big impact on competitiveness. The UK pointed to environmental liability and fluorinated gases as two important current examples. Effective co-ordination between industry and environment Departments in Member States was also important.

The Commission reported on the action underway relating to the expiry of the ECSC Treaty and on the position in the steel market following the US safeguard action.

The Presidency noted the progress towards the modernisation of competition law, and wished Denmark well in completing work during 2002, as agreed at the Barcelona Council. The Commission presented its thirty-first report on competition policy noting that 2001 had been a busy year for the Commission. A record 1.8 billion euro fines had been imposed on members of cartels.

The Commission also presented the new state aid scoreboard, published on 23 May, to the Council. The document would help all concerned pursue the agreed objectives of reducing the re-orientating state aid.

The Council adopted procedural conclusions on continuing work on Biotechnology with a view to adopting a roadmap of practical actions in due course.

The Presidency reported the outcome of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Conference of Industry Ministers in Malaga on 9 and 10 April. This had focussed on a range of measures to open up and develop trade in the region with longer-term objective of establishing a Mediterranean Free Trade Area.

The Commission presented the report from the G10 High-Level Working Party on medicinal products. This was the first such report to bring together public health and industry issues. It had sparked a number of public debates. The UK spoke in favour of the report. This was an important sector and the report's recommendations aimed at enhancing competitiveness needed to be actioned. Swedish and Spanish Ministers also spoke in support.

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The Council held an informal discussion over lunch on the new Block Exemption Proposal for motor vehicle sales and servicing.

Possible changes were explored to the Commission's longstanding proposals to allow some state aid for shipbuilding contracts in areas where there is held to be unfair competition from Korea. The Commission remained of the view that this was needed to bolster the proposed WTO action against Korea, which all Member States support. The revised Commission proposal had reduced subsidy rates but over a longer time frame, and allowed for inclusion of Liquid Natural Gas carriers if market data for 2002 justified this. The UK and a number of other Member States maintained their opposition to a subsidy scheme and there was no qualified majority in support. The matter was referred back to the Committee of Permanent Representatives.


The Council considered several matters of interest to the United Kingdom. Energy liberalisation, a new coal state aid regulation and a Biofuels directive formed the main issues of discussion.

The key point to emerge from discussion of coal state aid was the agreement reached on a new coal state aid regulation to replace the rules in force under the ECSC Treaty, which expires at the end of July. The regulation agreement would allow for operating, closure, investment and Xexceptional cost" aid to phase out gradually by 2010, and provides for simple degressivity of the total volume of operating, closure and investment aid combined in each Member State, with an end date of 2007 for closure aid and 2010 for operating and investment aid. An investment aid provision sought by the UK has been included in the agreed text. Some Member States, regretting that the level of aid would not reduce significantly and continuously, asked the Commission to ensure that the Treaty's state aid articles were respected by Member States. The Commission will enter a declaration undertaking to ensure maximum vigilance in respect of those articles.

No Presidency or Council conclusions were agreed on energy liberalisation. Member States maintained their positions on the key areas of public service obligations, unbundling, market opening and the rules governing market regulation. There was general agreement on the importance of the principle of public service obligations, particularly in respect of electricity, but disagreement on the details. Some Member States favoured a wide coverage applying to all final customers. Others, including the UK, preferred a narrower definition limited to households. Most Member States supported the inclusion of some form of labelling showing the sources from which electricity had been generated. A majority favoured legal unbundling of transmission and distribution from supply and production, though most also supported a rather high de minimis level. There was widespread support for the separation of the accounts of eligible from non-eligible customers. Most Member States expressed support for the list of duties of national regulators set out in Article 22 of the Presidency text. A progress report on cross-border exchanges in electricity was noted without discussion.

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On biofuels, the majority of Member States reiterated their opposition to mandatory targets. It was, however, agreed that the reference to possible proposals for mandatory targets in the review clause could stand, on the basis that a number of Member States supported the UK's declaration that they would not be bound to accept any such proposals. A few Member States expressed regret that the Council was rejecting the Commission's proposals for mandatory targets for use of fuels of agricultural origin for transport purposes, and that targets would now be indicative.

General orientation on Trans-European Energy Networks (TENS) was agreed on the basis of a Presidency text. The UK lifted its reserve on the Commission's proposals to amend the energy TENS guidelines—all other reserves had been lifted previously. All Member States welcomed the proposal, but some questioned its financing aspects and in particular the raising of the Community's permissible financial contribution from 10 per cent. to 20 per cent. of total project costs.

The Commission reported briefly on its recent efforts to persuade Russia to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty.

The Commission introduced its new energy programme, XIntelligent Energy Programme for Europe", as a refocused version of the existing energy framework programme, which promotes more efficient and cleaner energy use. They said that the intention was to link the new programme to security of supply and the development of the single market. There would also be emphasis on environmental projects.

The Commission emphasised the importance of security of energy supply and said that a paper for the Seville Council was almost finalised. The Commission argued that Member State responses to the Green Paper had shown the need for demand side measures and for a new approach to oil and gas stocks. The Commission paper would also address the need to double the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources. The Commission argued that nuclear power was also important, providing the only possible option for meeting Kyoto targets; that a rational approach was needed which would include a fresh look at safety and waste management, particularly in the context of enlargement; and that it was a matter of great concern that the acquis did not currently cover nuclear safety standards. Several Member States expressed clear anti-nuclear views; others either remained non-committal or expressed support. The UK agreed on the need to start working on the follow up to the Commission's Green Paper, but expressed scepticism about the Commission's ideas on oil and gas stocks.

The Commission made a presentation on the current state of play in the EU/Russia Energy Dialogue. The Commission agreed to Member State requests for greater transparency in the process including participation at meetings.

Finally, there was brief discussion of the issue of candidatures for the post of Executive Director of the International Energy Agency.

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