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In addition, there are regional monitoring groups in Scotland, Wales and England, which all report to the national group. In England I have recently established five regional sub-groups which are North East, Midlands/ Lancashire, South/South East, Notts/Derby and Yorkshire.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Small Business Service is currently supporting 41 community development finance institutions through its Phoenix Fund. These CDFIs are receiving almost £20 million of support over the next 2 years.
The Phoenix Fund has also been instrumental in supporting the formation of a trade association for CDFIs, the Community Development Finance Association. This organisation will help to disseminate best practice throughout the sector.
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A community investment tax credit that will encourage the private sector to invest money into the community finance sector was announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this year's budget.
Alan Johnson: The Government's Strategy for Manufacturing, published on 16 May this year, sets a strategic framework for working in partnership with key stakeholders to help manufacturing companies fulfil their potential in the UK by moving up the value chain to high-skilled, knowledge intensive operations. The strategy identifies seven pillars with objectives and actions for Government and industry to develop:
Raising skills and education levels
The right market framework.
24. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what role her Department plays in cases where companies with manufacturing plant in several EU countries, when rationalising their capacity, choose to close their plant in the United Kingdom. 
Alan Johnson: It is always a cause of great regret when there are closures by any company operating in the UK. Where appropriate, the Department and its partners establish contact with the companies and see if there are ways of retaining the investment. This may include ministerial involvement.
However, when a company does announce plans to close, the Department's appropriate sector directorate will work closely with local and other partners, notably the Employment Service and relevant RDA, to manage the effects of the disinvestments and to look at employment opportunities for existing staff, and at re-training packages.
The network will also look at alternative uses for the site/plant or for a buyer. Invest-UK will ensure that Overseas Posts are aware of the situation to enable them to market the site/plant to overseas companies.
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Nigel Griffiths: The Government are committed to raising the level of adult literacy and numeracy in the workforce and has identified this as a priority area. This will help small businesses. The Government's 'Skills for Life' strategy will:
train workplace basic skills brokers who will put businesses in touch with local basic skills training providers. 447 brokers have so far been trained.
recruit employer champions, all with a proven basic skills track record in their sector, to help fellow businesses.
Learndirect, the online learning and information service, which offers free courses to learners on the foundations of reading, writing and numbers.
the six Employer Training Pilots announced in the budget, which will test out a range of approaches to increasing training levels and enable employees to attain basic and level 2 skills.
Ms Hewitt: The Government believe that broadband services have an important role to play in increasing the competitiveness of the UK economy. Ministers have therefore taken several opportunities to promote the benefits of broadband, including by supporting the Demand: Broadband campaign run by the Communications Workers Union.
"work with the broadband supply industry to facilitate an industry-wide collaborative campaign to promote the benefits of broadband and give impartial advice on the different technological options available.
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We have also established a £30 million fund to help the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and devolved administrations develop innovative schemes to extend broadband networks. Using this fund, some of the RDAs and devolved administrations are carrying forward work which demonstrates the benefits of broadband.
Since the beginning of 2002, ADSL prices have fallen by 22 per cent. Take-up is now over 600,000 and rising by 20,000 new subscribers per week. Around 66 per cent. of the population are able to access affordable broadband technologies, and increased take-up strengthens the case for further roll-out.
25. Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much public expenditure on matters relating to the nuclear industry there has been since 1 May 1997; and what estimate she has made of future identified public liabilities in respect of existing activities. 
Mr. Wilson: Public expenditure on matters related to the nuclear industry in this period related primarily to the activities of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and BNFL. Regulation of the industry and the activities of UK Government Departments and the devolved Administrations with policy or other responsibilities relevant to the industry also necessarily involve public expenditure. However, precise information on the total expenditure involved in each of the years in question could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
For UKAEA, funding was provided in the form of grant and grant in aid to support fusion research and to discharge nuclear liabilities arising from past programmes. The sums provided in each year were as follows:
|Grant, and grant in aid|
BNFL is classified as a public corporation by the Office of National Statistics. Its expenditure and income is recorded in the public sector in the national accounts and so it contributes to the statistics that monitor the Chancellor's fiscal rules. BNFL's total gross expenditure in the financial years 199798 to 200001 as reported in "Public Bodies" was as follows:
|Total gross expenditure|
At 31 March 2002 the total undiscounted cost of dealing with the nuclear liabilities of BNFL and UKAEA was estimated to be £47.9 billion. The White Paper "Managing the Nuclear LegacyA Strategy for Action" published on 4 July set out the Government's proposals for establishinga new Liabilities Management Authority
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with a specific remit to ensure that these liabilities are dealt with safely, securely, cost-effectively and in ways which protect the environment.
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