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31 Oct 2002 : Column 981W—continued

Export Publications Catalogue

Dr Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many titles are featured in the Export Publications Catalogue; what the website address is for the catalogue; what the running costs were for financial years (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000 and (d) 2000–01; and if she will make a statement. [78114]

Ms Hewitt: The Export Publications Catalogue is no longer published. Since May 2000, business sector and export market information content previously published as priced books listed in the Catalogue has been made freely available on

The specific running costs for the Export Publications Catalogue were not separately recorded. However, based on the staff and accommodation costs the totaladministration running costs for maintaining the Catalogue are estimated as:


The Unit was wound-up at the end of the Financial Year 1999–2000 and staff were redeployed on preparing information for the new Trade Partners UK website.

Financial Assistance

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much financial assistance has been given in each of the last five years to (a) the British Printing Industries Federation, (b) the Booksellers Association, (c) London Fashion Week, (d) the Designer Fact File and (e) the Education Pack for Schools in the Clothing and Textile industries; what assistance is planned for the next three years; and if she will make a statement. [78261]

Mr. Timms: DTI does not provide direct financial assistance to the British Printing Industries Federation or the Booksellers Association but has worked with these organisations in partnership with other industry members to support initiatives aimed at raising their sectors' competitiveness and productivity.

My Department has contributed support towards the above initiatives as follows:

This support relates to specific industry-led initiatives aiming at supporting the UK textiles and clothing sector. The focus for this assistance is the priorities identified by the industry itself, contained in the Textiles and Clothing Strategy Group's report: 'A National

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Strategy for the UK Textiles and Clothing Industry', published in June 2000. DTI will continue to work with the TCSG to support this industry but the level of future support depends on it coming forward with appropriate initiatives to help raise its competitiveness and viability.

Firefighters' Strike

Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what preparations she has made to ensure the safety and continuity of service to the public in the event of a firefighters' strike; and what the cost is to the Department of these actions. [77662]

Ms Hewitt: My Department is already following the fire safety guidance recently published on the the website of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. My Department is taking the opportunity to remind its staff and contractors of good fire safety practices and what to do in an emergency. My Department does not expect to incur any increase in costs.

Focus Group Research

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what use she and her Department have made of focus group research since June 2001; if she will identify for each research project the topics covered, the person or organisation carrying out the research, and the total cost; and if she will publish the research on her Department's website. [74989]

Ms Hewitt: The Department does not collect centrally the information sought, and it could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Foresight Vehicle LINK Programme

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was invested by the Government, broken down by financial years, in the Foresight Vehicle LINK programme; whether the programme is still live; what assessment of the programme has taken place and at what cost; and if she will make a statement. [77902]

Ms Hewitt: The Foresight Vehicle LINK programme is still open. Foresight Vehicle has just published a technology road map identifying critical technology and research themes and this, taken together with the recommendations of the Automotive Innovation andGrowth Team, will be used as the basis for future calls for proposals. Sponsor departments will be meeting in the next few weeks to discuss the timing of the next call. It is too early for a full formal evaluation of the research to date, but on completion, individual projects are assessed against their objectives by the Programme Management Panel. In addition, themed dissemination events are held regularly and papers have been presented at international conferences. Details of the research portfolio and progress are also made available on the Foresight Vehicle website

Government commitment is as follows (these figures include the EPSRC Innovative Manufacturing Initiative Road Transport Programme which has been subsumed into Foresight Vehicle):

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Financial Years (#k)DfTDTIHighways AgencyMoDEPSRCTotal
Earlier years1,0603,1314,191

Gas Suppliers

Jim Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what measures are being taken to ensure that gas suppliers are complying with Ofgem and Energywatch's Erroneous Transfer Customer Charter; and what enforcement powers are given to Ofgem to impose the Charter's provisions on fraudulent and negligent firms; [75941]

Mr. Wilson: This is a matter for the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem). I understand that the Chief Executive of Ofgem will write to the hon. Member on the issues he has raised.

Industry Forum

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) financial and (b) other support was provided to the Industry Forum in (i) 1998–99, (ii) 1999–2000 and (iii) 2000–01; what budget there is for 2001–02; and if she will make a statement. [78263]

Ms Hewitt: The Industry Forum Adaptation initiative was supported by a budget of #15 million between 1998 and 2001. Due to the high demand and its growing impact on productivity across a range of sectors, a further budget of #9 million was announced at the Manufacturing Summit in December 2001. This covers FY 2002–03 and 2003–04 and strengthens the overall level of support for best practice activities. An additional #9 million was also announced to include joint activity with the Partnership Fund to integrate people and process development.

In addition, the Industry Forum Network was established in December 2000 through the Fit for the Future National Best Practice Campaign, which my Department co-funds. The network is made up of CEOs of each industry forum and facilitates cross-working and the exchange of operational experiences.


Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to encourage the development of the Iranian oil and gas industry; and what steps she is taking to encourge UK firms to invest in Iran. [78305]

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Mr. Wilson: Her Majesty's Government has supported UK companies investing in the development of the Iranian oil and gas industry and will continue to do so.

Trade Partners UK, including the commercial team at the Embassy in Tehran, offers a strong package of support for British companies wishing to do business with Iran. In addition to providing up to date information on market conditions, they support a programme of trade missions to the market, help British groups attend key trade fairs, organise inward missions and provide targeted assistance to UK companies in key sectors.

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