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2 Nov 2005 : Column 1090W—continued

World Trade Organisation

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had in advance of December's World Trade Organisation talks; and if he will make a statement. [22694]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: A successful, pro-development outcome to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial conference in Hong Kong in December is a UK presidency priority. My Department and other relevant Government Departments are taking every opportunity to discuss the WTO Round with our EU partners, the European Commission and other WTO members and stakeholders. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary chaired a discussion on this issue at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers on 18 October, which I attended. The issue was also discussed by EU Development Ministers on 24 October and EU Agriculture Ministers on 25 October. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade discussed the WTO Round with key players during a recent visit to Geneva.

These included the Indian and Australian Trade Ministers and the WTO Director General. The WTO Round will also be discussed at the informal meeting of EU Trade Ministers on 21 November.


Departmental Spending

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much funding was allocated by his Department to Milton Keynes for (i) capital projects and (ii) revenue funding in each of the last five years. [23507]

Alun Michael: The South East England Development Agency has allocated £3,418,633 in the Milton Keynes area on behalf of the Department during the last five years. This consists of £1,304,765 of Capital and £2,113,868 of Revenue funding and was allocated as follows:

Wolverton Works & Symbiosis (SRB scheme)204,62944,341
New Start for Netherfield (SRB scheme)5,00020,660
Core funding—Milton Keynes Economic Partnership50,000
Spotlight on Bletchley (SRB scheme)75,000321,601
New Start for Netherfield (SRB scheme)5,816
Core funding—Milton Keynes Economic Partnership50,000
Milton Keynes Enterprise Hubs40,000
Spotlight on Bletchley (SRB scheme)100,076317,768
Developing an Economic Vision for Milton Keynes119,648
Core funding—Milton Keynes Economic Partnership95,000
Wolverton Works & Symbiosis (SRB scheme)328,399
Oxford to Cambridge Arc70,000
Milton Keynes Enterprise Hubs84,000
Wolverton Feasibility Study30,000
Spotlight on Bletchley (SRB scheme)40,895245,359
Developing an Economic Vision for Milton Keynes7,817
Core funding—Milton Keynes Economic Partnership85,000
Hatchery—Milton Keynes Hub9,476
R & D Grant—Morgana Systems Ltd.54,809
Oxford to Cambridge Arc70,000
Milton Keynes Enterprise Hubs147,481
Milton Keynes Area Programme125,000175,000
Spotlight on Bletchley (SRB scheme)216,708
SRT Bucks/MK Co-ordinator1,980
PT 2005–06 3 Parishes Bus Link296
RTF 05–06 Bucks & MK RTPO4,124
Core funding—Milton Keynes Economic Partnership75,000
Milton Keynes Enterprise Gateway55,000
Hatchery—Milton Keynes Hub41,000
Stoney Stratford Project Manager3,750
CUE Architecture Centre (Milton Keynes)10,000
Oxford to Cambridge Arc88,000
Total all years1,304,7652,113,868
Capital and Revenue spend total3,418,633

2 Nov 2005 : Column 1091W

Development Agencies

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list each event at which the East of England Development Agency spent money on (a) hospitality and (b) corporate entertainment in the last three years; and what was the expenditure at each event. [19726]

Alun Michael: The full information could be provided only at disproportionate cost as the information requested is not quickly accessible in this format. However, I can provide the following data detailing the East of England Development Agency's spending on some significant and worthwhile corporate events for the year 2004–05.

I would draw attention to the fact that in 2003 EEDA launched an international competition calling for ideas and designs for a landmark or series of landmarks to create a regional identity for the East of England and represent it to the rest of the world. As part of the competition they held a series of public events in each county in the region that showcased over 230 entries from around the world.
2 Nov 2005 : Column 1092W


Total cost including VAT (£)
30 April 2004Summit with regional economic partners3,854.96
29 November 2004Annual General Meeting14,456.45
January 2005Dance East1,000.00
15–16 March 2005Sustainable Development Commission visit1,538.50
17–18 June 2004Space for Ideas—Synapse Event3,008.00
7 July 2004Ideas Talk—Edward de Bono at University of Hertfordshire8,000.00
23 March 2005Space for Ideas—Synapse Event 24,700.00
7 September 2004Landmark event Cambridge11,578
9–12 September 2004Landmark event—Norwich8,512
16–19 September 2004Landmark event—Cambridge5,675
15–17 October 2004Landmark event—Essex8,606
November 2004Landmark dinner3,131
February 2005Landmark event—Suffolk2,000

Equity Finance

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Government's policy is on the public subsidy of local stock or business exchanges to raise equity finance, with particular reference to regional development agencies. [19716]

Alun Michael: Government and Regional Development Agencies are working together to improve the access that small businesses have to equity finance. In doing, so the Government and RDAs will operate within the State Aid rules.

Flexible Working

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to promote flexible working for those with (a) caring and (b) family responsibility; and if he will make a statement. [23396]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Many employers recognise the benefits of flexible working and almost a quarter of employees work through some form of flexible working arrangement. The Government encourages flexible working by promoting the benefits and sharing best practice. We have developed tailored guidance and ACAS have developed a web-based interactive tool, which includes a free online training module.

In April 2003 we introduced the right to request flexible working for parents of children under 6 and disabled children under 18. This legislation has been a tremendous success, with almost a quarter (22 per cent.) of parents with children under 6 requesting to work flexibly since the legislation was introduced and around 90 per cent. of requests accepted.

Building on this success, the recently introduced Work and Families Bill will seek to extend the scope of the existing law to include carers of adults, a group who face particular challenges in juggling their caring responsibilities with work. We will be consulting on the detail of exactly which carers will be covered by the legislation in early 2006.

London Skills Partnership

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the main achievements of the London Skills Partnership. [16404]

2 Nov 2005 : Column 1093W

Alun Michael: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Education and Skills on 25 October 2005, Official Report, column 216W.

Office of Fair Trading

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what criteria he uses when determining whether to intervene in a matter being reviewed by the Office of Fair Trading. [24442]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government's long established policy has been to remove itself from substantive decisions about the application of competition law. It is for the relevant independent competition authorities to consider individual competition cases. This policy is reflected in the UK's competition legislation. Where Ministers do retain statutory powers and responsibilities, these may be used in accordance with the relevant applicable law. For example, the scope for Ministers to refer a market to the Competition Commission is defined in Section 132 of the Enterprise Act 2002.

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