|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Prime Minister if he will consider the merits of appointing a Minister for Africa in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with (a) responsibility for improving relations with African countries and (b) analogous responsibilities to the Minister for Europe. 
The Prime Minister: While my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has overall responsibility for Foreign Policy, day-to-day responsibility for the UKs relationship with Africa lies with my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham. There are no current plans to review these ministerial responsibilities.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when a Minister in his Department last visited (a) Bahrain, (b) Kuwait, (c) Oman, (d) Qatar, (e) Saudi Arabia, (f) the United Arab Emirates and (g) Yemen on (i) a trade promotion visit and (ii) a visit in connection with other departmental responsibilities. 
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that all UK households have access to telecoms infrastructure capable of providing (a) broadband as defined by Ofcom, (b) at least 512 kbit/s and (c) over 1.5 Mbits/s; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 12 March 2007]: At the present time there is no Universal Service Obligation (USO) in relation to broadband. Thus, there is no absolute obligation to supply broadband, of any speed, at all.
The latest Ofcom figures reveal that Broadband is, however, available to over 99 per cent. of UK households. 37 per cent. of households can choose between four wholesale broadband providers, 8 per cent. can choose between three wholesales providers, 12 per cent. between two wholesale providers and the remainder can access a BT wholesale offering.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of telephone lines in (a) England, (b) Cheltenham Borough Council area and ( c) Springbank ward in Cheltenham that are able to support broadband; what definition he uses of broadband; and if he will make a statement. 
1. there could be fibre in the network between the exchange and the household
2. the telephone line could be too long to support broadband.
the service is always on, i.e. no dial up is required. This feature allows the user to maintain a permanent connection to the network so allowing real-time delivery of services such as email;
it is possible to use both voice and data services simultaneously, whether they are provided together, for example over the same access route, or separately, perhaps using more than one access route; and
it has a faster downstream speed than a dial-up connection (essentially >128kbit/s).
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the
proportion of UK households which have access to (a) one, (b) two, (c) three and (d) four or more broadband suppliers; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: While BT has rolled out broadband to over 99 per cent. of UK households, cable and Local Loop Unbundling operators have so far only rolled out broadband in certain parts of the UK. Thus, different areas in the UK are supplied by a different mix of wholesale providers. The latest figures available to Ofcom are as follows:
Percentage of UK households with only one (BT) wholesale broadband provider42 per cent.
Percentage of UK households with only two wholesale broadband providers12 per cent.
Percentage of UK households with only three wholesale broadband providers7 per cent.
Percentage of UK households with four or more wholesale broadband providers37 per cent.
It should be noted that broadband rollout, particularly based on LLU, is currently ongoing and therefore the coverage numbers presented here should be seen as a snap shot in time. This is a dynamic market and it is likely to look very different in a year from now.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was spent by his Department on (a) business support schemes and (b) services to small businesses in each year since 2000. 
|Business support schemes|
DTI commenced the detailed tracking of the cost of specific business support schemes on a consistent basis from the 2003-04 financial year onwards. Therefore the information provided for earlier years is a best estimate.
|Business link network|
The business link network provides advice and support to c. 700,000 small businesses every year, at start up and growth stages, with the quality and reach of that advice increasing all the time.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 16 October 2006, Official Report, column 945W, on business assistance in Cumbria, how many of the
businesses assisted by Business Link in Cumbria received assistance (a) electronically, (b) by telephone, (c) in writing and (d) through face to face interviews. 
|Total businesses assisted||Electronically||By telephone||In writing||Face to face|
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his most recent estimate is of the (a) one-off cost and (b) recurring costs of implementing the Consumer Credit Regulations 2004 to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. 
|Regulation||One-off cost||Recurring cost|
|(1) Small unqualified increase in printing costs due to increased volume of information for consumers. (2) +60 transfer to consumers as a result of fairer early settlement terms.|
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimate he has made of the (a) one-off cost and (b) ongoing costs of implementing the Employment Relations Act 2004 to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the (a) one-off and (b) ongoing costs of implementing the Directive to Establish a General Framework for Informing and Consulting Employees in the UK to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The DTI is totally committed to better regulation. On 11 December it published an ambitious Simplification Plan to reduce administrative burdens by 25 per cent. per year by 2010. The plan is a key part of an ongoing commitment to reducing unnecessary red tape and to making essential regulation simpler and more streamlined.
The full Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Employment Relations Act 2004 can be found from page 132 in the DTI publication Employment Relations Research series No. 41: 2004 Compendium of Regulatory Impact Assessments URN 05/1018
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|