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Dr. Howells: The Government considered the export control systems of a number of countries, as part of their review of the proposals in the 1998 White Paper on Strategic Export Controls. Following the Quadripartite Committee's second report on "Strategic Export Controls: Further Report and Parliamentary Prior Scrutiny" (HC467), the Government considered the nature and scope of prior scrutiny of arms exports in Sweden and the US. As the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain),
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Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement about the future of the Marine Laboratories, with particular reference to plans for merger at (a) Plymouth, (b) Liverpool and (c) Dunstaffnage. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: Following the Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC) announcement on 29 June 2000 to disband the Centre for Coastal and Marine Science, the NERC Council agreed in November 2000 to provide continued funding for the work of each of the three marine laboratories for a further five years. Funding levels for the first two years have already been agreed; the Council's Science and Technology Board will consider funding levels for the remaining three years at its meeting in May 2001.
The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory is scheduled to relocate to the University of Liverpool Campus in 2003. It will remain a NERC-owned and managed facility. Discussions with the Scottish Association for Marine Science over future management arrangements for the Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory are ongoing. The NERC Council will consider future management arrangements for the Plymouth Marine Laboratory at its meeting in March 2001.
Mr. Alan Johnson: The business case for rural post offices is an integral part of the Post Office network strategic plan. The plan, which was submitted to the Secretary of State "in strictest confidence" and is commercially sensitive, will not be published.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the implications of the Competition Commission decision to overrule Ofgem's decision to impose market abuse licence conditions on British Energy and AES. 
Dr. Howells: The references to the Competition Commission were made by the Director General of Electricity Supply (DGES). In the light of the Competition Commission's decision, Ofgem is considering other means of tackling market abuse.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library a copy of the draft Code of Practice covering the relationship between suppliers and producers in the produce trade. 
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Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has received from the Office of Fair Trading on how the process of consultation was determined in the course of preparing the Code of Practice covering the relationship between suppliers and producers in the produce trade. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 11 January 2001]: I have not yet received advice from the Director General concerning the Code of Practice. I understand the Office of Fair Trading is still in discussions with the supermarkets concerned. I have said that representatives of suppliers will have an opportunity to comment on a draft of the Code. The Director General expects that to take place later this month, once the current round of discussions with the supermarkets is complete.
Mr. Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was spent in total on advertising (a) electricity privatisation, (b) gas privatisation, (c) telecoms privatisation, (d) rail privatisation and (e) the minimum wage since its introduction. 
|(e) National Minimum Wage||8.0|
(1) Excluding VAT
(2) Includes the electricity generating companies; regional electricity companies; Scottish and Northern Ireland generating companies; British Energy.
(3) Includes British Telecommunications (3 offers); Cable and Wireless.
Mr. Caborn: It is not intended that the minutes of meetings of the Export Credits Guarantee Department's Management Board should be published. The minutes of meetings of the Export Guarantees Advisory Council, whose role and membership were reformed as a result of the recent Review of ECGD's Mission and Status, will, however, be placed on ECGD's website.
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what appointments have been made to the management board of the Export Credits Guarantee Department following the recommendation in the recent Mission and Status Review that outside directors should play a key role in overseeing ECGD's risk management systems; and if he will provide details of the appointment procedures followed, the salaries awarded and interests declared by the appointees. 
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These appointments are outside the remit of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. But the selection procedures being used take account of the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice and Guidance and will include the use of independent assessors.
Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications have been received under the compensation scheme for former distant water trawlermen; what the average time is from receipt of applications to payment; and how many payments have been issued so far. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: The Department has so far received some 8,900 claims for payments under this scheme. The average time taken to make a payment from receipt of a claim is currently 59 days (8.4 weeks). As of 8 January 2001, 314 claims have been paid.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on progress on the draft directive discussed at the December 2000 meeting of the European Employment and Social Affairs Council relating to information and consultation on company plans. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: The Employment and Social Policy Council met on 20 December and unanimously agreed the regulation and linked employee-involvement directive on the European Company Statute. The proposed directive establishing a general framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community was not on the agenda.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many compensation claims on behalf of coalminers suffering from respiratory diseases, which cover interim the entitlement to compensation arising from the High Court judgment of January 1998, have been settled in full for general and special damages. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 11 January 2001]: As at the end of December the Department had made full and final settlements on some 6,500 claims. In addition the Department has made a further 24,500 interim settlements. In total the Department has paid out over £104 million in compensation to former miners and their families with claims for respiratory diseases.
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Mr. Byers [holding answer 11 January 2001]: I am aware that Corus is considering further restructuring. Naturally we are assessing the consequences of a change to the structure of steel plants in Wales.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from the National Assembly for Wales on the impact of the Government's industrial policy on the prospects of the steel industry in Wales. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 11 January 2001]: I have had several discussions with my right hon. Friend for Cardiff, West (Mr. Morgan), First Secretary for the National Assembly for Wales, in recent months on a range of issues concerning the steel industry in Wales. I continue to keep in close touch with him on this important issue.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has made to the European Commission for special dispensations to help the survival of the UK steel industry. 
Mr. Byers [holding answer 11 January 2001]: My Department is in touch with the European Commission about ways in which the steel industry can be assisted which meet the criteria of the Steel Aid Code of the European Coal and Steel Community Treaty.
Mr. Byers [holding answer 11 January 2001]: Imports and exports for the tariff headings which most closely align with products of the steel industry during 1999, which is the last full year for which figures are available, were:
(4) Thousand tonnes
(5) To September
(6) Thousand tonnes
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