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Mr. Caborn: Ceramics manufacturers benefit from the general support provided by Trade Partners UK for trade missions and groups at overseas trade events. A number of specific missions and events are regularly supported in the building and construction and giftware sectors, both of which cover ceramics.
One such mission to Japan, including ceramics companies, was supported in the current financial year and five missions in the sectors including ceramics are planned for 2001-02, in addition to a mission to Vietnam, which will be dedicated to ceramics and sponsored by the North Staffordshire chamber of commerce. Nineteen groups at exhibitions and seminars in the sectors including ceramics were supported in 2000-01, at a cost of £884,435 and there are plans to support a further 22 such events in 2001-02, at a projected cost of £1,115,220. It is not possible to break these figures down to identify the number of companies in ceramics sub-sectors supported in these events.
Among the export promoters currently seconded from industry to Trade Partners UK to assist British companies seeking to export, one has a portfolio that includes giftware and seven the building and construction sector.
Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many offers have been made between (a) £3,000 to £5,000, (b) £5,001 to £7,000, (c) £7,001 to £10,000 and (d) over £10,000 following the setting of revised financial limits under the fast-track procedures of the emphysema and chronic bronchitis compensation scheme for ex-miners. 
Mrs. Liddell: Under the fast-track procedures I announced at the end of September last year, the Department has made 15,247 revised and new offers, totalling some £83.7 million. These are broken down as follows.
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|Offer amount||Number of offers|
|Less than £3,000||3,672|
|£3,001 to £5,000||4,588|
|£5,001 to £7,000||2,602|
|£7,001 to £10,000||2,776|
In total, the Department has now made over 71,600 individual payments, including interim and full and final settlements, to claimants in respect of compensation for respiratory and vibration-related diseases, totalling some £320 million. The Department is now paying out around £1 million per day in compensation.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of valid invoices have been paid by the Small Business Service within 30 days in each quarter since April 2000. 
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of letters the Chief Executive of the Small Business Service has replied to within 10 working days in each quarter since April 2000. 
|Quarter||Per cent. of all letters replied to within 10 days|
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what change in electricity forward agreement wholesale generation prices has occurred since the intention to implement new electricity trading arrangements was announced in the October 1998 Energy White Paper. 
Mrs. Liddell: Prices in the electricity pool were around 2.5p/KWh in the period leading up to the White Paper. At that time trading in the electricity forward agreement (EFA) market was very limited, with no established price reporting. EFA prices and pool prices are not strictly comparable since the balance of risks associated with trading EFAs is different to that arising from exposure to pool prices.
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Price reporting of EFA markets emerged during 1999 as trading volumes rose. In mid-1999, one-year forward contracts to supply baseload electricity from October 1999 were trading at about 2.4p/KWh. Currently, prices to supply baseload electricity for one year from April 2001 are about 2.0p/KWh. This is a fall of around 17 per cent. in cash terms and 21 per cent. in real terms from 1999.
Dr. Howells: The DTI's fireworks safety schools website achieved over 1,500 visits between October 2000 and early January 2001. Other DTI websites that provide information on fireworks are the consumer affairs and home safety network sites. Information on visits to the latter two sites cannot be broken down separately into fireworks alone.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received on coal supply contracts that contain provisions for adjustment in coal prices in the event of state aid being paid; and if he will make a statement. 
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Ms Kingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what procedures are in place to check that contracts being considered for Export Credits Guarantee Department support are subject to competitive tendering. 
Mr. Caborn: The Export Credits Guarantee Department has no procedures for checking that contracts considered for support have been won as a result of competitive tendering, as it is not a requirement of its support that contracts be awarded as the result of such a process.
Ms Kingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the United Kingdom companies that received support from the Export Credits Guarantee Department in the (a) last and (b) current financial year to date. 
Mr. Caborn: The lists do not include the many UK subcontractors who will have benefited from ECGD cover provided to a UK main contractor or to a bank which makes payment to a number of UK exporters on behalf of overseas buyers. They do, however, include the UK branches of overseas companies who have been the beneficiaries of ECGD guarantees.
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