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|Campaign||Expenditure (£) (including VAT)||Duration|
|Paid Annual Leave||4,034,956||9-25 March|
|UK Online for Business||1,546,031||19 February- end March|
|British Trade International|
|Trade Partners||1,233,329||5-end March|
|Agency--Small Business Service|
|Hooked on Helping Business||1,439,457||14-28 March|
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many former miners in the South Shields constituency have (a) claimed and (b) received payments in compensation for (i) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (ii) vibration white finger. 
Mr. Hain: In the area of South Shields (as defined by the postcodes NE3 and NE4, which encompass the South Shields constituency) IRISC, the Department's claims handlers have registered 728 claims in respect of compensation for respiratory disease and 1,049 claims in relation to vibration white finger, VWF. To date, there have been 156 individual payments totalling £600,000 in respect of respiratory disease and 348 individual payments in respect of VWF amounting to £2.5 million.
Ms Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the action he is taking to improve the consistency of the procedure for claiming compensation for vibration white finger between the Department for Social Security and his Department's schemes. 
Industrial Industries Disablement Benefits (IIDB) are payable to people who are disabled as a result of an accident at work or are one of over 70 prescribed diseases known to be a risk of occupation. VWF is one of these prescribed diseases. Benefit is normally paid only in
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respect of an assessment of 14 per cent. disability or more. Criteria for deciding claims are narrowly defined and set out in detail in legislation.
The DTI's compensation scheme is based on common law principles and negligent exposure to vibration must be substantiated before any payment is made. An assessment is made on the level of disability which is set out in a Handling Arrangement agreed between the Department and miners' solicitors.
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on the Walthamstow constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. 
Mr. Caborn: The parliamentary constituency of Walthamstow has benefited from a range of initiatives since 1 May 1997. Direct business advice and support to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) has been provided by the DTI through core programmes and the Business Links. While my Department does not collect detailed statistical information on a constituency basis, over 590 requests for advice, information and support from SMEs in Walthamstow have been handled by the Business Links since May 1997.
Mr. Gorrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to dissuade companies which offer credit facilities to customers from encouraging people to build up substantial debts. 
Dr. Howells: Last November, I set up a taskforce, which includes credit industry representatives, to explore the causes and effects of over-indebtedness and develop practical solutions for achieving more responsible lending and borrowing. The taskforce will present proposals to me in April and I will be aiming to implement measures as soon as possible after that.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the outcome was of the Internal Market Council held in Brussels on 12 March; what the Government's voting record at the Council was; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caborn: My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State responsible for consumers and corporate affairs represented the UK at the Internal Market, Consumers and Tourism Council in Brussels on 12 March.
The Council discussed the Cardiff economic reform process and reached agreement on conclusions for input to the Stockholm European Council which support the reform agenda agreed at the Lisbon Summit in March
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2000. The Council also discussed the Commission's Communications on the removal of barriers to trade in services, simplification of the regulatory environment and the Commission's Communication on New European Labour Markets.
Efforts to achieve a single EU-wide Community Patent were discussed, but there was no agreement on procedural conclusions allowing an early approach to the European Patent Office. The issue will be discussed again at the June Internal Market Council.
The Council discussed the Presidency's draft compromise on the Directive on Distance Marketing of Financial Services but was unable to reach political agreement. This will also revert to the June Council.
There were Commission presentations on the Strategy for the Customs Union; proposals relating to the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms; the Green Paper on integrated product policy; and the forthcoming Communication on the eEurope Action Plan. The Presidency introduced its strategy on integration of environmental protection and sustainable development into Internal Market policy, which will be discussed at the Council in June and adopted at the Gothenburg Summit. The Council generally endorsed the Commission's approach to a strategy for a chemicals policy, with a number of member states emphasising that the competitiveness of the EU industry needed to be taken into account. It took note of the progress made on the negotiations on the Commission's proposals relating to a European Food Authority.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek from the Chairman of the Post Office, an explanation of the reasons for which he has failed to reply to letters to him dated 12 January and 24 February from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to sporting opportunities for Post Office workers. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: I have been advised by the Post Office that the Chairman's office has been in contact with the parliamentary office of my right hon. Friend. They have apologised for the failure to reply to these letters, which was due to an internal administrative error, and say that a response has now been prepared.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the financial effects on traders who (a) have and (b) have not complied with regulations requiring loose goods to be sold in metric units. 
Dr. Howells: Most imperial weighing machines can be converted to metric at an average cost of £100 per machine. The price of a new metric weighing machine starts at about £450. No assessment has been made of the financial effects of non-compliance because it is expected that the conversion will be completed in the near future.
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Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on progress towards compliance with regulations requiring loose goods to be sold in metric units. 
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effectiveness and compliance of United Kingdom legislation introduced as a result of Directive 80/181/EEC. 
Dr. Howells: The conversion of all weighing machines to metric units, as required by Directive 80/181/EEC as amended in 1989, has taken longer than expected, but is expected to be completed in the near future.
Dr. Howells: There are approximately 160,000 weighing machines in use for the sale of goods loose at the point of sale. The Department understands that nearly 130,000 are now metric and that just over 30,000 are still imperial.
Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under what circumstances he uses the powers available to him under section 71 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985 to seek to encourage proper enforcement by local weights and measures authorities of legislation introduced as a result of Directive 80/181/EEC; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Department considers that local weights and measures authorities have taken steps to secure compliance with regulations on units of measurement that implement Directive 80/181/EEC as amended. The Department will consider any representations alleging a lack of proper enforcement.
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