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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many staff in her Department's press office have received (a) termination and (b) redundancy payments in each of the last four years.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the UK exporters who have registered with the Applicant Services and Compliance Unit (DTI) to export dual use goods under the authority of the Community General Export Authorisation.
Nigel Griffiths: UK exporters provide registration details for the CGEA in confidence. Information given in confidence is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 13 the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what expenditure, and in which states, her Department has incurred on the decommissioning of nuclear installations and equipment, both defence or civil-related, in the former Soviet Union in each year since 1996; and how much she plans to spend in 200102. 
Mr. Wilson: In July 2000, the Government announced an inter-Departmental £84 million Former Soviet Union Programme of expenditure in the period 2000 to 2004 on nuclear problems in the Former Soviet Union. This Programme is being managed by the Department. Its budget bought together both existing commitments and proposed new areas of work. We are in the early stages of establishing a comprehensive project portfolio, which includes defence-related spend in relation to plutonium disposition, submarine spent-nuclear fuel in NW Russia and the physical protection of proliferation on sensitive nuclear materials. Forecast outturn for the Programme in 200102 is estimated at £16,000,000.
The following programme funds have assisted the decommissioning of nuclear power plants in the Former Soviet Union. These form part of the bilateral Nuclear Safety Programmeone of the Former Soviet Union programmes:
|Year||Expenditure under the Nuclear Safety Programme (£)|
Planned expenditure in this area during 200102 is £313,000 for the Nuclear Safety Programme in Lithuania and Ukraine, and 1,500,000 Euro for the International Decommissioning Support fund for Ignalina.
Job No: 715993 Folios: 1022Operator: op19. Date: 08/03/02
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Nigel Griffiths: The Small Business Council recommended that the Government use focus groups of small businesses as well as throughout the Regulatory Impact Assessment process in considering regulations. The SBS now uses litmus tests through focus groups.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the restrictions are on the number of loans to one company that can be guaranteed under the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: Under the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme a business can borrow up to an overall limit of £100,000 if it has been trading for less than two years, rising to £250,000 if it has been trading for two years or more. Loans to other businesses where the same individual is involved will count towards the overall limit. There is no restriction on the number of loans provided the total borrowed is within these limits.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average response time was for responding to departmental correspondence; what percentage of letters took longer than one month for a response; and what percentage took longer than three months for a response in each of the last five years. 
Ms Hewitt: Figures broken down in percentages of replies within each of the specified timescales are unavailable. However my department monitors its performance annually by sample for all correspondence (excluding Ministerial) against the Whitehall standard
My department has a target of answering Ministerial correspondence within 10 days. Information broken down as requested is not available. Figures on departmental performance against targets in responding to Ministerial correspondence are published annually by the Cabinet Office.
The figures published for the last two years for my department's performance against the target of responding to Ministerial correspondence within 10 days are as follows.
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The figure for this year will be published by the Cabinet Office in due course.
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the categories were of the standard individual export licences issued for military exports to Israel between May and October 2001; and if she will make a statement. 
Nigel Griffiths: Between 1 October 2001 and 18 February 2002 61 Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) were issued covering items on the Military List. Individual export licences might cover a range of items with various ratings. Where this is so, the licence is included in the totals for all of the relevant ratings. Details are set out in the table:
|Rating||No. of Licences|
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All export licence applications to Israel continue to be assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria in light of the circumstances prevailing at the time of the application. This means that we will not issue licences where to do so would be in contravention of the Consolidated Criteria, including where there is a clear risk that the items might be used in internal repression, international aggression, adversely effect regional stability or prolong internal conflict.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the total cost of the Business Link national call centre between its inception in 2001 and its planned closure in 2002. 
Nigel Griffiths: The DTI's programme of information and advice services for small businesses, known as the Gateway is delivered under a managed service contract with one contractor and consists of four components:
Nigel Griffiths: The Small Business Service (SBS) has continually monitored the performance of the inquiry handling service since April 2001 (when the Business Link National Contact Centre started operating). In particular the SBS has:
In the light of these assessments, the SBS has considered a number of options to improve the enquiry handling service. The SBS has now concluded that instead of being handled by a centre service point, calls will be routed straight to local Business Link Operators. This will improve responsiveness and service to customers.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to ensure that advice will continue to be available free of charge and without pressure to purchase services via local business links following the closure of the Business Link national call centre. 
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