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Mr. Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures her Department has taken since 1997 to encourage energy efficiency in (a) the domestic sector, (b) the commercial sector, (c) the industrial sector and (d) the public sector; and how much Government financial support has been made available. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the productivity and profitability of (a) businesses assisted by business links (i) in the Milton Keynes, Oxford and Buckinghamshire area and (ii) nationally and (b) businesses not assisted by business links in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations have been (a) sought and (b) received from the Scottish Executive on new UK-wide electricity trading arrangements. 
Mr. Wilson: I have been in close contact with colleagues in the Scottish Executive and they fully support moves to create a British electricity trading and transmission market. The project is being taken forward with the full involvement of the Scottish Executive who are represented at my regular meetings with the industry in this issue. Scottish Executive officials also attend the monthly steering group.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact on the total level of generation of electricity from coal mine methane sold via licensed electricity suppliers of its exemption from the climate change levy. 
Mr. Wilson: The Government do not have their own estimate for the extra sites which would be developed as a result of the CCL exemption, but the Association of Coal Mine Methane Operators has estimated that around 30 new sites could be made viable as a result. It is for the
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operators to respond to the incentive that has been provided, but if all the association projects went ahead this would add something in the region of 175 MW of electricity generating capacity with the electricity produced per annum totalling about 1.4 terawatt hours.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact on carbon dioxide emissions of the exemption from the climate change levy of electricity from electricity from coal mine methane sold via licensed electricity suppliers. 
Mr. Wilson: Using methane from abandoned mines will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere and therefore has a significant environmental benefit. The scale of the environmental benefit cannot be precisely quantified at present, because the effect of pumping the gas leads to some acceleration in the extraction rate beyond the level of natural leakage from abandoned mines. Work is in hand to inform these estimates.
Nigel Griffiths: Creating new businesses is important to achieving a vibrant economy. The Government are committed to creating an environment that encourages more people to think about setting up a business, and to provide them with easy access to the information and support available that will help them to be successful and grow. Since 1997 the Government have introduced through the Small Business Service (SBS) a range of measures to assist small businesses to start up including:
People thinking of starting in business or who are already trading have easy access to information about all aspects of starting and running a business from the business link website (www.businesslink.org) and National Contact Centre (0845 600 9006).
The Business Volunteer Mentoring (BVMA initiative) provides mentoring advice to pre and early start-up businesses from a core of volunteers (retired or otherwise) drawn from all sections of the business community. With support from the SBS, the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies, is overseeing the co-ordination of the initiative for delivery at local level through local enterprise agencies and other business link local partners. There are currently approximately 900 volunteers operating within the BVMA initiative.
High Growth Start-up (HGSUs)a high-quality advice service to pre-start and start-up businesses in England who are identified as having high growth potential. The service is part of the start-ups services delivered locally via business link operators in England. Support is being provided, across a variety of business sectors, to people who are traditionally considered to face barriers in starting
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The £75 million SBS Business Incubation Fund opened for business on 1 October 2001; the fund is providing loans to developers of business incubators to help those starting up in business and early stage SMEs to survive and grow.
96 projects supported by £30 million from the Development Fund element of the Phoenix Fund, bringing enterprise projects to disadvantaged areas and groups.
Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been paid by her Department in coal health claims for (a) occupational respiratory disease and (b) vibration white finger in fees and other charges to (i) her Department's legal advisers and counsel, (ii) her Department's claim handlers, (iii) the medical service providers (A) Healthcall Ltd. and (B) SEMA, (iv) external and seconded consultants, (v) other contractors and (vi) claimants' solicitors, in the period up to 31 December 1997 and in each subsequent year. 
Figures for the period prior to 1 April 1999 are not available in time allowed. However, from 1 April 1999 to 31 December 2001 the Department has paid out the following on administrative costs (medical, records collection, defendant legal and claims handling costs) broken down by financial year and scheme:
|Financial Year||Respiratory disease||Vibration white finger|
|April to December 2001||43.8||5.6|
|Total from April 1999 to December 2001||67.4||15.1|
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will make her decision regarding ECGD support for United Kingdom commercial interests in the proposed Bo NoK power plant in Thailand; and which companies have expressed an interest to her Department. 
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Ms Hewitt: ECGD has not received a formal application in respect of Bo Nok power project. However, an initial inquiry was received over a year ago. The identity of the UK company involved is commercially confidential and, in line with ECGD's normal policy relating to discussions prior to issue of guarantees, cannot be disclosed.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which UK companies the ECGD is supporting in connection with (a) the Sual coal plant in the Philippines and (b) its associated transmission networks. 
Ms Hewitt: ECGD supported Alstom Power Plants Ltd. (then GEC ALSTHOM Power Plants Ltd.) and Alstom Power Plants Services Ltd. (then GEC ALSTHOM Turbine Generators Ltd.) in relation to the Sual coal plant. ECGD did not provide any support for the associated transmission networks.
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