The Department does not own any properties on its estate. All of the properties occupied by the Department are either leased or are the subject of a licence or MOTO agreement. None of the properties occupied by the Department are subject to a private financial initiative agreement.

25 Feb 2013 : Column 289W

MOTO stands for Memorandum of Terms of Occupation and is a type of licence agreement for the sharing of accommodation between government organisations known as “Crown bodies”.

BIS is on course to save £84 million by reducing the number of buildings leased by the Department and its partner organisations. We constantly look at our property portfolio to ensure that all buildings are representing value for money.

Business: Billing

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage private businesses to sign up to a Prompt Payment Code; and what steps he plans to take should companies not do so. [143865]

Michael Fallon: I wrote to the chief executives of FTSE 350 companies in November urging them to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code, administered on behalf of Government by the Institute for Credit Management. The code's signatories commit to pay their suppliers on time, give clear guidance to suppliers and encourage good practice. The code gives small and medium-sized businesses confidence when dealing with larger suppliers that they are publically committed to paying promptly.

The Government will publicise the results of this campaign shortly.

Copyright

Mr Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for what reason the estimate of the maximum benefits over 10 years of the Hargreaves reforms has been reduced from £26 billion on Hargreaves' initial report to a net present value of £790 million in the Government's response entitled Modernising Copyright. [144074]

Jo Swinson: Professor Hargreaves' independent report estimated that the potential benefits from making all the changes it recommended would add between £5 billion and £8 billion to the UK economy by 2020. This estimate included benefits from proposals that did not form part of the ‘Modernising Copyright’ response. The two biggest elements in the overall Hargreaves impact package which were not in Modernising Copyright were the creation of the single EU patent, and the Digital Copyright Exchange (DCE). The estimates in Hargreaves' report on copyright exceptions estimated that between £0.4 billion and £2.6 billion would be added by 2020.

The Government's most recent assessment of the value of the changes to copyright exceptions, revised in the light of responses to the Hargreaves review and subsequent consultations, is around £0.5 billion over 10 years. However, this is a net present value figure discounted to today's terms, and does not use the same methodology as was used in the original Hargreaves report. It should be noted that the methodology for the impact assessment process, from which these figures are derived, can underestimate the growth from potential new businesses or new markets, and as such may not fully reflect the likely benefit of the changes.

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he will consult on

25 Feb 2013 : Column 290W

the recommendations of the Hargreaves Review into IP and Growth that

(a)

the UK should also promote at EU level an exception to support text and data analytics and

(b)

the UK should give a lead at EU level to develop a further copyright exception designed to build into the EU framework adaptability to new technologies. [144666]

Jo Swinson: The Government have no plans to consult further on these specific recommendations. In their response to the Hargreaves review, published in August 2011, the Government indicated that they would aim to secure further flexibilities at EU level that enable greater adaptability to new technologies including use of data for research, would support a review of relevant EU legislation to this end and would be in dialogue with European partners to identify how this can best be achieved. Any review of relevant EU legislation, or consultation on it, would be a matter for the European Commission in the first instance.

Cycling

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department is signed up to the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme. [144386]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is committed to promoting healthier journeys to work and reducing environmental pollution.

BIS currently has a Cycle to Work scheme available to all BIS employees subject to meeting the eligibility criteria. The scheme enables employees to make savings on a brand new bike and permitted accessories through tax exemptions.

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills who his Department’s cycling champion is. [144430]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not have an individual cycling champion.

The Department has a strong dedicated ‘Cyclists in BIS’ network who provide help and guidance to BIS cyclists.

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress his Department has made on implementing the Cycle to Work guarantee. [144448]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is committed to helping develop a healthier and fitter work force and has implemented the following for the Cycle to Work guarantee:

Safe, secure and accessible bike parking facilities.

Good quality changing and locker facilities.

Bike repair for cyclists on site.

Offsetting the cost of cycling equipment and tax savings through the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme.

‘Bike Buddies’ to help give tips and encouragement to staff who are nervous about cycling to work.

Joined the Transport for London—Barclays Cycle Superhighways Workplace scheme.

25 Feb 2013 : Column 291W

Directors

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has any plans to prohibit the use of nominee directors of UK companies. [144571]

Jo Swinson: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has no plans to prohibit the use of nominee directors by UK companies. However, BIS is currently reviewing the legal and enforcement framework that applies to all company directors, including nominee directors, to ensure that it continues to provide an effective deterrent to misconduct. The review will report to the Secretary of State in spring 2013.

Entertainers

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if his Department will introduce an entertainment-specific definition of when a person is a worker. [144676]

Jo Swinson: No, it would not be right to have job specific definitions for each employment status, including that of 'entertainment worker', as a definition may not cover all possibilities, be too rigid, and lead to unintended consequences.

Guidance is available on all employment statuses at:

www.gov.uk/employment-status

This guidance sets out how each employment status can be defined and sets out the general principles for each.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the Government's provision of sector-specific guidance on the national minimum wage for the entertainment sector. [144677]

Jo Swinson: We continue to work with the Government Digital Service to ensure that the guidance is as clear and comprehensive as possible.

Guidance on the minimum wage is published at:

www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage

This includes guidance on whether or not a person is eligible for the minimum wage.

Anyone concerned that they are eligible for the minimum wage but are not being paid it should contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) if he will adopt the carbon emissions factor calculated by the EU when determining the amount of compensation for energy-intensive industries; and how much additional compensation would be provided if such calculations were adopted; [142884]

(2) for what reasons the Government do not intend to provide the maximum amount of compensation allowed under EU State Aid rules to energy-intensive industries exposed to indirect costs associated with Phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System; and

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whether additional funding will be released to ensure that compensation for EU Emissions Trading System indirect costs is competitive with other member states. [142885]

Michael Fallon: We recently held a consultation on our proposals for the compensation package for energy intensive industries which closed in December. As part of the consultation we received a number of comments on the carbon emissions factor. We are currently analysing responses and are exploring the issue further, including with energy suppliers and other stakeholders.

We understand that not all EU member states are intending to compensate their energy intensive industries for the indirect costs for the EU ETS and those that will are still developing their proposals and have not published details.

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) whether he will adopt the carbon emissions factor calculated by the EU when determining the amount of compensation to provide to energy-intensive industries affected by Phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System; and what assessment he has made of how such a policy would affect the (a) amount and (b) geographic spread of compensation; [143880]

(2) if he will provide energy-intensive industries with the maximum amount of compensation permitted under state aid rules for costs associated with Phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System; [143881]

(3) what plans he has to protect the long-term competitiveness of domestic energy-intensive industries; and when he expects to publish the energy-intensive industries strategy. [144197]

Michael Fallon: We are committed to ensuring that energy intensive industries remain competitive during the shift to a low carbon economy. This is why we have secured £250 million to help ease the impact of climate change policies. In addition, we announced that we will reduce the impact of electricity prices rising as a result of electricity market reform policies on electricity intensive industries, where this significantly impacts their international competitiveness and subject to consultation and state aid considerations.

We are currently considering a proposal from the Environmental Audit Committee for an energy intensive industry strategy. We are in discussion with DECC on how we might draw on current work, including on sector specific low carbon roadmaps, to address this.

We recently held a consultation on our proposals which were largely based on the European Commission's guidance for the compensation package for energy intensive industries which closed in December. As part of the consultation we received a number of comments on the carbon emissions factor. We are currently analysing responses and are exploring the issue further, including with energy suppliers and other stakeholders.

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what comparative assessment his Department has made of the UK's proposed compensation for energy-intensive industries with that offered by other EU member states for EU Emissions Trading Scheme indirect costs; [144132]

25 Feb 2013 : Column 293W

(2) for what reasons the Government are using a carbon emissions factor that is lower than the EU's figure to calculate compensation for energy-intensive industries; and if he will estimate the difference in the level of compensation arising from not using the EU's carbon emissions factor; [144134]

(3) what assessment he has made of the potential effects on the competitiveness of the UK's energy-intensive industries of not providing the maximum state aid permitted for energy costs associated with Phase III of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. [144135]

Michael Fallon: The Government accept the importance of understanding the differential between the UK and other member states and are seeking to minimise the impact on the competitiveness of UK-based companies. We keep this under review and published last year an assessment of the difference in policy costs between the UK and various other countries. The European Commission published guidance last summer that all member states must adhere to when compensating for the indirect costs of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). We understand that not all EU member states are intending to compensate their energy intensive industries for the indirect costs for the EU ETS and those that will are still developing their proposals and have not published details.

We recently held a consultation on our proposals for the compensation package for energy intensive industries which closed in December 2012. As part of the consultation we received a number of comments on the carbon emissions factor. We are currently analysing responses and are exploring the issue further, including with energy suppliers and other stakeholders.

EU Grants and Loans

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much EU transition funding the UK will receive in total; and how much each recipient region in the UK will receive in the next funding period. [143282]

Michael Fallon: The Government will be in a position to set out the total funding available to transition regions and the allocations to each of these areas, only after there is a final agreement between the European Parliament and member states.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what criteria he will use when allocating EU transition funding to regions of the UK. [143395]

Michael Fallon: The Government will make decisions on allocations of EU transition funding only after there is a final agreement between the European Parliament and member states. No decision has been made on what criteria will be used.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much of the recently announced EU transition funding will be delegated to local enterprise partnerships. [143396]

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Michael Fallon: The Government will be in a position to set out how much of the Structural Funds allocation will be available to local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), including those in transition regions, only after there is a final agreement between the European Parliament and member states.

Within England, the majority of the Structural Funds will be allocated to LEPs. However, if there is a compelling case the Government may consider setting aside some funding for England-wide interventions. If this does happen, LEPs will be consulted fully to make sure the design of the intervention works for local areas.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much of the budget approved for the EU Transition Fund for 2013-14 the Government will retain through top-slicing. [143407]

Michael Fallon: The Government will be in a position to set out how much total funding is available for transition regions only after there is a final agreement between the European Parliament and member states.

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what proportion of EU transition zone funding to the UK the Government plan to ring-fence for specific purposes; [143858]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on the competitiveness of the economy of (a) Devon, (b) Torbay and (c) Plymouth of the existence of the Cornwall convergence region and its effect on the distribution of transition zone funding; [143860]

(3) what mechanism his Department plans to use to calculate the distribution of EU transition funding to the UK's transition zones. [143861]

Michael Fallon: The Government will make final decisions on allocations of EU transition funding only after there is an agreement between the European Parliament and member states on the 2014-20 budget. No decision has been made on what criteria will be used.

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of regional state aid rules on the distribution of EU transition zone funding in the UK. [143859]

Michael Fallon: The Government will make final decisions on the distribution of transition zone funding within the UK only after there is an agreement between the European Parliament and member states on the 2014- 20 budget. Regional state aid is one of a number of state aid frameworks through which structural funds will be distributed and we will be consulting on the Assisted Area Map during 2013.

EU Grants and Loans: Devon

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of (a) EU transition funds and (b) other EU funds the Government plan to distribute to Plymouth, Torbay and Devon in 2014 to 2020. [143675]

25 Feb 2013 : Column 295W

Michael Fallon: The Government will be in a position to set out how much total funding is available for transition regions and other areas only after there is a final agreement between the European Parliament and member states.

EU Grants and Loans: Kingston upon Hull

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of (a) EU transition funds and (b) other EU funds the Government plans to distribute to (i) Hull and (ii) Kingston upon Hull North constituency in the next 10 years. [144607]

Michael Fallon: The Government will make final decisions on allocations of EU transition funding only after there is an agreement between the European Parliament and member states on the 2014-20 budget. No decision has been made on what criteria will be used.

EU Grants and Loans: Northern Ireland

Dr Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the EU budget negotiations on regional funding for Northern Ireland. [144176]

Michael Fallon: The Government will make final decisions on regional funding only after there is an agreement between the European Parliament and member states on the next EU budget.

EU Grants and Loans: South West

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the convergence funding in Cornwall on future distribution of EU transition funding in (a) Plymouth, (b) Torbay and (c) Devon. [144553]

Michael Fallon: The Government will be in a position to finally assess the effect of funding for less developed regions and the distribution of funding available for transition regions and other areas only after there is an agreement between the European Parliament and member states on the 2014-20 Budget.

Exports

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will make it his policy to assist UK manufacturers of industrial fire safety and air extractor installations with sales in overseas markets; and if he will make a statement. [144275]

Michael Fallon: BIS support for exporters is delivered through UK Trade and Investment which offers a range of support to companies looking to trade overseas. These include counselling on the right markets and the right people to deal with in those markets, advice on grants for trade missions or overseas trade fairs, setting up meetings, and generally helping to make business happen.

25 Feb 2013 : Column 296W

The Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) also provides specialist strategic and technical advice to help manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises in England improve their productivity and grow.

Exports: Arts

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to support the export of UK creative industry products. [144644]

Michael Fallon: As outlined in "Britain Open for Business" published in May 2011, creative industries are a priority for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). UKTI promotes the UK's creative strengths internationally working in partnership with the sector and supports the sector in maximising international opportunities through delivering practical support for innovative and high growth companies to help them penetrate more high growth and emerging markets.

UKTI has a programme of support which helps over 3,000 creative companies per year at events around the globe. These include South by Southwest, MIPIM, Milan Furniture Fair, London Design Festival, London Fashion Week and MIPCOM. UKTI also organises around 20 creative missions to 10 markets per year.

In addition, the creative industries are a major beneficiary of the Tradeshow Access Programme, which helps UK companies exhibit at overseas trade shows. Current figures for this financial year show that the sector will have received £2.3 million in support, 26% of the total budget for the scheme, which amounts to supporting more than 2,800 company participations at international events.

The creative industries feature heavily in the cross Government GREAT campaign. The largest ever UK creative delegation to Hong Kong visited in November for the GREAT Week of Creativity and nearly 80 UK creative and interactive companies took part in the Innovation Forum in Los Angeles (a collaboration with Universal Music Group and Founders Forum) earlier this month.

Food: Waste

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much surplus food was thrown away by his Department in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [143444]

Jo Swinson: The amount of surplus food that is thrown away is not captured by the Department’s catering contractor. However, the amount of surplus is minimal as there are processes in place to keep food waste to a minimum, such as plating meals, batch cooking and using production and wastage control.

Staff are also encouraged to dispose of food waste through collection points throughout the building. This waste is combined with waste from the restaurant and is collected and converted into energy through the process of anaerobic digestion.

Foreign Investment in UK: Yorkshire and the Humber

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the amount of foreign direct investment in (a) Brigg and Goole constituency and (b) Yorkshire

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and the Humber in each of the last five years; and how many jobs were created as a result of foreign direct investment in each such year. [144175]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade and Investment collects and verifies data on Foreign Direct Investment projects landing in the United Kingdom. The following table shows the official record of FDI projects landing in Brigg and Goole and Yorkshire and Humberside, over the last five years:

 Brigg and GooleYorkshire and Humber
Financial yearProjectsJobsProjectsJobs

2011/12

3

742

49

3,700

2010/11

0

0

88

1,538

2009/10

2

8

147

5,911

2008/09

1

50

125

6,588

2007/08

2

250

124

6,311

Helmets: Sikhs

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on continuing the exemption for Sikhs from requirements to wear safety helmets on construction sites; and if he will make a statement. [143502]

Mr Hoban: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

There are no plans to change this exemption under the Employment Act 1989.

Higher Education: Ethnic Groups

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what the application rates were for UCAS' January deadline for each of the following UK-domiciled ethnic groups (a) Asian-Bangladeshi; (b) Asian-Chinese, (c) Asian-Indian, (d) Asian-other Asian background, (e) Asian-Pakistani, (f) Black-African, (g) Black-Caribbean, (h) Black-other Black background, (i) mixed-other mixed background, (j) Mixed-White and Asian, (k) Mixed-White and Black African, (l) Mixed-White and Black Caribbean, (m) unknown ethnicity and (n) White in each year since 2004; [143104]

(2) what the (a) application, (b) acceptance and (c) entry rates were for each of the following UK-domiciled ethnic groups (i) Asian-Bangladeshi, (ii) Asian-Chinese, (iii) Asian-Indian, (iv) Asian-other Asian background, (v) Asian-Pakistani, (vi) Black-African, (vii) Black-Caribbean, (viii) Black-other Black background, (ix) Mixed-other Mixed background, (x) Mixed-White and Asian, (xi) Mixed-White and Black African, (xii) Mixed-White and Black Caribbean, (xiii) Unknown ethnicity and (xiv) White in each UCAS application cycle since 2004. [143107]

Mr Willetts: The information is not held centrally. The Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) is an independent company not a Government body. Decisions as to what data to publish, and when, are therefore matters for UCAS.

However, the Government is firmly committed to improving the information available about higher education

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through the key information set and other initiatives, and is in favour of transparency on who applies to and who attends higher education.

Insolvency

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to tackle the problems of people starting multiple limited liability companies and then declaring insolvency for tax purposes. [144424]

Jo Swinson: Insolvency law provides a variety of measures to deal with those who abuse the privileges of limited liability. When a company goes into administration, creditors voluntary liquidation or administrative receivership, the insolvency practitioner has a legal duty to report confidentially to the Government's Insolvency Service about the conduct of the directors. If misconduct is alleged the Secretary of State has the power to seek the director's disqualification where it is believed to be in the public interest.

HMRC and the Insolvency Service have well established partnership arrangements to help to identify patterns of abuse and the individuals responsible, and these arrangements are regularly reviewed to make sure that they remain effective and up to date.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is also currently reviewing the legal and enforcement frameworks relating to company directors to ensure that they continue to provide an effective deterrent to malpractice.

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many limited liability companies have been declared insolvent in (a) the UK, (b) Leeds and (c) Leeds North West constituency in the last three years. [144429]

Jo Swinson: Companies House has provided figures which indicate that in the last three years 71,319 companies have been declared insolvent in the UK, 2,374 in Leeds and 120 in the Leeds North West constituency.

However, I would warn that the figures for Leeds and the Leeds North West constituency cannot be considered definitive as Companies House’s data are extracted from postcode areas, which can cross county and constituency boundaries.

Intellectual Property

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure the IP framework encourages the creation of new content. [144664]

Jo Swinson: Intellectual property rights provide an incentive to invest in the creation of new content by allowing creators a time-limited, exclusive right to exploit their intellectual creations, subject to some exceptions for important purposes such as free speech. Creation of new content, in the sense of creative works, is largely incentivised through copyright.

Unlawful copying can reduce the incentive to create content. The Government are therefore working to cut copyright infringement in a number of ways, including

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through the introduction of a notification scheme for possible online infringers through the Digital Economy Act 2010, measures to cut off illegal websites from credit card payments and advertising revenue, and ongoing action against importers and sellers of pirated DVDs and the like. It has reformed the IP court system to make it easier to get justice at proportional cost. In December, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills announced the Government wanted to do more with industry to educate consumers about the harms of copyright infringement and the need to obtain content lawfully. He also indicated that the Government were exploring with the City of London police the setting up of a new IP Crime Unit focused on online piracy.

Means-tested Benefits

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what cash and non-cash means-tested benefits are provided by his Department; what the rules are in respect of means-testing for each such benefit; and how much his Department spent on each in 2011-12. [144164]

Jo Swinson: The core Department does not provide any cash or non-cash means-tested benefits.

Mobile Phones

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to his answer of 15 September 2011, Official Report, column 1357W, on mobile phones, what further progress he has made towards a standard charger for mobile telephones. [143507]

Michael Fallon: We understand from the industry that the vast majority of new mobile phones being launched on to the market support the universal charging connector referred to in the answer given by my predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr Prisk), now Minister of State for Housing, on 15 September 2011, Official Report, column 1357W.

Multinational Companies

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many multinational companies have been given access to Ministers under the Government's strategic relations programme; and to which Ministers these multinational companies have been given access. [143614]

Michael Fallon: The Government are committed to a whole-Government approach to developing strategic relationships with major exporters and investors. Ministers play an important part in helping to develop and sustain winning relationships with these investors and exporters to deliver jobs and economic growth. The full list of companies and respective contact Ministers is available here:

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/item/203560.html

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Overseas Trade: Israel

Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to promote trade with Israel. [143710]

Michael Fallon: We have set up the UK Israel Tech Hub at our embassy in Tel Aviv to build on strengths and complementarities between the UK and Israel in technology, innovation and business. The Hub promotes collaboration between Israeli and British entrepreneurs, companies and investors in key sectors including digital tech, life sciences, cleantech, financial technology and the Arab tech sector.

We recently appointed an experienced and highly successful UK entrepreneur, Mr Saul Klein, to be the UK's first Tech Envoy and, because of its tremendous advances in technology, we chose Israel to be the country on which to focus to promote the tech relationship with the UK.

Our UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) team at the embassy in Tel Aviv has helped, and will continue to help, UK companies to export to Israel through UKTI's range of marketing services.

My noble Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Green, will be visiting Israel in March 2013 at the head of an oil and gas business delegation to promote UK expertise into Israel's young oil and gas sector.

Two-way trade in goods with Israel continues to grow and last year reached £3.8 billion, with UK exports to Israel at £1.5 billion.

Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the value of the UK's bilateral trade with Israel. [143711]

Michael Fallon: The Office for National Statistics publish estimates of the value of the UK’s trade with Israel in Table 9.3 of the Pink Book 2012 publication, available at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bop/united-kingdom-balance-of-payments/index.html

Post Offices

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 16 October 2012, Official Report, column 276W, on post offices, what assessment he has made of (a) the extent and (b) the adequacy of the provision of (i) vehicle tax disc renewals, (ii) driving licences, (iii) passport applications and (iv) collections of biometric data for residence permits by post offices; and if he will make a statement. [143257]

Jo Swinson: The Post Office network is the largest and most geographically comprehensive retail network in the UK, with an unrivalled reach particularly in remote rural communities. However, the availability of specific Government services—including those listed—across the Post Office network is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd and the Departments and Agencies with which it works. Paula Vennells, Chief Executive of Post Office Ltd, responded to a similar question in October 2012, and a copy of that response is available

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in the Libraries of the House (DEP2012-1610). It is a matter for the Department or Agency on whose behalf Post Office Ltd provides access to determine what constitutes adequate provision.

Property: Ownership

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the recent sale of the Headquarters of Platinum Prime Property Investments Ltd in the British Virgin Islands, whether he has any plans to require the disclosure of the beneficial ownership of UK property. [144573]

Jo Swinson: The Government have acknowledged concerns about the potential abuse of arrangements for hidden ownership and we have made clear that we will seek to tackle abuse of corporate entities. However, the Government currently have no plans to require disclosure of the beneficial ownership of UK property.

Regional Growth Fund

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) pursuant to his statement of 11 February 2013, Official Report, column 33WS, on Regional Growth Fund: Update, whether the Independent Advisory Panel to the Regional Growth Fund will be providing independent advice to his Department for the exceptional Regional Growth Fund; [143812]

(2) what additional independent sources of advice (a) he and (b) his officials will seek when considering bids to the exceptional Regional Growth Fund apart from the existing Independent Advisory Panel to the Regional Growth Fund. [143816]

Michael Fallon: All applications for exceptional support from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) will be scrutinised by my noble Friends Lord Heseltine and Lord Shipley, as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel. Their comments and recommendations will then

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be considered, alongside advice from officials, by Ministers who will make final decisions.

In formulating their advice officials will seek the advice of the Industrial Development Advisory Board, which has a statutory role to advise the Secretary of State on the use of his powers under sections 7 and 8 of the Industrial Development Act 1982. This board has considerable private sector expertise and will provide independent expert advice on all exceptional RGF applications seeking support of £2 million or more, and those applications for less than £2 million which are considered novel, contentious or repercussive.

Finally, all awards will be subject to independent due diligence before being finalised.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) pursuant to his statement of 11 February 2013, Official Report, column 33WS, on Regional Growth Fund: Update, what reason each individual bidder who has withdrawn from the Regional Growth Fund gave as the basis of their withdrawal; [143813]

(2) if he will provide a breakdown of the withdrawn bids from the first two rounds of the Regional Growth Fund by English administrative region; [143814]

(3) how many bids that have withdrawn from the Regional Growth Fund to date were from (a) Round 1 and (b) Round 2. [143815]

Michael Fallon: There are various reasons for withdrawals of bids from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). These include global market conditions; realisation through the due diligence process that the project could not be supported (including on state aid grounds); and changes in senior management or parent company strategy. Listing the specific reason for each withdrawal may prejudice the future commercial interests of the company but all bids have been withdrawn because they are not going to deliver the benefits forecast in the bid.

The following table details the bids that have withdrawn from Round 1 and 2 of the RGF and the English administrative region. Please note that the recent WMS (11 February 2013) which listed withdrawn bidders for all three rounds included six withdrawals from Round 3.

NoName of beneficiaryRGF RoundRegion

1

A&P Tyne Ltd

2

North East

2

Ames Goldsmith UK Ltd

1

North West

3

C&C Baseline Ltd

2

North West

4

Caparo Precision Strip

2

West Midlands

5

Carlton & Co

2

North East

6

CE3—Conitech(1)

1

North East

7

CE4—Verta Energy

1

North East

8

Cleveland Potash Ltd

1

North East

9

CT5—Exhausto Ltd(2)

1

South East

10

CT7—Aggregate Industries Ltd

1

East Midlands

11

CT8—W.D. Irwin & Sons

1

West Midlands

12

CT9—Arla

1

Y&H

13

Cumbrian Holdings

1

North East

14

Diodes Zetex Semiconductors Ltd

2

North West

15

Disley Tissues Ltd

2

North West

16

Federal-Mogul Friction Product

2

East Midlands

17

Heerema Hartlepool Ltd

2

North East

18

Huntsman Polyurethanes (UK) Ltd

2

North East

19

I-Plas Products Ltd

2

Y&H

20

J & B Recycling Ltd

2

North East

25 Feb 2013 : Column 303W

25 Feb 2013 : Column 304W

21

Messier-Dowty Ltd

1

South West

22

Nissan UK P3

1

North East

23

Northern Tissue Group Ltd

2

North West

24

PD Teesport

2

North East

25

Pilkington United Kingdom Ltd

2

North West

26

Rapsican Systems

2

West Midlands

27

Shepherd Offshore Ltd

2

North East

28

Sirius Minerals

2

Y&H

29

St Modwen Properties

2

West Midlands

30

Stainless Plating Ltd

2

Y&H

31

Sunsolar Ltd

2

West Midlands

32

T&N Plastics

2

Y&H

33

Tameside/Monopumps

1

North West

34

Thales Properties Ltd (Leicester)

1

East Midlands

35

The Listen Media Company Ltd

2

North West

36

Treves UK Ltd.

2

Y&H

37

Universal Engineering

2

South West

38

Vestas Technology UK Ltd

2

South East

39

Zegen (Wilton) Ltd

2

North East

(1) CE is the Chirton Engineering package of projects (2) CT is the Carbon Trust package of projects

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has commissioned an independent analysis of the number of jobs (a) directly and (b) indirectly created and safeguarded as a result of Regional Growth Fund rounds (i) 1, (ii) 2 and (iii) 3. [143925]

Michael Fallon: Jobs created and safeguarded, either directly or indirectly, as a result of Regional Growth Fund (RGF) rounds 1, 2, and 3 are monitored and evaluated in a consistent manner.

First, each project is required to submit an independent accountant’s report at least once each year, usually with their final grant claim for that financial year. In this report, the independent accountant must satisfy his or herself that the employment created or safeguarded as a result of the RGF award are of the number and at the skill level claimed by the beneficiary, and set out as a key performance indicator in the RGF offer letter.

Second, in addition to the case-by-case monitoring of job outputs, the RGF itself will be subject to a thorough independent evaluation at the programme level. Part of that evaluation will involve an impact evaluation primarily to test whether:

the key RGF outputs and outcomes were achieved;

the outputs were achieved because of RGF intervention;

the RGF successfully addressed the objectives it was set up to address; and

there is evidence of any significant displacement, spill over, or other effects.

Regional Growth Fund: Kingston upon Hull

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the Regional Growth Fund on job creation in (a) Hull and (b) Kingston upon Hull North constituency. [144539]

Michael Fallon: Some £34.5 million of Regional Growth Fund has been awarded to three projects in the Kingston-upon-Hull local authority area:

Hull city council/Keepmoat Homes—Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

JH Fenner & Co. Ltd—Kingston upon Hull East

East Riding of Yorkshire council (with Hull city council)—Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

While these projects are not located in the Hull North constituency, the forecast £411 million of additional private sector investment and 2,038 direct and 11,101 indirect jobs resulting from them will create significant employment opportunities across the entire city.

In addition, the Humber local enterprise partnerships (LEP) has a selected Regional Growth Fund (RGF) Round 3 Programme—“Growing the Humber” to

“grow the areas key industry base through providing a programme of funding support to encourage investment from new and existing businesses”

across all of Hull.

Jobs created and safeguarded as a result of the RGF are subject to consistent monitoring and evaluation across England. All recipients of RGF are obliged to keep records of the location of jobs thereby created or safeguarded. Each project is required to submit an independent accountant's report at least once each year, usually with their final grant claim for that financial year. In this report the independent accountant must be satisfied that the jobs created are of the number and at the educational level claimed by the beneficiary. As well as the case-by-case assessment of job outputs, the whole RGF programme will be subject to a thorough independent evaluation.

Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and which regulations his Department has repealed between 1 June 2012 and 31 January 2013; and what estimate he has made of the savings which will accrue to those affected by each such regulation as a result of its repeal. [142346]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) repealed or simplified 20 regulations between 1 June 2012 and 31 January 2013. This has

25 Feb 2013 : Column 305W

resulted in cost savings to business of £393 million, reduced the burden of regulation on business and simplified the regulatory landscape.

The measures are listed in the Fourth and Fifth Statement of New Regulations published on the gov.uk website.

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many regulations his Department introduced between 1 June 2012 and 31 January 2013; if he will list those regulations; and what estimate he has made of the total cost of their introduction. [144696]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has introduced 29 regulations between 1 June 2012 and 31 January 2013. The Statements of New Regulations 4 and 5, published on the BIS website in June 2012 and December 2012, give details of all

25 Feb 2013 : Column 306W

measures that are within the scope of the One-In, One-Out methodology, measures dealt under the Red Tape Challenge and EU measures introduced in January 2013 (see following links). Impact Assessments for all the regulations are also published on the IA library. The costs to business of introduction are set out in the following table—provision of information on the total cost of introduction (which include, for example, staff time in developing and drafting these regulations) can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/31643/12-p121b-bis-fourth-statement-new-regulation-july-december-2012.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/36595/12-p96b-one-in-one-out-fourth-statement-new-regulation.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/36833/12-p96c-fifth-statement-of-new-regulation.pdf

 Regulation DateCost (£ million)

1

Land Registry Fee Order 2012

The order replaces the Land Registry Fee Order 2009. It makes changes to land registry fees, decreasing many of them.

October 2012

-5.08

2

The Registrar of Companies (Fees) (Companies, Overseas Companies and Liability Partnerships) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1907) The Registrar of Companies (Fees) (European Economic Interest Grouping and European Public Limited—Liability Company) Regulations 2009 (SI 2012/1908)

To align company registration and search fees with costs.

October 2012

-2.89

3

The Cosmetic Products (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

Amends the main directive by setting limits on hydrogen peroxide allowed in teeth whitening products.

October 2012

0

4

The Student Fees (Basic and Higher Amounts) (Approved Plans) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012

To amend existing regulations to raise, in line with inflation, the fee caps that apply to full-time courses that started before 1 September 2012.

August and September 2012

0

5

The Insolvency Practitioners and Insolvency Services Account (Fees) (Amendment) Order 2012

To implement changes in insolvency fees as recommended by the main annual fees review.

October 2012

0

6

National minimum wage up-rating 2012

To implement annual changes to the national minimum wage rates.

October 2012

0

7

The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (Transitional and Consequential Provisions—Disqualification General) Order 2012

Replicates the restrictions bankruptcy orders place on individuals to hold certain offices or public positions to Debt Relief Orders and Debt Relief Restriction Orders.

October 2012

0

8

Changes to provisions which allow merging of registered trade marks

Simplification of the process for businesses registering and renewing trademarks with the Intellectual Property Office.

October 2012

0

9

Audit and Financial Reporting under Companies Act 2006

To align the UK audit and certain financial reporting requirements with existing EU law to permit more small companies and UK subsidiary companies to opt out of annual audit and certain financial reporting requirements for dormant subsidiary companies.

October 2012

-100

10

Change of accounting framework

To give companies more flexibility to switch their accounting framework from International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and UK Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (UK GAAP).

October 2012

-2.08

11

The Accounting Standards (Prescribed Bodies) Regulations 2012

To allow specified companies, over a three-year period, to change their accounting principles from US or Japanese Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to UK GAAP or International Accounting Standards.

October 2012

-1.10

12

Repeal of Bunk Beds (Entrapment Hazards) (Safety) Regulations 1987

This repeals regulation protecting children from certain risks associated with bunk beds; redundant now that consumer protection is covered by General Products Safety Regulations.

October 2012

0

13

Repeal of Children's Clothing (Hood Cords) Regulations 1976

This repeals legislation that ensured that hood cords in outerwear do not pose a risk to children; now redundant as it is covered by General Products Safety Regulation.

October 2012

0

14

Repeal of Imitation Dummies (Safety) Regulations 1993

This repeals legislation that prohibited the supply of specific goods which could be mistaken for dummies and potentially cause injury or death to children. Legislation is no longer regarded as necessary as such products are no longer sold.

October 2012

0

25 Feb 2013 : Column 307W

25 Feb 2013 : Column 308W

15

Repeal of Wheeled Child Conveyances (Safety) Regulations 1997

This repeals legislation that requires prams and pushchairs to meet specific safety standards, as consumer protection is now covered by General Product Safety Regulations.

October 2012

0

16

Repeal of Indication of Prices (Beds) Order 1978

This regulation prohibits anyone selling a bed from indicating at what price it can be resold at. It also prohibits, except in circumstances set out in the order, dual price marking of beds. The objectives of this order were superseded by the Competition Act 1998 which prohibited all forms of price fixing.

October 2012

0

17

Repeal of Cooking Utensils (Safety) Regulations 1972

This regulation restricted cooking utensils from being coated in dangerous metals which can endanger health. It is now redundant due to newer EU Regulations 1935/2004 in addition to the European Directive 84/500/EC which sets limits for lead and cadmium in food contact materials.

October 2012

0

18

Repeal of Child Resistant Packaging and Tactile Danger Warning (Safety) (Revocation) Regulations 1992

This repeals legislation introduced to revoke the Child Resistant Packaging and Tactile Danger Warnings (Safety) Regulations 1992.This is now redundant due to the introduction of Regulation 1272/2008/EC which regulates certain types of re-closable packaging.

October 2012

0

19

Amendment of the Hallmarking Act 1973

This simplifies the Hallmarking Act to enable UK Assay Offices to better compete with overseas competitors by allowing them, for the first time, to conduct hallmarking operations in offshore locations.

October 2012

0

20

Introducing a Voluntary Code for Age Restrictions Regulations

This introduces a voluntary code of practice that has been developed alongside business, local authority and enforcement stakeholders for age restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco and solvents.

October 2012

0

21

Repeal of unnecessary product safety regulations

The repeal of six unnecessary product safety Statutory Instruments as all are covered by the General Product Safety Regulations and/or other regulations. They are: All-Terrain Vehicles (Safety) Regulations 1989, Gas Catalytic Heaters (Safety) Regulations 1984, Gas Cooking Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1989, Heating Appliances (Fireguards) Regulations 1991, Magnetic Toys (Safety) (Revocation) Regulations 2009 and Stands for Carrycots (Safety) (Revocation) Regulations 1996.

October 2012

0

22

Repeal of redundant regulations on the iron and steel industries (EU)

These regulations relate to a historical scheme for the payment of benefits to certain steel workers. The scheme was terminated in 1994 with limited transitional provisions. These regulations no longer contain any relevant operative provisions and are now redundant.

October 2012

0

23

Revocation of the Export of Goods (Control) (Bosnia-Herzegovina) (ECSC) Order 1993

This order revoked an earlier order which banned the export of goods covered by the ECSC Treaty (coal and steel) to Bosnia-Herzegovina without authorisation. The relevant EU Decision was revoked and replaced by a ban on the export without authorisation of all goods to Bosnia-Herzegovina contained in the Export of Goods (Control) (Croatian and Bosnian Territories) Order 1993, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 820 (1993). Revoking this revocation order will have no legal effect.

August 2012

0

24

Revocation of the Export of Goods (Control)(Haiti) Order 1993

This repeals the redundant export control order implementing trade sanctions and arms embargoes imposed by legally-binding United Nations Security Council Resolutions and Decisions of the Council of the EU against Haiti. It sets out the penalties for breaches of the sanctions. Revoking this revocation order will have no legal effect.

August 2012

0

25

Revocation of the Export of Goods (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) (Control) Order 2002

This repeals the redundant export control order implementing trade sanctions and arms embargoes imposed by legally-binding United Nations Security Council Resolutions and Decisions of the Council of the EU against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It sets out the penalties for breaches of the sanctions. Revoking this revocation order will have no legal effect.

August 2012

0

26

EU Directive 2011/90/EU—Additional Annual Percentage Rates (APR) Assumptions

To enable annual interest percentage charge rates being quoted to be much closer to the actual charges likely to be incurred, especially when lending on credit and charge cards.

January 2013

+0.29

27

Revocation of Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (Amendment) Regulations 2008 & 2009

To replace existing legislation, with one regulation that will implement the new EU Directive on Hazardous Substances (2011/65/EU).

January 2013

0

28

Recast of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive

To lay down the rules for the inclusion of certain hazardous substances (i.e. lead, mercury, cadmium) in newly sold electrical and electronic equipment.

January 2013

+35

25 Feb 2013 : Column 309W

25 Feb 2013 : Column 310W

29

The Further Education Teachers' Continuing Professional Development and Registration (England) (Revocation) Regulations 2012

Removes statutory requirements in the 2007/2116 regulations in respect of the Institute of learning.

September 2012

0

Reptiles

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many CITES and non-CITES listed reptiles as recorded under Eurostat have been imported into the EU in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [144136]

Michael Fallon: The number of reptiles imported into the EU27 since 2002 is as follows:

 Number

2002

1,301,082

2003

1,502,249

2004

1,796,257

2005

1,634,660

2006

2,252,465

2007

2,903,626

2008

2,488,852

2009

1,815,919

2010

1,558,047

2011

1,647,107

Notes: 1. Data for 2001 are not available. 2. Data cannot be broken down into CITES and non-CITES listed reptiles. Source: Eurostat

Staff

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff are based in each property used by his Department. [143304]

Jo Swinson: The following table shows the number of staff(1) in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) broken down by their building location.

BuildingNumber of staff

1 Victoria street

2,703

2 St Paul's Place

258

Alexandra House

16

Apex Court

29

Arndale Tower

19

The Business Centre

7

The Axis—Birmingham

35

Bridge House

13

Cannon House

1

Castle View House

9

Companies House

62

Europa Building

41

Exchange House

21

IOS Manchester

18

Larkhill

2

Moongate House

21

Mowden Hall

10

NTI Building, Birmingham

22

Queensway House

5

Stanley Barracks

1

Temple Quays

14

UKTI, Warrington

11

Victoria House

38

Westfield House

22

Out of Deptartment(2)

61

Grand total

3,439

(1) Numbers include all staff on BIS (including UKTI) payroll and contingent workers at 31 January 2013. (2) Staff out of Department but still on BIS payroll.

BIS does not pay costs for the occupancy of Cannon House, Castle View House, Larkhill, Mowden Hall or Stanley Barracks. There are additional staff in Queensway House working on BIS corporate services under a shared service agreement who are not included in the numbers above.

BIS is on course to save £84 million by reducing the number of buildings leased by the Department and its partner organisations. We constantly look at our property portfolio to ensure that all buildings are representing value for money.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate his Department's total staffing requirement in full-time equivalent posts for fulfilling its minimum statutory obligations. [143325]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is responsible for a wide range of statutory obligations. Full details of the Department's responsibilities and their implementation are available in the Department's published business plan:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/31960/12-p58-bis-2012-business-plan.pdf

Latest headcount and paybill information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bis-workforce-management-april-2012-to-october-2012

Student Finance England

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff were employed by Student Finance England in each quarter from 2008 to 2013. [144602]

Mr Willetts: The Student Loans Company (SLC) provides student finance services for the four UK administrations. The following table provides the number of full time equivalent staff employed (permanent and temporary) by the SLC. It is not possible to isolate staff delivering the Student Finance England (SFE) service as the company is not structured in this way.

Number of staff employed by Student Loans Company(1)
 January to MarchApril to JuneJuly to SeptemberOctober to December

2008

1,362

1,497

1,645

1,769

2009

1,877

1,856

1,851

1,847

25 Feb 2013 : Column 311W

2010

1,801

1,839

1,835

1,874

2011

1,910

1,948

1,882

1,864

2012

1,902

1,993

2,197

2,238

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many complaints were received by Student Finance England regarding lost documents in each of the last 12 months. [144603]

Mr Willetts: The Student Loans Company (SLC) provides student finance services for the four UK administrations. The following table provides the number of complaints received regarding lost evidence by the Student Loans Company (SLC) in relation to the Student Finance England (SFE) service from May 2012.

Prior to May 2012 it was not possible to isolate complaints employed under SFE as data was not classified in this format by the SLC. SLC updated its complaints database in May 2012 which allowed complaints specific to SFE service to be reported.

The SFE service received in excess of 1.7 million items of evidence in 2012.

Complaints received by SFE about lost evidence
 Number

May 2012

30

June 2012

18

July 2012

41

August 2012

39

September 2012

44

October 2012

57

November 2012

46

December 2012

39

January 2013

38

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what compensation was paid by Student Finance England in respect of lost documents in each of the last three years; and how many claims were made for lost documents in which Student Finance England gave compensation in each of the last three years. [144604]

Mr Willetts: The Student Loans Company (SLC) provides student finance services for the four UK administrations. It is not possible to isolate claims from applicants of the Student Finance England (SFE) service as the data are not held in this format on the SLC's systems for recording compensation payments.

Number of claims to SLC for compensation for lost documents
 Number of claimsAmount of compensation (£)

2010

134

10,767.29

2011

111

6,321.40

2012

51

2,230.69

Student Loans Company

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will make it his policy that the Student Loans Company records all

25 Feb 2013 : Column 312W

documents which it receives by recorded delivery and provides appropriate and timely compensation when any such documents are lost. [144190]

Mr Willetts: The Student Loans Company (SLC) has robust procedures in place for the recording of special and recorded delivery documents; and for making appropriate compensation payments in respect of the loss of such documents.

As part of a process agreed with SLC, Royal Mail staff scan all recorded and special delivery documents individually; and then update their track and trace website to ensure that each item is delivered to the SLC. Each of these documents is then recorded by SLC on receipt, to ensure that both parties can reconcile each delivered item.

All items of postage received by SLC, including documentation received by special or recorded delivery, are scanned onto SLC's systems. Original documents are returned to the customer with details of the return logged on SLC's systems.

SLC considers compensation claims on a case by case basis. It will normally make compensation payments for lost documents where it has a record of receiving the documentation.

Students: Loans

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress his Department has made in implementing an alternative student loan system for those members of the Muslim community who are unable to make use of the traditional financing system due to their religious convictions; when any legislative proposals to create such a system will be introduced; and when such a system is expected to be fully operable. [143624]

Mr Willetts: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has identified several potential models that could allow a Shariah-compliant student loan to be offered through the Student Loans Company. These would provide students with the same level of financial support and ensure identical repayments as conventional student loans. We are currently investigating the tax and VAT implications of these models, as well as the legislative requirements for implementing them to determine the most suitable. There are currently no plans for legislation as the need for this is dependent on the preferred model.

Any system for providing Shariah-compliant student loans is unlikely to be in operation before 2015 given the complexity associated with implementing a new model for offering loans.

UK Intellectual Property Office

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the statutory duties of the Intellectual Property Office is in relation to (a) trademarks, (b) patents, (c) copyright and (d) design. [144665]

Jo Swinson: In relation to trade marks, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO)'s statutory duties are laid out in full in the UK Trade Marks Act 1994. Its duties are primarily concerned with the registration and maintenance

25 Feb 2013 : Column 313W

of trade, certification and collective marks, together with the provision of a tribunal function for adjudicating on disputes relating to such rights. In particular, the IPO examines all trade mark applications to ensure their suitability for registration; publishes those marks which are acceptable; decides on issues of similarity and use in trade; and maintains a register of marks.

The IPO has similar statutory duties in relation to patents, which are laid out in the Patents Act 1977. Its duties include the scrutiny of patent applications, the publication of such patent applications, and the granting of patents. The IPO is also responsible for maintaining a register and providing information about patents and published patent applications and for providing a tribunal function for resolving disputes in relation to patent applications and patents. In addition the IPO is responsible for performing various functions in accordance with international patent treaties.

The IPO has no statutory functions in relation to copyright.

For registered design, the IPO’s statutory responsibilities are similar. In summary, the IPO is responsible for maintaining a register of all rights granted, and also provides a tribunal function for dealing with disputes. For unregistered design rights, where protection subsists automatically on creation of a new design, the IPO’s statutory obligations are more limited, being confined to adjudicating on the validity of a design, and on the terms of a licence of right. The full range of statutory duties for both registered and unregistered design is laid out in the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Unfair Dismissal

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to ensure a balance between employer and employee rights in cases of unfair dismissal. [144426]

Jo Swinson: The principle of seeking flexibility for employers while protecting individual rights underpins the Government's employment law reforms. While we are taking forward a package of measures to improve the way businesses hire, manage and end employment relationships, including the extension of the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from one year to two years this is balanced against the reforms to resolve workplace disputes earlier to help both parties. Individuals also retain important rights from the first day of employment. Our broader changes on flexible working and shared parental leave are an important part of the picture to enable individuals to balance their personal and work commitments, and facilitate greater participation in the workplace.

Yorkshire and the Humber

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff of his Department are employed in (a) Hull and (b) East Yorkshire. [144414]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) does not have any members of staff employed in (a) Hull or (b) East Yorkshire.

25 Feb 2013 : Column 314W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Algeria

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the level of respect for human rights in Algeria. [143523]

Alistair Burt: We continue to monitor political and social developments in Algeria, including the human rights situation.

Algeria has a National Office for Human Rights and has made public commitments to upholding human rights and has legislation reflecting this commitment. Algeria has ratified most international human rights treaties and has expressed an interest in signing others it has not yet signed. Algeria has undertaken reforms of its prisons in recent years, and the UK has contributed to this work via our Arab Partnership fund. Alongside other work with the international community, the UK also contributed to Algeria’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN in May last year. We look forward to working in partnership with Algeria, including via the EU, on a number of the recommendations made at the last session. And the British embassy in Algiers participated in a de-briefing following the visit to Algeria by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in September 2012. Further information on the visit is available at:

http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12542&LangID=E

Azerbaijan

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of the extent of the trade in illicit firearms and military material in Azerbaijan; and what steps he is taking with (a) the Azeri Government and (b) international actors to reduce this trade. [144005]

Mr Lidington: The UK Government do not undertake national assessments of the trade in illicit firearms and military material with other countries, but supports the work of the UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Plan of Action on SALW. These programmes aim to counter the spread and eradicate the trade and accumulation of illicit SALW. Since the 1990s, the OSCE has worked at the forefront of international efforts to curb this illicit trade and to develop effective national and regional practices to control SALW. Azerbaijan participates in both programmes.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Azerbaijani Government on human rights abuses in the run-up to the presidential election. [144130]

Mr Lidington: The UK Government raise issues of concern on human rights with the Azerbaijan authorities on a regular basis through bilateral contacts and with multilateral partners, most recently with EU colleagues in the cases of Ilgar Mammadov and Tofig Yagublu. With the presidential election planned for October this

25 Feb 2013 : Column 315W

year, we will continue to raise issues of concern as they arise and call on the Azerbaijan authorities to create an open political space that will allow potential presidential candidates, political activists and journalists to carry out their legitimate activities freely and without fear of harassment.

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the commitment of the Azeri Government to civil and political freedoms; and what representations he has made to the Azeri Government on improving human rights in Azerbaijan. [144405]

Mr Lidington: The UK Government recognise that Azerbaijan has signed up to a range of international human rights commitments through its membership of the United Nations and Council of Europe, and participation at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). However, we and our European partners are disappointed at the slow progress being made in areas such as freedom of the press, speech and association, where reform is needed to bring Azerbaijan closer to international standards. The UK Government raise issues of concern on human rights with the Azerbaijan authorities on a regular basis through bilateral contacts and with multilateral partners.

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking independently and together with the EU and his international counterparts to encourage the Azeri Government to adhere to the European convention of human rights. [144406]

Mr Lidington: The UK Government have been consistent in their call for Azerbaijan to adhere to the human rights commitments it has entered into, including the European convention on human rights, both in bilateral contacts and with multilateral partners. The UK Government also raise specific issues of concern on human rights with the Azerbaijan authorities on a regular basis through bilateral contacts and with partners. The UK is committed to using opportunities such as the annual EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council, Azerbaijan's Universal Periodic Review in April and its Chairmanship of the Council of Europe in 2014 to continue to highlight human rights issues and press for progress on issues of concern.

Bahrain

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Bahrain on the decision by that country's Ministry of Health to dismiss eight medical professionals convicted in connection with providing medical care to protestors during 2011. [143233]

Alistair Burt: We have made clear to the Bahraini Government the importance of ensuring due process in all cases, to allow defendants access to legal counsel and for trials to be independent and impartial. In this specific case, the authorities say that the medical personnel were dismissed following convictions for taking part in illegal gatherings and incitement of violence, but not for providing medical care to protestors during 2011 as the hon. Member states in her question.

25 Feb 2013 : Column 316W

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the detention and reported torture of Ahmed Humaidan in Bahrain; and if he will make a statement. [143234]

Alistair Burt: We are aware of the case of Mr Ahmed Humaidan, who has been in detention since the end of December. The first hearing of his trial, along with 32 other defendants, was heard earlier this month. We continue to urge the Bahraini authorities to ensure that due process is carefully and transparently followed in all cases. We expect civil liberties to be protected and for Bahrain to adhere to its international human rights obligations.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues on the monitoring of the use of tear gas and protest-related injuries in Bahrain; and if he will make a statement. [143235]

Alistair Burt: We have previously made clear to the Bahraini authorities our concerns about the indiscriminate use of tear gas and the need to exercise all possible restraint when handling public order situations; but I have not had any specific conversations with my ministerial colleagues about the use of tear gas and protest-related injuries in Bahrain. We do continue to monitor the situation very closely and take note of the concerns raised by human rights non-governmental organisations.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the level of respect for human rights by the Government of Bahrain. [143532]

Alistair Burt: We believe the Government of Bahrain remain committed to improving their human rights record as recommended by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and during the Universal Periodic Review process last year. The visit of a team of technical experts from the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in December is a positive step and we hope will provide the authorities with the further assistance needed.

We continue to work closely with the Bahraini Ministry of Human Rights and the Ministry of Justice in particular. For example, in mid-January, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded a visit to Bahrain by officials from Her Majesty’s inspectorate of prison to share best practice on national preventive mechanisms against torture in detention centres and conducting independent inspections. We also hosted the recently appointed independent Police Ombudsman, the first in the Gulf, on a visit to the UK and Northern Ireland.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on progress in implementing the Bassiouni Report in Bahrain. [143626]

Alistair Burt: Our ambassador and his team are in regular contact with the Bahraini Minister for Justice, who leads the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) follow-up unit. The unit published a

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report at the end of last year which detailed progress made since the BICI made its recommendations in November 2011. Progress has been made in certain areas, but there is still more work to be done and we continue to raise this with the authorities. As I said in my conversation with the Foreign Minister last week, we remain supportive of the reforms already under way and will continue to provide assistance where appropriate to help bring long-term stability to the Kingdom.

British Nationals Abroad: EU Countries

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which EU member states require UK nationals seeking to reside in those countries for more than three months to apply for a residency card or certificate; when such controls were introduced in each country; and what information his Department holds on how many UK citizens have been issued with such cards or certificates in each such country. [144149]

Mr Swire: As details are not held centrally this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Accommodation

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what occupation costs of each type are incurred for each property used by his Department. [143293]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has over 4,700 properties in over 270 locations around the world. It would not be possible to provide the level of detail requested in the time scale and it would also be at disproportionate cost.

A list of owned offices world-wide was provided in my answer of 13 September 2012, Official Report, column 322W. A copy has been placed in the Commons Library. Overseas, we own a total of 2,312 buildings (including those for residential use) and rent 2,380 buildings (again including those for residential use).

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) total floor space and (b) floor space measured in square metres per full-time equivalent post is of properties used by his Department. [143356]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has over 4,700 properties in over 270 locations around the world. It would not be possible to provide the level of detail requested in the time scale and it would also be at disproportionate cost.

A list of owned offices world-wide was provided in my answer of 13 September 2012, Official Report, column 322W. A copy has been placed in the Commons Library. Overseas, we own a total of 2,312 buildings (including those for residential use) and rent 2,380 buildings (again including those for residential use).

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the names and locations are of all properties used by officials of his Department; whether those properties are (a) owned

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by the Department,

(b)

leased by the Department and

(c)

subject to a private finance initiative agreement; when existing lease agreements relating to such properties are due to expire; and what the total floor space is of each property. [143377]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has over 4,700 properties in over 270 locations around the world. It would not be possible to provide the level of detail requested in the time scale and it would also be at disproportionate cost.

A list of owned offices world-wide was provided in my answer of 13 September 2012, Official Report, column 322W. A copy has been placed in the Commons Library. Overseas, we own a total of 2,312 buildings (including those for residential use) and rent 2,380 buildings (again including those for residential use).

Burma

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under which conditions suspension of EU sanctions against Burma would occur. [143882]

Mr Swire: The EU reviews sanctions annually to ensure that all designations continue to meet legal criteria, and to consider how the sanctions package can best support the process of reform in Burma.

On 23 April 2012, EU Foreign Ministers agreed to suspend all EU sanctions on Burma for one year, apart from the arms embargo and restrictions on the supply of equipment which could be used for international repression.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on increased land confiscation in Burma. [143883]

Mr Swire: We are aware of reports concerning the risks of land confiscation in Burma. During his recent visit to Burma this month Mr Tomas Ojea Quintana, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma, reported the potential for development projects to have a detrimental effect on the human rights of the people of Burma through land confiscation and forced eviction.

Since the suspension of EU sanctions in April 2012, the British Government have promoted responsible trade and investment in support of Burma's democratic reform process. The British Government urge all UK companies entering Burma to abide by international standards of corporate governance and social and environmental responsibility. In particular, this means adhering to the OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on Burmese laws and their compatibility with Burma's international human rights obligations; and what representations he has made to the Burmese Government on this matter. [143884]

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Mr Swire: The Burmese Government have emphasised that establishing the rule of law across Burma is a priority. However, they have yet to sign and ratify important treaties which will embed international human rights norms into its legal system, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention Against Torture, and the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court.

The Burmese Parliament is currently reviewing all Burmese laws and we are working closely with them to help increase their capacity to draft and scrutinise legislation.

I called on the Burmese Government to sign the ICCPR and other international human rights treaties during my visit to .Burma in December 2012. British Ministers and officials regularly raise human rights issues and legislative reform with the Burmese Government, most recently during the Burmese Foreign Minister's visit to London on 11 February.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what sanctions are faced by EU (a) businesses and (b) member states if they break the EU arms embargo on Burma. [143885]

Mr Swire: The EU arms embargo on Burma is enforced by EU member states using domestic legislative powers. The penalties on businesses for non-observance can vary depending on the circumstances of any attempted or actual breach. These can vary from suspension of export licenses or a financial penalty, through to criminal prosecution resulting in custodial sentences of up to 10 years.

EU member states implement arms embargoes through domestic legislation. Each member state's implementation in its domestic law determines what the consequences would be if a member state breaches the embargo.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on land confiscation in Burma. [143912]

Mr Swire: We are aware of reports concerning the risks of land confiscation in Burma. During his recent visit to Burma this month Mr Tomas Ojea Quintana, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma, reported the potential for development projects to have a detrimental effect on the human rights of the people of Burma through land confiscation and forced eviction.

Since the suspension of EU sanctions in April 2012, the British Government have promoted responsible trade and investment in support of Burma's democratic reform process. The British Government urge all UK companies entering Burma to abide by international standards of corporate governance and social and environmental responsibility. In particular, this means adhering to the OECD guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings UK Government representatives have had with the Kachin Independence Organisation in the last 12 months. [144586]

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Mr Swire: Officials from our embassy in Rangoon have met senior representatives from the Kachin Independence Organisation several times over the past 12 months, most recently during January and February 2013. The British Government continue to call on both sides to end hostilities and to continue with efforts to find a lasting peace in Kachin State. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and I discussed the situation in Kachin with the Burmese Foreign Minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, during his visit to the UK earlier this month.

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on whether the Burmese Government plan to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [144587]

Mr Swire: The British Government regularly raise the signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) with our Burmese counterparts. I raised this issue with the Burmese Government during my visit to Burma from 12-15 December 2012. More recently, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), raised this issue with the Burmese Foreign Minister during his visit of 11 February.

Subsequent to this discussion, British officials met the Burmese Foreign Minister on 15 February and were informed that the Burmese Government had been advised by the Burmese National Human Rights Council on December 10 that it should consider ratifying the ICCPR. We will continue to urge the Burmese Government to sign and ratify this important international commitment.

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on whether Burma has agreed to sign the (a) Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol and (b) UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. [144588]

Mr Swire: The British Government regularly urge the Burmese Government to sign the convention against torture and its optional protocol. During my visit to Burma in December 2012, I raised this issue with senior members of the Burmese Government, and it has subsequently been raised by officials in meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Attorney General.

British officials met Burmese Foreign Minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, on 15 February and were informed that the Burmese Government had been advised by the Burmese National Human Rights Council on December 10 that it should consider ratifying the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). We will continue to urge the Burmese Government to sign and ratify these important international commitments.

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have been held with his EU counterparts in other EU member states on making representations to the Government of Burma following the escalation of attacks in Kachin State by the Burmese army. [144589]

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Mr Swire: The EU's Political and Security Committee raised concerns about the situation in Kachin in a meeting with the Burmese Foreign Minister during his visit to Brussels on 6 February. On 15 January, Baroness Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, expressed her deep concern about the ongoing fighting in Kachin. British embassy officials in Rangoon continue to discuss the situation in Kachin State with their EU counterparts on a regular basis, most recently on 12 February. EU Heads of Mission in Burma, including HM ambassador in Rangoon, have planned a visit to Kachin in March in order to assess the situation there for themselves.