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One Northeast

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what interests have been registered by the chair of One NorthEast. [108601]

John Bridge has been chair of One NorthEast since December 1998 and is currently paid £47,800 per annum for this role. He is also a Member of the Board of English Partnerships and receives remuneration of £11,259 per annum.I am advised that his other declared interests are as follows:

  • Board member of Northern Sights;
  • Chairman of Management Trustees of the Calvert Trust
  • Non-executive director of Kenmore UK Ltd;
  • Board Member of the Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP);
  • Non-executive director of e-comeleon plc;
  • Chairman of North East Seedcorn Capital Fund;
  • Chairman of Endeavour SCH plc;
  • Board Member of Tees Valley URC;
  • Chairman of the National Trust for North East and Yorkshire;
  • Member of the European Government Business Relations Council;
  • Visiting Professor of Newcastle Business School;
  • Visiting Professor of Durham University Business School;
  • Honorary Fellow of Sunderland University;
  • Member of the Reform Club;
  • Trustee of the Spirit of Enterprise;
  • Vice Chair of the Regional Policy Forum;
  • Chair of the Assessment Panel for SBS Incubator Fund;
  • Member of the Treasury Advisory Council for Partnerships (UK);
  • Member of the Urban Policy Sounding Board;
  • Chairman of Alnwick Garden Trust;
  • Vice Chair of the Over the Moon Appeal; and Chairman of Durham Cathedral Council.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much One Northeast spent on entertainment in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003. [108692]

The following information, which has been provided by One NorthEast, represents the total amount spent by the Agency on entertainment in the specified years:

£
Total amount spent on entertainment
2001–0245,590
2002–0366,368
The majority of this expenditure relates to hospitality provided to inward investors and visiting Ministers and dignitaries, including a recent visit by a Select Committee.I am advised that figures for 1999–2000 and 2000–01 are not available as the accounting systems inherited by the Agency cannot provide this detail.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much One Northeast spent on external consultants in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003; which (i) companies and (ii) individuals were employed; and what fees were paid. [108693]

The following information, which has been provided by One NorthEast, represents the total amount spent by the Agency on consultancy work in the specified years:

£
Total amount spent on

consultancy work
(a) 1999–2000245,143
(b) 2000–01111,170
(c) 2001–02263,181
(d) 2002–03250,528

These costs do not include the cost of consultancy provided in relation to construction and development work which is an intrinsic part of the budgeted costs of projects managed and delivered on the Agency's behalf.

I am advised that it is not possible to provide detailed information on the number of different organisations employed or individuals employed. Furthermore, it is not possible to provide details of specific fees paid to individual firms of consultants as this would be in breach of commercial confidentiality.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much One Northeast spent on external legal advice in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003; which companies were engaged to provide such advice; and what fees were paid. [108694]

The following information, which has been provided by One NorthEast, represents the total amounts spent on external legal advice in the specified years:

£
Total amount spent on

legal advice
(a) 1999–2000295,260
(b) 2000–01187,870
(c) 2001–02122,918
(d) 2002–03196,386
The Agency's legal panel comprises three legal firms based in the north east region, namely Ward Hadaway, Eversheds and Robert Muckle. The Agency also obtained legal advice from Dickinson Dees in respect of discrete items of work that were tendered competitively outwith the panel arrangements.I am advised that it is not possible for the Agency to provide details of the specific fees paid to each firm of solicitors as this would be a breach of commercial confidentiality.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the costs of establishing the new headquarters of One NorthEast at Newburn Riverside were; and what estimate she has made of the annual running costs of the building. [108695]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry gave One NorthEast approval to proceed with the construction of new headquarters following the submission of a detailed business case and the completion of a thorough and rigorous value for money appraisal by the Department. The net cost of the move amounted to £3.3 million. The cost of constructing and fitting out the new building amounted to £9 million, but this was offset by capital receipts of £3 million and £2.7 million respectively from the sale of the Agency's buildings at Great North House, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and St. George's House, Gateshead. The Agency also surrendered its lease of premises at Hadrian House Newcastle and, as a consequence, was able to achieve savings of £50,000 per annum relative to those premises. The new Headquarters uses solar water heating and recycles roof water and this has allowed the Agency to achieve a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) 'Excellent' rating. A cost v. savings analysis completed by the Agency has shown that the Agency's capital investment in the new building will pay for itself within six years. Annual running costs of the building are currently estimated to be £881,500 (less than 0.5 per cent. of total operating income), which is a significant saving against the operating costs of the three office premises in Newcastle and Gateshead, formerly owned or occupied by the Agency. The co-location of the Agency's core staff of more than 250 personnel in one building was not solely motivated by the clearly demonstrable financial benefits of doing so, but also by the desire to provide improved levels of customer service, and the benefits in terms of improved communication, both internal and external, by having key staff in one building.