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24 Jul 2000 : Column: 418W
Ms Hewitt: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has had no specific discussions with the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) about the future of Jodrell Bank. The PPARC is reviewing the future of all its telescopes, including Jodrell Bank, in the context of possible UK membership of the European Southern Observatory. No decisions have been made, and no major changes to the funding of existing telescopes are expected for at least five years. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will discuss the future of Jodrell Bank, and other telescopes, at the appropriate time.
Ms Hewitt: As Jodrell Bank is recognised as a major science facility in the North West it will be examined as part of the activities of the Government-commissioned reviews being carried out by the North West Science and Development Group and the North West Science Review Team, which are looking at economic development and the science base in the region. These reviews are due to report by the 29 December and 30 September respectively.
Mr. Breed: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much it will cost the Government to supply each post office with (a) internet provision and (b) computer terminals for public access. 
Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 21 July 2000]: The Government are contributing £480 million towards the capital costs of the Horizon project to equip every post office with a modern on-line IT platform, and will contribute to the cost of a pilot trial of Internet access and learning points in a limited number of post offices, once the Post Office have demonstrated a convincing business case. The scope for extending this facility more widely will depend on the outcome of the trials.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 28 June 2000, Official Report, column 518W, on opinion research, if he will list the information held centrally on the results of his Department's market and opinion research, stating in each case which of these results will be placed in the Library. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: Since the Government came to office, new employment rights such as the National Minimum Wage and those under the Working Time Regulations to entitlements such as paid annual leave, have improved the position of part-time employees and agency temps.
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We are currently seeking to improve and clarify the existing regulations governing the conduct of employment agencies. We are placing greater emphasis on the clarity of terms issued and on ensuring workers are paid in full and on time. These proposals form part of a package of measures to ensure appropriate minimum standards for the recruitment industry, which we intend to finalise shortly.
The Part-time Workers Regulations came into force on 1 July and ensure that part-time workers are not treated less favourably in their contractual terms and conditions than comparable full-timers, unless different treatment is justified on objective grounds. The regulations cover all terms and conditions including pay, pensions, holidays and training.
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last met representatives of the United Kingdom tobacco industry to discuss the export trade implications of the European Commission's proposal for a directive concerning the manufacture, production and sale of tobacco products. 
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many traders in the Ribble Valley have been fined for trading in pounds and ounces; and how many of these fines have been contested. 
Dr. Howells: The responsibility for enforcing weights and measures legislation, including the use of the legal units of measurement, lies with local authorities. According to information supplied to the Department by Lancashire County Council there have been no prosecutions taken against traders in the Ribble Valley for failing to use grams and kilograms alongside ounces and pounds.
Mr. Caborn: It is for the Objective 1 programme partnerships themselves to decide how and when to call for applications and when to take decisions. However, I expect them to start appraising applications very soon if they have not already done so.
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Mr. Caborn: The arrangements for applying for EU structural funds are set out in Council Regulation (EC) No. 1260/1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds (OJ L 161 of 26 June 1999) and in the eligible regions' Single Programming Documents and programme complements. Responsibility for structural funds partnerships rests with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions for England, and with the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. My Department is responsible for overall co-ordination of the structural funds in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the progress of the United Kingdom retail financial sector towards preparedness for membership of the euro; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the studies undertaken or being undertaken by the Government which quantify or examine the trade and competition effects that would result from the United Kingdom entering the single currency area. 
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the observations of Lord Steyn on judicial appointment procedures; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lock: The Lord Chancellor is aware of the reports of Lord Steyn's recent remarks at an event at the London School of Economics. The Lord Chancellor has already decided to establish a Commission for Judicial Appointments as recommended by Sir Leonard Peach to provide ongoing, independent monitoring of the appointments process and to provide a further recourse for disappointed candidates. The Lord Chancellor has not ruled out further reform, but he prefers for the present to proceed with and evaluate the implementation of the Peach report recommendations.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the observations of the Lord Chief Justice on court dress; and if he will make a statement. 
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consider the issue if there is evidence that the balance of opinion is changing against maintaining court dress in its current form.
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