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Alan Johnson: The Employment Bill introduced on 7 November includes a new right to two weeks' paid paternity leave for fathers following the birth of their child. The Bill includes provisions for regulations to be made to address cases where more than one child is born as a result of the same pregnancy. Future regulations will cover these special circumstances.
Alan Johnson: A very high priority has been given to the Royal Ordnance site, which is identified as one of 11 strategic sites in the North West Development Agency's regional strategy. A large part of the site has already been acquired by a development consortium, and Chorley Borough Council are currently in negotiations with the present owner to acquire 50 hectares of the site for re-use as a major inward investment site. This will see the return of one of the largest brownfield sites in Lancashire to productive use.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment the North West Regional Development Agency has made of the benefits involved with the use of the Royal Ordnance site in Chorley. 
Alan Johnson: Chorley borough council, with the backing of the North West Development Agency, are currently negotiating the purchase of part of the Royal Ordnance site. Officers of the North West Development Agency are working closely with the Council to assess the likely costs and benefits of converting the site to make it suitable for inward investment.
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 8 November 2001]: None. The site belongs to BNFL, which has announced publicly its planned lifetime limits for Magnox power stations. The power station at Bradwell is due to stop generating electricity next year.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has received proposing the building of new nuclear power stations; and what plans she has for the construction of new nuclear power stations. 
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Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if all those in receipt of benefit pension and tax credit payments will be automatically eligible for a Post Office card account after the introduction of the Universal Bank. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 6 November 2001]: It is the Government's policy to encourage people to use the type of account which is most appropriate for their needs. The Post Office card account is intended primarily for people who are unable or unwilling to open even a basic bank account, and it is the Government's intention to promote the take up and use of basic and other bank accounts. As a consequence, this matter is being considered within the context of an overall migration and marketing strategy on which a great deal of work is currently under way.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices there are in each parliamentary constituency; and how many of them derive more than 40 per cent. of their income from the Benefits Agency. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 31 October 2001]: I have been advised by Consignia that they do not hold figures on post office numbers by parliamentary constituency. The latest information available remains a special exercise undertaken by the Post Office in 1999 to determine the numbers of post offices in each parliamentary constituency and how many of them derived more than 40 per cent. of their income from the Benefits Agency.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the Prime Minister in relation to export credit guarantee to underwrite the Ilisu Dam project; and when the last discussion took place. 
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(3) if she will make a statement on how the Ilisu Dam project in Turkey meets each of the four conditions that the Government have set for export credit guarantees; 
(4) what assessment she has made of the progress made in ensuring that the Ilisu Dam in Turkey will not cut off water supplies to Syria and Iraq in times of drought. 
Ms Hewitt: I have commissioned reports from independent consultants on the environmental impact assessment report and the resettlement action plan prepared in respect of the Ilisu Dam project. These reports, together with comments received from the public, are being considered and discussed with other Government Departments with an interest in the project, in particular the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. When our consideration is complete, I will make a statement. No date has been set for a decision regarding ECGD support for the project.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to give employees the right to request flexible working hours; and if she will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: In my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's reply to the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hendrick) on 28 June 2001, Official Report, column 149W, she announced the formation of the Work and Parents Taskforce to look at how parents and employers can be encouraged to consider flexible working patterns that suit them both. The Taskforce is due to report this month. The Government hope to respond to the Taskforce's recommendations soon after.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it her policy to ensure that all letters sent by Ministers in her Department to hon. Members are signed by the Minister replying or by one of his or her private secretaries and that the use of facsimile signatures inserted by computer is abandoned. 
Ms Hewitt: I can confirm that I have asked that all letters sent by Ministers in my Department to hon. Members, other than letters which are going to all or a large number of MPs and communications sent by e-mail, are approved and signed in person by the Minister, or approved by the Minister and signed by their private secretary.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will reply to the letters dated 21 July and 25 September from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan regarding Whitelink Seafoods, Fraserburgh. 
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Mr. Alexander: To start the implementation of all the recommendations of the Performance and Innovation Unit, the Government have committed £270 million of support over three years for modernisation of the post office network. That ring fenced funding is being allocated in accordance with an agreed robust business case from Post Office Ltd.
£15 million has been earmarked for the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions to help sustain and improve post offices in deprived urban areas. Up to £25 million has been allocated this financial year for the Government General Practitioner ("Your Guide") trial in Leicestershire which began in July.
The Government are committed to providing transitional financial assistance to rural post offices and decisions on this will be taken following advice from the Postal Services Commission which is expected in the weeks to come. In addition we have made available a £2 million fund to support volunteer and community initiatives to maintain or reopen post office facilities in rural areas where traditional services would otherwise close.
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