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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many staff in her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies receive paid leave to undertake union duties; how many days they are allocated; and what has been the cost to public funds in each of the last four years. 
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Ms Hewitt: The cost for my Department and its agencies for the last four years for which figures are available (financial years 199596 to 199899) was £77,000; £49,000; £44,500 and £59,000, respectively. Information about staff numbers and time allocated is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the balance of trade was in steel in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what the main contribution of origin of steel imports were by volume. 
(71) Data for Belgium include imports from Luxembourg in years 199698
Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau.
It is important that applicant countries, particularly in the first wave of enlargement, move towards a market orientated economy as quickly as possible. It is vital that they bring their competition and state aid regimes into line with other member states to ensure a level playing field is created and we support the Commission's efforts to achieve this. In this context, there has undoubtedly been much progress in reducing subsidies and introducing privatisation and restructuring in the steel industry in the first and second wave applicant countries.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether her Department was consulted as to the effect of LNM Holdings acquisition of the Sidex Plant in Romania on the British steel industry. 
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Ms Hewitt: My Department's position on the privatisation of Romanian steel plants is well established. We have for some time supported the interests of the British steel industry by encouraging the completion of privatisation in order to eliminate state subsidies and create a level playing field for British companies.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many days have been lost owing to industrial action by staff in her Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each of the last four years. 
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry by what means ministerial boxes are conveyed from private offices in her Department to (a) herself and (b) her Ministers; how frequently and at what expense private courier firms are employed for such a task; and which courier firms have been used for such duties. 
Ms Hewitt: Ministerial boxes originating from this Department are transported to Ministers' homes either by Government car or by a service provided by the Royal Mail. In exceptional circumstances the departmental contracted courier service has been used to deliver urgent papers but this is not routine practice.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether a regulatory impact assessment, which adheres to the Cabinet Office model, has been published for the Work and Parents Framework documents and latest consultation document. 
Alan Johnson: The regulatory impact assessment carried out for the current Employment Bill contains figures relating to maternity, paternity, adoption and the flexible working provisions. Copies of this are available from the Libraries of the House.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent legislation has been introduced on the provision of parental and maternity leave and pay with particular reference to returning to work part-time. 
Alan Johnson: There are no provisions in parental and maternity leave and pay legislation which specifically cover return to work on a part-time basis. Existing legislation provides for the rights of an employee (whether full-time or part-time) to return either to the
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same job in which he/she was employed before taking leave or, in certain circumstances, to an alternative job which is suitable and appropriate.
A new duty on employers to seriously consider requests for flexible working, including part-time working, from parents with young children is being introduced as part of the Employment Bill which is currently going through Parliament.
Ms Hewitt: The figures in the table are based on information provided by companies at the time of the announcement of the decision to invest in the UK. They are based on the companies' best estimate, at that time, of the number of jobs associated with each investment.
There is no requirement on companies to notify inward investment decisions to Invest.UK and so the figures include only those projects where Invest.UK or its regional partners were involved or which have come to their notice. They are therefore likely to be an under- estimate. Invest.UK is not always given financial information relating to inward investment decisions and therefore such information is not provided, as it is incomplete and would give a distorted impression against the number of projects for each year.
The UK is the No. 1 location in Europe for inward investment and the Government will continue to do all they can to maintain the UK's attractiveness as a location so our economy can continue to enjoy the substantial benefits from inward investment.
|Number of projects||Number of associated jobs|
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employees in her Department who regularly use computers have taken up the provision of a free eye test; and how this service is advertised to (a) current and (b) new staff. 
Ms Hewitt: Five hundred and eight (508) staff have taken up the provision of a free eye test within the last two years. Staff who regularly use computers are entitled to a free eye test every two years, unless an optician recommends more frequent testing. The service has been brought to the attention of current staff through the distribution of a health and safety notice. A reference copy of the notice is also available on the Department's intranet. Guidance on the use of display screen equipment and the entitlement to a free eye test forms a part of the health and safety induction procedures for new staff.
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Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many oil and gas directorate posts there were in (a) Aberdeen, (b) London and (c) elsewhere in each of the last 15 years; and what the running costs for the oil and gas directorate were in total and by location in the most recent years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Wilson: The number of oil and gas directorate posts located in Aberdeen, London and elsewhere since the establishment of the Aberdeen office in 1994, together with associated running costs was as follows:
1. Running costs expenditure is not recorded on the basis of the location of the office. A breakdown of the costs between Aberdeen and London is not therefore available.
2. There have been some changes in the functions of Oil and Gas Directorate over this period. For example, responsibility for the collection of oil and gas royalties was transferred to the Inland Revenue in 2000, leading to 14 posts transferring from Oil and Gas Directorate's Aberdeen office to the Inland Revenue's Aberdeen office.
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