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1 As restated.
Profit figures do not include tax, interest, exceptional items or (after 199091) sale of assets.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions have taken place about the possible sale of Consignia Holdings plc or its component parts; and if she will make a statement. 
Consignia was given commercial freedom by this Government in response to demands from the company and unions. It is therefore entirely logical that Consignia considers it commercial strategy, including relationships or ventures with other operators.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total level of inward investment was from (a) the EU, (b) the USA, (c) the G7 countries and (d) Japan into the UK in each of the last 20 years. 
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G7 comprises of UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and USA.
Prior to 1987, data were only collected every three years.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to amend the Consumer Protection (Cancellation of Contracts Concluded away from Business Premises) Regulations 1987. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she expects to make a decision on her responsibility for planning permission in relation to recent legislation on nuclear power stations in Scotland. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the progress of the PFI project at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington; what the extent is of (a) delays from the original timetable and (b) cost overruns; and to what extent liability for failure to meet deadlines falls on the (i) Government and (ii) contractor. 
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Ms Hewitt: Asteroid 2002 EM7 was first observed on 12 March 2002, four days after it had passed within 500,000 km of the Earth, a distance greater than that between the Earth and the Moon. The object had not been detected previously because its approach had been from the direction of the Sun. Observations have determined that the object takes 323 days to orbit the Sun, and that its next close approach to the Earth will occur on 1 July 2011, at a minimum distance more than eight times greater than that of 8 March 2002. The size of 2002 EM7 is estimated to be between 50 and 100 m.
The Government's approach to Near Earth Objects (NEOs) is to work with its international partners to develop a complementary and co-ordinated response to what is, by its nature, a global issue. A National NEO Information Centre has been established at the National Space Science Centre in Leicester to provide objective information on NEOs to the public and media.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information posted on the departmental website, or websites of non departmental public bodies reporting to her Department, has been (a) modified or (b) removed as a consequence of the events of 11 September 2001. 
Ms Hewitt: No information has been modified or removed from the core pages of the DTI website as a result of the events of 11 September. Information on changes to other DTI-related websites is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to compensate home owners whose properties (a) have suffered a substantial fall in value and (b) are unsaleable because of abandoned mineshafts nearby.
Mr. Wilson: The Coal Authority or relevant coal mine operator will repair any physical damage caused to a property by an abandoned mineshaft. That being the case, I have no plans to introduce any scheme of compensation in respect of properties the value and saleability of which are allegedly affected by the presence of a mineshaft. Nevertheless, my Department is examining with other interested parties how the difficulties experienced by the owners of property with mineshafts nearby might be addressed.
Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will announce her conclusions on the Heriot-Watt University study on the impact of coal mineshafts; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Wilson: The Heriot-Watt University study provided valuable information on the effect of former mineshafts on property values, in particular in Stoke-on-Trent. Subsequent to the study's publication the Department has established a Working Group to examine what steps might be taken to address this issue. The Working Group, which includes representatives from the Coal Authority, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Association of British Insurers, the Law Society and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, met for the first time last month. Good progress has already been made in identifying measures which the various parties might take to improve the situation.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to ensure Postcomm consults all local authorities on its proposals to increase competition in postal services; and if she will make a statement. 
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of Postcomm proposals for Consignia and the introduction of competition into postal markets ahead of European proposals. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 25 March 2002]: The Government's priority is to ensure the universal postal service and this is Postcomm's primary statutory duty. In exercising its functions Postcomm must act in accordance with its primary and other statutory duties including compliance with EU obligations.
Currently EU legislation allows member states to reserve certain mail services to universal service providers but only to the extent necessary to maintain the universal service. There are maximum limits to the services that may be reserved; but there is no minimum and some EU countries have determined either that they no longer need to reserve services or that the level of service they need to reserve is lower than the maximum limits.
Discussions are in progress to amend the current European Postal Directive with regard to the further opening to competition of Community postal services and when the new Directive is adopted the Government will consider with interested parties what action is necessary for its transposition in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 25 March 2002]: Postcomm was the first body to have a collegiate approach to regulation in the UK. This approach aims to de-personalise regulation and bring a greater range of expertise to bear on regulatory decisions. The experience of the Commissioners was outlined in a press release by this Department on 6 November 2000, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
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Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how the appointments for Postcomm commissioners were advertised; how many applications were received; who appointed the Postcomm commissioners; and what criteria were used for the appointments. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 25 March 2002]: The advertising, recruitment and appointments process was conducted by this Department in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made the appointments.
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) which district councils and unitary authorities Postcomm have consulted regarding their proposals affecting Consignia; 
(3) if Postcomm is consulting with selected local authorities on their proposals for Consignia. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answers 25 March 2002]: This is a matter for Postcomm. Interested parties who have concerns about the process or substance contained in the document Postcomm issued on Thursday 31 January should communicate these to Postcomm.
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if Postcomm has indicated to Consignia during the last 18 months that it would not allow an increase in the price of postage. 
Mr. Alexander [holding answer 25 March 2002]: On 10 April 2001 Postcomm received a request from the Royal Mail for increases in a wide range of postal rates including a penny on first and second class post. This request was made under provisions of the Consignia license. Consignia suspended that request on 19 June 2001.
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