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Alan Johnson: (a) According to the 2001 New Earnings Survey (the latest data available), conducted by the Office for National Statistics, average hourly pay for full-time employees, excluding overtime, in England, was £12.18 for men and £9.90 for women, a pay gap of £2.28.
(b) Estimates for the parliamentary constituency of Buckingham are not available. According to the 2001 New Earnings Survey, average hourly pay for full-time employees, excluding overtime, in the county of Buckinghamshire, was £13.82 for men and £10.33 for women, a pay gap of £3.49.
23 Apr 2002 : Column 213W
Ms Hewitt: The Higher Education Business Interaction Survey shows that there were 220 spinouts in total from universities in England between August 1994 and July 1999, and 139 between August 1999 and July 2000.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many calls the National Business Debtline has received (a) in total and (b) from businesses based in the Buckingham constituency in each year since its inception; and what the cost was in each year. 
|Number of calls received:|
|Period in which the calls were made||Nationally||From Buckinghamshire|
|July to December 2000||2,497||8|
|January to December 2001||5,933||34 + (18)146 = 180|
|January to 11 April 2002||1,479||(18)195|
|Total||9,909||42 + (18)341 = 383|
(18) These figures refer to south-east England and not only Buckinghamshire.
Alan Johnson: DTI and Treasury Ministers have had a range of discussions about tax issues, including tax incentives relating to deprived areas. In the Budget on 17 April the Chancellor announced the implementation of the Community Investment Tax Credit. He also announced that the Government will abolish stamp duty for all non-residential transfers in the UK's most disadvantaged areas, subject to EU state aids approval. The Budget also confirmed that the Government have committed £20 million to the Community Development Venture Fund, and that the Government remain confident that private investors will contribute a further £20 million.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what policy measures, in addition to her Department's capital funding, have been introduced since 1997 to support the development of micro-renewable technologies in the UK; and if she will make a statement. 
23 Apr 2002 : Column 214W
Mr. Wilson: In addition to the general support for renewables provided by the Renewables Obligation and Climate Change Levy exemption, there have been a number of initiatives aimed specifically to encourage smaller projects.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she expects to issue the discussion paper on legal issues relating to employment status; for what reason it has been delayed; and if she will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: The European Commission published a proposal for a directive on temporary agency workers in March 2002. We are currently studying the proposal to establish whether it protects agency workers without damaging the important contribution agency workers and agencies make to the labour market and to maintaining high levels of employment.
Alan Johnson: None. We are in the process of undertaking a review of employment status issues pursuant to Section 23. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 13 February 2002, Official Report, column 443W.
Alan Johnson [holding answer 22 April 2002]: My Department currently uses the broad definitions contained in the Rural and Urban White Papers. However, the Government recognises that there is a need for a more co-ordinated and consistent approach to the categorisation and use of definitions of urban and rural areas. For that reason DEFRA, DTLR, the Countryside Agency and the Office for National Statistics are working together towards a better set of definitions.
23 Apr 2002 : Column 215W
what action her Department has taken since May 2001 in regard to bringing the benefits of market liberalisation to rural consumers. 
Mr. Wilson: The benefits of energy liberalisation have been extended to rural consumers. Research undertaken by OFGEM shows that 35 per cent. of gas customers and 32 per cent. of electricity customers in rural areas have switched supplier, compared with 38 per cent. of gas customers and 41 per cent. of electricity customers in urban areas. The differences in the rate of customer switching in rural areas are in part due to the inability of consumers in areas without mains gas to take up "dual fuel" deals.
To address this, the Government have established a working group to look at issues surrounding extension of the gas network, as part of their Fuel Poverty Strategy. The group reported in November 2001 and its report was published on the DTI website http://www2.dti.gov.uk/ energy/gasnetworks/index.htm. The Government are considering how the report's recommendations can best be taken forward.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 380, on energy markets, what her Department's definition of the term 'vulnerable consumers' is. 
Mr. Wilson: There is no definition of the term "vulnerable customers" in draft energy market liberalisation legislation under discussion in the European Council and Parliament. Member States will therefore be free to define the term in any national implementing legislation. The definition used in the UK for the purpose of the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy is as follows: "vulnerable households are those at risk of ill-health from cold conditionsolder householders, families with children and households who are disabled or suffering from a long-term illness".
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 380W, on energy markets, if it is the UK Government's policy not to take a position on individual European Parliament amendments that are not included in the European Commission's revised text. 
Mr. Wilson: The UK Government do not take a position on individual European Parliament amendments not included in the Commission's revised text. Approximately 500 amendments to the internal market legislation currently under discussion were tabled by MEPs, around 150 of which were accepted in the European Parliament's Plenary vote. It is now up to the Commission to decide which amendments to accept and to present these to the council in a revised text. It would be pointless to take a position on every amendment as the majority of them will not appear in the revised Commission proposal.
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