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15 Oct 2002 : Column 686Wcontinued
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much grant was paid to subsidise the retail cost of the report of an Inquiry into the export of defence equipment and dual-use goods to Iraq and related prosecutions. 
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employees under contract from temping agencies worked in her Department; and how much was spent on temporary staff (a) in total and (b) as a percentage of the total staffing budget in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
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Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research projects being carried out by the World Bank on assessing the impact of liberalisation on developing countries achieved through GATS negotiations are being supported by her Department. 
Ms Hewitt: None. However the Department for International Development has been funding the World Bank Research Programme on Trade in Services since 1997 and is due to continue doing so until 2004. This programme aims to generate and draw together data and research on the impact of services liberalisation, with a view to improving services trade policy formulation and facilitating the services negotiations at the WTO. One of the central components of the programme is the creation of a database on measures affecting trade in services. The programme also includes a number of policy research projects, the results of which are available on the World Bank website (http://wwwl.worldbank.org/wbiep/trade/services.html_overview).
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 23 July 2002]: Over the past months, the Government has received a number of representations from Members, organisations and members of the public against the inclusion of water services in the GATS on the grounds that this would lead to forced privatisation and deregulation of these services, to the detriment of the poor.
The Government understands these concerns, but does not believe that the GATS will lead to such outcomes. The GATS is a bottom-up agreement, meaning that individual WTO Members decide for themselves whether, to what extent, and when to open up services where they think this will be beneficial. To date, no WTO Member has made a GATS commitment relating to pure drinking water (although some commitments have been made in relation to waste water treatment).
The European Community believes that improvements in the supply of water, which are needed in many poorer developing countries, can be achieved by involving the private sector in partnership with governments, given limits on public funding. One of the key outcomes from the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development was a new global target to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation, in support of the Millennium Development Goal to halve the proportion of people without access to clean water. The EC sees the GATS as a logical complement to these commitments.
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It may be that some WTO Members will decide that it is in their interest to involved the private sector in the funding and/or provision of their water services in order to increase investment and relieve over-stretched resources. They may also decide to open this sector to foreign companies. The aim of GATS commitments would be to ensure that such access is offered on fair and non-discriminatory terms.
Should WTO Members choose to liberalise in this way, nothing in the GATS can prevent them from regulating to ensure that prices charged are affordable, or to secure other universal service obligations. Nor can the Agreement pressure them into a specific public or private service delivery model. Moreover, the EC's requests purposefully highlight the importance of liberalisation being underpinned by domestic regulatory framework designed to ensure the achievement of public policy objectives.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it her policy to call for a comprehensive review by the WTO of the impact of increased service liberalisation, especially on water services, before implementing GATS; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 23 July 2002]: The Government has said on previous occasions that we fully support an impact assessment of the liberalisation of trade in services. WTO Members have already agreed to make this an on-going aspect of the current GATS negotiations at the WTO, and through the European Community we are participating actively in discussion on this issue in WTO Council for Trade in Services. We are also funding research by the World Bank that aims to generate and draw together data and research on the impact of services liberalisation in a wide range of countries, with a view to improving services trade policy formulation and facilitating the current negotiations.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which areas of responsibility held by (a) South East England Regional Assembly and (b) Surrey Learning and Skills Council fall within her Department's areas of activity; what their key functions are; from where they draw funding; what their total annual budget is; and what assessment she has made of the value for money they deliver in those areas covered by her Department. 
Alan Johnson: My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State has responsibility for the 8 English Chambers outside London, including the South East. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Department for Education and Skills has responsibility for the Local Learning And Skills Councils.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the remit is of (a) Business Link Surrey, (b) an Enterprise Hub, (c) Manufacturers' Advisory Service South East, (d) a Regional Centre for Manufacturing Excellence, (e) the Small Business Service, (f) South East England Development Agency, (g) South East Framework for Regional Employment & Skills Action, (h) Surrey Economic Partnership, (i) Workforce Development Group, (j) Surrey Sustainable Business Partnership and (k) Surrey Training and Enterprise Council; what their key functions are; from where they draw funding; what their total annual budgets are; and what assessment she has made of the value for money they deliver. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action has been taken against employers in Portsmouth, South who have failed to pay the national minimum wage; and if she will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: The Inland Revenue enforces the national minimum wage on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry. National minimum wage data is not disaggregated to constituency level. However, Portsmouth South falls into the Inland Revenue's South East region where, for the year ended 31 March 2002, 119 employers were found not to be paying the minimum wage and #289,722 in wages arrears was identified on behalf of more than 1,150 workers.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Post Office has indicated to her Department that it will make its collection of historic artifacts previously displayed in the National Postal Museum available to view by the public; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: This is an issue for Consignia plc. However, I understand from the company that the historical records of The Post Office, from the 17th century to the 20th are open to the public at Freeling House at Mount Pleasant in London on weekdays. The philatelic material previously at the National Postal Museum is also stored there and most of it may be viewed by prior appointment. I am also advised by the company that it is actively developing plans that would enable improved access to the stored historical artefacts formerly in the Museum.
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