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Women in Science

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what plans she has to publish the Greenfield Report. [74918]

Ms Hewitt: I am looking forward to receiving the final version of Baroness Greenfield's report on a stronger strategic approach to promoting women in science, engineering and technology by the end of this month and will publish it as soon as possible thereafter. We will also publish the Government's response once we have had a chance to consider the report's recommendations properly.

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) when she will publish the Greenfield Report on women in science; [74964]

Ms Hewitt: I am looking forward to receiving the final version of Baroness Greenfield's report on a stronger strategic approach to promoting women in science, engineering and technology by the end of this month and will publish it as soon as possible thereafter. We will

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also publish the Government's response once we have had a chance to consider the report's recommendations properly.

Women's Enterprise

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what she is doing to increase the number of women setting up their own business; and if she will make a statement. [76228]

Ms Hewitt: DTI is addressing the issue of women's enterprise principally through the Small Business Service and its network of Business Link Operators.

SBS has been leading on cross-government work on developing Women in Business policy. It has built up good relations with a number of organisations looking into this area—including the recently formed Prowess which brings together representatives of business support organisations targeting help at female entrepreneurs. Prowess has been supported by my Department's Phoenix fund. The Phoenix Development Fund is funding 96 projects to support innovative approaches to promoting enterprise in disadvantaged areas and under-represented groups, including women. All of the projects are open to women, but 20 focus specifically on their needs.

I attended the formal launch of Prowess on 30 October which highlighted their role in raising awareness of the needs of women entrepreneurs and the need to work towards equal numbers of women and men starting in business.

Post Office

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who holds the contracts to provide the IT system to run the post office card system for ACT. [79152]

Mr. Timms: These are matters that fall within the day-to-day responsibility of Post Office Limited and I have therefore asked the Chief executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what the (a) start date, (b) planned completion date, (c) current expected completion date, (d) planned cost and (e) current estimated cost are of the IT system to support the Post Office Card Account. [79956]

Mr. Timms: These are matters that fall within the day to day responsibility of Post Office Ltd. and I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether Horizon swipecard software will be used to support the Post Office Card account. [79923]

Mr. Timms: These are matters that fall within the day to day responsibility of Post Office Ltd. and I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.

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Engineering Industry

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what measures she is taking to promote British engineering; [79545]

Mr. Wilson: I am taking a number of measures to promote British engineering. British engineering is able to benefit from the services of British Trade International in competing in overseas markets. And there is a range of specialist activity such as the ''Capability Statement'' documents on education and training in the oil and gas industry which describe the roles UK trained and educated engineers play in all the major centres of oil and gas production world-wide.

The Department promotes engineering in key overseas markets through the deployment of International Technology Promoters who promote collaboration between UK firms and overseas counterparts. Smaller engineering firms have access to additional support through a secondments programme, which enables SMEs to improve their competitive position by spending up to a year in a foreign company.

I am taking a range of measures: to encourage young people to consider engineering as a rewarding career choice; to increase the attractiveness of degree courses in engineering; and to provide a clear progression path though school, FE and HE. I am particularly keen to ensure individual learners and employers are offered flexible training opportunities for people in the workforce.

The Government accept that without an adequate supply of young people studying the sciences, technologies, engineering and mathematics, the UK's long-term prospects are bleak. The Government aims to increase young people's engagement in science and technology through increased activity in schools that will inspire young people and improve perceptions of the relevance of the curriculum to the world of work. For its part the DTI is working closely with our colleagues in the DfES to ensure that in response to Sir Gareth Roberts' Report ''SET for Success'' a number of measures are taken to improve the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. For example: an additional investment of #100 million a year by 2005–06 (in addition to extra resources for the Department for Education and Skills) to implement the recommendations of the Review

Government will also be funding the Research Councils to increase the minimum PhD stipend to #12,000 by 2005–06, which should also enable the average PhD stipend to rise to over #13,000 by 2005–06 and investing in research careers by increasing funds for PhD training.

Sir Gareth's Report recommends that the Government increase its support for SETNET, (the Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths Network) and the UK-wide network of 53 SETPoints that it administers which channel Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities supported by industry into schools. This network also administers the

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Science and Engineering Ambassadors programme. The Government is still considering how best to respond to these specific recommendations.

The Government are also committed to supporting the new Engineering and Technology Board, which has replaced the former Engineering Council and has the more effective promotion of science, technology, engineering and maths as one of its key objectives.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the number of engineers educated in the UK who were working abroad in each of the last five years. [79574]

Mr. Wilson: This information is not available.

Recruitment (Over-50s)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of new recruits to her Department in the past two years were aged 50 and over. [79310]

Ms Hewitt: 7.8 per cent. of new recruits to my Department in the past two years were 50 and over.

Lighter Refills

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what action she will take in accordance with European legislation to allow cigarette lighter refills to be limited to a 25ml can size. [79585]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I will write to my hon. Friend and place a copy of the letter in the Libraries of the House.

Environmental and Social Responsibility

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many of the FTSE 350 companies have reported on the environmental and social implications of their activities since January; and what assessment she has made of the quality of these reports; [79054]

Miss Melanie Johnson: In July 2002, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs contacted all companies in the FTSE 350 to assess the number companies reporting on their environmental performance.

99 companies currently report on their environmental performance, including data on their key impacts. Of those 99 companies, 20 have produced their first report since December 2001. 140 companies make information on their environmental performance publicly available, but fall short of full reporting.

The General Guidelines on Environmental Reporting published in November 2001, suggests contents and key indicators for the quality of individual company environmental reports.

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Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, how the Government will ensure that its corporate policies on social and environmental responsibility of companies help meet its sustainable development targets. [79053]

Mr. Timms: The Government's approach on both Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development is subject to extensive inter-departmental co-ordination and co-operation. The teams in DTI supporting these processes are both located in the Department's Sustainable Development Unit with a unified management structure, ensuring a closely integrated approach on the Government's sustainable development and CSR objectives.

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of the Prime Minister on 16 October 2002, Official Report, c. 310, what discussions her Department has held regarding social responsibility with (a) business and (b) groups representing civil society, the environment, labour standards and human rights and (c) other organisations. [79170]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Department has consulted widely on Corporate Social Responsibility with a range of different stakeholders. A series of Ministerial Round Tables were held last year, and two further Round Tables took place in September with, respectively, business and groups representing civil society. In addition, Ministers and officials regularly meet representatives of the different interest groups bilaterally, as well as participating in meetings and events organised by them.


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