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9 Jan 2003 : Column 296Wcontinued
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which Minister in her Department is nominated Green Minister; how often she has attended meetings of the Green Ministers; and which official has responsibility for the DEFRA rural proofing check-list in her Department. 
Clare Short: My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development represents DFID on the ENV(G) Committee. The Rural Proofing check-list is not relevant to DFID's activities and policies.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) parliamentary questions and (b) letters from hon. Members, in Session 200102 remain unanswered, broken down by those
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which are (i) one month old, (ii) two months old, (iii) three months old, (iv) four months old and (v) over six months old. 
1 is two months old.
Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people in (a) Newcastle upon Tyne and (b) Gateshead have benefited from the introduction of the national minimum wage; and what was the average uplift on earnings. 
Alan Johnson: We do not have information on numbers of national minimum wage (NMW) beneficiaries specific to Newcastle upon Tyne or Gateshead. For the north-east region as a whole, it is thought that around 80,000 people should have benefited from the introduction of the NMW in April 1999. The number who should have benefited from the NMW uprating in October 2001 is estimated to be 110,000.
In spring 1998, prior to the introduction of the NMW, the average wage for full-time employees on adult rates in Newcastle upon Tyne was #336.9 and in Gateshead it was #352.5. In spring 2002 the average wage in Newcastle was #409.9, an increase of nearly 22 per cent., and in Gateshead it had risen to #389.4, an increase of 10.5 per cent. over the period. Over the same period the average wage for the north east as a whole increased by nearly 18 per cent., to #399.3, and for Great Britain by 21 per cent., to #464.7.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she will take to encourage employers promptly to pay the wages due to those entering work; and if he will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: When employees are to be paid is a contractual matter for negotiation and agreement between employers and employees (or their representatives). If wages are not paid at the agreed time, employees can seek redress though the employment tribunals or the ordinary courts.
The intervals at which wages are paid must be set out out in the written statement of employment particulars to which employees have a statutory right. Measures in the Employment Act 2002, once brought into force, will provide an improved enforcement mechanism for the requirement to issue written statements.
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prevent the (a) importation and (b) sale of goods made from (i) cats and (ii) dogs; and if she will make a statement. 
My noble Friend, the Minister for Trade and Investment in response to an oral question from Baroness Gale on 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 1234, has undertaken to report to Parliament on the Government's findings on how much cat and dog fur is coming into the UK; whether a similar ban to that enacted in the US would be effective; and to explore all options for stopping the trade, if there is evidence that it exists. She has invited those MPs and Peers who have written to Ministers on this topic to a meeting in the Houses of Parliament on 15 January 2003 to discuss the issue further.
The People's Panel came to an end in January 2002. Over the course of its lifetime it was made up of a representative sample of more than 5,000 members, recruited at random from among the UK public. It is standard practice for the personal details of members of the public involved in such research to remain anonymous.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of (a) the savings to be achieved and (b) the number of sub post offices to be closed under the Post Office's network reinvention. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 16 December 2002]: Post Office Ltd. estimate that collectively savings from the urban reinvention programme together with savings from other measures and initiatives including reductions in administrative costs and overheads should make a substantial contribution to restoring the network business to profitability. The Network business made an operating loss of #82 million in the financial year 200001.
Post Office Ltd. does not have a predetermined list of offices which will close under their urban reinvention programme, nor is there any arithmetical formula which will determine the number of closures in any given area.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices there are in each parliamentary constituency; how many of them transacted more than 40 per cent. of their work volumes on behalf of the Benefits Agency in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. 
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Parliamentary constituency and how many of them derive more than 40 per cent. of their income from benefits work. That information is set out in the reply given to the then hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington on 29 November 1999, Official Report, column 22W, and remains the latest information available in that form.
Post Office Ltd. also compiled a list of post offices by Parliamentary constituency as of 20 April 2002 showing their classification as urban or rural offices. This exercise did not include information on percentage income derived from benefits payments. A copy of this list is held in the Libraries of the House.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with (a) the Confederation of British Industry, (b) the TUC and (c) the Institute of Directors regarding union recognition in the workplace. 
Alan Johnson: The Department of Trade and Industry is currently undertaking a Review of the Employment Relations Act 1999, which includes the provisions for statutory trade union recognition. DTI officials have already held a number of informal consultation meetings with interested parties, including the CBI and the TUC.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent estimate is of the proportion of the population that in 2010 will be living in parts of the country that have achieved the air quality strategy objective for 2010. 
Margaret Beckett: Different air quality objectives apply in respect of different pollutants, different dates and different parts of the country. For many pollutants, our latest modelling indicates that by 2010 100 per cent. of the population will be living in areas that meet the current air quality strategy objectives. But in respect of other pollutants, there remain some areas where the current objectives may not be met. In respect of particulate matter (PM10), for example, our latest air quality projections estimate that in 2010, 88 per cent of the population of England (excluding London) will live in areas that meet the air quality strategy objective. Furthermore, it is estimated that 98 per cent. of the population of London will live in areas that meet the air quality strategy objective for PM10 for London in 2010. Additional measures will need to be developed over the coming years to increase the proportion of the population living in areas that meet the strategy targets for PM10.
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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent estimate is of the proportion of the population that will live in the parts of the country where the air quality strategy objective for NOx will have been achieved by 2005. 
Margaret Beckett: My Department's latest air quality projections estimate that more than 98 per cent. of the population will live in parts of England where the air quality strategy objective for nitrogen dioxide will have been achieved in 2005. Additional measures will need to be developed over the coming years to increase the proportion of the population living in areas that meet the strategy objective.
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