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15 Jan 2003 : Column 648W—continued

Post Office

Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her Department is doing to promote the services of the post office network among other Departments who use its services. [88879]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 14 January 2003]: The nationwide reach of the post office network represents a valuable channel for delivery of Government and other services. Post offices are traditionally the place where customers go to transact a range of Government business.

As recommended by the PIU report on the future of the post office network published in June 2000, Government provided the necessary support to enable Post Office Ltd. to test the concept of post offices as Government General Practitioners. DTI contributed #25 million to the cost of running the Your Guide pilot in Leicestershire and Rutland between July 2001 and March 2002. The outcomes of the pilot were thoroughly evaluated and a report was published last July. Although this indicated that a publicly funded national Your Guide service on the lines of that piloted would not provide value for money, and we have therefore decided not to roll it out, Your Guide has highlighted the potential for Government Departments to deliver services through post offices in future. The Department has been encouraging contact between other Departments and the Post Office concerning such services and has drawn the Departments' attention to a commercial kiosk service, based on kiosks in retail outlets—including some sub-post offices—which is expected to be piloted in Cornwall later this year.

Ultimately it is for individual Departments and Post Office Ltd. to decide whether or not to pursue these initiatives. But we will ensure that Post Office Ltd. continues to work closely with other Government Departments to develop and promote the services of the network as appropriate.

Post Office Card Account

Mr. Kidney : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her Department's role in approving Post Office Ltd's communications with customers concerning the new post office card account. [90687]

Mr. Timms: Communication with customers about the card account at the Post Office is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. I understand from the company that one leaflet on child benefit has been distributed to post offices for issue to customers.

Postage Stamps

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it illegal for retailers to sell postage stamps for less than the face value. [90686]

Mr. Timms: Retailers purchase books of stamps on a wholesale basis from the Royal Mail for resale in their outlets. As with other products acquired in quantity for resale purposes, it is for the retailer to decide whether they wish to sell the item for less than the face value. I have no plans to propose changes in this area.

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Postal Services (Romford)

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to improve postal services in Romford. [90294]

Mr. Timms: These are matters that fall within the day to day responsibility of Royal Mail and I have therefore asked the Chairman to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on postal services in Romford. [90295]

Mr. Timms: These are matter that fall within the day to day responsibility of Royal Mail and I have therefore asked the Chairman to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Redundancy Payments Office

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total sums (a) claimed and (b) paid out by the Redundancy Payments Office were in each month over the last two years in respect of (a) redundancy pay, (b) holiday pay, (c) notice pay and (d) unpaid wages. [90688]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 14 January 2003]: The Redundancy Payments Service claim forms ask claimants for pay and other details of their former employment but not the amount of the claim, which is calculated by the service's computer system. The following table shows the total sums paid out for each of the months and categories specified.

Payments made by the Redundancy Payments Service
#000

Arrears of pay(6) Compensatory notice pay(6) Holiday(6)Redundancy(6)
2001
January2,2218,4971,8099,946
February2,1426,5691,4818,995
March3,4428,7621,92511,334
April2,6927,4051,4168,408
May2,5137,8651,7779,057
June2,21710,2352,07610,097
July2,0158,6321,6677,761
August2,4907,5072,14010,551
September2,4547,2111,83111,156
October3,19811,1972,01811,650
November2,9327,8541,9338,627
December2,1176,3171,5969,241
2002
January2,74910,8982,36610,144
February3,39612,2982,24210,817
March2,6259,6721,47210,186
April3,07010,6191,85712,039
May2,49410,1082,01911,263
June2,1588,9081,7087,499
July3,32810,9692,2069,864
August1,9638,4591,7818,119
September3,1129,8472,66712,885
October2,97410,4772,16311,539
November2,97211,1162,07511,917
December2,1788,1871,7309,567

(6) Gross payments before the deduction of tax and national insurance contributions.


Science Funding

Mr. Hoban : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what metrics she uses to assess the

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economic benefits of Government expenditure on science (a) as a whole and (b) in respect of individual programmes. [87843]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 17 December 2002]: The Government believes that investment in science research generates substantial benefits for society and the economy. The main vehicle for Government investment in basic and strategic research is the Science Budget. The metrics that are used to measure the performance of the UK Science and Engineering Base as a whole at present are:-


One mechanism through which investment in the Science Base is translated into economic benefit is through the knowledge transfer activities of the Science and Engineering Base. Metrics in this area include:


In addition Government Departments, including DTI, fund scientific research programmes in support of their objectives. This type of research will be evaluated primarily in terms of its contribution to the achievement of the relevant departmental policy or regulatory goals, rather than its overall economic impact as such. The Government is keen however to see that any economic benefits flowing from such research are properly exploited. To that end the Government's science, engineering and technology strategy, XInvesting in Innovation" published in July 2002, made recommendations for strengthening departmental mechanisms for ensuring appropriate knowledge transfer.

Sickness Absence

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many days per employee have been lost through sickness in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [88828]

Alan Johnson: Estimates of the number of days lost through sickness and injury per employee are available from the Labour Force Survey. However, figures are only available on a consistent basis from 2000 onwards and data for 2002 are not yet available.

In 2000, 4.4 working days were lost on average through sickness and injury per employee. In 2001, 4.3 working days were lost on average per employee.

Statutory Instruments

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many Statutory Instruments subject to negative procedure made by her Department (a) came into force and (b) were considered by a delegated legislation committee in each of the last three sessions. [88036]

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Ms Hewitt: The information is as follows:

Number of SIs
Session(a) subject to negative procedure, coming into force (b) considered by a designated legislation committee
1999–20001733
2000–01491
2001–02 1090

Note:

All SIs were considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. However those in column (b) were also considered by a Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many statutory instruments have been issued by her Department in each calendar year since 1979. [89839]

Ms Hewitt: The number of statutory instruments issued by my Department in each calendar year are as follows:

Number of statutory instruments issued
1990144
1991150
1992106
199387
1994138
1995112
1996122
1997128
1998135
1999176
2000146
2001126
2002128

Note:

Figures between 1979 and 1989 are not available.



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