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9 Jun 2003 : Column 630W—continued

Renewable Energy

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 12 May 2003, Official Report, column 20W, on renewable energy, if she will make a statement on the findings of the Transmission Issues Working Group report on the cost of connecting new renewable energy in Scotland. [117086]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 5 June 2003]: The report concluded that the overall cost of connecting more than 6 GW of additional renewable capacity was £1.75 billion and found that the proposed reinforcements would have a positive net benefit. Over the lifetime of the asset, they would save more in constraint savings than they would cost to build. The investment required would be spread over 10 years, and the annualised cost of £100 million, spread over the UK consumer base of 23 million consumers, would be just over £4 per consumer per year.

Street Lighting

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 7 February 2003, Official Report, column 461W, on street lighting, in what way regulation 25 of the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 facilitates competition in connections for street lighting; and if she will make a statement. [116926]

Mr. Wilson: Regulation 25 of the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 provides for connections being made to distributors' networks by persons other than the distributors' own staff or contractors. In order to protect the safety of the public and network integrity the regulation requires persons making connections to distributors' networks, for example cable jointers employed directly by local authorities, to obtain permission from the local distributor before making the connections. Disputes arising from the distributor's delay in giving or refusal to give consent for such connections on public safety or network integrity grounds may be referred to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for determination. In this way regulation 25 provides a safety framework to enable competition in connections to operate for street lighting.

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Ofgem is currently engaging with the industry and local authorities with a view to formally introducing competition in connections at some stage in the future.

Term-time Working

John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how the hourly rate for full-time, term-time workers is calculated; and whether it is based on a full year's employment; [116692]

Alan Johnson: Subject to the National Minimum Wage provisions, hourly rates of pay are a matter for negotiation and agreement.

This Government believe that employers can gain significant business advantages by introducing a range of flexible working opportunities in the workplace for employees. These options might include term-time working—whether this is a suitable option will depend on the needs of individuals, work teams and above all, the needs of the business.

All workers have an entitlement to four weeks paid holiday a year. The entitlement of workers who work less than a full year will depend on their employment contract. Time off on bank holidays has never been a statutory entitlement, any right is either determined by the employees' contract or at the discretion of the employer.

For the purposes of the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, a full-time worker is a worker who works the normal full-time hours for the business and a part-time worker is a worker who works less than the normal full-time hours for the business.

Subject to this employers are free to decide for their own purposes what constitutes a part-time or a full-time post and this applies to workers in education.

Trade (Africa)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans there are to increase African participation in the international standard setting bodies on trade; and if she will make a statement. [116625]

Ms Hewitt: The WTO recognises the particular vulnerability of the least-developed countries, which include African countries, and the special structural difficulties they face in the global economy.

Under the 'Doha Development Agenda', agreed by all WTO members at the fourth WTO ministerial in November 2001, the WTO is committed to addressing the marginalisation of least-developed countries in international trade and improving their effective participation in the multilateral trading system.

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United Kingdom Accreditation Service

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) size and (b) value is of the conformity assessment sector in the UK with respect to (i) the number of UK Accreditation Service accredited bodies and (ii) their financial contribution to the UK economy. [116753]

Nigel Griffiths: I understand that there are currently 1,446 laboratories (testing and calibration); 116 certification bodies; and 130 inspection bodies accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.

The information needed to answer the second part of the question is not available.

United States Agency forInternational Development

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will place a copy of (a) notes of telephone conversations and (b) copies of correspondence between her and Andrew Natsios of the United States Agency for International Development in the Library. [116268]

Ms Hewitt: In March I spoke on the telephone with Andrew Natsios and also wrote to him. The note of that conversation and the letter cannot be placed in the Library since they contain commercially confidential information. However I can let the hon. Member know that I used the telephone conversation and my letter to reinforce my strong wish that UK companies should be given the opportunity to play a full role in reconstruction work in Iraq. I gave Mr. Natsios details of British companies that have relevant experience and were interested in working in Iraq, together with details of companies who had direct experience of working in Iraq through the Oil for Food programme and/or before sanctions were imposed. Mr. Natsios confirmed that he would welcome the involvement of British companies and that he had already agreed to waive the normal requirement that only US companies might bid for work funded by the US Agency for International Development.

Unsolicited Communicatoins

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints have been received by the Information Commissioner's Office concerning unsolicited (a) e-mail, (b) text messages and (c) phone calls; what measures are being taken to deal with spam communications; and if she will make a statement. [115537]

Mr. Timms: The most recent figures available for complaints to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999 cover the period April 2002 to February 2003. During this time the ICO received 1,339 complaints concerning direct marketing faxes and 210 complaints concerning direct marketing by telephone including SMS text messages to mobiles. A separate figure for the latter is not available. Updated figures will be available in the ICO's Annual Report to Parliament which is expected to be presented later this month.

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Email marketing is not covered by the current Regulations (though the Data Protection Act 1998 applies where a recipient's e-mail address includes personal data such as The ICO does not record such complaints separately.

Regulations to implement the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications will introduce new rules on unsolicited commercial e-mail and SMS messages, and these Regulations are currently open for public consultation closing on 19 June 2003. The consultation paper is available in the House of Commons Library, or on the DTI website at the following URL: on privacy electronic communications 200258ec.html

Veterinary Medicines

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact on recommendation 9 of the Competition Commission report Veterinary Medicines: a Report on the Supply Within the United Kingdom of Prescription-only Veterinary Medicines of the European Commission's proposal to end the general licence classification of management products. [116105]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The regulatory controls relating to the supply of veterinary medicines in the UK is the responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is currently considering the Competition Commission's recommendations relating to the veterinary medicines regulatory system. The Government will publish its response by 10 July 2003.

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