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10 Nov 2003 : Column 29Wcontinued
Jacqui Smith: Manufacturing in the North Westand especially in Lancashireremains vitally important to the regional and national economy. It contributes around £19 billion to the region's GDP, accounts for some £14 billion worth of exports and employs around 500,000 people, and its importance is reflected in the Regional Economic Strategy and Manufacturing Strategy. North West manufacturers have identified a number of key issues, including the need for more skilled personnel, greater availability of financial support for business start-ups and better product and process development. The North West Development Agency (NWDA) is piloting closer working with the Small Business Service and the Local Learning and Skills Councils to better address these issues. I recently announced an expansion of the successful Manufacturing Advisory Service in the region. This is an £18 million project supported by an initial investment of £5 million from the NWDA, and aims to deliver assistance to an additional 2,500 businesses in the region, and to achieve productivity increases of £50 million. In addition to benefiting from these initiatives, businesses in Lancashire have access to the services provided by the Lancashire West Partnership Productivity Centre, which helps companies, particularly Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, to achieve significant productivity improvements.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions her Department has held with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about recycling mobile phones; and what steps are being taken to encourage such recycling. 
Mr. Timms: The recycling of mobile phones is covered by the EC Directive on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The Directive is currently being transposed into UK legislation and this work is being overseen by an inter Departmental team, which includes officials from Defra. Although the recycling of mobile phones has not been discussed specifically, we are aware of a number of initiatives around the UK that take back, refurbish and reuse mobile phones or that recycle them.
The Department welcomes the reuse and recycling of mobile phones through these initiatives, as a useful contribution to sustainable consumption and production, but does not operate a promotional programme specifically aimed at encouraging mobile phone reuse or recycling. We believe that the WEEE Directive will offer the incentive for more schemes of this type to be established, especially since mobile phones contain potentially high value materials such as precious metals and chips.
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Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) men and (b) women in (i) York unitary authority area and (ii) the City of York parliamentary constituency benefited from the national minimum wage in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: It is not possible to provide estimates specifically for the York unitary authority area or for the City of York parliamentary constituency. However, based on the Office for National Statistics' Low Pay data for 2003, the DTI estimates that between 110,000 and 140,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber are expected to benefit from the increase in minimum wage rates in October 2003.
It is not possible to provide a gender breakdown for Yorkshire and the Humber. For the UK as a whole, around 70 per cent. of those who are expected to benefit from the October 2003 uprating are women.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the number of people in (a) Leeds and (b) Leeds, West who will gain from the latest minimum wage increase. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: It is not possible to provide estimates specifically for Leeds or for Leeds, West. However, based on the Office for National Statistics' Low Pay data for 2003, the DTI estimates that between 110,000 and 140,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber are expected to benefit from the increase in minimum wage rates in October 2003.
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to ensure that Post Office Limited follows the procedures agreed with Postwatch to integrate consideration of proposals to close branch offices with area network reinvention plans. 
Mr. Timms: Proposals for post office closures under the urban network reinvention programme are put out to public consultation in accordance with the code of practice agreed with Postwatch. Final decisions on closure, after consideration of representations received, are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd and I have asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 18 September, Official Report, column 880W, on property rights in developing countries, if she will make such an assessment. 
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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make it her policy to (a) retain access to the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee website from DEFRA's site if RWMAC is wound up and (b) arrange for pre-2000 RWMAC reports to be posted on the RWMAC website as an accessible archive. 
Mr. Morley: Whatever decision is taken concerning its future, the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee (RWMAC) component of the Defra website will continue to operate to provide access to the committee's post-2000 advice. The current arrangement is for the copies of the pre-2000 advice to be supplied upon written request if they are still available. Again, this arrangement will be maintained.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many UK companies have been involved in the bidding process for the Boeing Company's Sea-Based Test X-Band Radar (SBX) project; what assistance her department (a) offered and (b) gave to each company; and if she will make a statement. 
Jacqui Smith: The number and identification of any UK companies bidding for Boeing's Sea-Based Test X-Band Radar (SBX) project would of course be a commercial matter between Boeing and the specific companies involved. I am not aware of any approach for assistance in relation to this programme. The lead on UK defence export activities is the responsibility of MoD's Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO).
(1)Standard Industrial Classification division 17
(2)Standard Industrial Classification division 18 Source:
Office for National Statistics Size Analysis of UK Businesses PA 1003. All figures rounded to the nearest 5. Local units give a better indication of regional distribution as enterprises would be classified by head office location.
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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what she is doing to promote trade between Britain and (a) Saudi Arabia, (b) Oman, (c) the United Arab Emirates, (d) Qatar and (e) Bahrain. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: UK Trade and Investment sponsors a range of activities to alert UK companies to opportunities in the countries listed. These include a programme of inward and outward trade mission, exhibitions, the provision of market information and tailored assistance to UK companies through our network of posts in the region.
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