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9 Dec 2003 : Column 444Wcontinued
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action the Government are taking to protect people from being defrauded by people purporting to represent the Canadian Lottery. 
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what representations she has received from (a) overseas companies and (b) British companies regarding the rights of overseas workers to pursue unfair dismissal claims against their employers under the Employment Rights Act 1996; 
The Employment Rights Act 1996 confers the right to complain of unfair dismissal. When territorial limits in the Act were abolished in 1999, the Government's intention was that employees working overseas would be able to claim unfair dismissal only if there was a proper connection with Great Britain. The employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that this is the test which the employment tribunals must apply.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what UK contributions at current prices have been made to the European Molecular Biology Organisation in (a) each of the last three years and (b) the current year; what contributions are proposed for the next three years; and what assessment she has made of the benefits the UK has gained from its contributions. 
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European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). The UK's contributions for the last three years and the current year are as follows:
|Year||Actual contribution||Contribution at 2003 prices|
EMBC management is proposing an increase, over the next three years, of around 18 per cent. extra in 2004 rising to 44 per cent. extra in 2006 (about £700,000 per annum extra for the MRC). This is currently under discussion with EMBC and the UK contributions are not therefore known.
It is a matter for the MRC to decide/agree what level of subscription they should pay to EMBC, taking into account other commitments and priorities. They undertake periodic reviews of the relevant EMBO schemes in preparation for EMBC budget discussions. The main benefits of participation are association with, and access to, prestigious and well-run fellowships schemes that have added value to the development of the European molecular biology.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what (a) training and (b) support is provided to managers to help them to institute family-friendly employment procedures; 
(3) what plans the Government have to provide specialist guidance for small and medium enterprises, with particular reference to effective family-friendly working practices among small firms. 
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 8 December 2003]: An extensive package of support and guidance to help businesses implement and benefit from the laws for working parents has accompanied their introduction in April this year.
Interactive web-based guidance via the TIGER website (www.tiger.gov.uk)
A case studies booklet "Flexible WorkingThe Business Case: 50 Success Stories" giving real examples of how businesses have introduced flexible working practices and how they have benefited. Half of those featured are small businesses.
Specific information concerning the payment of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay for employers is available on the Inland Revenue website (www.inlandrevenue. gov.uk/employers/during.htm). In addition, information on the new laws was sent to all employers registered with the Inland Revenue (1.51.7 million copies) in August 2002.
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A series of six seminars for Business Link advisers on family-friendly policies run by the DTI in the spring of 2003. A Business Link factsheet on flexible working, tailored specifically for SMEs, is also available.
A number of projects in partnership with external stakeholders. For example DTI supported a joint partnership project by the Federation of Small Business (FSB), British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. An awareness raising poster was circulated to 155,000 FSB members and 1,300 BCC branches, and a collection of case studies promoting the business case for flexible working in smaller businesses and giving examples of good practice was developed. (Getting it Right: Improving work-life balance in your business.)
Free confidential advice to employers via the Acas helpline service (08457 474747), which is signposted on guidance and advertising.
A programme of seminars, reaching almost 10,500 employers throughout the UK, run by Acas during the first quarter of 2003. They continue to run seminars on all issues relating to working parents as part of their core seminar programme.
The Government's work-life balance campaign, which actively promotes family-friendly working practices across the workplace. Part of the non-legislative agenda for employment relations policy, the campaign focuses on researching and disseminating best practice to industry and business.
Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 8 December 2003]: In April this year, the Government introduced new laws for working parents which cover fathers as well as mothers, including the right for fathers of children aged under six or disabled children under 18 to request flexible working and the right to two weeks paid paternity leave. These new rights together with the existing rights to parental leave and time off for dependants recognise that men increasingly want to play a greater role in the family and provides them with more choices for doing so.
To facilitate take-up, the Government are running an on-going awareness raising campaign which includes national newspaper adverts targeted specifically at fathers. In addition posters have been circulated to CAB's GP's surgeries and libraries. We are working in partnership with stakeholders to raise awareness. We provided support to the charity, Fathers Direct for their pilot magazine aimed at new fathers'Dad', launched in five different maternity units in April 2003 and distributed to all new fathers coming into contact with those units.
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Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average household gas bill was in (a) England and (b) each English region in each financial year since 199697. 
Mr. Timms: Information on average gas bills is regularly published by my Department in "Quarterly Energy Prices", available at www.dti.gov.uk/energy/inform/energy prices/index.shtml. The available information is as follows:
|Standard credit||Direct debit||Prepayment|
(29) Provisional bills for 2003 cover consumption from Q4 2002 to Q1 2003 and are then grossed up to take account of Q2 2003 and Q3 2003.
1. Figures for 1996 and 1997 are not available for England and Wales as the survey from which regional information is produced began in 1998.
2. Bills relate to total bill received in the year e.g. covering consumption from Q4 of the previous year to Q3 of the named year.
3. All bills are calculated using an annual consumption of 18,000 kWh. Figures are inclusive of VAT.
Regions quoted are Gas Local Distribution Zones
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