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16 Dec 2003 : Column 814W—continued

EU Funding (Yorkshire and Humber)

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much EU regional funding has gone into the Yorkshire and Humber region in each of the last five years. [143304]

Jacqui Smith: The information is as follows:

Table of Expenditure in Yorkshire and the Humber

ERDF and ESF Spend by Year £ million
199854.817
199992.188
200094.294
2001135.953
200296.095
2003116.665

Fusion Research Reactor

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the decision to site the next International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor fusion research reactor at Cadarache in France; and what financial commitment has been made by the United Kingdom in its support. [142450]

Ms Hewitt: I am pleased that it was possible to reach a unanimous decision on the European candidate site for ITER. The UK will not make a direct financial commitment to ITER; instead its financial participation will come from the EURATOM budget, which the UK contributes to through its annual payment into the EC budget.

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Give as You Earn Scheme

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many and what percentage of staff in her Department contribute to a charity through the Give as You Earn scheme; how much money is donated to charity per month by staff in her Department through the scheme; and what steps she is taking to encourage greater participation in the scheme by staff in her Department. [143904]

Ms Hewitt: In my Department 404 staff, 4.43 per cent. of the workforce, contribute £7,390.17 per month to charity through the Give As You Earn scheme. We regularly encourage greater participation by publicising the scheme to staff. We are planning the next awareness campaign for the new year.

Learning and Skills Councils

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 4 December 2003, Official Report, column 168W, on Learning and Skills Councils, if she will discuss with the Deputy Prime Minister contacts which have taken place between officials of her Office and the North West Regional Development Agency concerning that RDA's aspirations to assume control of the responsibilities and funding of Learning and Skills Councils in that region. [143455]

Jacqui Smith: The North West Development Agency has assured the Learning and Skills Council that it is not looking to usurp its role, and my answer of 4 December makes the Government's position clear. The Deputy Prime Minister is aware of the situation.

Manufacturing Employment

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry by how much employment in manufacturing has changed in each of the last six years; and if she will make a statement. [140951]

Ms Hewitt: The following table shows changes in manufacturing employment in each of the last six years.

Manufacturing employee jobs (1997 to 2003)

JuneEmployee jobs (000s)Change on the previous year (per cent.)
19974,1911.3
19984,2090.4
19994,060-3.5
20003,960-2.5
20013,808-3.8
20023,628-4.7
20033,502-3.5

Source:

Office for National Statistics, Department of Trade and Industry


A trend of declining manufacturing employment has been a feature of advanced economies over the last 30 years. Overall the UK labour market is performing well, with total employment rising by nearly 1.7 million since Spring 1997, and unemployment falling in every region.

We published the Government's Manufacturing Strategy in May 2002—the first such strategy for 30 years—which we developed in partnership with industry, trade unions and other stakeholders, following a summit

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meeting on the challenges facing manufacturing held in December 2001. The Manufacturing Strategy aims to create a high value manufacturing sector in the UK with a highly skilled well paid workforce, moving away from competing on the basis of low skill and low wages.

Internet/E-mail Traffic

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Government announcement that it is lawful, under EU Single Market regulations, for private sector internet and e-mail traffic to use public sector-installed IT infrastructure covered the use of wide band IT infrastructure installed in schools and libraries. [140574]

Mr. Timms: I am not certain which announcement the hon. Member is referring to. If he cares to write to me I will respond as soon as possible.

North West Regional Development Agency

Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the per capita expenditure by the North West Regional Development Agency was in each of its five sub-regions in each year since its inception. [143557]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 December 2003]: The North West Development Agency does not allocate its funding by sub-region or on a per capita basis. Funding levels for the last three financial years were:

£ million

Financial YearAllocation
2003–04345
2002–03306
2001–02292

Nuclear Power

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reasons (a) THORP and (b) the Sellafield MOX plutonium fuels plant were excluded from consideration in the strategy review of BNFL on which she made her announcement on 11 December. [144573]

Mr. Timms: The 2001 Government White Paper "Managing the Nuclear Legacy—a strategy for action" stated that THORP and the Sellafield MOX plant at Sellafield would pass to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority when it is established in April 2005. For this reason it was not appropriate for them to be considered as part of the review.

Post Office Closures

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what definition of deprivation is used for the half-mile rule applied to post office closures. [143036]

Mr. Timms: There is no such rule but, in England, post office branches in the 20 per cent. most deprived wards (as defined by the Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2000) and more than half a mile from the nearest alternative post office are, other than in exceptional circumstances, ring fenced from inclusion in closure

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proposals under the Urban Reinvention programme. In Scotland and Wales the relevant national indices are used.

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices in each constituency have remained open because of the half-mile rule. [143038]

Mr. Timms: There is no such rule, but, in deprived urban areas, post office branches which are more than half a mile from the nearest alternative post office are, except in exceptional circumstances, ring fenced from inclusion in closure proposals under the Urban Reinvention programme. Final decisions on any such closure proposals, after consideration of representations received during public consultation, are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd.

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices notified for closure under the Network Intervention Programme have (a) closed and (b) remained open after public consultation procedures, by constituency, in the last year. [143039]

Mr. Timms: Decisions on post office closure proposals under the urban reinvention programme following public consultation are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. and I have asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) consultations on post office closures have taken place as part of the urban reinvention programme and (b) post offices have remained open following such consultation in each region in the United Kingdom. [143109]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 9 December 2003]: Decisions on post office closure proposals under the urban reinvention programme following public consultation are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. and I have asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Postwatch

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding is made available to Postwatch from (a) Royal Mail and (b) her Department. [143040]

Mr. Timms: The Consumer Council of Postal Services (CCPS), also known as Postwatch is funded through grant in aid from the Department of Trade and Industry. A three-year budget envelope is agreed between Postwatch and the Department. The cost is recovered by the Exchequer from the licence fees paid by operators of postal services. Details of the Postwatch budget are set out in its Forward Work Programme; the 2004–05 Programme will be published shortly.


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