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Gross Domestic Product

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what percentage of GDP was comprised of net (a) private and (b) public investment in each of the last six years; [143429]

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Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 December 2003]: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl to Mr. Stephen O'Brien, dated 15 December 2003:

Industrial Tribunals

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cases concerned with (a) disability, (b) sex and (c) race discrimination have been heard by an industrial tribunal in each of the last five years. [143830]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The following table shows the number of cases concerning disability, sex and race discrimination which were disposed of at hearing by employment tribunals in each of the last five financial years.



1. The statistical information quoted for the past three years was published in the Employment Tribunals Service Annual Report and Accounts for those years.

2. The data supplied relate to employment tribunal cases in England, Wales and Scotland (Northern Ireland has its own tribunals).


Employment Tribunals Service

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Norwich Union

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the redundancies declared by the Norwich Union Aviva Group. [142504]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Although the Government very much share the concerns of those immediately affected by plans to offshore services work, the question of redundancies is a commercial matter for the Norwich Union Aviva Group. Earlier this month, Aviva said that it hopes that the bulk of job cuts will come through natural staff turnover or voluntary redundancies. However, we do nevertheless need to understand better what is happening, and to this end we have launched a consultation document and will hold a round-table seminar in the New Year, to help inform the debate on the impacts of offshoring.

Photovoltaic Panels

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what targets were set for the installation of photovoltaic panels in (a) domestic and (b) commercial properties in 2002–03; and how many installations occurred. [143755]

Mr. Timms: Under the DTI's £20 million First Phase of the Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme, the target for Stream 1 (small-scale individual systems 0.5–5kWp) in 2002–03 was 300 approvals. This was later revised downwards to 200 approvals to reflect expected demand. This was confirmed by the fact that only 210 applications were actually received, of which 190 were approved. There is no annual target for Stream 2 (group housing and medium/large-scale non-residential buildings 5–100kWp), but the target for the three-year first phase is 140 projects, of which 45 were approved in the first year. 71 of the 190 approvals under Stream 1 were installed during 2002–03, but installation tends to lag three to six months behind approval. For Stream 2, no installations were completed in the first year as the time lag here tends to be six to twelve months from approval.

Post Office Closures

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assurances have been received from Post Office Ltd. that there will be consultation with local communities on the strategic issues associated with area plans produced under the Network Reinvention programme as well as on individual closure proposals. [140723]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 3 December 2003]: Proposals for closures of sub-post offices under the urban network reinvention programme are put out to public consultation in accordance with the code of

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practice agreed between Post Office Ltd. and Postwatch. In preparing closure proposals, Post Office Ltd. collect a range of information relevant to the provision of post office services in an area. This includes local authority plans, environmental and transport information, local shopping habits and other local developments and features. Post Office Ltd. is committed to taking full account of this information in preparing an area plan. With the move to area plans, the public consultation period has been extended from four to six weeks during which comments and representations, including new or additional information, can be submitted for consideration by Post Office Ltd. before they reach a final decision.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment her Department has made of the impact of closing local post offices on the Government's programme to reduce social exclusion and poverty. [143507]

Mr. Timms: The Department have made no such study. But the Government regards it as most important that people have good access to postal and Government services and is committed to doing all we can to ensure a viable Post Office network for the future. For the rural network the Post Office has made a firm commitment to maintain the network and prevent avoidable closures. The Government have underpinned that with £450 million of funding. We have also made available an additional £2 million fund to support community post office initiatives.

The urban reinvention programme is necessary to ensure the long-term viability of that part of the network. In return for Government investment in this programme, the Post Office has guaranteed that at the end of the programme 95 per cent. of people living in urban areas will be within a mile of a post office, and the majority within half a mile. Offices in deprived urban areas can only be closed in exceptional circumstances. In addition special arrangements have been put in place to help post offices in the most deprived wards and where there is no other post office within half a mile. The scheme in England provides grant for capital improvements of up to £50,000. Similar schemes have been set up in Scotland and Wales.

Royal Mail

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many items of mail (a) missed their delivery targets and (b) missed their delivery targets as a result of industrial action in each of the last five years. [142137]

Mr. Timms: The number of mail items that missed their delivery targets is an operational matter than falls within the day-to-day responsibility of the Royal Mail Board. I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.

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