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26 Jan 2004 : Column 92Wcontinued
Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what research has been undertaken by her Department on consumer attitudes to locating call centre jobs and services offshore; 
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Ms Hewitt [holding answer 22 January 2004]: My Department has not undertaken any research specifically on consumer attitudes to offshoring call centre jobs and services. The DTI paper "Services and Offshoring: The Impact of Increasing International Competition on Services", published on 5 December, outlined the main issues on offshoring and highlights initial areas identified for further research. It invites all those with an interest in the wider offshoring debate, including businesses, employees and their unions, and consumer groups, to share their views with us. On 2 February I will be hosting a roundtable on offshoring with companies and organisations interested in offshoring issues. My Department is also commissioning research on the key factors contributing to the relative competitiveness of the UK's call centre industry to help identify any appropriate actions which need to be taken by industry or Government in response to the increasingly global market for call centre services.
Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what research has been (a) commissioned and (b) undertaken by her Department to assess the economic costs and benefits to the labour market, in particular to women, of UK call centre jobs being located offshore; 
(3) what assessment has been made by her Department of (a) the long-term trends in moving UK jobs and services abroad and (b) the benefits derived by UK manufacturing, utilities and financial services; 
(4) if she will make a statement on the effect of offshoring jobs abroad on UK trade and industry; 
(5) what assessment has been made of the quality of customer service achieved by those companies which have offshored jobs abroad; and how customer service has changed. 
Ms Hewitt [holding answer 22 January 2004]: My Department has not commissioned or undertaken any research on the specific issue of economic costs and benefits to the labour market, in particular to women, of UK call centre jobs being located offshore. My Department is commissioning a study on the key factors contributing to the relative competitiveness of the UK's call centre industry. The study will help to identify any appropriate actions that need to be taken by industry or Government in response to the increasingly global market for call centre services.
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Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will publish a list of pending applications for windfarm developments in Cambridgeshire, giving their (a) location and (b) proposed output in KW hours. 
Mr. Timms: Proposals to construct and operate generating stations with a capacity greater than 50 megawatts (MW) require my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what approvals have been given since the period covered by the last Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls for the export to Israel of categories of equipment covering (a) leg irons, (b) electric shock belts, (c) tear gas, (d) mortars, (e) rocket launchers, (f) anti-tank weapons, (g) military explosives, (h) infra- red and radar sensors and (i) chemical and biological agents. 
Nigel Griffiths: Details of export licences approved for Israel in 2003 will be published in the 2003 Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls later this year. I can however confirm that, following the then Foreign Secretary's announcement in 1997 of a ban on the export and transhipment through the UK of equipment which has been shown to be used for torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, items such as leg irons and electric shock belts are never approved for export from the UK. Similarly, in 2003 the Government did not authorise tear gas for export to Israel.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list applications for wind farm developments in Lancashire, broken down by (a) location and (b) output in kw per hour. 
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indicates a likely capacity factor of 35 per cent. which would indicate that the proposed wind farm would generate some 197,000,000 kWh per annum.
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Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will break down how funding for knowledge transfer programmes was allocated in 200304; and what amounts were allocated in each year since 1997. 
|Science Enterprise Challenge||25||||||5||10|||||
|Higher Education Innovation Fund (OST)||||||20||20||40||61||70|
|Higher Education Innovation Fund (DfES)||||||||||20||20||20|
|Public Sector Research Establishment||||||10||||||5||10|
There was no expenditure prior to 1999, as the first of these programmes were announced in the pre-Budget statement November 1998. The Higher Education Innovation Fund is run jointly with DfES and their contributions have been included in the table. A number of other DTI initiatives contribute to knowledge transfer, but are recorded under separate headings in DTI's annual report.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Second Work-Life Balance Study: Results from the Employers' Survey report was published in November 2003 and can be found at www.dti.gov.uk/er/infomr.htm. The accompanying employee survey report will be published in spring 2004, although preliminary findings can be found at www.dti.gov.uk/er/emar/wibstwo employee.pdf.
Ms Hewitt: There has been no formal assessment of the level of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace. However, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) launched a formal investigation into pregnancy discrimination on 1 September 2003 using its powers under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. The final report is expected in February 2005.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take (a) to make council tax benefit more accessible for pensioners through (i) a simpler benefit and (ii) simpler claim forms and (b) to ensure effective administration of the benefit; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Pond: We have recently introduced a single, streamlined, claim form for claiming both housing benefit and council tax benefit; we are now rolling out a shortened version for pensioners, which will simplify the claims process even further.
On-going practical support to local authorities is being provided through the Help Team, monitoring teams, and the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate to help remove barriers to poor performance. We are maintaining the investment in the Performance Standards Fund over this and the next two years, amounting to some £200 million over all.
From 1 April 2004, we are abolishing the current restriction whereby people living in band F, G or H properties have their council tax benefit restricted to the maximum help available for band E properties.
In addition we will be taking forward the council tax benefit take-up campaign, which was announced on 15 December 2003, to support authorities in ensuring that those entitled to help with their council tax bills claim council tax benefit.
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