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27 May 2004 : Column 1744W—continued

Post Office

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received in respect of the manner in which Post Office Ltd. is approaching the Urban Network Reinvention programme in Birmingham. [172025]

Mr. Timms: To date, we have received petitions, including those co-ordinated by the Birmingham Evening Mail, opposing all Post Office Ltd.'s proposals for sub post office closures in Birmingham. We have also received representations on the same basis from Birmingham city council. I discussed this with Councillor Albert Bore, the Leader of the Council, on 19 April 2004.

It was inevitable that Post Office Ltd.'s restructuring of its network in urban areas would be controversial. The restructuring is, however, essential for future network viability. The Government regard it as most important that all communities have good access to postal services. At the end of Post Office Ltd.'s restructuring of the urban post office network, at least 95 per cent. of the urban population nationally will still live within one mile of their nearest post office.
 
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Radioactive Waste

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2004, Official Report, column 1781W, on radioactive waste, for what reason the review of Nirex is not yet complete. [164802]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

The review of Nirex, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 16 July 2003, Official Report, column 318W, has taken longer than anticipated. Officials are continuing to work on this and Ministers will announce a way forward in due course.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what share of the overall energy supply in mainland Great Britain she expects will be supplied by renewable energy sources by the end of 2005; [175858]

(2) what share of the overall energy supply industry in Northern Ireland she expects will be supplied by renewable energy sources by the end of 2005. [175864]

Mr. Timms: The Department has made no such projections.

Retail Industry

Jim Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will ask the Competition Commission to reopen its investigation into competition in the retail industry conducted in 2000; [175759]

(2) what research has been undertaken into the practice of below cost selling in the grocery industry since 2000; [175760]

(3) what plans she has to commission research into the impact of below cost selling in the UK retail industry. [175761]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Competition Commission investigation in 2000 did not look at the retail industry generally. It was a specific investigation into the supply of groceries from multiple stores. The Commission's report found that the practice of below cost selling, when carried out by companies with market power, did operate against the public interest but that remedies would be disproportionate to the adverse effect. The Commission therefore did not recommend any action in this regard.

It is for the competition authorities to decide if a market investigation into the retail industry is now needed or if further research on below cost selling is required.

CABINET OFFICE

EU Regulation

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien) on 30 April 2004, Official Report, column 1319W, on gold-plating, if he will list cases of unforeseen or undesired over-implementation identified by the Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit, broken down by (a) the EU Directive, (b) the
 
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Department responsible for implementation and (c) the option taken that went beyond the minimum necessary to comply with the European Directive. [176100]

Mr. Alexander: The Cabinet Office guidance referred to in the original question states that

In the context of the guidance, it is clear that what is being referred to is consultation during the course of policy development, rather than notification after the event. The Cabinet Office does not hold records of all the policy discussions which have taken place which have dealt with possible gold-plating.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien) of 30 April 2004, Official Report, column 1319W, on gold-plating, if he will list the instances of the implementation of EU legislation where, due to exceptional reasons, it has been deemed necessary to over-implement Directives, broken down by (a) the EU Directive and (b) the Government Department responsible. [176101]

Mr. Alexander: One instance has been identified by the Cabinet Office since November 2001, when the provision of Tranposition Notes to Parliament became mandatory.

The 2001 Money Laundering Directive required the UK to regulate

The UK implementing regulations (Money Laundering Regulations 2003) introduced by Her Majesty's Treasury, after extensive consultation, covered all those carrying out the activities of accountancy (including unaffiliated professionals) in order not to create loopholes for criminal activity.

Iraq

Mr. Soames: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on what date the International Committee of the Red Cross report on the treatment by Coalition forces of prisoners of war and other persons protected by the Geneva conventions during arrest, internment and interrogation in Iraq was received by the Office. [173900]

Mr. Alexander: Neither I nor officials in the Cabinet Office received this report of the International Committee of the Red Cross before it appeared in the public domain.

HOUSE OF COMMONS COMMISSION

Internet Access

Mr. Ancram: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission when the House authorities expect to install wireless internet access on the Parliamentary Estate. [175561]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The Information Committee makes recommendations on wireless access. I am sure that the Committee would be happy to receive views from hon.
 
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Members. The Parliamentary Communications Directorate is evaluating the technologies involved and assessing security issues.

Security

Mr. Forth: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission who vouched for the person who, from the front of the security screen, threw a substance into the Chamber on 19 May. [175266]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The person who threw the substance into the Chamber on 19 May was present at the invitation of The Baroness Golding and I refer the right hon. Member to her personal statement of 19 May 2004, Official Report, House of Lords, column 777.

Mr. Forth: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission what analysis was carried out to ensure the non-toxicity of the substance thrown into the Chamber on 19 May before it was re-opened. [175326]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: The analysis was made by explosives officers of the Metropolitan police using specialist equipment.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on contingency plans for evacuating hon. Members from the House in the event of an emergency. [175397]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: Contingency plans for the evacuation of the Chamber in an emergency are in place and these will be confirmed after the Whitsun recess.


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