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Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate her Department has made of the total value to date of the contracts awarded to British businesses in Iraq since the start of the occupation. 
Ms Hewitt: British companies are not obliged to give details of contracts won and there is no central organisation that publishes such information. However, It is estimated that to date, British companies are involved in contracts for reconstruction and other work in Iraq to the value of US $2.6 billion.
Commissioners on the Low Pay Commission do not receive an annual salary. Remuneration is paid on the basis of a daily attendance fee, which is set at £481.06 for the chair and £213.80 for other members of the commission. In addition appropriate expenses are reimbursed.
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Mr. Sutcliffe: The Low Pay Commission (LPC) was established as a result of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. 1998/99 was the first financial year that the LPC were fully operational. The table below sets out the financial information for the LPC since that date:
|Financial Year||Expenditure (£000)|
Jacqui Smith: The Government are committed to prohibiting age discrimination at work and encouraging more flexibility around retirement. In some circumstances, different treatment on grounds of age can be justifiable, and last year's Age Matters consultation set out some of the issues. We are in the process of considering the best way of tackling retirement ages in the light of the responses to the consultation. Legislation will come into force on 1 October 2006.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which firms have been helped by the Manufacturing Advisory Service in the (a) Northern Region, (b) Tees Valley area and (c) Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency; and which of those firms were given advice on added value. 
The regional centre of the Manufacturing Advisory Service in the North East (MAS-NE) dealt with 1,323 inquiries from manufacturing companies in the period June 2002 to June 2004. Of these, 1,257 inquiries came from companies based in the North East region, 304 were from companies based in the Tees Valley, and seven were from companies in the Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency. 146 companies who contacted MAS-NE in this period have gone on to receive in-depth help. The direct impact of this help on company productivity is measured by the "added value". The total added value generated as a result of MAS-NE interventions stood at just over £705, 000 at March 2004.
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Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions have taken place with (a) University College London and (b) King's College London concerning the future site of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR); what consideration was given by the Medical Research Council's Task Force on the NIMR to locating it at other institutions (i) in London and (ii) outside London; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: The Task Force set up by the Medical Research Council (MRC) to consider the future of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) has, following national and international consultation, published its vision for the institute: a multidisciplinary biomedical research facility focused on basic and translational research. The Task Force strongly believes that partnership and co-location with a leading university and hospital would strengthen NIMR to deliver its renewed vision and will enhance:
the multidisciplinary nature of NIMR's work, providing access to other biologists, physical scientists, engineers and mathematicians; and
opportunities to collaborate more closely with clinicians and strengthen the focus on translational research.
The Task Force wishes to keep the critical mass of NIMR's existing excellent science as a foundation for the institute's future scientific portfolio and invited four institutionsImperial College, King's College London, Queen Mary and University College London to submit partnership proposals. It also asked NIMR management to submit a proposal. All attended a meeting of the Task Force on 21 June for discussion.
The Task Force has recommended that the renewed institute should be co-located with either King's College London or University College London and was expected to produce a full report to the MRC Council meeting on 29 July 2004.
Mr. Sutcliffe: It is not possible to provide estimates specifically for the constituency of Great Yarmouth. However, based on the Office for National Statistics' Low Pay data released in 2003, the DTI estimates that around 90,000 people in the eastern region stood to benefit from the introduction of the national minimum wage in April 1999. Between 80,000 and 90,000 people were expected to have benefited from the October 2003 uprating of the national minimum wage.
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list (a) letters, (b) e-mails, (c) telephone calls and (d) meetings between her Department's officials, including the National Contact
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Point (NCP), and representatives of companies whose dossiers were forwarded to the NCP for investigation or monitoring in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Timms: The information requested forms part of the dialogue process between the companies and the NCP. This process is confidential under Exemption 13Third Party Commercial Confidences, and Exemption 14Information Given in Confidence of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. The NCP will make a public statement at the end of the dialogue.
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