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16 Sept 2004 : Column 1725W—continued

Parental Leave

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans her Department has to increase paid parental leave; and if she will make a statement. [186334]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government introduced a substantial package of laws for working parents in April 2003, including increasing paid maternity leave, and a new right to paid paternity and adoption leave.

The Government are committed not to make any changes to the laws for working parents before 2006, after the impact of the existing legislation has been reviewed.

The DTI is taking forward a programme of work to explore what additional support could be provided to people balancing work and caring responsibilities, in ways that meet both individual and business needs. The work has included a series of roundtables in England, Scotland and Wales and a Citizens' Jury.

Post Office Card Accounts

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what revised guidance has been issued to post offices on the marketing of Post Office Card Accounts during the last three months. [188452]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Guidance and training for subpostmasters on the procedures associated with the Post Office Card Account (POCA) are operational matters for Post Office Ltd. and I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to respond directly to the hon. Member.

Postal Services

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints she has received in the last 12 months regarding the postal service in postal districts RM1, RM2, RM5, RM7, RM11 and RM12; and what the figures are for all other London postal districts. [187732]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Complaints regarding the postal service are an operational matter for Royal Mail Group and I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.
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Proposed EU Patentability Directive

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the differences are between current UK copyright law and the draft of the proposed EU directive on software patentability for which the Minister of State for Industry and the Regions voted at the EU Competitiveness Council meeting on 17–18 May. [189316]

Ms Hewitt: Present UK copyright law protects an original computer program that has been recorded in some form, but does not protect the idea behind the program. The current draft of the directive does not alter copyright protection, but confirms that innovators can gain patent protection for inventions involving the use of computer programs, providing they meet existing patentability requirements, which include making a technical contribution.

Research Councils

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will estimate the proportion of Research Council grants that will go to staff costs when research councils move to funding the full economic costs of research. [189031]

Ms Hewitt: On currently available data, Research Councils estimate that staff costs, including staff directly employed on the grant such as research assistants, make up approximately 40 per cent. of the Full Economic Cost (FEC) of current grants. Permanent academic staff (Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators) represent approximately one third of this figure.

The Government have allocated an additional £200 million per year from 2007–08 (£120 million from 2005–06) to pay more for each Research Council project. As stated in the "Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004–14", the Government intends that Research Councils should pay close to 100 per cent. of the FEC of their grant funded research, taking account of capital funding streams, by the beginning of the next decade.

Science Budget

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much money from the Government's science budget had been spent (a) in total, (b) in Yorkshire and the Humber and (c) in the City of York in each year since 1997. [188951]

Ms Hewitt: Total science budget expenditure in each year from 1997–98 to 2002–03 was as follows:
Science budget (£ million)

Research Council grants allocated to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Yorkshire and
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Humber and the City of York from 1997–98 to 2002–03 were as follows:
£ million

Total UK Research Council grantsYorkshire and HumberYork

Source :
Higher Education Statistics Agency—Resources of Higher Education Institutions

In addition, over this period, HEIs in Yorkshire and Humber received £117 million (of which £31 million went to the City of York) in infrastructure and knowledge transfer support, which was co-funded from the DfES and the OST science budget.

Small Mines (Compensation)

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Government's claims handlers expect to settle outstanding issues in relation to small mine employment and occupational respiratory disease issues. [189156]

Nigel Griffiths: Following agreement in principle in February 2004 good progress has been made in operational planning for the issuing of offers to small mines claimants. Software development scheduled for completion toward the end of September will allow the calculation of full and final offers to commence.

Sunday Trading

Ms Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to deregulate Sunday trading. [188757]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 13 September 2004]: We have no plans to do so.

Tissue Products

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the cost to public service provider purchasing departments of inaccurate labelling of tissue products in the last year for which figures are available. [188105]

Mr. Sutcliffe: None.

Trading Standards

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support she will give to local trading standards authorities seeking to protect the public from mass marketing scams. [188450]

Mr. Sutcliffe: We have provided funding to Trading Standards to support and encourage more joined up effective enforcement; the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has also assisted Trading Standards Departments by providing training to around 2,500 Trading Standards Officers over the past year.
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Most mass marketing scams operate from outside the UK. The OFT works with the network of enforcement agencies called ICPEN (International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network) to investigate and take action against cross-border scams.

UK Trade and Investment Website

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to introduce (a) new and (b) increased charges for information, advice or assistance obtained by British businesses through the website of UK Trade and Investment. [189317]

Mr. Alexander: Arising from the Spending Review 2004 settlement, UK Trade and Investment are seeking to achieve efficiency gains through consideration of greater cost recovery for its services. Officials are considering options on how best to achieve this.

Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints have been made under the terms of the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971 (a) since the introduction of the Act and (b) in each of the last five years. [188663]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 13 September 2004]: The Department of Trade and Industry does not collect statistics relating to the number of complaints made under the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971.

Local authority trading standards departments are responsible for enforcement of the Act and will each record their own complaints data.

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