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Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures she intends to take to protect the public from the unwanted installation of premium rate dialler programmes on computers connected to the internet; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 6 December 2004]: The Department has asked the communications regulator the Office of Communications (Ofcom) to review the role and powers of ICSTIS in premium rate regulation in view of the consumer harm caused by fraudulent dial-up internet scams. Ofcom is due to report back shortly.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what representations she has received on amending the law on joint and several liability in construction cases in so far as it affects consulting engineers; and what discussions she has had with other Departments on this matter; 
(2) if she will make it her policy to amend the law on joint and several liability in construction cases to ensure that defendants' liability is limited to a fair proportion of the plaintiff's loss, having regard to the relative degree of blame. 
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 6 December 2004]: My right hon. Friend has received representations from the Association of Consulting Engineers and individual consulting engineering practices. The Government have no plans to amend the law on joint and several liability in construction cases.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) company compulsory liquidations and (b) personal bankruptcies there were in each quarter since Q4 2003, broken down by region. 
Table 1 records the number of company compulsory liquidations in England and Wales by region classified according to groupings of Official Receivers' Offices from Q4 2003 to Q3 2004.
7 Dec 2004 : Column 472W
|2003 Q4||2004 Ql||2004 Q2||2004 Q3|
|London (incl. PIU London)||267||302||311||262|
|North East Region||113||114||125||124|
|North West Region||162||153||148||127|
|South East Region||192||221||181||182|
|South West Region||101||110||132||105|
|England and Wales Total||1,104||1,208||1,197||1,060|
|2003 Q4||2004 Q1||2004 Q2||2004 Q3|
|London (incl. PIU London)||543||649||1,167||1,251|
|North East Region||1,106||1,348||1,375||1,447|
|North West Region||890||1,223||1,161||1,185|
|South East Region||1,167||1,395||1,413||1,427|
|South West Region||1,107||1,349||1,391||1,482|
|England and Wales Total||6,940||8,524||9,060||9,315|
Jeff Ennis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many contracts the Department holds with Capita in relation to the miners' compensation schemes; what the nature of each contract is; and how long each contract is set to run. 
Nigel Griffiths: The Department holds a Claims Handling Contract with Capita/IRISC, which expires on 31 July 2006, and the Vibration White Finger Services medical assessments contract with Capita Health Services, which expires on 31 March 2005. The Department has a two years option on this contract, which it plans to exercise.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Inland Revenue is responsible for enforcing compliance with the national minimum wage. Its minimum wage compliance officers respond to complaints about underpayment and take action to ensure that the appropriate minimum rates, and any arrears of wages due, are paid to the worker. The Inland Revenue also use their own information, together with information from other Government Departments and other sources, for risk assessment purposes and make proactive visits to employers to help improve compliance with the minimum wage. In the Low Pay Commission's last full report (March 2003) they concluded that most employers continue to comply with the minimum wage and the evidence they received welcomed the Inland Revenue's work in enforcing it.
It is of course important that workers and employers are aware of their rights and obligations under the minimum wage. My Department, in partnership with the Inland Revenue, run a publicity campaign every autumn which advises on the minimum rates including any increases to help ensure workers are aware of their rights and employers of their obligations under the minimum wage legislation. Independent research commissioned after the 2002 campaign showed that awareness of the minimum wage by employers and low-paid workers was at almost universal levels.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which mobile phone companies have signed up to the 10 commitments; and what discussions she has held with those that have not. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: There are a total of five mobile phone companies who operate mobile phone networks in the UK. These are Vodafone, Orange, O2, T-Mobile and "3". All five have signed up to the "10 Commitments".
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to review the offshore licensing regime for gas producers operating on the UK continental shelf to bring them within the regulatory remit of Ofgem. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department has asked the communications regulator the Office of Communications (Ofcom) to review the role and powers of ICSTIS in premium rate regulation. Ofcom is due to report back shortly. I will consider Ofcom's recommendations, and the Department will be involved in implementing them.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the aggregate cost to business of regulations imposed by her Department since 1997, based on figures in the relevant regulatory impact assessments. 
Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 6 December 2004]: All proposals which impact on business, charities or the voluntary sector require a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which includes details of the costs, benefits and risks of the proposal. RIAs are subject to public consultation and copies of final RIAs are available from the Libraries of the House and on departmental websites.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will bring forward proposals to mark the important festivals of minority communities, with particular reference to Eid and Divali, with (a) public holidays and (b) other official recognition. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government receive a variety of suggestions for new or different bank holidays and celebrations. Bank and public holidays in Great Britain do not, by tradition, commemorate particular individuals, events, or institutions, other than those associated with Christmas and Easter. The present pattern of bank holidays in the United Kingdom is well established and accepted, and the Government have no current plans to change the arrangements. Although the Government do not get involved in contractual matters between employers and employees with regards to taking time off, our policy is to encourage employers to respond flexibly to such requests for leave bearing in mind business needs.
In addition, the Government already mark religious festivals from a variety of minority faiths in different ways and will continue to do so in the future. Ministers and senior officials attend receptions and events where possible and also send messages of good will and celebratory cards in some instances.
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