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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what her estimate is of the administrative costs to UK employers of providing the EU Social Chapter rights; and what methodology she used for calculating the cost; 
The total administrative(or implementation(costs to UK employers associated with the provision of these EU Social Chapter rights is £0.68 million a year. Additionally, the DTI identified one-off implementation costs, estimated to be in the region of £3.3 million. It should be noted that the Department's Regulatory Impact Assessments also highlighted significant benefits associated with the Social Chapter Directives.
Ms Hewitt: Under the guidance of the newly appointed Technology Strategy Board, my Department is now preparing a call for Knowledge Transfer Networks in specific technologies. These Networks are a new product based upon the example and success of the 24 Faraday Partnerships and will provide what we believe to be an excellent opportunity for relevant Faraday Partnerships to bid for continuing, or even increased, DTI support.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Gordon (Malcolm Bruce) on 30 November 2004, Official Report, column 78W. This sets out how the fuel poverty figures for England are produced, and highlights the fact that we are unable to provide estimates for sub-regional level.
The latest available data for Government office regions suggest that, in 2001, there were 148,000 households in fuel poverty in the Government office for London area but the national statistics have altered since then and it is likely that the London figures have changed too so this is an unreliable figure as a reflection of the situation in 2004. Similarly, It is not possible to produce estimates for the number of children in the cited areas because of the very small sample sizes involved.
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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the United Kingdom has offered assistance to Iran to (a) build a nuclear power plant and (b) provide nuclear technology for such a plant. 
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures she proposes to take to ensure that the number of students who graduate from information technology courses reaches the levels that are need by the IT industry as stated by the e-Skills UK and Gartner Consulting research published on 1 November. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: DTI recognises the need for the UK's training and education in IT skills to meet the needs of industry and is working closely with e-Skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for IT, to produce an industry-led long term strategy to achieve this. e-Skills UK is currently developing a Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) to take forward the issues identified in the IT industry research.
The SSA, which is due to be launched in early 2005, will include an action plan for employers, educators and Government which DTI will be supporting together with DfES, the Devolved Administrations, Regional Development Agencies and other key stakeholders. In addition, as part of the Government's Skills Strategy published in 2003, e-Skills UK is leading a IT user skills cross sector strategy to improve the links between supply and demand for IT education and training.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list her official engagements over the last six months; who was present at each meeting; what the (a) date and (b) location was of each meeting; what issues were discussed; and what plans she has to establish a public register of such information. 
Ms Hewitt: Ministers meet many individuals and organisations and attend many functions relating to Government business, and as part of the process of policy development. To provide the detailed information requested would incur disproportionate cost. The daily on the record briefing by the Prime Minister's Official spokesman regularly provides details of Minister's public engagements.
Mr. Keith Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people in the Manchester, Withington constituency have benefited from the national minimum wage since its introduction. 
[holding answer 6 December 2004]: The latest low pay data from the ONS show that 1.1 million people in the UK stood to benefit from the October 2004 uprating of the national minimum wage. The DTI will provide estimates of national minimum wage
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beneficiaries by region by early January 2005. It is unlikely that figures will be available for the Withington constituency due to small sample size.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the percentage of new fathers who have taken up the right to paid paternity leave since its introduction. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: We are waiting for the full set of figures on the take up of paternity pay that has been reclaimed by employers before making an assessment. We expect to receive this information from the Inland Revenue in February 2005.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what liability was agreed by the Office of Civil Nuclear Security in respect of the shipment of plutonium from the United States to France aboard the Pacific Teal and Pacific Pintail. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the (i) social and (ii) economic role of (A) urban and (B) rural post offices. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department has made no such study. But the Government fully recognises the social and economic role of post offices, regarding it as most important that people have good access to postal and Government services, and is committed to doing all it can to ensure a viable Post Office network for the future.
For the urban network the Government is providing up to £180 million available to fund compensation payments to subpostmasters leaving the network under Post Office Ltd's reinvention programme and up to £30 million to fund improvements at offices that remain.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to increase the amount of money available to revitalise the urban post office network; and if she will make a statement. 
The Department has no plans to increase its funding for the urban post office network. Up to £180 million is available to compensate sub-postmasters leaving the network under Post Office Ltd's urban reinvention programme and up to £30 million to fund improvements to remaining urban post offices. Funds remain available for both purposes.
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will encourage banks to enable their customers (a) to access bank accounts and (b) conduct other transactions at post offices; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: More than 20 million current accounts are accessible at post offices and it is Post Office Limited's strategy to build on this. The Government would urge all banks to provide their customers with access to their accounts through post offices but we recognise that the decision to do so is a commercial matter for the individual institutions concerned.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to ask the post office (a) to simplify the post office card account application process and (b) to allow card accounts to be opened at post offices; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: None. The Department of Trade and Industry has no role in the post office card account, which is delivered by Post Office Limited under contract to the Department for Work (DWP) and Pensions, Inland Revenue and the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency. I understand that there is no need to change the process, which is already simple and working well. Independent research commissioned by the DWP shows that more than 80 per cent. of customers found the process of opening a card account to be easy. Over 4 million customers have already opened a Post Office card account.
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