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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) men and (b) women have so far exercised their right to request more flexible employment arrangements; and how many have been successful, broken down by gender. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: From the results of the First Working Employee Survey (2004) 10 per cent. all of male employees requested to work flexibly, compared with 16 per cent. of all female employees. However of those with children under six 10 per cent. of male employees, compared with 37 per cent. of female employees have requested flexible working.
Over three quarters (77 per cent.) of flexible working requests were fully accepted and a further 9 per cent. were either partly accepted or a compromise arrangement was reached. 78 per cent. of all female employees reported requests being fully accepted, compared with 75 per cent. of all male employees.
Mr. Mike O'Brien
[holding answer 28 February 2005]: I am working with the industry, Ofgem, Energywatch and voluntary sector to ensure that customers on low incomes are aware of, and take advantage of, the significant reductions that can be made in energy bills by transferring supplier, using the cheapest and simplest payment methods, installing energy efficiency measures and accessing Government and industry social and fuel poverty programmes.
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Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to develop new and renewable energy sources in the North East and Tees Valley, with particular reference to the use of hydrogen. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government's role is to provide a supportive regulatory/fiscal framework for the development of renewable energy sources. The Government's key mechanism for supporting the development of renewables is the Renewables Obligation. The obligation is a market-based mechanism which is technology neutral. In addition to the obligation the Government are spending over £500 million between 2002 and 2008 on R and D and funding for capital grants for emerging renewable and low carbon technologies.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier (like electricity), not a renewable energy source. It can be produced via a number of different routes, including electrolysis using fossil, renewable or nuclear electricity, or by chemical reactions using biomass, natural gas or coal.
The UK Government and devolved Administrations have established the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) to assess the options for the long term management of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste. This includes underground disposal. The Committee's recommendations are due to be delivered in July 2006. Further details of CoRWM's work programme, including the options that the Committee is considering, can be found at www.corwm.org.uk.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations were conducted with mail users in Scotland on the opening of the UK postal services market to full competition by 1 January 2006. 
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her Department's estimate is of the number of jobs that will be affected in the solar PV industry and related sectors in (a) Wales and (b) the UK when the Government's 20022012 solar PV Major Demonstration Programme comes to an end in March 2006. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department plans to continue its support for PV and other building scale renewables through a low carbon building programme". This programme will succeed both the Major PV Demonstration Programme and the Clear Skies programme which are due to end in March 2006
The low carbon building programmes is currently under development and there will be formal consultation on this later this year. As recommended in the Renewables Innovation Review, February 2004, the programme will be technology blind addressing building integrated renewables and energy efficiency technologies. Therefore the Department has not estimated the number of jobs that will be affected in the solar PV industry and related sectors by the introduction of this programme.
Mr. Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to ensure continuity of capital grant support for large scale solar PV installations when stream 2 funding allocations under her Department's 2002 to 2012 solar PV demonstration programme comes to an end in November. 
The Department plans to continue its support for PV and other building scale renewables through a low carbon building programme". The low carbon building programme is currently under development and there will be formal consultation on this later this year. The programme is expected to begin operating in financial year 200607.
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Mr. Alexander: My Department promotes trade with Europe on an ongoing basis through UK Trade and Investment, the Government organisation which helps UK companies build their international business success. It does so through a range of services and support designed to help companies gain international trade skills and turn trade opportunities into real business.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in Scotland were in receipt of (a) the minimum income guarantee, (b) council tax benefit, (c) jobseeker's allowance and (d) housing benefit in 200203; 
|Council Tax Benefit||527,900|
|Minimum Income Guarantee||185,400|
|Income Support (non-pensioners)||260,100|
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