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National Minimum Wage (Hull)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people in the Kingston upon Hull North constituency have benefited from the national minimum wage since its introduction. [211799]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Reliable figures cannot be produced for Kingston upon Hull due to small sample size.

The DTI estimates that around 100,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber stood to benefit from the introduction of the national minimum wage in October 1999. It is estimated that around 130,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber stood to benefit from the October 2004 uprating of the national minimum wage. The DTI has based the October 1999 estimate on the Office for National Statistics' central estimate of low pay; the 2004 estimate is based on data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.

Newspaper Distribution

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will publish the economic modelling and analysis used by (a) the Office of Fair Trading and (b) her Department to assess the impact of proposed changes to the UK supply chain for newspapers and magazines. [224349]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) plans to publish its draft advisory opinion on the compatibility with competition law of distribution agreements for newspapers and magazines very soon. The draft advisory opinion will provide a fuller explanation of how the OFT reached the conclusions it announced in its 23 February press release. There has been no separate consideration of this matter by the Government.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact on small independent retailers of proposed changes to the UK supply chain for newspapers and magazines. [224350]

Mr. Sutcliffe: None. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has undertaken an informal consideration of the compatibility with competition law of distribution agreements for newspapers and magazines. In carrying out this work, I understand OFT received and took into account representations from all sides of the newspaper and magazine supply chain. I am aware that representatives of retailers—notably the National Federation of Retail Newsagents—have publicly welcomed the OFT's provisional findings which were announced on 23 February.

Postal Services

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to improve parcel post services to Orkney and Shetland. [224624]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 4 April 2005]: The parcels delivery market is a fully liberalised and competitive market, and many parcel operators offer a range of services to Orkney and Shetland.
 
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Royal Mail provides the universal service for parcels—the standard three to five day delivery service—which provides for the delivery of parcels weighing up to 20 kg at a uniform price anywhere in the United Kingdom.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and I have been assured by Royal Mail that improving quality of service is the company's top priority.

Press Officers

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many press officers are employed in the Department. [206518]

Ms Hewitt: The number of press officers employed in the Department of Trade and Industry is 18.

Public Information

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) printed public information and (b) other public information is made available by her Department. [215323]

Ms Hewitt: A list of in print publication together with public information covering various topics is available via my Department's website at www.dti.gov.uk.

Regional Development Agency (North-east)

Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much investment the regional development agency for the north-east of England has spent in Hartlepool in each year since it was formed. [215126]

Jacqui Smith: I have been advised by One NorthEast, the regional development agency for the north-east of England, that targeted spend in Hartlepool since the agency was created has been as follows:
Funding (£)
1999–20005,002,000
2000–018,302,048
2001–028,483,361
2002–039,875,538
2003–047,489,115
2004–05(8)6,154,707


(8)Forecast spend


Expenditure includes the single regeneration budget, single programme and also land and property expenditure relating to the acquisition and development of Queens Meadow.

In addition Hartlepool residents and businesses will have benefited from the agency's regional programmes which are aimed at increasing the economic prosperity of the north-east of England. These programmes cannot always be directly attributable to specific localities.

Examples of One NorthEast's activities in Hartlepool have included improvements to disadvantage housing estates of West View, King Oswy and Central Estate, investment in the Headland and docks, and in the Oakesway Industrial Estate. Further development is planned in Victoria Harbour and the headland area.
 
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CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Departmental Budget

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the (a) planned capital and (b) resource budget for his Department is for 2011–12. [223428]

Mr. Lammy: Resource and capital Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) budgets up to 2007–08 are set out by department in annex C of Budget 2005. DEL budgets beyond 2007–08 will, as normal, be determined in future Spending Reviews.

Royal Marriage

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to amend section 2 of the Regency Act 1937 to clarify the application of the Act to the future HRH Duchess of Cornwall, consequent upon her husband ascending to the throne. [222469]

Mr. Leslie: No.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Are you over 50?"

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost was of (a) designing, (b) writing, (c) printing and (d) distributing the booklet Are you over 50?", reissued in April 2004. [223908]

Jane Kennedy: The information about the costs associated with the revised English and Welsh versions of Are you Over 50?" April 2004 is in the table.
£

Cost
Design1,920.00
WritingNil
Printing172,350.00
Distribution (including storage costs)48,541.00

Benefit Payment Methods

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his Department's policy to give benefit claimants information about all the payment options available, including the Post Office Card Account method, when they apply for benefits. [224085]

Mr. Pond: It is already the Department's policy to give benefit claimants information about all the payment options available, including the Post Office Card account, when they apply for benefits. This enables them to make an informed decision about which account best meets their individual needs.

British United Shoe Machinery

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much money in the Financial Assistance Scheme will be provided to pensioners of
 
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British United Shoe Machinery Limited; and what the average annual payment under the scheme paid to these pensioners will be. [224551]

Malcolm Wicks: Estimates cannot be made of the cost of assistance for members of individual schemes until we have received more detailed information; including information on what the scheme pension age is for individual members, their distance from scheme pension age as at 14 May 2004, and their individual losses in the schemes.

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and their predecessors and (c) departmental officials have had with (i) Sir Ronald Cohen, (ii) other directors and senior managers of British United Shoe Machinery (BUSM) Limited and (iii) pension fund managers or trustees of BUSM since 1 June 1997 about the collapse of the BUSM pension fund. [224552]

Malcolm Wicks: We are not aware of any such discussions taking place with Sir Ronald Cohen, directors or senior mangers of BUSM or managers or trustees of the BUSM pension scheme about the collapse of the BUSM pension fund. However, we are aware of the very difficult situation faced by members of the BUSM pension scheme, and sympathise with their position. I have held many meetings with members of pension schemes that are winding up, including their constituency MPs and Trade Union representatives.

The Government have introduced a number of measures to strengthen scheme member protection in the Pensions Act 2004. These include the introduction of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), a new pensions regulator and the Financial Assistance Scheme. I can confirm that the BUSM pension scheme is on the indicative list of schemes potentially eligible for the Financial Assistance Scheme.

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will commission an inquiry into the collapse of the British United Shoe Machinery pension fund. [224553]

Malcolm Wicks: There are no plans to commission such an inquiry into the scheme.

The Pensions Ombudsman is an independent statutory commissioner and can investigate complaints of injustice resulting from maladministration and disputes of fact or law by the trustees or managers of a scheme, or by an employer on a pensions matter.

The body responsible for monitoring occupational pension schemes' compliance with statutory duties and functions is the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra). A scheme's auditor and actuary have a statutory duty to report breaches of the law to Opra, which will then investigate any allegations.


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