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The national minimum wage helps to close the gender pay gap. Around 70 per cent. of beneficiaries of recent increases were women. We will increase this further to £5.05 in October 2005 and to £5.35 in October 2006.
Vera Baird: To ask the Solicitor-General (1) how many applications by the Crown Prosecution Service for the use of special measures to protect complainants in trials concerning domestic violence were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful during (i) 2003 and (ii) 2004; 
The Solicitor-General: Special measures were introduced in Part II of the Youth Justice Criminal Evidence Act 1999. Measures include, for example, the use of screens, video link, video-taped evidence in chief and aids to communication. They are available in criminal trials to support eligible witnesses. The CPS does not collate national data on the number of special measures applications it makes or on whether such applications are successful or not.
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service's policy in cases of this kind is for the crown prosecutor concerned to write to the complainant to explain why the charge of rape has been discontinued or substantially altered. The Crown prosecutor will also offer a meeting with the complainant to discuss the decision. The meeting will usually be held at a CPS office or other suitable venue. The wishes of the complainant will be taken into account when deciding the venue.
The Solicitor-General: Video interviews of rape complainants can be led by the prosecution in evidence when the rape complainant is "vulnerable" as defined by section 16 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.
The CPS policy is to prosecute rape cases as robustly and effectively as possible. In so doing, prosecutors should take advantage of special measures provisions, including now the ability to use a video recorded interview as evidence in chief, where it is right to do so. This has to be determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the views and needs of the complainant. As such, there is no specific policy in relation to the use of video interviews.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (a) dated 11 April regarding the MG Rover Dealership Network and (b) dated 21 February on hydrogen technology. 
Ian Pearson: The hon. Member's letter of 11 April to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, West (Ms Hewitt) on the MG Rover Dealership Network now falls within my remit as Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs and I will reply to it very shortly. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Warwickshire, (Mr. Mike O'Brien) former DTI Minister for Energy and e-Commerce, replied on 11 March to the letter of 21 February on Hydrogen Technology. I have asked for a copy to be sent to the hon. Member.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much crude oil has been produced by the UK in million tonnes of oil in each year from 1999 to 2004; how much crude oil has been consumed by the UK in each of these years; and what the Government's estimate is of when the UK will recommence being a net importer of crude oil. 
|Crude oil production||Crude oil demand|
The figures for 1999 to 2003 from the table are taken from DTI's Digest of UK Energy Statistics while the provisional figures for 2004 come from the March 2005 edition of Energy Trends. Copies of both publications
26 May 2005 : Column 177W
are in the Libraries of the House. The 2004 figures will not be finalised until July when published in the 2005 edition of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times during the (a) Italian, (b) Irish and (c) Dutch presidency of the EU the (i) Standing Committee for veterinary medicinal products, (ii) Standing Committee on technical rules and standards, including rules relating to information society services and (iii) Management Committee on horizontal questions concerning trade in processed agricultural products not listed in Annex I met; when and where these meetings took place; what UK Government expert was present; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The Standing Committee on Veterinary Medicinal Products for the Adaptation to Technical Progress of the Directives on the Removal of Technical Barriers to Trade in the Veterinary Medicinal Products Sector is a regulatory committee. Most of its business is conducted electronically and meetings are only held in the event of an issue arising that is considered to require discussion. According to records, no meetings were held during the Italian, Irish or Dutch presidencies of the EU.
The Standing Committee on technical rules and standards, including rules relating to information society services met in 2003 on 23 October and 911 December and in 2004 on 1011 March, 24 June and 57 October. All of the meetings were held in Brussels and the UK was represented by officials from the DTI. The meetings covered issues related to the implementation of the Directive (98/34/EC), most of which were technical regulations and standardisation mandates, and also policy on standardisation.
The Management Committee on horizontal questions concerning trade in processed agricultural products not listed in Annex I met in 2003 on 4 July, 12 September, 10 October, 7 November and 5 December and in 2004 on 23 January, 5 March, 19 March, 2 April, 14 May, 8 July, 10 September, 15 October and 3 December. All of the meetings were held in Brussels and the UK was represented by officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Rural Payments Agency. The UK's priority within the Management Committee is to ensure the efficient operation of the non-Annex I exports refund regime.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of Government employees likely to be affected by ECJ case 2005/C31/16 of OJ C31 of 5 February; where such staff are located; what estimate has been made of the cost of implementation; and if he will make a statement. 
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