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7 Jul 2005 : Column 590W—continued

LEADER OF THE HOUSE

Government Bills (Explanatory Notes)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Leader of the House if he will list the occasions, in each of the last three sessions, when Explanatory Notes to Government Bills have not been made available (a) on the same day that a Bill is published and (b) within three sitting days. [9684]

Nigel Griffiths: This information is not recorded and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Guidance to Departments emphasises that every effort should be made to publish Explanatory Notes at the same time as the Bill.

Parliamentary Education (Schools)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Leader of the House what steps he is taking to promote knowledge of, and interest in, both Houses of Parliament through schools. [9683]

Nigel Griffiths: My right hon. Friend is keen to work with Members to promote a better understanding of Parliament through schools. Following the report of the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House on "Connecting Parliament with the Public" last year, the House of Commons Commission agreed to a significant expansion of the services of the Parliamentary Education Unit. Two Communications and Outreach Officers have now been appointed in order to further promote the work of Parliament in schools and through local education authorities. Two additional Visits Officers will be recruited shortly to increase the range and number of visits programmes available to schools wanting to visit Parliament.

Sitting Hours

Mr. Amess: To ask the Leader of the House if he will list the occasions when the House has sat later than 2.00 am in each session since 1976. [9681]

Nigel Griffiths: I have placed the information requested in the Library of the House.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Leader of the House if he will list the occasions when a Standing Committee has sat later than 2.30 am in each session since 1976. [9682]

Nigel Griffiths: The information requested is a matter of public record, available in Standing Committee Hansard, but could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

SCOTLAND

Proceeds of Crime Act

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much has been seized in Midlothian as a consequence of prosecutions under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. [8196]


 
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David Cairns: My hon. Friend may be aware that this is a devolved matter and the information requested is not broken down by constituency or local authority area. However, since the commencement of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in March 2003, the Financial Crime Unit of the Crown Office has successfully obtained confiscation orders for over £3,300,000 worth of assets gained from criminal activity for the whole of Scotland to date. In addition, restraint orders have been granted for over £47,224,000 worth of assets in the period to March 2005.

Work-related Stress

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cases of work-related stress have been reported in his Department in each of the last three years; how much compensation was paid to employees in each year; how many work days were lost due to work-related stress in each year; at what cost; what procedures have been put in place to reduce work-related stress; at what cost; and if he will make a statement. [7871]

David Cairns: The staff in the Scotland Office are on loan from either the Scottish Executive or the Department for Constitutional Affairs but neither Department maintains central records of absences due to work-related stress. The Scotland Office has not paid any compensation for work-related stress.

Both Departments have a range of stress-related initiatives that staff in the Scotland Office can access ranging from employee assistance programme which offer a free, confidential 24-hour support hotline for all staff, providing the opportunity to discuss any issues (including work-related stress) with a trained counsellor to training for staff in helping with stress to Welfare Services. These initiatives are available to all staff in these Departments and it is not possible to attribute the costs involved to the Scotland Office.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Advantage West Midlands

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent by Advantage West Midlands in each relevant (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) local authority area since 1997. [7619]

Alun Michael: When the Agency was formed in 1999, the sponsoring departments required expenditure to be monitored on a programme budget basis, and there was no geographical analysis. This changed in 2002–03 as a result of changes in the way the Government requires Regional Developed Agencies to report on their spending. After 2002–03 a record was kept on the basis of Regeneration Zones but was not disaggregated to local authority or parliamentary constituency levels.

Advantage West Midlands has recently introduced a new reporting mechanism that will allow projects to be defined by local authority and parliamentary constituency. This information will cover current and future expenditure and will not provide a similar analysis of past projects.
 
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Directorate Staff

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many members of each Directorate have taken early retirement since October 2003; and for what reasons. [10519]

Alan Johnson: The following table shows the number of staff in each Directorate who have taken voluntary early severance and voluntary early retirement since October 2003.

Their reasons for doing so are not recorded.
DirectorateVoluntary early severanceVoluntary early retirement
Business Relations5184
Business Support30
Consumer and Competition Policy Directorate719
Corporate Law and Governance416
Energy Industries and Technology Unit823
Energy Markets Unit39
Employment Relations815
Energy Resources and Development Unit48
Energy Strategy Unit22
Europe and World Trade710
Finance and Resource Management513
Human Resources and Change Management315
Industry Economics and Statistics23
Innovation Group1423
Information and Workplace Services822
Legal1612
Ministerial and Parliamentary Support Team813
Office of Manpower Economics25
Office of Science and Technology68
Project Work Team66
Regions39
Small Business Service1323
Strategy Communications Unit76
Shareholder Executive23
UK Trade and Investment3528
Women and Equality Unit53
Export Control and Non-Proliferation49
Other small directorates(8)29


(8) This represents British National Space Centre, Internal Audit, Low Pay Commission and the Strategic Policy Analysis Unit where the numbers are small and there is a risk staff could be identified.


Internal Market Services Directive

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment he has made of regulations which might be considered a barrier to trade under the terms of the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market; [9332]

(2) what his definition of remote provision of services is in relation to the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market; [9562]

(3) what his definition of (a) Services of General Economic Interest and (b) Services of General interest is with reference to the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market; [9563]
 
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(4) what the process will be by which national governments justify regulation in the public interest under the terms of the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market; [9564]

(5) how the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market differentiates between services in the public and private sectors; [9567]

(6) pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2005, Official Report, column 437W, on EU Directives, what his definition of temporary is in relation to the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market; [9568]

(7) which service sectors would be excluded from the scope of the EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market under the provisions of paragraphs 15 and 16 of the Directive. [9569]

Ian Pearson: The draft EU Directive on Services in the Internal Market is currently under negotiation in both the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. The Government see this dossier as a priority and wishes to progress negotiations during their Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Barriers to trade

Since the publication of the Commission's proposal in 2004, the Government have been identifying areas of regulation to which the Directive would apply and those which might be considered to constitute a barrier to trade of services. Although this work is ongoing its current status is reflected in the partial Regulatory Impact Assessment published on the DTI's website www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/topics2/pdf2/servicesria/pdf

Definition of remote provision of services

The Directive does not define "remote" provision of a service, however, the Treaty itself does make clear the freedom to provide services applies both to a situation where a provider physically moves to another member state and where he remains in a member state and provides his service cross-border. Remote provision of a service then is where the provider remains in one member state while providing his service to a recipient in another member state; it would include services provided over the internet or telephone and also mail order services.

Definition of Services of General Economic Interest and Services of General Interest. The term "Services of General Interest" is not found in the Treaty (which only refers to services of general economic interest), but it is often used to mean both economic services and non-economic services in which there is a public service element. While the term "Service of General Economic Interest" is referred to in the EC Treaty it is not defined. The Services Directive only covers economic services where there is economic consideration provided by or on behalf of the recipient.

Process for justifying regulation in the public interest

The Directive obliges member states to report on their authorisation schemes. They will have to justify their schemes as being non-discriminatory, based on a strong public interest reason, and proportionate. The reports will go to the Commission and to other member states.
 
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There will be a peer review of member states' regulations. Following that the Commission will prepare a summary report.

What is a strong public interest reason? The Directive refers to

these are strong reasons recognised by the European Court of Justice, and its definition has been, and may continue to be, developed by the ECJ. The protection of workers and protection of consumers are two reasons that have been recognised by the ECJ as constituting overriding reasons relating to the public interest.

Public and private sector services

Only services which are economic in nature are covered by the Services Directive. Economic services in this sense can be provided by either the private or public sectors. Many public sector services are not economic in nature, for example, the ECJ held there was no economic consideration in relation to state education which is therefore not economic in nature. The Directive does not apply the country of origin principle to certain services which in some countries will be provided by the public sector, namely, gas, electricity, post and water services.

Definition of temporary

The Directive does not have a definition of "temporary", which is also the case for a number of other European Directives; instead it uses the case-law of the European Court of Justice to define "establishment" as

Whether a provider is temporary or not defends on looking at the circumstances of each case. The ECJ has said that the criteria to be applied to this assessment are not limited to the duration of the provision of services, but should also include its regularity, periodical nature and continuity.

Service sectors excluded from the Directive

The service sectors that are excluded from the scope of the Directive are listed in Article 2. The country of origin principle has derogations listed in Article 17 for specific service sectors, namely, postal services and the distribution of electricity, gas and water.


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