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13 Jul 2005 : Column 1059W—continued

Peninsula Power Ltd.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what payments have been made to date by the South West Regional Development Agency to or on behalf of Peninsula Power Ltd. and its officers, directors or shareholders; what the reasons for the payments were in each case; and if he will make a statement. [11697]

Alun Michael: I have asked the chief executive of the Agency to write to the hon. Member: a copy of that letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Post Offices

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices in Northern Ireland have closed in each of the past 10 years. [11715]

Barry Gardiner: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. (POL) and the chief executive has been asked to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices were in operation in Southend in each of the last 10 years. [10537]

Barry Gardiner: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. (POL) and the chief executive has been asked to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with the Royal Mail about delivery of mail in Southend. [10538]

Barry Gardiner: DTI Ministers and officials meet with representatives from Royal Mail on a regular basis to discuss a wide range of issues, including delivery performance issues.

We are pleased to see that Royal Mail's quality of service has improved overall over the past year. We have received assurances from Allan Leighton and Adam Crozier that the Board will continue to give quality of service top priority.

Premium Rate Telephone Lines

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made on implementing Ofcom's 2004 recommendations on regulating premium rate telephone lines. [10840]

Alun Michael: The recommendation on traffic monitoring and information sharing by operators was implemented on 24 May. The key recommendation, that
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network operators should not make payments to service providers for at least 30 days after calls have been made, will be implemented very shortly through an emergency change to the ICSTIS code of practice. This Department is currently consulting on raising the fines for breaches of the ICSTIS code, and we expect the other recommendations to be implemented by early in 2006 at the latest.


Automated Telling Machines

Mr. Kemp: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will make an assessment of the implications for the financial services of changes in the number of ATM providers which charge for cash withdrawals; [11404]

(2) what estimate he has made of (a) the number and (b) the percentage of ATMs which charged for cash withdrawals in (i) 1999, (ii) 2002 and (iii) 2004. [11405]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: In 1999 most banks and building societies had agreements with a subset of other banks and building societies from which their customers could obtain free ATM withdrawals. If customers used any other ATMs they would be charged by their bank or building society. There were no independently owned LINK ATMs as only banks and building societies were able to access the LINK network directly.

Since 1999, virtually all UK banks and building societies have made a commitment to offer their ATMs free of charge to customers of other UK banks and building societies. There are now over 30,000 free ATMs in the UK. In 2000 LINK was opened up to independent ATM operators. Some of the ATMs deployed by these operators charge for ATM withdrawals. The majority of these charging ATMs are in new locations where previously there was no cash machine. In October 2002 LINK figures show that there were 10,066 charging ATMs in the UK and in October 2004 there were 19,659. However, less than 4 per cent. of withdrawals are made at charging cash machines.

The Government have responded to the Treasury Committee's recent report on Cash Machine Charges (Treasury Committee's Fifth Report of Session 2004–05) and the Treasury Committee is expected to publish the response shortly, once it has been re-appointed following the General Election. The Government's response sets out policy on the issue in more detail.

Bedfordshire (Statistics)

Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average earnings of a full-time employee in the constituency of Mid-Bedfordshire were in April in each year since 2000. [11014]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.
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Letter from Len Cook to Mrs. Nadine Dorries, dated 13 July 2005:

Gross weekly earnings, means and medians, for full-time employees in Mid-Bedfordshire Parliamentary Constituency for 2000–04

Median (£)CV(5)Mean (£)CV(5)
2004 excluding(6)498.48.9585.87.1
2004 including(6)497.58.9581.77.1

(5) Guide to quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) is given to indicate the quality of a figure, the smaller the CV value the better the quality. Figures that have a CV value greater than 20 per cent. are considered to be unreliable. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV, e.g. for an average of 200 with a CV of 5 per cent. we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220.
(6) In 2004 a number of supplementary surveys were introduced to improve the coverage of ASHE. Data is presented for 2004 both including and excluding these supplementary surveys. The data excluding supplementary surveys enables a direct comparison to 2003.
1. The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) carried out in April of each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. It is a 1 per cent. sample of all employees.
2. The ASHE replaces the New Earnings Survey (NES) from October 2004. The main difference between the ASHE and NES being that estimates are weighted to population totals from the Labour Force Survey.
3. Average gross weekly earnings for adult full-time employees whose pay for the survey period was not affected by absence.
Source :
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, ONS.

Bulk Annuity Market

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will investigate the workings of the bulk annuity market. [11843]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Treasury continues to work closely with the Financial Services Authority, the Department for Work and Pensions and other stakeholders to maintain an up-to-date understanding
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of the market for private pension provision in the UK. This includes the market for individual and bulk annuities.

Departmental Staff

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many full-time equivalents have worked for the Department for each of the last five financial years for which figures are available. [11524]

John Healey: The information requested is given in Table C of Civil Service Statistics 2004 which is available on the internet at http://www.civilservice. on/statistics/publications/xls/report_2004/table_c.xls.

This table shows the numbers of staff by Department and agency between 1998 and 2004, on a full-time equivalent basis. Copies of Civil Service Statistics are also available in the Library.

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