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30 Nov 2005 : Column 573W—continued

Departmental Estate

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which buildings and sites used by her Department and related agencies (a) have ceased to be used in the last year and (b) will be closed under plans for relocation. [31770]

Mr. Lammy: The information is as follows:

(a) The Department ceased to use its one-floor holding at Woburn Place in central London in April 2005.

(b) The Department occupies buildings in Blandford Street and Orange Street, both in central London, which it plans to vacate in 2006 and 2007 respectively, as part a project to harmonise its accommodation around its main buildings in Cockspur Street.
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The Royal Parks Agency has not ceased to use any buildings in the past year and has no current plans to close or relinquish buildings.

Gambling Act

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the timetable is for the (a) implementation of the Gambling Act 2005, (b) consultation on and publication of secondary legislation and (c) announcement of the gambling licence applications. [32495]

Mr. Caborn: We plan to bring the Gambling Act 2005 fully into force with effect from September 2007.

The first two commencement orders were made at the end of August 2005. These brought into force on 1 October 2005 the provisions of the Act formally creating the Gambling Commission; and giving effect to parliamentary commitments to abolish the 24-hour membership rule in respect of casino and bingo halls, and to increase the number of jackpot machines allowed in a casino to 20.

My Department has been considering the remaining subordinate legislation needed to complete the process of implementation and the time-table for that legislation. We propose to publish details shortly.

We expect the Gambling Commission and licensing authorities to start accepting applications for licences and permits from early 2007.

National Lottery

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been awarded from the National Lottery to the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. [32951]

Mr. Caborn: In total, nine lottery awards worth £3.6 million have been made to the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. One award worth £5,000 was made under the awards for all scheme. The other eight awards were made by the New Opportunities Fund, which has since merged with the Community Fund to form the Big Lottery Fund.

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what eligibility criteria are used to distribute Lottery monies to projects directed towards facilities for young people. [33148]

Mr. Caborn: The Lottery distributors make their funding decisions independently of Government, and against their own criteria for specific funding programmes. However, they are also obliged to take account of policy and financial directions issued to them by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, when making funding decisions. These directions set out the framework for the wider aims of Lottery funding and specifically require the distributors to take into account the needs of children and young people when making funding decisions. Copies of the policy directions have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
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Agency Workers Directive

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with his counterparts in Europe on the implementation of the EU Agency Workers Directive. [29798]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Over the last few months in bilateral discussions with other member states, at ministerial and official level, we have found that many member states still have major problems with the current draft of the Agency Workers Directive and views remain very polarised on a number of issues. As the directive has not yet been agreed it would be inappropriate to discuss implementation at this time.

Business Link

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the national performance targets are for Business Link; and what the performance has been against those targets of each Business Link office in Devon and Cornwall. [32065]

Alun Michael: For this year, there are there national performance targets for Business Link which are:

Business Link is a national brand delivered locally, and overseen by the Regional Development Agency in each area of England since April 2005. In Devon and Cornwall, Business Link performance is ahead of the regional target for penetration (32.2 per cent. of all businesses on the Inter Departmental Business Register) and for Intensive Assistance. The service is on track to meet the customer satisfaction target.

Dairy Industry

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations were received by the Office of Fair Trading on retail price initiatives in the dairy industry prior to its inquiry into that subject; from whom; what the scope is of its inquiry; and when it is expected to be completed. [32980]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Competition law enforcement is a matter for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). It can initiate an investigation under the Competition Act 1998 in response to a complaint or on its own initiative. The OFT initiated its investigation into the milk retail prices initiatives, not in response to representations but because it had reasonable grounds to suspect that the initiatives infringed competition law.

The milk processors Robert Wiseman Dairies and Dairy Crest have stated that they are included in the investigation of the retail price initiatives. The investigation includes other parties but these have not been made public.
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The timetable for the investigation is a matter for the OFT.

Flexible Working Hours

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in helping people in South Swindon to achieve flexible working hours; and if he will make a statement. [31657]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government are committed to increasing opportunities for people to work flexibly through promoting the benefits of flexible working and through light-touch, targeted legislation. Business Link and ACAS provide tailored guidance to help business manage requests to work flexibly and ACAS have developed a web-based interactive tool, which includes a free online training module.

The residents of South Swindon, like others, have benefited from the right to request flexible working for parents of children under six and disabled children under 18, introduced in April 2003. This legislation has been a tremendous success, with almost a quarter (22 per cent.) of parents with children under six requesting to work flexibly since the legislation was introduced and around 90 per cent. of requests accepted.

Building on this success, the recently introduced Work and Families Bill will extend the scope of the existing law to include carers of adults, a group who face particular challenges in juggling their caring responsibilities with work. We will be consulting on the detail of exactly which carers will be covered by the legislation in early 2006.

Gas Shortages

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what emergency powers he has to control the export of gas through the interconnector in the event of severe gas shortages this winter. [32320]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 28 November 2005]: The Energy Act 1976 gives the Secretary of State the power to make orders and give directions regulating or prohibiting the production, supply, acquisition or use of fuels including gas.

Any exercise of these powers would take into account the UK's international obligations and, of course, the requirements of EC law.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade andIndustry (1) what research his Department has conducted, prior to the beginning of November, on the economic impact of commercial gas users reducing demand in the event of gas shortages this winter; [32321]

(2) what research his Department had conducted, prior to the beginning of November, into the ability of commercial gas users to reduce demand in the event of gas shortages this winter. [32370]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 28 November 2005]: In May 2005 DTI published a report by the independent consultants Global Insight on the potential demand-side response of industrial gas users. This can be found at:

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More recently, the DTI has commissioned, with industry support, two short studies to update and expand this work.

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