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3 May 2006 : Column 1609W—continued

National Minimum Wage

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much his Department spent on advertising in the press and radio on the question of the national minimum wage in (a) 2005 and (b) 2004. [67910]

Alun Michael: DTI spent the following on National Minimum Wage (NMW) press advertising via the Central Office of Information:
£ (excl VAT)
2005357,300
2004352,996

 
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In addition DTI spent £20,000 in both 2004 and 2005 (excl VAT) via Citizens Advice Northern Ireland on NMW press advertising in Northern Ireland.

There was no NMW radio advertising carried out in either year.

Post Office Card Account

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the revenue for post offices from (a) Post Office card account transactions and (b) bank account transactions. [67304]

Barry Gardiner: Revenue received by Post Office Ltd. for managing Post Office card account and bank account transactions are the subject of commercially confidential contracts with DWP and individual banks.

Public Procurement Procedures

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his Answer of 1 February 2006, Official Report, columns 547–8W, on European public procurement law, what changes the two new European Commission public procurement directives made to public procurement procedures in the UK; and what estimate his Department has made of the financial effects on small and medium-sized enterprises of these changes. [66949]

Alun Michael [holding answer 2 May 2006]: The new procurement directives, simplify, clarify and modernise public procurement procedures. These were implemented in the United Kingdom on 31 January 2006. There are new provisions on framework agreements, competitive dialogue for complex procurements, central purchasing bodies and electronic procurement methods such as e-auctions and dynamic purchasing systems.

The directives allow contracts to be reserved for supported factories and businesses, and provide greater clarity on the extent to which social and environmental issues can be incorporated into procurements. There is also a requirement for the mandatory exclusion of companies that have been convicted of offences related to fraud and corruption. The rules applying to purchases by utilities now incorporate an exclusion mechanism where a sector is subject to normal competition.

Concerning the effects on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the new directives, and the regulations that implement them, apply rules directly to purchasers rather than to suppliers. There are, therefore, no compliance costs to business from these new rules. The new procurement methods that the rules provide for, including electronic systems, together with the simpler and clearer rules generally, reduce the burdens of the procurement process and should encourage suppliers, including SMEs, to participate in public procurement opportunities either directly or as sub contractor.
 
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ELECTORAL COMMISSION COMMITTEE

Electoral Registration (Advertising)

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether he has measured the effects of the Electoral Commission's advertising campaign to raise electoral registration levels. [64715]


 
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Bridget Prentice: I have been asked to reply, as my hon. Friend tabled this question to my Department, and its transfer to the Speaker's Committee was notified as a result of an administrative error.

My Department has not measured the effects of the Electoral Commission's advertising campaigns. However, the Electoral Commission does undertake evaluation of its campaigns.
 
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HOME DEPARTMENT

Alcohol-free Zones

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect on antisocial behaviour of alcohol-free zones in towns. [66464]

Hazel Blears: Designated public place orders (DPPO) are an opportunity for alcohol free zones to be adopted according to local authority assessment of alcohol related crime and disorder on public highways or in parks. The use of a DPPO tends to be part of a wider local strategy to tackle antisocial behaviour and drink related disorder. Therefore, to evaluate the effectiveness of DPPOs on their own would not be practical.

Anti-Semitic Incidents

Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Greater Manchester in 2005. [54705]

Paul Goggins: This information is not collected centrally. However, we understand from the Anti-Semitic Incidents Report 2005 by the Community Security Trust that

Business Crime Partnerships

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to add to the offences covered by business crime partnerships. [66610]

Hazel Blears: We take crimes against business very seriously, and are determined to tackle these crimes which can cause so much damage to the economic and social fabric of our communities.

Although business crime partnerships are voluntary groups and therefore independent of Government, we recognise the very real part they have to play in preventing and reducing crime.

The Home Office has supported the work of the British Retail Consortium in developing in developing business crime reduction partnerships, and has provided over £900,000 of funding for them to set up and run the Action Against Business Crime (AABC) Group. This Group provides central co-ordination and support for a national network of business crime reduction partnerships in town centres, shopping centres and industrial estates across England and Wales in their work to prevent business crime.

Child Protection

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure that detained children within families about whom there are child protection concerns are not removed from the UK until those concerns have been satisfactorily resolved. [66791]


 
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Fiona Mactaggart: We take the issue of child protection very seriously and we make every effort not to place children at risk. Where there are child protection concerns within a family whom we intend to remove, we would not remove a child with the potentially abusive family member(s). Instead will liaise with the authorities in the receiving country to see if other appropriate care arrangements can be made and to ensure that the appropriate Social Services are aware of any concerns in a particular case.

All operational and case working staff involved in the family removal process have been advised that if an officer suspects at any time that a child is or has been the victim of abuse, the police must be alerted immediately. In such cases where a police investigation is ongoing, removal may be stayed pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

Crime (Peterborough)

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assistance is being given to Cambridgeshire Constabulary to tackle incidents of youth crime and antisocial behaviour in Peterborough constituency; and if he will make a statement; [66335]

(2) what progress is being made with the Government's Respect Agenda in the Peterborough constituency; and if he will make a statement. [67444]

Hazel Blears: Peterborough is one of 50 Action Areas in the country where the local authority, police and other agencies have agreed to provide a high level response to tackling antisocial behaviour.

Peterborough Youth Offending Service works closely with Cambridgeshire Constabulary on a range of strategies and partnerships to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour by young people. These include the Prolific and Priority Offender (PPO) Strategy, joint work to reduce vehicle crime and criminal damage by young people, Safer School Partnerships (police in schools), and the monitoring of high risk young people on community sentences. In addition, Peterborough Youth Offending Service is working with the police on a Knife Amnesty and Weapons Awareness Week (w/c 20 May) in support of the National Knife Amnesty.

The Police have made effective use of dispersal powers to tackle youth crime and have used these most recently in the Gladstone Street area of the town. Police will use these powers to move people on from this area when they are behaving in an antisocial way. In all cases of youth disorder the young person will be referred to an antisocial behaviour support worker, which will ensure that young people are provided with both support and enforcement to tackle and change bad behaviour.

The Respect Action Plan is central to the Government's drive to go broader, deeper and further on antisocial behaviour by tackling its root causes; preventing it occurring in the first place for example by ensuring better parenting provision, while not letting up on stopping antisocial behaviour that blights many
 
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communities. The Respect Task Force is currently working with all Action Areas on ensuring they understand their new enhanced responsibilities in delivering the Respect Action Plan. Key partners from Peterborough will be invited to attend the forthcoming Respect Academies to hear more about how the Action Plan can best be implemented.


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