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4 May 2006 : Column 1753W—continued

Ministerial Cars (Fuel Costs)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the fuel costs were for ministerial cars used by the Department in each of the last five years. [66958]

Alan Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 27 April 2006, Official Report, column 1226W by my hon. Friend the Minster of State for Transport.

Mobile Telephone Tracking

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he intends to take to ensure informed consent is obtained from children under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive in respect of mobile telephone tracking. [67750]

Alun Michael: The Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive (2002/5 8/EC) applies a number of privacy safeguards to value added services based on traffic and location data, including a requirement for informed consent from subscribers or users of the communications service involved. In the case of location data services, there is a requirement that subscribers or users must be able to withdraw their consent on a temporary as well as a long term basis, each time they connect to the network or make a phone call or other form of communication. The directive was implemented in the UK by the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, which came into force on 11 December 2003.

Mobile phone location services are regulated under the Privacy and Electronic Communication (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 and the Data Protection
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Act 1998. Enforcement is the responsibility of the Information Commissioner. My officials will be working closely with the Information Commissioner's Office to consider any issues as they arise. They are aware of concerns raised by representatives of Children's Charities and will be arranging meetings to discuss these further.

Post Offices

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for North Shropshire of 6 March 2006, Official Report, column 1160, on post offices, whether he plans to assist the Post Office (a) to advertise and (b) to promote the facility to withdraw cash from bank accounts and the link network in post offices. [67500]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 3 May 2006]: The advertising and promotion of post office facilities are operational matters for Post Office Ltd. (POL). My officials are in regular contact with POL to discuss ways of encouraging people to take up bank accounts accessible at post offices.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sub-post offices there are in Wales; and how many there were in 1997. [67397]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 2 May 2006]: Historic information on the network of Post Office branches by individual country area is only available from the year 1998–99, as this level of data was not maintained prior to this.

For the year ending 1998–99, Post Office Ltd.'s records show that there were a total of 1,501 branches operating in Wales, made up of 1,473 agency branches and 28 branches that were directly managed by the company. The last published figures up to the end of December 2005 show 1,182 branches operating in Wales, 1,157 agency branches and 25 directly managed branches.

The full year figures for the end of 2005–06 will be available in the next few weeks and will be placed in the Libraries of the House.


Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance he is giving to TVR to find a new business location in Lancashire. [67805]

Alun Michael: The Northwest Regional Development Agency is working with Blackpool borough council to retain TVR within the immediate vicinity. They are working on the latest requirements outlined by the company. A previous specific offer of new premises was rejected and a more suitable location has now been identified. TVR has indicated that this offer is more in line with their future operational requirements and further discussions will take place next week, when Mr.Smolenski, the owner of TVR, next visits Blackpool.
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Utilities (New Developments)

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received on delays by utility companies in providing connections to utility supplies for new developments. [66276]

Alun Michael: Ministers are periodically contacted on matters relating to connections in relation to gas, electricity and telecommunications. However, these are ultimately matters for the relevant regulators, Ofgem and Ofcom.


Art Collection (Security)

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether she plans to increase security for items in the Government's art collection located outside the UK. [66825]

Mr. Lammy: Nearly all of the works of art from the Government art collection that are located outside theUK are in British Government buildings and are subject to existing high levels of security. The security arrangements for Government buildings are kept under constant review.


Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how she will ensure value for money from the BBC's proposed licence fee settlement. [68069]

Tessa Jowell: We are currently conducting an open and robust review of the BBC's funding, drawing on independent advice from PKF and others on a range of issues including the value for money of the BBC. The final settlement will deliver a strong BBC, independent of Government, and value for money for the licence fee payer. Under the new Charter and Agreement, the BBC Trust, as steward of the licence fee, will have a clear responsibility to ensure that the BBC delivers value for money.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what research she has commissioned on the BBC licence fee; and if she will publish it. [68070]

Tessa Jowell: We are commissioning survey research on the public's willingness to pay for the BBC; the findings of which will be published in due course. This survey research will be in addition to the financial analysis conducted by PKF which was published on 26 April 2006.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment has been made in the context of the BBC's licence fee bid of the value for money and efficiency savings expected to be achieved following the BBC's proposed move to Greater Manchester. [68073]

Tessa Jowell: In line with the commitment in the Green Paper, the Government are currently conducting a funding review to determine the level of the licence fee to apply from April 2007. It will take all relevant issues into account.
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Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when Carolyn Warner of the Right to Swim campaign will receive an answer to her letter to the Secretary of State of January 2006. [67144]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 2 May 2006]: My officials have responded to Mrs Warner advising her that we are currently awaiting the formal report of the initial results of research by the National Water Safety Forum into the correlation between adult/child ratios at swimming pools and incidences of drowning.

This report will be available by the end of May, at which point I will be a position to respond substantively to Mrs Warner's letter.


Single Mothers

22. Mr. Bone: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government have taken to enable single mothers to return to work. [67746]

Meg Munn: The Government have a range of measures to help single mothers move into work such as new deal for lone parents, the national child care strategy, the national minimum wage and tax credits which are making work possible and making sure that work pays.

Civil Service (Pay Levels)

23. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what representations she has received on levels of pay for women in the civil service. [67747]

Meg Munn: Representations have been received from civil service unions and their members about equal pay issues. The Government continue to have regular strategic discussions with key stakeholders, including civil service organizations and the civil service unions on taking the equal pay agenda forward.

25. Tony Baldry: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality if she will make a statement on the gender pay gap in the civil service. [67749]

Meg Munn: The median gender pay gap in the civil service is 25 per cent. but does not compare work of equal value. When the gender gap is compared by responsibility level the pay gap is around 5 per cent.

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