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10 July 2006 : Column 1487W—continued

The Government then agreed with the mobile operators and telecommunications industry that the provision of such information should be the responsibility of the mobile phone manufacturers.

In September 2005, the Department of Health produced advice about SAR levels in their two leaflets on “Mobile Phones and Health”, which said that users might wish to take account of relative SAR values when choosing a mobile phone, while pointing out that all models sold in the UK already meet the international exposure guidelines. The leaflets are available from: http://www.dh.gov.uk/ Exposure from mobile phones and the provision of information on SAR values was also discussed in the follow up publication to the Stewart report “Mobile Phones and Health 2004” (http://www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/publications/documents_of_nrpb/abstracts/absd15-5.htm para 61-68 page 28-29).

In 1998, a European body called the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) first issued international exposure guidelines on limiting people’s exposure to electromagnetic fields. The ICNIRP is an independent international scientific organisation formally recognised by the World Health Organisation.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that EU member countries that had no specific regulations on SAR levels for their mobile telecommunications industry, should voluntarily adopt the standards recommended in the ICNIRP guidelines. The UK’s mobile network operators accepted this approach.

The Mobile Manufacturers Forum, a European industry body representing most large manufacturers, publishes SAR levels for handsets on its website http://www.mmfai.org/

Nuclear Power

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what contribution the UK has made to the discussion of nuclear policy options in the Energy Position Paper being drafted for the G8 meeting in St. Petersburg in July. [82096]


10 July 2006 : Column 1488W

Malcolm Wicks: The UK has been fully involved in all discussions on energy security with our G8 partners, recognising that there is a range of positions within G8 on nuclear energy and that the UK's position is subject to the outcome of the Energy Review.

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent assessment he has made of the safety of (a) the Hinkley Point nuclear power station and (b) similar stations. [84119]

Malcolm Wicks: None. The UK’s independent safety regulator, HSE’s Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, is responsible for carrying out such assessments.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will reply to question number 70906, on EU committees, tabled by the right hon. Member for Wells on 11 May 2006. [81514]

Mr. McCartney: The question was answered on 3 July 2006, Official Report, columns 857-58W.

Paternity Leave

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to make a decision on the implementation date of new rights for additional paternity leave. [82403]

Jim Fitzpatrick: It is the Government's intention to introduce additional paternity leave and pay alongside the extension of statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance and statutory adoption pay to 52 weeks and our aim would be to do so by the end of this Parliament. This will provide an opportunity for an equal division of paid leave between mothers and fathers and allow an equal responsibility for caring for their child during its first year.

The Work and Families Act 2006 takes broad powers to provide certain employees (generally fathers) with a new entitlement to take leave to care for a child and a new entitlement to receive pay while on leave, if certain conditions are met.

We recently consulted on the detail of the additional paternity leave and pay scheme and are currently analysing the responses received. We have had a large number of responses from a variety of interested parties and our aim is to publish a Government response setting out the next steps in the near future.

Personal Debt

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advice and support services are available for people aged between 16 and 24 years for dealing with personal debt; what steps he is taking to raise awareness of such services; and if he will make a statement. [82916]


10 July 2006 : Column 1489W

Mr. McCartney: We are taking action to help those with personal debt problems as outlined in the Governments 2004 “Tackling Over-indebtedness: Action Plan” and the subsequent 2005 annual report. Examples include the recently launched £45 million Face-to-Face Debt Advice Project, that will result in hundreds of new debt advisers and the £l million per annum support given to the National Debtline phone service. Such assistance is open to people of all ages.

Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the cost of converting each (a) new house, (b) existing house, (c) new office and (d) existing office to photo-voltaic solar panels. [79696]

Malcolm Wicks: In addition to the Major PV Demonstration programme with a budget of £31 million, the Government have spent £10 million on photovoltaic field trials since 2000, which will provide information on operating performance, reliability and the maintenance of building-integrated PV. However, specific information on the likely costs of installing photovoltaic panels on all new and existing homes and offices was outside the scope of this work. As a rough estimate the costs to install 1 kW of photovoltaic solar panels is in the region of £6,000 and electricity usage of a typical house would require 4.5 kW of PV. In terms of an office, it is difficult to provide similar estimates, as it would depend on the size, occupancy, equipment used and other variables.

Pistol Exports

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment was made of compliance with the UK Government's obligations under the Wassenaar Agreement before the approval of the re-export of 20,000 Italian Beretta pistols to Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [82429]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government are satisfied that it was fully compliant with its Wassenaar obligations in this case.

Post Office

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices closed in (a) Yeovil constituency and (b) Somerset in each of the last 10 years. [82145]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The question the hon. Member has asked relates to operational matters for which Post Office Ltd. is directly responsible. Post Office Ltd. have provided the following figures relating to the numbers of post office branches in the Yeovil and Somerset constituencies.


10 July 2006 : Column 1490W
Number of Post Office¬(r) branches open
Yeovil constituency Somerset area

2001-02

40

218

2002-03

39

215

2003-04

35

205

2004-05

35

195

2005-06

35

194


Information relating to post office branches for each parliamentary constituency is placed in the Libraries of the House on an annual basis.

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices closed in (a) Edinburgh West constituency and (b) other Edinburgh parliamentary constituencies in the last five years. [82706]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The question the hon. Member has asked relates to operational matters for which Post Office Ltd. is directly responsible. Post Office Ltd. have provided the following figures relating to the numbers of post office branches in the constituencies that are a part of the City of Edinburgh.

Area Number of Post Office¬(r) branches
City of Edinburgh 2001-02 2003-04 Closures

Edinburgh East and Musselburgh

21

18

3

Edinburgh North and Leith

22

17

5

Edinburgh South

17

14

3

Edinburgh West

21

21

0

Edinburgh Pentlands

15

14

1

Edinburgh Central

20

18

2


Area Number of Post Office¬(r) branches
City of Edinburgh 2004-05 2005-06 Closures

Edinburgh East

17

17

0

Edinburgh North and Leith

16

16

0

Edinburgh South

12

12

0

Edinburgh South West

19

19

0

Edinburgh West

17

17

0

Note:
The constituencies changed in 2004-05

Information relating to post office branches for each parliamentary constituency is placed in the Libraries of the House on an annual basis.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for which services contracts with the Post Office are held on a Government-wide basis; and what the (a) start and (b) termination date is of each contract. [82156]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Post Office Ltd. (POL) provides services to Government through commercial contracts with individual Departments and local authorities. POL views these contracts as commercially confidential.

The services offered by POL on behalf of Government Departments and the network of branches through which they are available are.


10 July 2006 : Column 1491W
Service Network

Benefit payments through the Post Office Card Account and exceptions service

All branches

Motor Vehicle licensing

4,700 branches

Photocard Driving Licence Application Checking service

700 branches

BBC TV licensing including budget card payments and refunds (contract ceases at end of July 2006)

All branches

Rod licensing

All branches in England and Wales

Passport check and send service

2,500 branches

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) check and send service and application form distribution

All branches

Game licences

Available through all branches but stocked based on demand

Benefit payments for Asylum seekers

Selected branches

Local authority services including rent and rates bill payments and travel schemes

Local authority specific


Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department takes to ensure that charities comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003. [81588]

Margaret Hodge: My officials hold frequent discussions with the Information Commissioner’s Office, which is responsible for the enforcement of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

The Information Commissioner’s Office publish guidance on their website (http://www.ico.gov.uk/eventual.aspx?id=96) covering the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003, this includes guidance for charities. The Information Commissioner’s Office respond to complaints about charities breaching the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 in the same way that they respond to complaints about other companies.

Shops

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of independent retail shops that have (a) opened and (b) closed in Beverley and Holderness in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [82498]

Margaret Hodge: Value added tax (VAT) registrations and de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business start-ups and closures. DTI data on the number of VAT retail business registrations and de-registrations in Beverley and Holderness constituency from 1997 to 2004 are shown in the following table. For comparison, data on the stock have been provided.


10 July 2006 : Column 1492W
VAT registrations and de-registrations in retail( 1) in Beverley and Holderness, 1997-2004
Registrations De-registrations End of year stock

1997

25

40

355

1998

25

25

360

1999

35

35

355

2000

25

30

355

2001

25

40

340

2002

30

35

335

2003

35

35

335

2004

35

35

340

1 Standard Industrial Classification 52, retail trade (except of motor vehicles), repair of personal and household goods.
Note:
Figures are rounded to the nearest 5 for data protection reasons. Due to rounding, the stock at the beginning of the year, plus registrations during the year, minus de-registrations during the year, may not exactly match the stock at the start of the next year.
Source:
Small Business Service figures based on data from the ONS Inter Departmental Business Register.

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