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19 Oct 2006 : Column 1343W—continued

(p) Postal services

Band A


Band B


Band C




(r) Retail

Band A


Band B


Band C




(t) Climate change project office

Band A


Band B


Band C




19 Oct 2006 : Column 1344W

Employment (York)

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what programmes and funding are available from his Department to assist York to attract new jobs. [95045]

Margaret Hodge: I believe the Redundancy Response Group set up by the Council with the support of other agencies is the right response to help people find new jobs.

Insolvency Service

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether additional (a) financial and (b) human resources have been provided to the Insolvency Service for the administration of the Bankruptcy Restriction Order regime since the introduction of the Enterprise Act 2002. [94096]

Jim Fitzpatrick: From 1 April 2004 additional resources have been provided to the Insolvency Service by way of its Enforcement programme which includes the application of the Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO) regime. Expenditure on BROs amounted to some £863,000 in 2004-05 and £5,990,000 in 2005-06. Insolvency Service staff carry out a range of duties and it would be disproportionately costly to seek to calculate the level of additional staff resource attributable to that expenditure.


Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his priorities are with respect to ensuring a regional balance in investment in modern manufacturing. [95038]

Margaret Hodge: The Government are working with all stakeholders to implement our Manufacturing Strategy so that we maintain and grow a high value added modern manufacturing capacity in all regions.

The DTI, together with the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Treasury, share a public sector agreement which seeks to improve the economic performance of all the regions of England, while in the longer term narrowing the gap in growth rates between the regions.

We employ a range of levers, which include tax incentives, R and D investment, support and advice, grants and loans to support modern manufacturing in the regions.

Public Service Agreement Targets

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many public service agreement targets relating to better regulation of his Department are in operation. [94093]

Jim Fitzpatrick: There are no public service agreement (PSA) targets directly relating to better regulation of the Department. However better regulation is a top priority for the Department and is linked to a number of the department’s PSA targets, such as PSA 1 (productivity), PSA 3 (competition and consumers), PSA 6 (enterprise) and PSA 10 (maximising potential in the workplace).

19 Oct 2006 : Column 1345W

Temporary Agency Workers Directive

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to help make progress in the European Council on agreement on the draft Temporary Agency Workers Directive. [95041]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government continue to support the underlying principles of the draft directive and are committed to working with the European Commission to introduce appropriate rules to protect agency workers. It is not however for the UK to set the agenda in the EU. This is a matter for the EU presidency (currently held by Finland) and the European Commission. The DTI has made clear to its Finnish counterpart that it stands ready to assist the Finnish presidency in the matter of the draft directive.

Unfair Dismissal

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether any legal challenges have been brought to the qualifying period for the right to claim unfair dismissal. [95305]

Jim Fitzpatrick: From 1985 until June 1999 the qualifying period for unfair dismissal was two years. The validity of this period was unsuccessfully challenged in “R v. Secretary of State for Employment, ex p Seymour-Smith and Perez”. The Department is not aware of any further challenges to the qualifying period.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will abolish the one-year qualifying period that exists before unfair dismissal may be claimed. [95306]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government believe that the one-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal achieves the right balance between fairness for employees and flexibility for employers. We reduced the qualifying period from two years in 1999.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cases of unfair dismissal were successful at tribunal in each of the last three years. [95307]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Employment Tribunals Service annual reports and accounts provides a breakdown of the outcome of cases by jurisdiction, summarised in the following table.

Outcome of unfair dismissal claims 2004-06
Disposed of Successful at Tribunal Percentage













ETS Annual Reports (Table 2), 2003-04 to 2005-06

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Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the use of sugar beet for biofuel production. [95043]

Dr. Ladyman: Biofuel produced from sugar beet can offer a number of environmental benefits, with the precise benefits depending on a range of factors, including the energy used to fertilise and process the crop. The Government will be introducing a renewable transport fuel obligation in April 2008 which will require all transport fuel suppliers to ensure that a set percentage of their total fuel sales is made up of biofuels or some other renewable transport fuel. This will create a major new market for biofuels in the UK, and it will be up to individual transport fuel suppliers to source their biofuels from whatever feedstock they deem most appropriate. From the outset the RTFO will include environmental assurance schemes to monitor the carbon savings achieved and the impact on the wider environment.

Driving Licences

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of driving licences which were lost or stolen in the Royal Mail postage system in 2005-06. [94982]

Dr. Ladyman: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 9 October 2006, Official Report, column 239W.

MOT Tests

Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the increase in the price of an MOT test is planned to be introduced in 2006. [94746]

Dr. Ladyman: The statutory instrument to increase the MOT fees maxima has been laid in the House and, subject to parliamentary scrutiny, the new maximum fees will take effect from 7 November.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the South Hampshire Rail Users Group; and if he will make a statement. [93335]

Mr. Tom Harris: Ministers have had no such discussions, although there has been correspondence between the group and departmental officials.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the amount of spending on lineside clearance was in each of the past 15 years, broken down by region; and who was responsible for the clearing work in each region in each year by region. [95574]

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Mr. Tom Harris: This is an operational matter for Network Rail, as the owner and operator of the national rail network. The hon. Member should contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address for a response to his question.

Translink (Bedfordshire)

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when a decision will be taken on whether the Translink guided busway between Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Luton will be built; and if he will make a statement. [95397]

Dr. Ladyman: We expect to reach a decision within the next few weeks on whether to grant legal powers and planning permission for the proposed Translink guided busway. It will be for Luton borough council, as promoter of the scheme, to consider their next steps in the light of that decision.

Home Department


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people from Afghanistan have moved to the UK in each of the last five years; and how many have returned to Afghanistan in the same period. [94131]

Mr. Byrne: Information on the number of Afghanistan nationals given leave to enter the United Kingdom, together with those returned voluntarily or following enforcement action, has only been available since 2004.

The available information is in the following table:

No data are available on the total number of persons who return to their country of origin.

Passengers given leave to enter the United Kingdom by purpose of journey: Afghanistan nationals, 2004 to 2005
United Kingdom Number of journeys
Purpose of journey 2004 2005







Work permit holders (inc. dependants)



Admitted as a spouse or fiancé(e)



Passengers in transit



Passengers returning after a temporary absence



Others given leave to enter



Accepted for settlement on arrival



Refugees, exceptional leave cases and their dependants(1)



(1) Excluding such persons given temporary admission and grants made under the Family ILR exercise. Data rounded to three significant figures or the nearest five where appropriate, as such components may not sum to the totals shown.

19 Oct 2006 : Column 1348W

Removals, voluntary departures and assisted returns of nationals of Afghanistan, to Afghanistan, in 2004 and 2005( 1, 2)
Number of persons
United Kingdom 2004 2005

Total persons removed



Of whom:

Removals and voluntary departures(3, 4, 5)



Left under Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes(6)



(1) Figures rounded to the nearest five and may not sum due to rounding. (2) Provisional figures. (3) Removal figures in 2005 include 10 persons who it is established have left the UK without informing the immigration authorities. (4) Includes persons refused entry at port and subsequently removed, enforced removals and persons departing voluntarily after enforcement action had been initiated against them. (5) Excludes Assisted Voluntary Returns. (6) Persons leaving under Assisted Voluntary Return Programmes run by the International Organization for Migration. May include some on-entry cases and some cases where enforcement action has been initiated.

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