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22 Nov 2006 : Column 121Wcontinued
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of public attitudes to the adoption of single/double summer time. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The DTI receives a number of representations throughout the year, which reflect the strong divergence of opinion on this issue. This suggests that the present situation is a satisfactory compromise between those who prefer lighter mornings and those who prefer lighter evenings.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the adoption of single/double summer time on (a) emissions of greenhouse gases and (b) energy consumption in the UK. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Although some have suggested that a move to lighter evenings could potentially save energy, when Portugal experimented with Central European Time their experience was that the move resulted in insignificant savings. Given the other negative impacts of the change, which caused substantial disturbances for their population, Portugal concluded that the experiment was not worth continuing and reverted to Greenwich Mean Time.
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many counterfeit articles have been seized in each of the last five years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: A number of Government and industry bodies are involved in seizing counterfeit and indeed pirated goods on a regular basis. However overall figures for the total numbers seized are not available.
The Government recognise the importance of tackling intellectual property crime, and launched the National Intellectual Property Crime Strategy in 2004. The Governments Annual Enforcement Report sets out the action taken by a range of bodies, such as trading standards, police, customs and industry to tackle intellectual property crime.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to publish his Department's gender equality scheme. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: In line with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) Order 2006 (No. 2930), laid on 10 November 2006, the DTI expects to publish its gender equality scheme by 30 April 2007.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that private organisations contracted to work (a) in his Department and (b) for non-Departmental public bodies and executive agencies for which his Department is responsible are aware of their duties under gender equality legislation when exercising public functions on behalf of public bodies. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: To assist the DTI in meeting its general gender equality duty obligations, where contractors provide goods, works or services on our behalf, the Department will refer to the Equal Opportunities Commission's Code of Practice for the Gender Equality Duty, and any other guidance produced.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to carry out gender impact assessments of his Department's major policy developments and new legislation. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: From April 2007, the DTI will carry out gender impact assessments on major policy developments and new legislation in line with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) Order 2006 (No.2930). We will refer to the Equal Opportunities Commission's Code of Practice on the Gender Equality Duty and their specific guidance when available.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies for which he is responsible are taking steps to meet the requirements of the forthcoming duty on public bodies (i) to end unlawful discrimination and harassment and (ii) to promote equality between women and men. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: In order to ensure better performance on the gender equality duty, the DTI will be taking the steps outlined in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Public Authorities) (Statutory Duties) Order 2006 (No. 2930), which should come into force on 6 April 2007.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in ensuring that all workers receive four weeks holiday and rights to all statutory holidays. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: In line with their manifesto commitment to make paid time off for bank holidays additional to the annual holiday entitlement, the Government recently held an initial consultation on proposals to increase the statutory holiday entitlement. We are currently considering the large number of responses received before bringing forward draft regulations for further consultation early in the new year.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what papers his officials presented at the Internet Governance Forum in Athens; and if he will place those papers in the Library. 
Margaret Hodge: DTI officials did not contribute papers to the IGF.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who represented him at the Internet Governance Forum in Athens. 
Margaret Hodge: The nature of the IGF is to serve as a multi-stakeholder discussion forum to share best practice and improve understanding of the public policy issues associated with the international nature of the internet and to consider how these can be addressed. Governments do not have a pre-eminent role in this forum.
Two officials from the Europe and International Unit of Business Relations Directorate of DTI took part in the IGF. One also took part in a panel discussion on participation and the other was also a member of the panel discussion on spam.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average cost to his Department was of Post Office card account transactions in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department incurs no costs.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to which budget levies in his Department costs are attributed for each type of transaction processed by sub-post offices involving Post Office card accounts; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department incurs no costs.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department has taken to reduce the costs of post office card account transactions. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The costs of Post Office card account transactions are a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will commission research into the types of services that can be delivered through the post office network by (a) central Government, (b) local government, (c) private businesses and (d) the voluntary sector. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Post Office network already provides a variety of services for central and local government, as well as the private and voluntary sectors and Post Office Ltd. continues to pursue new business opportunities.
The Government continue to work with the company and other Departments on a strategy for the future of the post office network as a matter of priority. We intend, before the end of the year, to launch a national public consultation on the shape and direction of the proposed forward strategy in response to which views will be invited from a wide range of bodies including local government organisations, private businesses and the voluntary sector.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to consult postmasters in developing the rationalisation of post offices. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Department of Trade and Industry Ministers have regular contact with representatives of the National Federation of Sub-postmasters. Sub-postmasters will have the opportunity in due course to respond collectively and individually to the planned public consultation on the Governments proposed forward strategy for the post office network.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to encourage local authorities to use the post office network to help deliver services. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Post Office Ltd. currently delivers a number of services for local authorities such as payments of council tax, council housing rent and business rates. Post Office Ltd. is looking to discuss with the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association what further local services might be delivered through the network.
Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post office branches were closed in County Durham between (a) 1997 and 2006, (b) 2001 and 2006 and (c) 2004 and 2006. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Post Office Limited (POL) has provided the following figures relating to the numbers of post office branches in the constituencies that make up County Durham.
|Number of open post office branches|
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evidence he examined from other countries when developing his Departments policy on a compulsory retirement age; and if he will list the countries concerned. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 30 October 2006, Official Report, columns 93-94W. During the development of the policy on retirement age, we looked at how other member states were developing their legislation, as well as the position in countries that had already established age discrimination provisions. These included Australia, United States, Finland, Italy, Austria, Canada, France, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Ireland. However, we have developed legislation that takes into account our own particular domestic and economic circumstances.
7. Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has for the number of psychologists to be employed in the NHS in the Province over the next three years. 
Paul Goggins: Since 2001 the number of clinical psychologists working in Health and Social Service Trusts has increased from 98 to 150. My Department currently funds 11 training places each year.
8. Mr. Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to tackle knife crime in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: The Government are committed to reducing knife crime. Among measures taken are the Violent Crime Reduction Act, a major knife amnesty, and a public information campaign. We are now consulting on further improvement in knife law in Northern Ireland.
9. David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the recent performance of the Northern Ireland economy. 
Maria Eagle: The Northern Ireland economy is performing well thanks to the longest period of economic stability and growth. Employment is up and unemployment has more than halved in the past decade. Competitiveness in the last year has improved faster than any other UK region. However, significant challenges remain, most notably raising Northern Irelands productivity and reducing the high levels of economic inactivity.
10. Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland What recent discussions have taken place with representatives of local government on strengthening local democracy in Northern Ireland. 
David Cairns: I meet with elected representatives from local government on a regular basis. The Review of Public Administration will strengthen and improve local democracy by greatly enhancing the powers and responsibility of directly elected local councillors.
11. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made towards securing the support of political parties in Northern Ireland for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. 
Mr. Hain: The Northern Ireland (St. Andrews Agreement) Bill, which was introduced to this House on 16 November, incorporates four new commitments that are required of Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive as conditions of office, one of which is to uphold the rule of law, including by supporting policing and the courts as set out in paragraph 6 of the St. Andrews Agreement.
12. Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps his Department is taking to reduce domestic violence in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hanson: I have launched the Northern Ireland Regional Strategy and accompanying Action Plan Tackling Violence at Home which aims to improve services and support to all victims of domestic violence, and to hold perpetrators/abusers accountable for their behaviour.
13. Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of students graduating from teacher training in Northern Ireland were able to obtain full-time jobs as teachers in each of the last four years. 
Maria Eagle: Of those students gaining initial teacher training qualifications at Northern Ireland higher education institutions in 2001-02, 83.4 per cent. of those returning destination information were employed as full-time teachers six months after graduation. In 2002-03 the figure was 77.7 per cent., in 2003-04 73.7 per cent. and in 2004-05 62.6 per cent. were employed as full time teachers.
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