|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the definition is of remote areas as referred to in paragraph 5.2 of the consultation document on the future of the post office network. 
The aim of using postcode districts as the basis for our proposed access criteria is to offer extra protection to remote areas, which would not be covered by Royal Mails Universal Service Obligations, which are based on larger postcode areas.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yes. This is reflected in Post Office Ltds report on the pilot outreach services and in the companys subsequent monitoring of the effectiveness of, and levels of customer satisfaction with, the ongoing pilots.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Post Office will develop specific proposals for post office closures and other changes to service provision after the national public consultation has ended and the Government have reached their final decisions on their future strategy for the post office network.
David Mundell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the Statement of 14 December 2006, Official Report, columns 1026-8, on the post office network, what he expects the annual cost of a mobile post office outreach service to be. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Until Post Office Ltd has developed specific proposals for network restructuring and identified the most suitable form of Outreach Service for particular communities, it is not possible to estimate the annual cost of such services.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultation he has had with sub-postmasters regarding additional services that could be offered through their sub-post offices. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: There have been numerous discussions with the National Federation of Sub Postmasters and with Post Office Ltd about the scope for introducing additional services through the post office network.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Any mail operators and online businesses wishing to use the post office network should approach Post Office Ltd. If a commercial agreement cannot be reached with Royal Mail/Post Office Ltd, they can refer the matter to Postcomm to consider.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Governments proposals for the future post office network include funding of up to £1.7 billion. The specific sum available for mobile post offices will depend on Post Office Ltds detailed area proposals for service provision after the national public consultation has ended.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Post Office Ltd advises that nationally 99.8 per cent. of the population lives within three miles of a post office and that in rural areas 99 per cent. of the population lives within three miles of a post office.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the population lives within one mile of a post office; and what that figure is in (a) urban areas and (b) deprived urban areas. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Post Office Ltd advises that nationally 92.75 per cent. of the population lives within one mile of a post office, that in urban areas 99.17 per cent. of the population lives within one mile of a post office and that in deprived urban areas 99.8 per cent. of the population lives within one mile of a post office.
Jim Fitzpatrick: In addition to those organisations listed as consultees in the national consultation document, we will welcome comments from any other organisations or individuals. In due course, Post Office Ltd will draw up detailed area proposals for closures or other changes in post office service provision on which there will be local consultation.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the (a) average level and (b) maximum amount of compensation in monetary terms of compensation for sub-postmasters who leave the post office network under the restructuring programme; and whether such compensation will be provided from the annual social network subsidy. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Until Post Office Ltd has fully developed its detailed area proposals for network restructuring, based on groupings of adjacent parliamentary constituencies, it is not possible to estimate either the average level or maximum amount of compensation which may be paid. Compensation for sub-postmasters leaving the network under the restructuring programme will not be funded from the annual social network payments.
Jim Fitzpatrick: The precise level of social network subsidy in each year to 2011 will be determined by a range of factors but is not expected to exceed the current annual sum of £150 million in any one year.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with local authorities on the delivery of additional council services through sub-post offices. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: My right hon. Friend has had no specific discussions on the delivery of additional council services through post offices as these are essentially matters to be determined on a commercial basis between individual local authorities and Post Office Ltd.
However, Post Office Ltd is having discussions with the Department for Communities and Local Government and with the Local Government Association to explore possible options for delivering additional council services.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Post Office Ltd's report on the pilot schemes of innovative delivery channels for delivery of post office services, including mobile post offices, was published on 8 March 2006 and is available on their website.
Post Office Ltd advises that of the 20 pilot sites, four operate mobile post offices, each serving between five and nine separate communities. Post Office Ltd continues to explore ways in which it can improve the mobile service. The overall response to the pilot schemes is favourable, with latest figures indicating that 93 per cent. of customers are satisfied with their Outreach service.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which main areas of expenditure account for the £1.7 billion financial package he has announced for the post office network. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The funding package will cover social network payments to 2011, the costs of the network restructuring programme, including compensation to sub-postmasters leaving the network under the programme and the expansion of Outreach services, and forecast losses of Post Office Ltd to 2011.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Post Office Ltd will undertake local public consultation on its proposals for post office closures and other changes in service provision based on groupings of adjacent parliamentary constituencies.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the proportion of the 2,500 sub-post office closures he has announced which will be in (a) rural and (b) urban areas. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Until Post Office Ltd has developed its specific proposals for network restructuring, including the introduction of Outreach service, it is premature to speculate how many post office closures will be in urban areas and how many in rural areas.
Jim Fitzpatrick: None. This is a commercial and operational decision for Post Office Ltd to bring the Crown office segment of the network back to profit, and I understand that the company is working closely with staff and unions to develop a strategy to deliver this.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the likely effect of his Department's policy to reduce the number of sub-post offices on the Government's climate change objectives. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: No specific assessment has been made, but the number of wholly additional or extended motor vehicle journeys is not expected to be great given the proposed access criteria which specifically address access to post offices in rural and remote areas.
Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Government intend to implement the recommendations made by the Office of Fair Trading in its market study on public sector information; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 18 December 2006]: The DTI is responsible for co-ordinating the preparation of the agreed Government response, and officials will liaise with other Government Departments with a relevant policy interest. Government are required to respond within 90 days of the OFT publication, producing a plan explaining how
they will implement the recommendations, or if chosen any alternative solution. No action plan is required if no recommendations are accepted. When the OFT makes no regulatory changes, it is for Ministers to decide whether an action plan is appropriate.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding was made available to each regional development agency by the (a) Department for Education and Skills, (b) Department for Culture, Media and Sport, (c) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (d) Department of Health, (e) Home Office, (f) Department for Transport, (g) Department for Work and Pensions and (h) Department for Communities and Local Government in each year from 2001-02 to 2005-06; and what funding has been allocated for 2006-07 and 2007-08. 
Margaret Hodge: The following tables show the funding made available to the Regional Development Agencies from the Government Departments that contribute to the Single Pot, and the allocations made to the Regional Development Agencies for 2006-07 and 2007-08.
|Single Pot contributions 2001-02 to 2005-06|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|