18 Jan 2007 : Column 1235W

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 18 January 2007

International Development

British Overseas Territories

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to question 113431, tabled on 19 December 2006, by the hon. Member for Romford, what criteria are taken into account in deciding to make ministerial visits to British overseas territories and Crown dependencies. [116122]

Mr. Thomas: Many factors are considered in determining ministerial priorities for travel to partner countries and territories. These include the size of DFID's programme, the justification for engagement at ministerial rather than at official level and the practicality of accommodating a visit alongside other ministerial and parliamentary duties. DFID has no responsibilities for the Crown dependencies.

Statistics

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the process is for deciding the date of publication of statistics prepared by or relating to the Department; and who is involved in that process. [113089]

Hilary Benn: The National Statistics Code of Practice (2002)—which serves as a model for all public sector statistical work—established the principle that

rests with the Head of Profession for statistics in each department. In reaching their decisions, Heads of Profession take into consideration the detailed procedural guidance given in the ‘National Statistics Protocol on Release Practices’.

Copies of the code and its 12 supporting protocols are available in the Library of the House and can also be accessed using the following address:

House of Commons Commission

Visitors Entrance

Mr. Burns: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, when the visitors entrance to the Palace of Westminster is expected to be completed; what the reasons are for the delay in its construction; what the total cost of the project will be; whether additional costs will be incurred as a result of the delay; and if he will make a statement. [114743]


18 Jan 2007 : Column 1236W

Nick Harvey: I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave on 19 December 2006, Official Report, columns 1791-92W. The House of Commons Commission will receive a further report on progress at the end of this month.

Leader of the House

Correspondence

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Leader of the House how many letters to his Department sent from hon. Members during Session 2005-06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (a) one month old, (b) two months old, (c) three months old, (d) four months old and (e) over six months old. [114611]

Mr. Straw: For the calendar year 2006 the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons answered 95 per cent. of correspondence from hon. Members that required a reply within our 15 working day deadline. We have no outstanding correspondence from hon. Members received in the 2005-06 Session.

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members’/Peers’ correspondence. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 75-78WS. Information relating to 2006 is currently being collated and will be published as soon as it is ready.

Engagements

Mr. Galloway: To ask the Leader of the House on what dates Ministers in his Office made official visits to the London boroughs of (a) Tower Hamlets, (b) Newham and (c) Waltham Forest in each year since 1997. [115744]

Mr. Straw: Our records do not cover the entire period requested. The records available show that there have been two occasions that Ministers from the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons have made official visits to the London borough of Newham. I visited Stratford on 20 June 2006 to view the Olympic park site; and the late right hon. Robin Cook MP, when Leader of the House, visited Newham on 2 May 2002.

Mr. Galloway: To ask the Leader of the House on what dates the Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council made official visits to the London boroughs of (a) Tower Hamlets, (b) Newham and (c) Waltham Forest in each year since 1997. [115748]

Mr. Straw: Our records do not cover the period requested. However, the Leader of the Lords and Lord President of the Council spoke at a Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS event in Tower Hamlets on 22 May 2006 and at the UNESCO launch of ‘Education For All: Global Monitoring Report 2006’ in Tower Hamlets on 9 November 2005.


18 Jan 2007 : Column 1237W

Trade and Industry

Trade Balance

13. Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the UK trade balance was in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [116331]

Mr. McCartney: The UK trade balance was £4.7 billion in deficit in November 2006 (the most recent period for which figures are available from the ONS), up from £4.1 billion in October 2006, as a small rise in exports (up 0.5 per cent.) was outweighed by a larger rise in imports (up 2.3 per cent.).

Total UK exports (goods and services) were £326 billion in 2005—up 9 per cent. on 2004. There was a strong performance in both goods (up 11 per cent.) and services (up 6 per cent.).

The stock of inward investment in the UK rose to £483 billion at the end of 2005, a rise of £119 billion over the stock at the end of 2004.

The UK is the second most popular destination for inward investment in the world (behind the US).

Post Office

14. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to increase the business opportunities for the Post Office. [116332]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Within the proposed framework of Government support, the development of business opportunities for the Post Office is an operational matter for the management of Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd.

Minimum Wage

15. Mrs. Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to prevent employers paying below the minimum wage. [116333]

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to prevent employers paying below the minimum wage. [116324]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government publicise details of the minimum wage every time it increases and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) follow up all complaints about underpayment. HMRC also target enforcement action on low-paying employers and take tough action against those that are found to be non-compliant.

Marine Renewables Deployment Fund

16. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the operation of the Marine Renewables Deployment Fund. [116334]

Malcolm Wicks: The DTI’s £50 million “Marine Renewables Deployment Fund” was established to assist the continued development of wave and tidal-stream energy technologies beyond the initial research and development phase.


18 Jan 2007 : Column 1238W

The fund is open to applications under any of the planned rounds.

Corus

17. Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with Corus and steel trade unions on the take-over of Corus. [116335]

Mr. McCartney: Although there have been no specific meetings with Ministers, the company and trade unions have kept DTI officials and advisors up to date as the situation has developed and of course further meetings will be held if requested by Corus and the unions.

York: Science City

18. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance the Government have provided to York as a science city. [116336]

Malcolm Wicks: Since 1998 Science City York has secured funding of £3.5 million. The funding sources include the City of York council, European funding, the Learning and Skills Council and Yorkshire Forward.

The main change since my hon. Friend asked the same question on 8 June 2006 is the addition of £470,000 to meet the three-year salary costs (2007 to 2009) and recruit administrative support for the new post of chief executive, Science City York.

A further £2.63 million is allocated from Northern Way.

Bank Holidays

19. Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to increase the number of bank holidays. [116337]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer my hon. Friend to question number 9 answered in Trade and Industry questions today.

Emissions Trading Scheme

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he had with (a) management in the UK steel industry, (b) trade unions and (c) the European Commission on the impact of phase 2 of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme on the UK steel industry. [116104]

Malcolm Wicks: This matter was discussed on 21 June 2006 when I met with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Steel and Metal-Related Industry, at which UK steel companies were represented. On 13 July 2006, I met a delegation from the Metals Forum—including a representative of the trade association UK Steel—and the EU ETS phase 2 allocations was among a range of issues covered. On 17 October 2006 my hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Derek Wyatt) was present when I discussed EU ETS phase 2 allocations with senior management from Thamesteel. This subject has also been reviewed at meetings of the Business Energy Forum, which is jointly chaired by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, my right hon. Friend
18 Jan 2007 : Column 1239W
the Member for Edinburgh, South-West (Mr. Darling) and Richard Lambert of the Confederation of British Industry. There have been no meetings on the impact of this issue on the steel industry with the trade unions or the European Commission.

Radio Spectrum

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received on the Office of Communications consultation on the allocation of the radio spectrum; and if he will make a statement. [116338]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department is in regular contact with users of, and those with an interest in, the radio spectrum. No specific representations have been received on the Office of Communications’ (Ofcom) recent consultations on the allocation of the radio spectrum. Ofcom, the independent regulator of communications, is responsible for managing civil radio spectrum in the UK, and Ofcom is accountable directly to Parliament in respect of its statutory responsibilities. Any representation on Ofcom’s spectrum consultations are a matter for the regulator.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Air Travel Emissions

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his estimate is of annual departmental emissions from air travel, broken down by Department. [115099]

Ian Pearson: The table shows estimated annual emissions of carbon dioxide from air travel attributable to Government Departments. These are estimates based on air travel spending and/or distance travelled, collected for the purpose of calculating payments into the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund(1). Some departmental figures include air travel emissions attributable to associated agencies. When applied to the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund, departmental figures will be multiplied by two to take into account the additional impact of emissions at altitude.


18 Jan 2007 : Column 1240W
Department Tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

14,243

Department for International Development

8,676

Ministry of Defence

7,583

HM Revenue and Customs

4,155

Department for Trade and Industry

3,404

Home Office

2,362

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

1,997

Treasury

1,662

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1,350

Department of Health

955

Cabinet Office

818

Department for Transport

520

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

340

Office of National Statistics

190

Department for Education and Skills

148

Law Officers Department Crown Prosecution Service

228

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

151

Law Officers Department Serious Fraud Office

133

Department for Constitutional Affairs

139

Office of Government Commerce (OGC)

111

Export Credits Guarantee Department

128

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

80

Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers

30

Government Actuary’s Department

23

Debt Management Office

4

Total

49,430


Next Section Index Home Page