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Departmental Working Hours

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average working hours were for staff in (a) his Department and (b) each of the executive agencies for which he has responsibility in each year since 2001. [117920]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The average working hours per week for staff in the Department of Trade and Industry and its executive agencies as at 31 December 2006 are :




Patents Office






The data in respect of staff in the Department and executive agencies for the years 2001 to 2005 can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Flexible Working

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimates his Department has made of the proportion of eligible parents who are aware of their right to request flexible working; [118326]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to encourage individuals to exercise their right to request flexible working; [118327]

(3) what plans he has to extend the right of parents to request flexible working. [118328]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government encourage all types of flexible working across the workforce by providing detailed guidance, promoting the benefits and sharing best practice. We are also currently embarked on an awareness-raising campaign in relation to new family-friendly measures being introduced under the Work and
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Families Act 2006, including a new right to request flexible working for carers of adults.

The Third Work-Life Balance Employees' Survey was conducted on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry in early 2006. It found that 65 per cent. of working parents with children under six years of age in Great Britain were aware of the right to request flexible working.

From 6 April this year, we are extending the right to request—which is currently available for parents of young and disabled children—to carers of adults. We are continuing to consider the case for extending the right to parents of older children, in the light of experience of the extension of the law to carers of adults.

Glazteknology Ltd

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had on redundancy payments for workers of Glazteknology Ltd.; and what his timetable is for making a decision on the matter. [118402]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 2 February 2007]: Glazteknology Ltd. is in administration, which is a legal form of insolvency. In such situations payments of certain debts, including redundancy payments, can be claimed from the National Insurance Fund. The Insolvency Service's Edinburgh Redundancy Payments Office is liaising with the Administrator to establish what payments are due. Once the information is obtained on what payments are due they will be made without delay.

Gloucester Mail Centre

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he plans to close the Gloucester mail centre; what assessment he has made of the possible impact on (a) jobs and (b) mail services in the area of such a closure; and if he will make a statement. [118706]

Jim Fitzpatrick: This is an operational matter for which Royal Mail has direct responsibility. I have therefore asked the chief executive of Royal Mail, Adam Crozier, to provide a direct reply to the hon. Member.


Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the waiting time is for agreement of (a) individual voluntary arrangements and (b) company voluntary arrangements in the case of individual insolvencies and company liquidations listed for hearing at the Insolvency Courts (i) in England and Wales, (ii) within the South East and (iii) under the jurisdiction of the Brighton Office of the Insolvency Service. [118214]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Apart from a very small number of individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) that are preceded by the court making an interim order, the process of obtaining the agreement of creditors to either an IVA or a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) does not involve any court hearing.

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The chairman of the creditors’ meeting in both individual voluntary arrangements and company voluntary arrangements files a report of the outcome of the meeting at court, and in some circumstances certain persons can apply to court to challenge a decision taken at that meeting although this rarely occurs in practice.

The following table shows the number of IVAs and CVAs for England and Wales in 2006. This information is not available at a sub-national level.







Manufacturing Industry

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of trends in the manufacturing industry sector in Northamptonshire over the last 10 years. [106641]

Margaret Hodge: Employment studies over this period show a decline in manufacturing as a result of structural changes in the Northamptonshire and the wider UK economy. Manufacturing in Northamptonshire still represents a higher proportion of the work force than the UK average (15.9 per cent. compared to 11.2 per cent.).

The structural changes in the Northamptonshire economy resulted in an additional 41,487 jobs since 1998, the main growth sectors being business services and jobs in education. This growth has led to unemployment levels falling from 3.7 per cent. in 1996 to 1.9 per cent. in 2006.

The GVA (Gross Value Added) also increased by 72 per cent. between 1995 to 2004 in Northamptonshire and is above the national average at £18,298 per head (UK average £17,700).

Manufacturing will continue to play an important part in the county's economy with the presence of award winning companies such as Timsons, Veux, Arcotronics, Krohne, Weetabix and Cummins.

Northamptonshire is also becoming a market leader in high performance engineering around the motor sport industry, and Government, through the East Midlands Development Agency, has recently supported this growth through the development of the 30,000sq.ft Silverstone innovation centre.

Minimum Wage

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Government have (a) undertaken and (b) asked the Low Pay Commission to undertake research into the possible effect on youth unemployment of an equalisation of the minimum
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wage for those aged 18 to 21 years with that for those aged over 21 years. [118275]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government considered the position of 18 to 21-year-olds and undertook a range of analysis on the state of the labour market prior to the implementation of the equal treatment directive, which retained the current age bands. Data show that young workers experience substantially worse unemployment and employment rates than adults.

The Low Pay Commission also conducts regular research on all aspects of the minimum wage. It supported the retention of the age bands, and in its 2006 report stated that

Post Office Closures

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2007, Official Report, column 2066W, on post office closures, when he expects to announce the detailed list of posts offices to be closed. [118428]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government expect to publish final decisions in March, following the end of its national consultation. It will then be for Post Office Ltd. to develop local area proposals in accordance with the framework set by Government.

Post Offices: Scotland

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Scottish index for multiple deprivation will be used to calculate which post offices are in deprived urban areas in Scotland. [118198]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 2 February 2007]: DTI is in discussion with POL about how the deprived urban criteria can be applied in a consistent manner across the UK. It is envisaged that it will be based upon the most recently published indices of multiple deprivation for each country.

Regional Venture Capital Funds

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) budget and (b) expenditure was of the Regional Venture Capital Fund Programme in each English region in each financial year since 2000-01. [118315]

Margaret Hodge: The budget, expressed as DTI commitment, and expenditure, expressed as the amounts drawn down to date, for the Regional Venture Capital Fund Programme is set out in the following table.

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Amounts drawn down
Region Total DTI commitment 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07( 1)

East of England






East Midlands













North East





North West






South East




South West







West Midlands






Yorkshire and Humber
















(1 )To date.

Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of businesses awarded loans under the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme in 2004-05 were more than five years old. [118314]

Margaret Hodge: Up to one third of the businesses that had new borrowing guaranteed by the Small Firms Loan Guarantee (SFLG) in 2004-05 were over five years old.

The SFLG eligibility criteria applicable in 2004-05 did not include an upper limit on age and the way in which age-related information was collected means that it is not possible to establish the exact age of every borrowing business.

A detailed review of a sample of 2004-05 loans established that 68 per cent. had definitely been incorporated for less than five years, 18 per cent. had been operating for more than five years and for the remaining 14 per cent. it was not possible to ascertain from the information held how that loan would have been treated under the new eligibility criteria introduced on 1 December 2005.

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