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25 July 2007 : Column 1193W—continued


25 July 2007 : Column 1194W

The consultation “Resolving Disputes in the Workplace” covered the area of mediation, and the Government will publish its plans for the way forward in resolving disputes in the workplace in due course.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will commission research into the effect of the practice of employment tribunals not awarding costs to employees who win their cases on the (a) number of cases going to tribunal and (b) time taken by employers in assembling their cases; and if he will make a statement. [150859]

Mr. McFadden: The Department has approved plans to undertake the next periodic Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications (SETA) in 2008. SETA assembles a broad range of data on ETs including costs incurred by claimants and employers involved in employment tribunal (ET) claims and their awareness of the cost regime and its impact on decisions to settle or withdraw claims. The survey cannot establish the effect of ETs not routinely awarding costs to successful claimants on potential claimants since these are not included in the survey. It is also not possible to test the impact of the counterfactual—tribunals routinely awarding costs to successful claimants. Findings from SETA 2008 will be published in the Employment Relations Research Series (ERRS) by the end of 2008. The last SETA was conducted in 2003. Results were published by the Department in 2004 as ERRS No. 33 Findings from the Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications 2003.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many representations containing concerns on increasing the use of mediation in employment disputes his Department and its predecessor have received in the last five years. [150863]

Mr. McFadden: The Government do not hold this information.

The consultation “Resolving Disputes in the Workplace” covered the area of mediation, and the Government will publish their plans for the way forward in resolving disputes in the workplace in due course.

Industrial Disputes: Small Businesses

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment his Department has made of the effect of employment disputes on small firms. [151292]

Mr. McFadden: Employment tribunal cases clearly impose additional costs on small firms, as they do on other respondents. The most recent assessment by my Department of the impact on respondents was the 2003 Survey of Tribunal Applications. The next such survey is scheduled for the first half of 2008.

Industrial Relations: Disputes Procedures

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2007, Official Report, column
25 July 2007 : Column 1195W
1545W, on industrial relations: disputes procedures, for what reasons his Department only supports mediation through the funding of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service; whether his Department plans to support mediation through additional means in the future; and if he will make a statement. [150846]

Mr. McFadden: The review undertaken by Michael Gibbons was a far-reaching, independent review covering all aspects of resolving employment disputes in the workplace in Great Britain.

In light of this review and the responses received to the consultation “Resolving Disputes in the Workplace”, the Government are currently developing their plans for the way forward on the resolution of employment disputes including the role of mediation. These plans will be published in due course.

Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry: Arbitration

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) of 17 July 2007, Official Report, column 285W, on the Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry: Arbitration, when in the autumn he expects the response to Michael Gibbons review. [152094]

Mr. McFadden: Michael Gibbons review was published on 21 March. Alongside the Gibbons review, we published a consultation document seeking views on ways of helping resolve employment disputes successfully in the workplace. That consultation closed on 20 June 2007, and we received over 400 responses to it. We are analysing the responses received and will publish the Government response when it is ready, in the autumn.

Mediation

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what factors were taken into account in deciding not (a) to promote and (b) to provide information on mediation in employment disputes in guidance issued by his Department. [151866]

Mr. McFadden: BERR does promote and provide information on methods of dispute resolution via ACAS, direct.gov and business.gov, information sources used by parties to employment disputes. It also provides funding for the Citizens Advice Bureau network, which advises clients involved in employment disputes, including on methods of alternative dispute resolution.

Mediation: Qualifications

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether his Department has assessed the merits of introducing statutory (a) registration and (b) qualifications for mediators. [150862]

Mr. McFadden: The review undertaken by Michael Gibbons was a far-reaching, independent review
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covering all aspects of resolving employment disputes in the workplace in Great Britain, including mediation.

Aspects of mediation were covered in the public consultation “Resolving Disputes in the Workplace”. The Government are currently assessing responses to this consultation and developing their plans for the way forward on the resolution of employment disputes. These plans will be published in due course.

Small Businesses: York

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many small businesses there were in City of York (a) constituency and (b) local authority area in each year since 1992. [151611]

Mr. Timms: Estimates of the total small business population, which includes businesses with a turnover above and below the VAT threshold, are not produced below the regional level.

However data on the total number of VAT registered businesses in each UK constituency and local authority is published by BERR. Data for City of York parliamentary constituency and York unitary authority are shown as follows for the years 1994 to 2006. Data prior to 1994 are not available. Data for the start of 2007 will be published autumn 2007.

Number of VAT registered businesses at the start of each year
City of York PC York UA

1994

2,120

4,055

1995

2,120

4,050

1996

2,110

4,065

1997

2,085

4,080

1998

2,130

4,170

1999

2,165

4,260

2000

2,200

4,335

2001

2,230

4,445

2002

2,270

4,535

2003

2,270

4,640

2004

2,355

4,775

2005

2,420

4,865

2006

2,495

4,940

Source:
Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations 1994-2005. Available at: www.dtistats.net/smes/vat/

Between 1994 and 2006 the number of VAT registered businesses increased by 18 per cent. in the City of York constituency, and by 22 per cent. in York unitary authority.

VAT registrations do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which was £60,000 at the start of 2006. Only 1.8 million out of 4.3 million UK enterprises (42 per cent.) were registered for VAT at the start of 2005.

Wave Power

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what research he has (a) conducted and (b) evaluated on the possible use of wave energy systems in the UK. [150605]


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Malcolm Wicks: Since 2000 the DTI New and Renewable Energy R and D Programme, which is now part of the Technology Strategy Board’s Technology Programme, has funded industry-led, shared-cost, pre-competitive research and development into wave energy. A total of 30 projects have been supported under the programme covering 10 different device concepts, as well as a number of ancillary technologies.

To date a total of 17 reports setting out the results of this research have been published (not all of the 30 projects are complete) and most are available from the BERR Publications Unit at:

These suggest that wave energy systems could potentially make a significant contribution towards our energy needs if a number of technical and economic barriers can be overcome.

Other research in this area has been supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Carbon Trust, the International Energy Agency and the European Commission.

Health

Abortion

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department (a) has undertaken and
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(b) plans to undertake into the reasons for repeat abortions; and if he will make a statement. [152783]

Dawn Primarolo: No research has been undertaken or is planned in this specific area.

Agency Nurses: East Sussex

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on agency nurses providing temporary cover in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex in each of the last 10 years. [151410]

Dawn Primarolo: The information is not collected in the format requested. Data is collected by ‘non national health service nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff’. This will include staff who are other than agency, for example bank nurses. Information is not collected by place but by NHS trust. The earliest data available for NHS acute trusts in the East Sussex area is 1999 and for NHS primary care trusts 2002 and is shown in the following table.

Expenditure on agency nurses in Eastbourne and East Sussex: Expenditure on non-NHS (agency etc.) nursing midwifery and health v isiting staff
£000
1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
NHS trusts
PCT

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals

8,086

6,237

1,950

2,995

Brighton Health Care

2,424

2,530

3,425

Mid Sussex

308

336

821

East Sussex County Healthcare

1,306

1,071

719

687

Eastbourne and County Healthcare

194

191

394

South Downs Health

792

819

714

1,014

1,046

1,331

1,625

East Sussex Hospitals

3,212

4,298

2,145

1,378

Eastbourne Hospital

959

1,318

1,060

Hastings and Rother

248

487

1,050

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare

2,362

3,613

5,504

6,751

4,401

4,949

2,765

Brighton and Hove City

0

0

0

0

Eastbourne Downs

1

0

0

0

Sussex Downs and Weald

197

132

86

394

Total (all organisations)

7,287

9,294

12,968

20,567

17,185

11,180

9,844

Source: Annual Financial Returns of NHS Trusts and Primary Care Trusts

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