|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
13. Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of the cost and financial implications associated with a new generation of nuclear power stations. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Government set out in their recent public consultation The Future of Nuclear Power their preliminary view is that it is in the public interest to give private sector energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations. Chapter 4 sets out the Government's view on the costs involved. I will announce a decision in the new year.
14. Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the UK's trade balance was with all other EU member states in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Thomas: The Office for National Statistics estimate that the UK deficit in trade in goods with the EU 27 was about £32 billion in 2006. Their latest estimate for trade in services was a balance close to zero.
In addition through last years Consumer Credit Act consumers can access a free and independent complaints service without having to go to court. While courts have also been given stronger powers to consider whether a borrower has been treated unfairly.
18. Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department has taken to raise the awareness of employment rights among employers and employees; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: The Businesslink.gov website for employers and the Direct.gov site for employees provide authoritative advice on the full range of employment rights and a range of practical interactive tools that enable users to tailor the advice to their needs.
In addition, the ACAS helpline deals with nearly one million inquiries from employers and employees each year; and my Department publishes the booklet Individual Rights and Responsibilities of Employees: a Guide for Employers and Employees.
19. Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department has taken to promote employment rights among low paid workers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: People at work in Britain, particularly low paid workers, have benefited from the right to a minimum wage, paid holidays, rest breaks, time off for family emergencies, a cap on the working week and measures to support working parents; trade unions have the right to recognition by the employer where a majority of the workforce want it; part-time workers have the same rights as their full-time colleagues. The Government have introduced workplace protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, religion or belief and age; employees in larger organisations have rights to be informed and consulted about developments in the workplace.
20. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent progress there has been in implementing the Government's policy on postal services; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: On 17 May, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the Government's response to the public consultation on the Post Office network. Post Office Ltd. is now carrying that forward through local implementation plans. The plan for Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, which includes Banbury, is due for public consultation in February 2008.
22. Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many sub-post offices there were in Northavon in 1997; how many there are; and whether he has made an estimate of the number which will be open after the review is complete. 
Post Office Ltd is now developing local implementation plans and as yet no decisions have been made on individual post office closures. There are no local quotas for closures. I understand the local consultation for Bristol and Somerset, which includes the hon. Members constituency is planned to start on 26 February 2008.
24. Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what account he has taken of the level of deprivation, numbers of elderly people and the likely effects on business of post office closures in areas where closures are proposed. 
Mr. McFadden: On 17 May, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the Governments response to the public consultation on the post office network, which included the introduction of minimum access criteria. These criteria will ensure reasonable access across the whole country, and in particular safeguard coverage in rural, deprived urban and remote areas where communities are most in need of post office services.
25. Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with Post Office Ltd on the consultation process for post office closures. 
Mr. McFadden: On 17 May my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the Governments response to the public consultation on the post office network, including details of the local consultation process.
After local consultations are closed, Post Office Ltd will consider the responses, discuss any specific issues with Postwatch and make any changes to their proposals that they deem appropriate. There is also provision for Postwatch to nominate individual branches for further discussion and jointly review these with POL before final decisions are reached. The detailed consultation process is agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding between Post Office Ltd and Postwatch.
Mr. Thomas: Individual units relocated and planned to be relocated under the Lyons relocations programme are relatively small (fewer than 150 posts). Given the small size of these units, posts have been relocated to existing regional accommodation and it is expected that, from an operational and financial viewpoint further units will be relocated using this rationale. Consequently there are no plans at the present time to move any of the Departments offices to Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was spent by his Department on renovation and refurbishment of its properties in each of the last five years. 
|(1) Includes £10 million two roof spend|
(2) Includes £19 million two roof spend of which £3.4 million was programme spend
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many staff (a) have applied to work flexible hours and (b) work flexible hours (i) in his Department and (ii) in the executive agencies for which his Department is responsible. 
Mr. Thomas: The Department does not centrally monitor the number of staff who have applied to and who work flexibly since flexible working patterns are agreed locally. However in the last annual staff survey 33 per cent. of respondents stated that they worked either formal (with timesheets) or informal flexitime arrangements. In addition, staff work a range of other flexible working patterns including compressed hours and homeworking as well as part-time and job-sharing.
The Department introduced its flexible working policy in 2002, including full guidance for managers and staff to ensure that new ways of working are available to individuals in all directorates and grades and that the benefits to stakeholders, customers, managers and staff are maximised.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what opinion polls his Department has conducted of (a) the public and (b) staff since 27 June 2007; and what the (i) name of the firm employed to conduct the poll, (ii) purpose and (iii) cost to the public purse was in each case. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much the Department of Trade and Industry spent on departmental branded stationery between 1 January and 27 June. 
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many applications for electricity generation projects using (a) tidal power, (b) wave power, (c) wind, (d) biomass, (e) hydro power, (f) gas and (g) coal are awaiting his consent under the Electricity Act 1989; and what the megawatt capacity is for each category. 
Malcolm Wicks: The following numbers of applications for consent under the Electricity Act 1989 in respect of electricity generating projects using the specified energy sources are currently with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform:
|(1) No applications|
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward proposals for legislation to make it a duty of the Export Credits Guarantee Department to promote sustainable development. 
Malcolm Wicks: ECGD already operates to a set of business principles which include ensuring its activities take into account the Governments international policies, including those on sustainable development.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many extra staff will be employed in national minimum wage enforcement following recent budget uplift. 
Mr. McFadden: In 2006 the Chancellor announced an additional £2.9 million a year for monitoring and enforcement of the minimum wage, undertaken on BERRs behalf by HMRC. By the end of this financial year HMRC will employ 20 more staff to support this activity.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department and its predecessor has spent on research into nuclear power in the UK in each financial year since 1997-98. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|