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Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer from the Minister of 13 November 2007, Official Report, columns 132-3W, on post offices: York, when he expects the Managing Director of Post Office Limited to reply to the question. 
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) which telephone contact centres are the responsibility of his Department; what mechanisms are in place to monitor their effectiveness; and how many people have been employed in each of those centres in each year since they were established; 
Mr. Thomas: The Departments central records do not contain the information to answer these questions. Therefore, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform could answer these questions only at disproportionate cost.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will break down the figures referred to in the answer of 25 October 2007, Official Report, column 491W, on Departments: official hospitality, to give the amount spent on each function at which hospitality expenses were incurred. 
Mr. Thomas: The figures shown in the earlier reply of 25 October 2007, Official Report, column 491W, were a summary from a series of events, and a detailed breakdown could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what transitional agreements will be made with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries that are not ready to sign economic partnership agreements by the end of 2007. 
The European Commission, which is negotiating economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, on behalf of the EU, has made clear that those countries which have not signed an EPA by the
31 December 2007, will revert to the generalised system of preferences (GSP) scheme from 1 January 2008.
The UK and other EU member states made clear to the Commission at the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels in November that we do not want to see ACP countries face higher tariffs on their exports to the EU on 1 January 2008. The best way of avoiding this is by agreeing an EPA. Discussions are ongoing about transitional agreements which could be considered for countries which are not ready to sign a full EPA.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to meet (a) representatives of the British Furniture Confederation and (b) managers of large UK furniture retailers to discuss (i) raising awareness of the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and (ii) the impact of compliance with those regulations on fire safety. 
Mr. Thomas: Ministers and officials of my Department are in regular communication with representatives of the furniture industry with regard to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. I am currently considering whether further public awareness of the requirements of the regulations is necessary at this stage.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what legislation governs the importation of toys into the UK; and what estimate he has made of the percentage of toys bought in England that were imported from overseas in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Thomas: The Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995 implement the requirements of the EC toy safety directive in the UK. The regulations apply to all toys supplied in this country, whether they are made here or imported.
The Office for National Statistics publishes data on total UK manufacturer sales, imports, exports and derived data for net supply to the UK market, home sales and home production in its annual publication PRA 36500 Product Sales and Trade: Games and Toys.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will place in the Library a copy of the brief given to Cambridge university when it was commissioned to undertake the study for his Department on information pricing. 
Mr. Thomas: The work that the experts from Cambridge are undertaking is being conducted on an independent basis. We have not listed the bodies that should or should not be included in their meeting plans. We do not possess information on the stakeholders Cambridge has met or plans to meet.
Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate his Department has made of the percentage of (a) people and (b) children from socio-economic groups (i) 1-3 and (ii) 4-7 with access to (A) internet and (B) broadband (1) nationally and (2) in London. 
Latest statistics from the independent regulator, Office of Communications (Ofcom) Consumer Experience report released on 20 November 2007 shows that Broadband penetration has continued to increase significantly over the last 12 monthsrising from 45 per cent. of households in 2006 to 55 per cent. in 2007. This increase is at the expense of narrowband as we see a drop in narrowband penetration. In 2007, 86 per cent. of internet owners have a broadband connection compared with 73 per cent. in 2006.
Internet take-up has continued to increaserising 4 per cent. over the last year; 9 per cent. over the last two yearswith over two thirds of the population now stating they have access to the internet at home. Use of the internet anywhere has increased from 66 per cent. in 2005 to 71 per cent. in 2007.
With 55 per cent. of households having broadband, the UK is ahead of most of the other large European countries and now has penetration levels which match those in US and Japan. In 2003 the UK was ranked seventh in the number of broadband connections per capita. Since 2003 the UK has moved two places to fifth place, moving ahead of the USA and France.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many officials in his Department and its predecessor visited Israel on official business in 2007, broken down by grade; and what the equivalent number was in (a) 1983, (b) 1987 and (c) each year between 1998 and 2005. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he has (a) taken and (b) plans to take to increase trade between the United Kingdom and Israel; how much his Department and its predecessor spent on the promotion of trade between the United Kingdom and Israel in each of the last five years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) provides a range of support services to British companies wishing to trade with or invest in Israel, through commercial teams based in both the UK and the British embassy in Tel Aviv.
UKTI support focuses, in particular, on business opportunities in high technology sectors, including Biotechnology, Healthcare, Aerospace, Information and Communication Technology, the Environmental Industries and Financial and Legal Services. Information on commercial events in Israel is posted on the UKTI website (www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk) along with details of specific business opportunities in the market.
UKTI supports the work of the Israel British Business Council (IBBC) including bi-annual meetings in Tel Aviv and London, and also supports a broad range of activities aimed at boosting bilateral trade and investment, including trade missions to Israel, inward missions by Israeli firms to trade fairs in the UK and promotional events aimed at encouraging Israeli companies to list in London.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many officials in his Department work on the promotion of trade between the United Kingdom and Israel, broken down by grade; and what the equivalent numbers were for the Department of Trade and Industry in (a) 1983, (b) 1987 and (c) in each year between 1998 and 2005. 
Mr. Thomas: The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) team in the British embassy in Tel Aviv currently comprises one UK based C5 Head of Section and six local Israeli staff. In addition, UKTI employs one Range 8 officer in London, focussed primarily on boosting trade and investment links with Israel, as well as more senior staff who have wider geographical responsibilities, which include Israel.
In 2005, the UKTI team in Tel Aviv was managed by a UK based D6 Head of Section, although the team was the same size. Two UKTI staff were employed in London with responsibilities for trade and investment with Israel, at Range 8 and Range 6 level.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what assessment he has made of the likely effect on maternity services provided by (a) the NHS and (b) the independent sector of the transposition into UK law of the EU Services Directive; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the transposition into UK law of the EU Services Directive on the ability of providers of maternity services based in another EU member state to offer their services in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: The directive excludes health care services, regardless of the ways in which they are organised and financed at national level, or whether they are public or private. Health care services, including maternity services, covered by this exclusion will not be affected by the services directive.
Mr. McFadden: Since 1946, the law has provided for trade union members to opt out of contributing to their unions political fund. This aspect of trade union law is well-established, and the Government have no current plans to change it.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what guidance has been provided under the direct debit guarantee on whether trade unions are required to (a) notify in advance and (b) inform trade union members paying by direct debit should the amount and value of the political levy on their trade union subscription change. 
Mr. McFadden: The direct debit guarantee is a voluntary arrangement which applies to banks and building societies taking part in the direct debit scheme. As far as I am aware, there is no specific guidance relating to the application of the guarantee to the payment of union subscriptions.
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many mobile post office outreach services have been provided since such services were first introduced; and what, on average, the annual cost of such a service is. 
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many post offices were open in each year since 1997 in (a) Guildford, (b) South West Surrey and (c) England. 
Mr. McFadden: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd (POL). I have therefore asked Alan Cook, Managing Director of POL to reply direct to the hon. Member. I will place copies of the letter in the Libraries of the House.
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