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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps the Government has taken to encourage West Midlands businesses to examine the opportunities arising from the hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 7 February 2008]: London 2012 has recently launched the London 2012 Business Network, which is aimed at helping businesses, particularly SMEs, to access Contracts and sub-Contracts from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The West Midlands launch of the Network took place on 23 January 2008, at Villa Park. The keynote speaker was Mr. Paul Deighton, the chief executive of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG). The launch was attended by 260 delegates, around 75 per cent. of whom were from private sector businesses. The regional development agency for the West Midlands, Advantage West Midlands (AWM), is committed to promoting the London 2012 Business Network in the region.
As part of that process, the West Midlands Business Council, which is funded by AWM, has organised a series of 17 Olympic Opportunities seminars across the region. The first seminar took place on 1 February in Ross-on-Wye and the Coventry seminar will take
place on 14 March. A full list of the seminars can be accessed at www.wmbusinesscouncil.org.uk under Events.
In addition, the agency is working closely with Business Link to support businesses in the region to maximise the number of 2012 Tenders won in the West Midlands. This includes a series of ten, detailed, half-day Tender Training Workshops, themed around London 2012. The Coventry workshop is on 20 February.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) whether he plans through the implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive to increase consumer protection from misleading copycat packaging; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the trading standards departments' capacity to enforce the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive regulations without the inclusion of provision for private prosecution against misleading copycat packaging. 
Mr. Thomas: The Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards Departments will have a duty to enforce the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) implementing the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. The Government believe that these enforcement arrangements suffice to adequately enforce the CPRs, including in relation to misleading copycat packaging design. OFT and Trading Standards Departments will have to act in a manner consistent with their duty to enforce the Regulations. Indeed the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property notes that in this context the Local Authority Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services have said that once the UCPD is in place they will act on behalf of consumers by pursuing businesses who act improperly.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what funding his Department has provided to trades unions through the Union Modernisation Fund and Union Learning Fund to promote awareness of trades union members right to opt out of political funds since 1997. 
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what consideration the Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs has given to the letter from the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham dated January 2008 on post office closures in that local authority area. 
Mr. McFadden: I have seen the letter from Councillor Paul Bristow of the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham council and would recommend that the council contact Post Office Ltd to discuss their concerns and proposals for future service provision in the borough.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with reference to the answer of 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 706W, on post offices: closures, if he will make an assessment of the impact on transport-related climate change emissions arising from the Post Office Network change programme. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 7 February 2008]: No. The 17 area plans published by Post Office Ltd. to 5 February indicate that on average over 95 per cent. of the population in each area will see no change to the post office branch they currently use or will be within one mile of an alternative branch. And, as stated in the Government's response to the public consultation on the post office network, closures will principally affect a combination of branches in areas of high provision and those that are least used. Post Office Ltd. have been tasked with taking a strategic overview of service provision to ensure that in areas of high provision, people should be able to find an alternative branch nearby and the vast majority will still be within walking distance of their nearest office. With the least used, the number of people affected will, by the nature of the offices, be low.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with reference to the meeting held by his Department with the hon. Member for Billericay on 12 December 2007, if he will instruct Post Office Ltd. to release financial data pertaining to post offices earmarked for closure to Essex county council before the proposed closure of such post offices on 11 February. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 7 February 2008]: I understand that detailed discussions are now in progress between Post Office Ltd. and Essex county council regarding the post offices which the council has expressed an interest in supporting financially.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) which post office branches closed temporarily in each parliamentary constituency in each month from January 2005 to October 2007; 
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the quality of the Post Office's consultation process for proposed branch closures. 
Mr. McFadden: From the outset, Post Office Ltd has made clear that their local public consultation process is about how, not whether, network changes should be implemented. This was set out in their letter sent to all MPs last July.
Across the 10 area plans for which final decisions had been announced as at 7 February, 22 closure decisions have been withdrawn and two proposed closures have been deferred for up to three months to allow time for local funding proposals to be developed and assessed. In the area plans published to date, on average over 10 per cent. of the initial proposals have been changed to ensure compliance with the access criteria and to take account of other factors demonstrating the company's responsiveness to the concerns of stakeholders such as Postwatch, local authorities and sub-postmasters.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what system there is for appealing against post office closures following the announcement of the Post Office's response to public consultation on branch closures in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. 
Mr. McFadden: The review process for closure decisions after public consultation has been agreed between Post Office Limited and Postwatch. It applies where Postwatch shows for an individual branch that, either Post Office Ltd. has not given due consideration to material evidence received during the public consultation in coming to its decision or, evidence emerging from the consultation suggests that the proposal for the branch does not meet the Government's policy requirements. The aim of the review process is to reach an agreed way forward by a bilateral review of individual cases, with three stages available at increasing levels of seniority of the respective Post Office Ltd. and Postwatch representatives. For very difficult cases which remain unresolved after stage three, a further stage was recently added whereby Allan Leighton, chairman of Royal Mail Group, will review the issues and reach the final decision.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) which local authorities made submissions to the Post Office consultation on the post office network change programme for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland; 
(3) how many responses were received in relation to each branch proposed for closure in the Post Office's consultation on the post office network change programme for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. 
As an executive non-departmental public body the performance of Postwatch is a matter for its board and the chief executive officer, which is monitored via regular meetings with BERR, the sponsor Department.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what estimate he has made of the number of public telephone boxes which (a) display advertising on their exterior and (b) displayed advertising on 24 January (i) 2007 and (ii) 2003; 
Malcolm Wicks: Under the terms of the Universal Service Obligation imposed on BT and Kingston Communications by the regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the companies are required to maintain public call boxes to meet reasonable demand across the UK. Ofcom enforce this requirement but I understand that Ofcom do not collect information on the design of public call boxes or the extent to which the exterior is used for advertising. My hon. Friend will need to contact the two companies to obtain this information.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 11 December 2007, Official Report, columns 390-91W, on radioactive materials: transport, if he will place in the Library a copy of the responses to the section of the consultation which includes the question Do you agree or disagree with the Government's views on the transport of nuclear materials'. 
As we received 2,700 written responses to the consultation we do not intend to place copies of responses in the Library. However all the written responses to the consultation have been placed on the internet at:
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, of 9 January 2008, Official Report, column 676W, on regional development agencies: trade unions, what the diversity works project was for which funds were given to the Trades Union Congress by the London Development Agency. 
Mr. McFadden: I understand from the London Development Agency that the Agency's London Diversity Works for London programme has been working closely since 2006 with southern and eastern region TUC (SERTUC) to capacity build trade union representatives in their efforts to promote equality and diversity in workplaces in partnership with employers.
Malcolm Wicks: Representations on renewable heat have mainly been channelled to the Office of Climate Change who, until recently, have been leading work on renewable heat and have conducted initial consultations with a range of industry representatives, including those from the Government's Renewables Advisory Board.
On 31 January 2008, BERR, along with DEFRA and CLG, published the Heat Call for Evidence which encourages input to Government thinking from industry and other stakeholders. Responses are due by the end of March.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the likely future change in levels of use of internet shopping and the implications for high street retail outlets; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: We have not made any such estimate. The internet has opened up a number of opportunities for high street retail outlets. These include potential increases in the customer base, the ability to sell goods for which there is insufficient space in retailers high street stores, as well as the extra convenience for customers who can order online and then collect the goods from a high street outlet. The internet can also be exploited for marketing purposes, for example through the provision of information to customers on the products in their stores, and the ability to reach customers who would otherwise face difficulties in visiting high street outlets. Depending on circumstances, overheads can be reduced through lower fixed costs per item and a smaller proportion of goods stolen by shoplifters.
The internet has brought about a wider marketplace where customers have greater information and choice than previously. High street retailers who adapt to new market conditions are likely to have more opportunities to grow their businesses.
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