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27 Feb 2008 : Column 1680W—continued


Flexible Working: Carers

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what information his Department holds on levels of take-up of the right to request flexible working by those with caring responsibilities. [188991]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 25 February 2008]: BERR have conducted four surveys of flexible working which collected data specifically on employees with caring responsibility. These are the second and third Work-Life Balance Employee Surveys, and the first and second Flexible Working Employee Surveys. Reports on these surveys can be downloaded or ordered from the BERR website:

The most recent figures, from the 2006 Third Work Life Balance Employee Survey, estimate that 64 per cent. of employees with caring responsibilities for adults either said they were currently working flexibly, or had done so in the last 12 months. This compares with 56 per cent. of all employees.

Industrial Health and Safety

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discussions he has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and (b) Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on the co-ordination of Government policy on health and safety at work and the role of the Better Regulation Task Force in such co-ordination. [186411]

Mr. McFadden: Government policy on health and safety at work is a matter for DWP’s Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive.

The Better Regulation Task Force no longer exists. The Better Regulation Executive was created in 2005. On 28 June 2007, the Better Regulation Executive moved from the Cabinet Office to form part of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Last July, the Better Regulation Executive, with support from the Health and Safety Executive, launched a review to consider how the health and safety regime impacts on businesses whose overall risk is relatively low, focusing in particular on low risk smaller businesses.

The review is not considering the co-ordination of Government policy on health and safety at work and the role of Better Regulation Executive in such co-ordination. The review is due to report in spring.

National Secretariat of the Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many staff are employed by the National Secretariat of the Regional Development Agencies for England; what the National Secretariat’s office expenditure was in each of the last five years; and what its total staffing cost was in the last year for which figures are available. [188900]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 25 February 2008]: The Secretariat of England’s regional development agencies currently employs six full-time and one part-time staff. Its annual expenditure in each of the last five years is shown in the following table, split into staffing costs, office costs, and other costs where the information is available.

£000
Staffing costs Office costs Other costs Total annual cost

2002-03(1)

n/a

n/a

n/a

253

2003-04(2)

(3)82

(3)55

(3)18

457

2004-05

238

87

180

505

2005-06

257

102

252

611

2006-07

345

109

227

682

(1) 2002-03: The Secretariat was administered by and located in Advantage West Midlands. The information requested is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
(2) 2003-04: The Secretariat was administered by three RDAs in this period and records are in archive. The information requested is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost. During this period, the Secretariat shifted from a purely secretarial function in Birmingham to a more ‘shared services’/co-ordinating function in London.
(3) Part year.


27 Feb 2008 : Column 1681W

Phoenix Consortium: Rover Group

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress has been made in the investigation of the affairs of Phoenix Venture Holdings Ltd, MG Rover Limited and related companies under section 432 of the Companies Act 1985; and what the reasons are for the length of the investigation. [188663]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 25 February 2008]: The investigation is ongoing. The inspectors, who are independent of BERR, are seeking to complete the report as quickly as possible, with due regard for the fairness of the process and the thoroughness of the task. It would not otherwise be appropriate to comment on the details of a current investigation or to speculate on when it might be completed.

Post Offices: Closures

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many letters his Department has received from (a) members of the public and (b) hon. Members and Members of the House of Lords on the subject of post office closures, broken down by region. [187231]

Mr. McFadden: The information is not available in the format requested.

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment his Department has made of the impact on the local area of the proposed closure of the (a) Springfield road and (b) Winkfield post offices in Windsor constituency. [189415]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 26 February 2008]: The Government require Post Office Ltd., in drawing up its proposals for post office closures, to take account of geographical factors and consider a range of local socio-economic factors including the impact on local economies and availability of public transport to access alternative service provision.

Assessment of the impact of the proposed closure of specific individual post offices is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd., with input from Postwatch, in developing its area plan proposals and consulting locally on them.

Post Offices: Reorganisation

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimates his Department has made of the number of people that will reside more than three miles away from a post office following the restructuring of the Post Office branch network, broken down by region of residency. [189103]

Mr. McFadden: The Government have set national access criteria to ensure that post office services continue to be available across the country. These include criteria requiring that, nationally, at least 99 per cent. of the UK population are within three miles of
27 Feb 2008 : Column 1682W
their nearest post office outlet, and that at least 95 per cent. of the total rural population of the UK are within three miles of their nearest post office outlet.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many post offices within Vale of York constituency will be within three miles by road of another post office following the proposed restructuring of the network. [189863]

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.

Copies of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Regional Development Agencies: Travel

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much each regional development agency spent on (a) travel agency services, (b) travel within the UK and (c) overseas travel in each of the last five years. [182786]

Mr. McFadden: The tables shows how much each RDA spent on travel agency services, travel within the UK and overseas travel in each of the last five years.

Travel Agency Services( 1)
£000
RDAs 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

AWM

2.5

2.5

2.5

2.5

2.5

EEDA(2)

EMDA(3)

LDA(4)

NWDA(5)

ONE(6)

0

0

0

0

SEEDA(7)

SWRDA(8)

0

0

0

0

0.5

YF

4

5

4

4

4

(1) In some cases, agency costs are not separately identifiable from the ticket cost.
(2) EEDA books the majority of travel services directly.
(3) It is not possible to identify the amount charged for Travel Agency services, as costs are included in the cost of the ticket.
(4) LDA adopted new recording systems in 2004-05. Figures before 2004-05 are not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
(5) Travel costs and booking fees are not involved or identified separately within the accounting records.
(6) Prior to 2004, travel was outsourced to an external supplier. It is not possible to identify any fees within the cost of tickets.
(7) SEEDA does not use a Travel Agency services.
(8) £500 in 2006-07 is a business direct annual fee for rail travel.


27 Feb 2008 : Column 1683W
Travel within UK( 1)
£000
RDAs 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

AWM

147

182

193

144

128

EEDA

104

75

112

90

101

EMDA

30

43

59

68

95

LDA(2)

1

19

11

6

NWDA

140

174

190

154

208

ONE(2)

292

46

161

199

241

SEEDA

168

306

177

253.5

301

SWRDA

18

71

63

95

151

YF

77

127

116

149

207

(1) Figures refer to travel booked through travel agents. In some cases, it is not possible to separate subsistence/hotel costs from the travel costs (e.g. rail and air travel).
(2) Records for 2002-03 show that total annual spend (UK travel and overseas) was £292,000. This figure cannot be separated.

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