David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of (a) males and (b) females who were required to retire against their wishes in the last 12 months. 
Mr. McFadden: There is no current reliable data on the number of people who are forced to retire against their wishes. The Government have committed to conduct a review of the default retirement age in 2011 and this will give us an opportunity to assemble further evidence on retirement ages and assess properly the effectiveness and impact of the regulations. The age regulations that came into force on 1 October 2006 are a significant step in helping older people in the employment market. Although they provide for a default retirement age of 65, we recognise that many older workers would remain in work past their normal retirement age if given the opportunity and for the first time employees have a statutory right to request to do so.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) when the tender process for the strategic environment assessment of Severn tidal projects was (a) first advertised and (b) closed; 
(3) pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 624W, on the River Severn: tidal power, if he will place in the Library a copy of Parsons Brinckerhoff's statement of independence; 
(4) pursuant to the answer of 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 624W, on the River Severn: tidal power, what assessment he has made of the (a) rights and (b) financial interests that Parsons Brinckerhoff have had in River Severn tidal power projects, including the Shoots Barrage; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 30 June 2008]: The invitation to tender for the provision of a managed service for a strategic environmental assessment of proposals for tidal power development in the Severn estuary was issued on 22 January 2008. The closing date for tenders was 22 February 2008.
The tender process was carried out using the Office of Government Commerce's Catalyst Framework Agreement for Environmental Advice, Support and Delivery Services, and the contract issued to the successful consortium used the Office of Government Commerce's Standard Terms and Conditions.
I am happy to place in the Library a copy of the relevant page of Parsons Brinckerhoffs tender, emphasising their independence and lack of financial interest in the success of any tidal power scheme.
As stated in my answer of 16 June 2008, Official Report, column 642W, the statements of independence and absence of financial interests made by Parsons Brinckerhoff were probed at interview and were answered to our satisfaction. As also stated in my answer, we also sought, and received, written assurances from Parsons Brinckerhoff agreeing to assign any rights they might hold in respect of the pro bono work they did on the Shoots barrage to the Secretary of State on a royalty-free basis, and to waive any moral rights they might have in respect of such work. A copy of their letter will also be placed in the Library
Mr. Timpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he last discussed the future of the mail sorting office in Crewe with Royal Mail; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: Ministers are aware of Royal Mails review of its North West mail centres but not discussed individual mail centres with the company. This review is an operational matter for the company.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will hold discussions with the Anglers' Conservation Association, the National Trust, the RSPB, the Salmon and Trout Association, the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and WWF UK on the implications for the environment and wildlife of proposals to build a Severn Barrage. 
We are conducting a two year feasibility study to inform whether and on what terms a tidal range power project in the Severn estuary could be supported by the Government. A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) will be produced as part of the study to ensure a detailed understanding of the Estuary's environmental resource, recognising the nature conservation significance of the estuary. The SEA Steering Group is made up of representatives from a wide group of
stakeholders including statutory consultees, business and environmental NGOs including RSPB, the Wildfowl Wetland Trust (WWT) and WWF. In addition the RSPB, the WWT, the Anglers' Conservation Association and the Salmon and Trout Association are participating in the relevant SEA technical workshops. This provides an excellent forum for detailed discussions on the potential impacts of building a tidal power project in the Severn estuary. I am happy to meet with key stakeholders of the feasibility study.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of the Crown Estate Round 3 offshore windfarm development to the UK's share of the EU target of 20 per cent. renewable energy by 2020. 
Malcolm Wicks: On 26 June 2008 Government issued a consultation document asking what more we could do to increase renewable energy use to meet the UK share of the EU 2020 target. In the consultation document, we have set out our assessment of the contribution that could be made by offshore wind in the UK.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the potential electricity output of the Crown Estate Round 3 offshore windfarm development. 
Malcolm Wicks: In December 2007, I announced the commencement of our draft plan for up to a further 25 GW of offshore wind development, in addition to the 8 GW already planned. If built, this could potentially provide enough electricity to power the equivalent of every home in the UK. We are in the process of completing a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) on the feasibility of achieving up to 25 GW of offshore wind. We anticipate being in a position to be able to make an informed decision next year.
In parallel to the BERR SEA process, on the 4 June of this year the Crown Estate announced an offshore leasing programme to deliver up to 25 GW. Potential developers are to be invited to submit tenders to the Crown Estate this year. Following the SEA and the Governments decision on how much offshore wind development is acceptable in UK waters, the Crown Estate will then be in a position to allocate zones for development.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many days it took on average to answer written parliamentary questions tabled by each hon. Member for answer by her in the last six months. 
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government has undertaken with employers to address the balance of work and family commitments through the introduction of flexible working hours. 
Barbara Follett [holding answer 12 May 2008]: Since April 2003 employees with disabled children, or children under the age of six, have had the right to ask their employers for flexible working arrangements. Since April 2007, carers of adults also have the right to ask their employers for flexible working arrangements. On 6 November 2007, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will extend the right to request to parents of older children. He asked Imelda Walsh, HR Director of J. Sainsbury plc, to conduct a review of the question of where the age cut-off age should be set. Ms Walsh will make recommendations to the Secretary of State in the spring of 2008.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what assessment she has made of the ability of public bodies to bring procurement back in house because of equality issues when it has been contracted out. 
Barbara Follett: Where a public function has been contracted out, the public sector equality duties still apply and these obligations, where relevant to the procurement, need to be passed on to the contractor.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many claims by women for (a) sexual harassment and (ii) sexual discrimination in the (i) public sector and (ii) private sector were accepted for hearing by employment tribunals in each year since 1997; and in how many such cases the tribunal found in favour of the claimant. 
Barbara Follett: The following table details the number of sex discrimination cases brought to tribunal in all the years for which figures are available and, in how many cases the tribunal found in favour of the claimant. It is not possible to give separate figures on sexual harassment cases because these are recorded under the sex discrimination jurisdiction. Nor is it possible to say whether cases relate to the public or private sector as this information is not collected. Further explanation is provided in the notes.
|Sex discrimination cases 1998 to 2007
|Number of hearings successful for the claimant/success rate as a percentage of accepted jurisdictions
|Total disposals( 1,2,3)
|Total disposals at hearings
| Signifies data not held
(1) Includes cases where sex discrimination is not the main jurisdiction. A claim may be brought under more than one jurisdiction or subsequently amended or clarified in the course of proceedings.
(2) This includes cases where there was an ACAS conciliated settlement, withdrawn cases, default judgments and cases disposed of otherwise.
(3) The disposal figures for 1999-2000 includes cases where sex discrimination was the main jurisdiction cited.
(4) This includes approximately 12,000 part time worker pension cases.
Data taken from annual reports 1999-2000 to 2006-07
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department's executive agencies have spent on foreign travel in each of the last five years, broken down by destination. 
Mrs. McGuire: The information that is available is provided in the following table. Details of foreign travel expenditure by DWP Executive agencies is available only for the last financial year and cannot be broken down by destination. However, the figures provided include travel within the EU.
|DWP Executive agency expenditure on foreign travel, April 2007 to March 2008