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estimated that, prior to the introduction of the right to request flexible working for parents of young and disabled children, 3.7 million employees would be entitled to make a request to work flexibly.


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Evidence on employees is provided by the Third Work-Life Balance Employees' Survey, conducted in 2006, which indicated that 17 per cent. of eligible working parents made requests to their employer for flexible working. Of these requests 78 per cent. were accepted, 17 per cent. were refused, while 5 per cent. were awaiting decisions at the time that the survey was conducted.

Evidence on employers comes from the Third Work-Life Balance Survey of Employers conducted in 2007, which found that 40 per cent. of workplaces had received a request from an employee within the previous 12 months to work flexibly. The survey also found that 90 per cent. of employers had accepted all requests and 9 per cent. reported they had turned down at least one request.

We do not have data on the number of employers who are eligible to be asked to provide flexible working.

Flexible Working: Tribunals

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many employment tribunal cases were brought successfully by (a) (i) mothers and (ii) fathers in each year since 2003 and (b) carers in 2007 against refusal of requests for flexible working; and what the average amount of compensation awarded was in each case. [216487]

Mr. McFadden: It is not possible to give a breakdown by mother, father or carer, of the numbers of claims on the grounds of refusal of request for flexible working as this would incur disproportionate cost.

The amount of compensation awarded in flexible working claims is not recorded; the only jurisdictions where this is recorded are unfair dismissal and discrimination.

Fluoride

Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of the national demand for fluorspar of UK origin; and if he will make a statement. [216737]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has not undertaken any independent assessment of the national demand for fluorspar of UK origin. I refer my hon. Friend to the recently published British Geological Survey open report OR/08/27 "The Need for Indigenous Fluorspar Production in England", which is available online at

Fuel Poverty: Scotland

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of households in Scotland which were not in fuel poverty on 31 December 2007 but which will be by 31 December 2008. [218214]

Malcolm Wicks: Each country within the UK has separate reporting procedures for fuel poverty rates, as
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the question relates to Scotland only, the Scottish Executive would be wholly responsible for providing the information asked for.

Gambling: USA

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discussions he has had with (a) his EU counterparts and (b) European Commissioners on the conclusion of negotiations between the EC and the US on the US withdrawal from its gambling commitments in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the consequent compensatory adjustments offered by the US in the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services. [220606]

Mr. Thomas [holding answer 21 July 2008]: The UK remained in close contact with the US Administration, the European Commission, other EU member states and UK gambling interests throughout the negotiation of an agreed compensation package with the US.

A final compensation package was agreed, between the EC and the US, in December 2007.

Government Communications

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many staff in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies (i) are classified as Government communicators and (ii) have access to the Government Communication Network. [215096]

Mr. Thomas: As at July 31 2008 there were 60 staff working in the central communications directorate of BERR and there are 22 UK Trade and Investment staff in similar roles.

There were, as of June 2008, a further 55 staff members, in the wider department, carrying out primarily communications roles.

All civil servants who work in a communication role can access the GCN and the resource it provides.

I have approached the Chief Executives of the Insolvency Service and Companies House agencies and they will respond the hon. Member directly.

Letter from Stephen Speed, dated 22 July 2008:

Letter from Gareth Jones, dated 21 July 2008:


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Hazardous Substances: Textiles

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the Government's policy is on the possibility of extending the scope of the revised restriction of hazardous substances directive to include textiles. [221185]

Malcolm Wicks: The restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) directive is currently being reviewed by the European Commission, with a view to the tabling of proposals for a revised directive later in the year. There are, however, no plans or intention to broaden its scope beyond electrical and electronic equipment.

Homeworking

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for what reasons the UK has not signed the International Labour Organisation Convention on Homework; if he will make it his policy to sign the Convention; and if he will make a statement. [214234]

Mr. McFadden: The Government have taken measures which bring the UK closer to the principles articulated in the convention. For example, we have taken specific action to ensure homeworkers doing piecework receive at least the National Minimum Wage. Only five countries (Albania, Argentina, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands) have ratified the convention.

Hydroelectric Power

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many small hydro schemes supplying electricity to buildings there are. [219668]

Malcolm Wicks: As part of a consortium of organisations including the microgeneration industry and energy NGOs, we commissioned research on the growth potential for microgeneration in England, Wales and Scotland, which included current levels of uptake. It found that there were an estimated 65-75 small hydro installations at the end of 2007 (less than 100 kW), although it did not estimate how many of these were supplying electricity to buildings.

The research can be accessed at:


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Imports: Israel

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the value of Israeli settlement produce entering the UK in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [220028]

Mr. Thomas: No such records are kept by HM Revenue and Customs.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether his Department maintains a record of produce from illegal Israeli settlements which is imported into the UK. [220460]

Mr. Thomas: No such records are kept by HM Revenue and Customs.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward proposals to ban the sale of produce from illegal Israeli settlements in the UK. [220462]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

The EU does not recognise settlements as part of Israel and does not accept goods from settlements as coming under the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The UK continues to work to ensure that settlement products are not imported as Israeli goods under the Preferential Trade Agreement.

The Government currently have no plan to ban the sale of produce from illegal Israeli settlements.

Industry

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the six industries which make the largest contribution to GDP are in the UK. [213143]

Mr. Thomas: According to the latest ONS fully balanced national accounts, industry, for 2004, the six industry divisions that made the largest contribution to whole economy gross value added (GVA) at current prices were:

Industry division Standard Industry Classification (SIC) Percentage of total GVA in 2004

Real estate activities

70

10.4

Other business services (legal services, accountancy, advertising, architecture and engineering activities, industrial cleaning etc.)

74

9.3

Health and social work

85

7.1

Construction

45

6.0

Education

80

5.8

Banking services

65

5.6


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It should be noted that the economic output of the ‘real estate activities’ division is largely accounted for by ‘imputed rent of owner occupiers’, which covers housing services produced by owner-occupiers for which they are deemed to pay for themselves. If this was excluded, then real estate activities would not feature in the top six. The industry division which produced the next highest percentage of total GVA in 2004 was retail distribution (SIC 52), at 5.2 per cent.

The industries shown in the aforementioned table form a subset of industry divisions in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. The SIC is used to group businesses into industries for official statistical purposes, on the basis of the type of economic activity they undertake. It provides a framework for the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of data and its use promotes uniformity of definition. However, it is worth noting that while the SIC enables statistical comparison of industries, the details in this table, and comparisons of this nature in general, essentially reflect the degree of detail in which industries are defined for statistical purposes within the SIC system. Typically, there is less detail defined within the service sector than within manufacturing, for example, so service industries tend to look bigger for this somewhat artificial reason alone.

Members: Correspondence

Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when the Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs plans to respond to the letter from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood of 8 May 2008 on the Post Office local pilot scheme. [214788]

Mr. McFadden: I apologise for the delay in responding to my right hon. Friend, this was due to an administrative error.

I replied to my right hon. Friend on 3 July 2008.

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for what reasons he has not replied to the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare's letters of 19 May and 18 June 2008 on behalf of his constituent Mr. Egbers. [223218]

Mr. Thomas: I apologise for the initial delay in responding to the hon. Member.

I replied on 19 June 2008.

Microgeneration

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of potential levels of microgeneration in the UK using (a) solar power and (b) wind power in (i) 2010, (ii) 2015 and (iii) 2020. [219881]

Malcolm Wicks: BERR, as part of a consortium with other organisations, commissioned some research on the growth potential for microgeneration in England, Wales and Scotland. The study modelled the expected uptake of microgeneration technologies based on a variety of policy options. It found there were approximately 1,130 micro-wind turbines and 92,900 solar (PV and thermal) installations at the end of 2007. It suggested
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that with no additional policy support, there could be 3,500 micro-wind and 148,600 solar installations by 2015; and 8,700 micro-wind and 272,700 solar installations by 2020.

The report can be viewed at:

Additional policy support, which we are consulting on as part of our Renewable Energy Strategy Consultation, could substantially raise these figures.

Minimum Wage

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the cost of the national minimum wage information tour bus initiative is, broken down by main budget heading. [192170]

Mr. McFadden: The national minimum wage outreach bus campaign is costing around £250,000. This includes the cost of the nine week bus tour. We expect to have reached 800,000 people directly through the bus itself, and many others through the media coverage the awareness campaign has attracted.


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