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Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many post office branches have experienced temporary closures of more than one month in the last five years for which information is available; and what assessment he has made of the merits of using mobile post offices during such periods of temporary closure. 
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations from hon. Members on the Devon post office closures programme have been received by the Post Office National Consultation Team. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 17 September 2008]: 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.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the appropriateness and transparency of handling fees charged to UK customers by international parcel delivery services. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 15 September 2008]: Postal operators are legally required to work with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to facilitate the collection of customs duty and taxes on goods entering the UK from outside the EU. The handling fee goes towards covering the costs incurred in storing items and collecting the duty fee on behalf of HMRC before it can be released to the customer.
In such a highly competitive market, it is for the parcels companies to review their own pricing structures in response to competitive pressures and market demands. Where there is evidence that an operator is behaving in an anti-competitive manner, the matter should be drawn to the attention of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will review (a) the effects of tied lease agreements for pubs on (i) competition and (ii) bar prices and (b) the extent to which tied lease agreements are consistent with EU regulations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 17 September 2008]: The Department has no plans to commission research of this type. The relationship between pub operating companies and their tied tenants has been extensively examined in recent years by both European and UK competition authorities. The conclusion has been that tied lease and tenancy agreements generally do not raise competition concerns.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what research his Department has undertaken into the functions of regional development agencies in the last four years. 
In 2006-07, the National Audit Office carried out Independent Performance Assessments (IPAs) of all the RDAs (except for London which had been covered in a previous Audit Commission Review). This is available on the NAO website: http://www.nao.org.uk/guidance/rdas.htm.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is currently undertaking a thorough review for the RDAs of their impact since 2002. The report will be publicly available once concluded in autumn 2008.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) how many staff there are in managerial posts in each
regional development agency (RDA); what pay scales apply to such posts; how many such staff are employed on each scale; and what the average salary of managerial staff employed by RDAs is; 
(2) what change there has been in the number of (a) administrative and (b) managerial posts in each regional development agency in 2007-08; and what such changes he expects to occur in 2008-09. 
Mr. McFadden: The RDAs do not draw a common administrative/managerial distinction between staff. However, for the sake of consistency, administrative staffs have been classified as those occupying posts primarily concerned with supportive responsibilities, e.g. PAs, assistants to PAs, team administrators, office administrators. In the same way, managers are considered to be those who have a discrete area of managerial ' responsibility for a team or programme of work. RDAs vary in overall staffing numbers as some have much bigger budgets/geographical coverage than others. The following tables show this information.
|RDAs||Posts||Actual 2007-08||Projected 2008-09( 1)|
|(1) Projected figures as at 1 September 2008.|
(2) This excludes three vacant managerial posts, which have subsequently been filled.
(3) The LDA is currently in the process of restructuring. This restructure is subject to a formal consultation, which is already under way. However, the phasing of this restructure has yet to be consulted upon with staff and unions. Therefore the LDA is unable to provide estimated figures for 2008-09.
(4) This increase on 2007-08 is due to recruiting additional senior staff managing strategic programmes and relations with partners.
(5) SWRDA has additional programmes over other RDAs due to Cornwall's Objective One status.
(6) YF has appointed three managerial posts in relation to the delivery of the new ERDF programme. Due to internal restructuring, two existing finance posts have been re-graded to include additional responsibilities. There is a new post to manage the contract for Business Link services. There is a temporary post for a payroll specialist.
|RDA||Pay scales||Salary range (£)||Number of staff|
|(1) The salary for the South East Chief Executive reflects an agreed weighting for proximity to London.|
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