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Mr. McFadden: The level of directors' salary and pension packages is a matter for Royal Mails remuneration committee. I have asked the company secretary of Royal Mail to reply direct to the hon. Member.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to increase the work of post offices and to expand the financial services they offer; and whether he intends to continue the Post Office closure programme. 
Mr. McFadden: Post Office Ltd. continues to explore and develop opportunities to expand the range of financial and other services offered through post offices. The recently announced Savings Gateway scheme will be available through the post office network and the Government will continue to explore the scope for introducing additional work. In addition, the Select Committee for Business and Enterprise has agreed to undertake an inquiry to identify new services to help secure the long term viability of the post office network.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many post offices scheduled to shut under the Network Change programme remain open; and what the date of the latest scheduled closure is. 
Mr. McFadden: Around 15 per cent. of the initial Network Change proposals were changed during the pre-consultation phase and, to date, 87 closures and four outreach proposals have been withdrawn in the light of responses to the local public consultations. I understand from Post Office Ltd. that only a small number of closures have yet to take place. Most of these relate to offices which are to be replaced by an outreach service.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the economic effect of local post offices on small and medium-sized businesses in that area. 
Mr. McFadden: The Government fully recognise the social and economic value of post offices to the communities they serve. Accordingly in implementing its Network Change Programme, Post Office Ltd. was required by Government to work within the framework of national minimum access criteria to ensure continuing reasonable access and to consider the impact of proposed closures and other changes in service provision on local economies.
Mr. McFadden: The Government will continue to explore the scope for increasing the range of services which can be provided by Post Office Ltd. In addition, the Business and Enterprise Committee has been asked to review and identify potential new services which could be offered through the post office network.
Joan Walley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of Postcomms direction in respect of Royal Mails request for exemption from the pre-notification requirements for changes to its local collect service; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: After careful consideration of Royal Mails application and following a consultation with stakeholders, Postcomm, the independent industry regulator, decided to exempt Royal Mail from the three-month notification period required by condition 7 of its licence to waive the 50p redelivery local collect charge for the course of December 2008 only.
Postcomm acknowledged that Royal Mails compliance processes had not operated correctly in this instance and expects Royal Mail to anticipate the need for condition 7 to be adhered to in the future unless a prior exemption has been sought. Postcomm accepted that this appeared to be a genuine error on this occasion.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will investigate the pricing structure operated by the Post Office in respect of access to its postcode address file; what rates for access are payable by (a) voluntary and non-profit organisations and (b) commercial organisations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 17 December 2008]: The Postcode Address File (PAF) is owned and managed by Royal Mail. As specified under the Postal Services Act 2000 and as a condition of its licence, the company is obliged to maintain the postcode address file (the PAF) and to make it available to any person who wishes to use it on terms that are reasonable. Prices for accessing the PAF are published on Royal Mail's website
If any PAF user or any stakeholder feels that Royal Mail is not complying with the terms of section 116 of the PSA 2000 or Condition 22 of its licence, Postcomm, the industry regulator, will consider the merits of any such complaints in the light of its statutory duties.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received on making access to the Post Office's postcode address file (a) cheaper and (b) free. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 17 December 2008]: None. Postcomm, the industry regulator, in accordance with its statutory responsibilities, carried out a consultation on the management of and access to the postal address file (PAF) in 2006 and published a decision document in April 2007 which laid down new safeguards for the future management of the PAF. The consultation asked all PAF users for comments on a series of proposals designed to make sure that the database is managed and made available to other organisations wishing to use it on fair and reasonable terms. Following the consultation, Postcomm held discussions with Royal Mail, which agreed to implement all the recommendations outlined in the report. These included the setting up of an independent PAF Advisory Board to give independent advice to the Address Management Unit of Royal Mail on behalf of PAF users. More information on Postcomm's consultation and decision can be found on its website
Mr. McFadden: Details of Postwatchs expenditure and the salaries which includes bonuses, awarded to its members for the period ending 31 March 2008 can be found in its annual report. This information can also be accessed through the Postwatch archived website at:
Postwatchs final annual report and accounts to cover the remaining six-month period of its operation prior to its merger with Consumer Focus, is due to be published in January 2009. My officials will make the appropriate arrangements to place copies of this document in the Libraries of the House.
Production costs: £29,010
Mr. Paice: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate his Department has made of the number of public houses in England in (a) hamlets and isolated dwellings, (b) villages, (c) towns and fringe settlements and (d) settlements of more than 10,000 inhabitants in each year since 1997. 
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning what estimate has been made of the number of public houses in England in (a) hamlets and isolated dwellings, (b) villages, (c) town and fringe settlements and (d) settlements of more than 10,000 inhabitants in each year since 1997. (243172)
Estimates for the urban-rural geography are only available from 2005. The table below contains counts of local units classified to public houses using the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), version 2003, taken from the Interdepartmental Business Register (IDBR).
|Counts of Local Units for Public Houses and Bars, excluding licensed clubs (SIC 5540 excluding 55401) England|
|Urban >10,000 population||Town and Fringe||Village||Hamlet and Isolated Dwelling||Total|
Annual estimates are extracted from the IDBR at March each year
Justine Greening: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many of his Department's staff who left under (a) an involuntary and (b) a voluntary exit scheme in each year since 2005-06 received a severance package of (i) up to £25,000, (ii) £25,001 to £50,000, (iii) £50,001 to £75,000, (iv) £75,001 to £100,000 and (v) over £100,000; and if he will make a statement. 
|Up to £25,000||£25,001 to £50,000||£50,001 to £75,000||£75,001 to £100,000||Over £100,000||Total|
The Department will always try to deal with staff surpluses by means other than redundancy. If redundancies become unavoidable, the Department will endeavour to reduce staff by voluntary rather than involuntary means wherever possible.
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