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John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he is considering to facilitate access to digital technologies for disadvantaged groups and individuals; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: The UK Government recently launched their cross-government paper Delivering Digital Inclusion - An Action Plan for Consultation which details more than 70 Government actions taking place to advance digital inclusion and future actions being considered by Government to facilitate access to digital technologies for disadvantaged groups and individuals in the annex of the report. The consultation was launched on the 27 October 2008 and finished on the 19 January 2009.
There are significant and untapped opportunities to use technology better on behalf of citizens and communities. These include improved service planning, design and delivery, particularly to address the needs of disadvantaged groups and individuals.
The paper highlights and brings together the activities already happening within the UK to improve access to technology and provide support and training to use information and communication technology (ICT) in order to enhance educational, employment and social outcomes for disadvantaged groups and individuals.
The consultation sought views on both the analysis set out in the consultation paper and on proposals for a new Digital Inclusion Champion supported by an expert taskforce and a research team. Consultation responses are currently being analysed and will be used to inform future work to drive forward digital inclusion across all sectors.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will take steps to establish a strategy to tackle age discrimination and promote age equality in the provision of goods and services (a) by his Department and (b) within the sectors for which his Department has policy responsibility; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: The forthcoming Equality Bill will enable the Government to make it illegal to discriminate unjustifiably against adults aged 18 and over, because of their age when providing goods, facilities and services. The reforms will apply to all sectors of the economy including those for which BERR has policy responsibility.
BERR aims to have a work force that reflects the diverse community the Department serves. The Department's diversity strategy links into BERRs employment policies and practices; and guidance and training on avoiding all forms of discrimination, including age, is available to all staff.
The Department contractually requires its suppliers and their sub-contractors to adhere to its anti-discrimination policies and broader legislation. The Department will continue to implement emerging best practice in this area.
Mr. Benyon: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) civilian and (b) military staff there were at the Defence Export Services Organisation in July 2007. 
|Number of staff at the Defence Export Services Organisation in July 2007.|
|Number of staff|
Not all the units which comprised the Defence Export Services Organisation in the Ministry of Defence transferred to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform under the machinery of government transfer on 1 April 2008. Some units remained in the Ministry of Defence.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to ensure that imported goods have not been produced by foreign workers who have been exploited. 
We fully support the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work Agenda, which promotes employment, labour standards, social protection and social dialogue; and we actively encourage all ILO member states to improve working conditions and, particularly, to work towards ratifying and implementing the eight ILO core labour conventions, which cover forced and child labour, trade union rights and discrimination in employment.
We also fully support the ILOs Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which are voluntary standards of responsible corporate behaviour. Allegations of breaches of the guidelines by UK companies can be investigated by the UKs National Contact Point.
We also fund the Ethical Trade Initiative, an alliance of businesses, trade unions and charities. This initiative works to secure better conditions for workers in supply
chains making products for export to the UK and other countries; for example, workers who make clothes, shoes, toys and food items.
In addition, the EUs special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) incentivises economically vulnerable countries to improve their labour standards by allowing preferential access to EU markets if they ratify and effectively implement key international instruments including the eight ILO conventions.
Peter Luff: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many prosecutions there have been for trading when knowingly insolvent in each of the last three years. 
Mr. McFadden: Section 458 of the Companies Act 1985 and section 993 of the Companies Act 2006 create the offence of carrying on a business with the intent to defraud creditors or for any fraudulent purpose. Prosecutions for this offence are brought to cover a range of fraudulent activity, including trading while insolvent.
These figures refer to charges finalised within the years in question; not numbers of defendants or cases.
The Secretary of State's final decision on the impact of BSkyB's shareholding in ITV was published on 29 January 2008. This includes his decisions as to the remedies appropriate in this case to address the substantial lessening of competition to which he found the shareholding gave rise. The remedies include the requirement on BSkyB to make a partial divestment of its shares in ITV down to a level below 7.5 per cent. We aim to implement the remedies as soon as practicable. The process has, however, been delayed due to the appeal proceedings brought by BSkyB seeking to overturn the decisions. The Competition Appeal Tribunal's judgment upholding the Secretary of State's decisions was published on 29 September. BSkyB subsequently submitted an application for permission to appeal that judgment.
That application was refused on 4 December. On 18 December, BSkyB submitted a further application for permission to appeal direct to the Court of Appeal.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effects of BSkyB's continuing retention of shares in ITV on competition and the public interest as it relates to the need to ensure a sufficient plurality of persons with control of media. 
Mr. Thomas: The Secretary of State's assessment of the impact of BSkyB's shareholding in ITV was set out in the final decision document he published on 29 January 2008. This included the decisions that BSkyB's shareholding in ITV had resulted in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for all television but that it did not operate against the public interest as it relates to ensuring a sufficient plurality of persons with control of media enterprises. The decision document also sets out the remedies appropriate in this case, including the requirement on BSkyB to make a partial divestment of its shares in ITV down to a level below 7.5 per cent.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what (a) communications he has had from and (b) meetings his Department has had with (i) BSkyB, (ii) News International and (iii) other News Corporation-controlled companies during the last four months; and which of those related to BSkyB's shareholding in ITV. 
Mr. Thomas: My noble Friend, the Secretary of State has had no communications from BSkyB or News International during the period or, to the best of my knowledge, from any other companies controlled by News Corporation. During the period, BERR officials have been in contact with BSkyB about the text of the statutory undertakings we are asking BSkyB to provide to remedy the anti-competitive effects of their shareholding in ITV in accordance with the Secretary of State's final decision on this matter dated 29 January 2008.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when the Secretary of State plans to reply to the letter of 14 November 2008 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Brother E. Egan. 
Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend East of 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 722W, on the Keep Our Future Afloat campaign, to which bodies the North East Regional Development Agency provided funding to be used by the campaign. 
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 20 January 2009]: UK exports of goods to Israel, as recorded in the HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics, were worth £1,243 million in 2007 and £1,088 million in the first 10 months of 2008; UK imports of goods from Israel were worth £1,058 million and £960 million respectively. As published in the ONS Balance of Payments Pink Book, in 2007 UK exports of services to Israel were worth £475 million and UK imports of services from Israel were worth £305 million.
UK exports of goods to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as recorded in the HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics, were worth £876,000 in 2007 and £2,443,000 in the first 10 months of 2008; UK imports of goods from the Occupied Palestinian Territories were worth £958,000 and £901,000 respectively. No figures are available for trade in services.
Justine Greening: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many staff in his Department left under (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 2005-06; how many of them in each case were paid (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 in the year before they left; and how much (A) was spent in each of those years and (B) is planned to be spent in (1) 2008-09 and (2) 2009-10 on such schemes by (y) his Department and its predecessor and (z) each of his Departments agencies. 
Payments include pension lump sums as well as compensation awards. 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.
The Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) has asked me to reply to you directly in respect of your question (2008/90) asking how many staff in his Department have left under (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 2005-06; how many of them in each case were paid (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 in the year before they left; and how much (A) was spent in each of those years and (B) is planned to be spent in (1) 2008-09 and (2) 2009-10 by (Y) his Department and its predecessor (Z) each of his Departments agencies.
As an Agency of BERR, The Insolvency Service has not undertaken any involuntary or voluntary exit schemes since 2005-06 and there are no plans to hold such schemes during 2008-09 and 2009-10.
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