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David Taylor: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on how many occasions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have met the (i) British Brands Group and (ii) Anti-Counterfeiting Group in each of the last five years. 
[holding answer 17 March 2009]: This Department is always willing to meet business organisations to discuss the implications of Government policy on the businesses they represent, but does not keep comprehensive records of all such meetings. The British Brands Group and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group have met officials a number times over the last five years to
discuss a range of issues affecting their members, including implementation of the unfair commercial practices directive, amendments to Part 9 of the Enterprise Act 2002 and the Competition Commission's report on groceries. The British Brands Group also had a meeting with a Special Adviser. I recently took part in the launch of the British Branch exhibition in the Upper Waiting Hall of the House of Commons.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will take steps to (a) increase the availability and (b) reduce the cost of credit insurance, with particular reference to firms in the construction sector. 
Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much has been spent by his Department on (a) capital expenditure and (b) maintenance and running costs for standby diesel generators for backup electricity on the departmental estate in each year since March 1997. 
Mr. McFadden: Since its formation on 28 June 2007, this Department has not purchased any new diesel generators. Since this date, the Department has spent £55,500 on maintenance and running costs, including diesel, for the standby generators on our central London estate.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was paid in sick pay to staff (a) his Department and its predecessor, (b) its agencies and (c) the non-departmental bodies for which his Department has responsibility in each of the last five years; what proportion of the annual staffing expenditure of each body this represented in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: The Department does not at present routinely calculate the annual cost of sickness absence. As this would involve manually investigating employee sickness records and pay details on an individual basis, the cost of doing this would be disproportionate to the benefit to be derived.
I am responding on behalf of Companies House to your recently tabled Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
The estimated cost of sick pay paid to Companies House staff and the proportion of the annual staffing expenditure this represented in each of the last five financial years is as follows:
|Financial year||Cost of sick pay (£ estimated)||Staffing expenditure (Percentage estimated)|
The Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has asked me to reply to you directly in respect of your question (2007/3334) asking how much was paid in sick pay to staff in each of the last five years; and what proportion of the annual staffing expenditure this represented for each of those years.
I regret to inform you that we are unable to supply you with data for the questions raised. The data required is held in several different sources and to gather this information would on this occasion entail a disproportionate cost.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department spent on staff surveys in each of the last five years; and which company was contracted to conduct each such survey. 
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the cost to small businesses of extending flexible working to parents of children up to the age of 16 years. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 19 March 2009]: The Department estimates the cost of extension of the right to request flexible working to parents of older children to entail an average cost of £16 per micro business (one to nine employees) and £138 per small business (10 to 49 employees).
More detailed estimates of costs and benefits to business are contained in the final impact assessment accompanying the government response to the consultation on implementing the recommendations of the Walsh Review into flexible working which is due to be published shortly.
Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the number of freight transport businesses declared bankrupt in each of the last five years. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 19 March 2009]: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has made no estimate of the number of freight transport businesses declared bankrupt in each of the last five years.
|Transport, storage and communication England and Wales|
|Self-employed bankruptcies||Compulsory liquidations||Creditors voluntary liquidations|
|n/a = Not yet available.|
Ian Pearson: The Government have acted to help industry through the current economic downturn, by the measures they have taken to boost capital and liquidity in the market and this will help manufacturers in the North West. BERR is providing a range of support to industry. For more information see:
The manufacturing strategy launched in September is providing £150 million of support for UK manufacturing, helping manufacturers to: seize the opportunities of the low carbon economy; significantly increase apprenticeships; and take advantage of new markets in the global economy.
The Northwest Regional Development Agency continues to deliver specific support to the industry in the North
West through its regional cluster and sector bodies, as well as through business link North West. A £10 million programme is in place to help new and high growth businesses reach their potential, and work is currently underway on a North West regional manufacturing strategy and action plan. We are also supporting manufacturing with programmes such as the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), which since April 2008 has helped over 1,200 companies in the North West to achieve cost savings and increased business worth over £47 million.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will take steps to increase the capacity of the national minimum wage customer responsive outreach team. 
Mr. McFadden: The Government take awareness and enforcement of the minimum wage seriously, extra resources have gone into both in recent years. HM Revenue and Customs employ national minimum wage customer responsive outreach officers who are embedded in compliances teams across the country. The officers play an important role in a wider publicity and educational activities to raise awareness of the national minimum wage. There are no plans to increase the capacity of this team as current demand is being met.
Jon Cruddas: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward proposals to reduce levels of non-compliance with national minimum wage legislation in addition to those proposed in relation to enforcement penalties. 
Mr. McFadden: The new penalties and other measures included in the Employment Act 2008 in relation to national minimum wage will bring about significant improvements to the enforcement regime. These measures will come into force on 6 April 2009.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent representations he has received from (a) tourism industry bodies and (b) others on the national minimum wage; and whether he plans to increase the level of the national minimum wage in 2009. 
Mr. McFadden: I have received no representations from the tourism industry specifically on the national minimum wage (NMW). A number of representations on the NMW are however made each year to the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC), who carry out a wide ranging consultation as part of their preparation in making their recommendations to Government on the minimum wage, including what the rates should be.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) redundancies, (b) retirements and (c) redundancy notices his Department has been notified of by public sector organisations in Wales in each week since 1 January 2009; and what estimate he has made of the total number of such (i) redundancies, (ii) retirements and (iii) redundancy notices in each week. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 19 March 2009]: Employers who propose to make 20 or more redundancies at one establishment within a 90 day period are required to notify the Secretary of State of the proposal under provisions contained in the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. There is no requirement for notification of employees who retire.
One notice of proposed redundancies from a public sector organisation in Wales has been received since 1 January 2009 to date. The employer is proposing 304 redundancies at various establishments. Estimates of the total redundancies are not made as the employer provides that information when notifying his proposals.
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