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Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in what respects average prices for each of the categories of electrical goods subject to the Restriction on Agreements and Conduct (Specified Domestic Electrical Goods) Order 1998 have altered in each of the last five years in (a) cash terms and (b) real terms. 
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compiled in categories. The categories which include those electrical goods covered by the Restriction on Agreements and Conduct (Specified Domestic Electrical Goods) Order 1998 are:
|Toys, photographic and sports equipment|
Mr. Alan Johnson: Our framework for encouraging macro-economic stability, together with our policies to help manufacturing and engineering companies to invest, innovate and to grow, are the best way to facilitate the long-term success of the UK engineering sector and enhance the job prospects of those within it.
BT have been upgrading exchanges across the UK to deliver ADSL services. Some 839 exchanges, serving over 50 per cent. of households and businesses, have been upgraded, a number of which are in Merseyside. Cable modem services are also being rolled out, and on Merseyside are available from the cable operator, Telewest.
Last November the Government auctioned licences in the 28 Ghz radio spectrum band which will enable the delivery of internet and multimedia services using wireless technology. Three licences were awarded for the region encompassing Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.
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The Government have accepted all the recommendations of the PIU report on the post office network and under the spending review 2000, as the first stage of modernising the post office network, have ring-fenced support of £270 million over the next three years for new investment to start the implementation of the PIU report. £15 million of this ring-fenced funding has been allocated specifically to help sustain and improve post offices in deprived urban areas. A report from the Postal Services Commission advising the Government on the best way to channel financial assistance to rural post offices is expected in the autumn, following consultations and discussions with the Consumer Council for Post Services, the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters and other key post office network stakeholders.
In addition, a fund of £2 million has been set up to support relocation and refurbishment initiatives by volunteer or community groups to maintain or reopen post office facilities in areas where the traditional post office is closing.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Government will respond to the Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees' revised proposals for prior parliamentary scrutiny of export licences. 
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the use of World Trade Organisation-sponsored trade sanctions against developing countries which produce and export generic medicines used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and other diseases. 
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if it is his policy to support the reform of the World Trade Organisation's TRIPS agreement to improve poor people's access to essential drugs and medicines. 
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Government will be evaluating measures to monitor the use of controlled goods once they have been exported from the UK. 
Dr. Howells: The Government keep all export control procedures under continuous review, including the need for monitoring, where appropriate, the use of controlled goods once they have been exported from the UK. The Government will consider carefully any comments received on the issue of end-use monitoring during the current public consultation on the draft Export Control and Non-Proliferation Bill, which ends on 24 May.
Mr. Alan Johnson: The recent responses to the PostComm discussion paper on preserving access to post offices in rural areas will feed into PostComm's annual report on the rural post office network and their advice to the Government on the best way to channel financial assistance to rural post offices due later in the year. The Government will then respond to the report's findings and to PostComm's advice.
Mr. Alan Johnson [pursuant to his reply, 22 March 2001, c. 480W]: The reversal of the recent year-on-year trend of increasing rural closures is both welcome and important. However, I now realise that I was mistaken in claiming, as I did in response to the hon. Lady's supplementary question, that the 20 per cent. reduction in rural post office closures in the nine months to December 2000 compared with the corresponding period of the previous year was the first reduction of any sort in the past 18 years. I apologise for the error.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will announce the final details of the proposed universal bank; and when he expects the new accounts to become available to post office users. 
Mr. Alan Johnson: Our intention is to sign a memorandum of understanding with the banks on universal banking services shortly. Detailed implementation is for the longer term and subject to further negotiations between the Post Office and the banks, and between the Post Office, their clients and potential suppliers. Universal banking services are scheduled to come on stream either before or at the time of transfer of benefit payments to ACT in 2003.
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