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Overseas Development (Investment)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her estimate is of (a) the total investment in all forms of overseas development by her Department, for each country dealt with by her Department, in the period 1997–98 to 2000–01 and (b) expenditure per head of population for each country. [1393]

Clare Short: Details of all DFID's expenditure on overseas development is contained in "Statistics on International Development".

Development Council

Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the outcome was of the Development Council held on 31 May; and if she will make a statement. [1942]

Clare Short: At its meeting on the 31 May, the Development Council:





We will be reporting separately on the outcome of the Council to the Chairs of the House of Lords European Union Committee, the Clerks of the International Development Committee and the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee.

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St. Helena

John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with the Government of St. Helena concerning improvements in transport services to and from the island; what further discussions she has had regarding a proposed airport for St. Helena; and if she will make a statement. [1785]

Clare Short: The report of the "Comparative Study of Air and Sea Access" for St. Helena, which addresses the future international passenger and cargo transport needs of the island, has just been finalised. Copies are available in the House of Commons' Library. The study's findings are currently under discussion with the St. Helena Government. We have made it clear that we will support funding for either the cost of replacing the RMS St. Helena or the estimated capital cost of an airport and related infrastructure, depending on which is most cost- effective.

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the proposals of the St. Helena Leisure Corporation for the future of that island. [1684]

Clare Short: The St. Helena Leisure Company has held preliminary discussions with the St. Helena Government and my Department about its proposals to provide leisure facilities on the island. At the request of the St. Helena Government, we have made available to the Company a copy of the recent report of the 'Comparative Study of Air and Sea Access' for St. Helena. We understand that the Company wishes to take account of the study's findings in further formulating its proposals to the St. Helena Government.

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when the results of the comparative study of air and sea access to the island of St. Helena will be published. [1685]

Clare Short: The report of the 'Comparative Study of Air and Sea Access' has just been finalised. Copies are available in the House of Commons Library.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Fixed Term Work Directive

Mr. Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the implementation of the EU directive on fixed term work. [1966]

Alan Johnson: The fixed term directive is due to be implemented by 10 July 2001, but provides that member states may take up to an extra year to implement if they encounter special difficulties. The public consultation on the implementation of this directive in the UK closed on 31 May and the responses have shown that there are particular difficulties with the implementation of the directive in this country. In particular, the relative lack of existing legal provisions on fixed term contracts in the UK has made it difficult to establish how they are used. We shall therefore be taking extra time to implement the fixed term directive and have notified the European Commission accordingly. Before deciding to take extra time to implement the Directive, we consulted with

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employer and employee representative bodies, including the CBI and TUC. I am aware that several other member states have indicated they will also be taking extra time to implement the directive.

Productivity

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the United Kingdom's productivity rate compared with that of the United States; and if she will make a statement. [2159]

Ms Hewitt: The Government monitor the productivity gap with the US and other leading industrial countries as part of our Public Service Agreement commitments. The most recent assessment can be found in "Productivity in the UK: Enterprise and the Productivity Challenge", which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and I published on 18 June 2001. This document sets out the next steps the Government will take to narrow the productivity gap.

Small Businesses (Merseyside)

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps her Department has taken to increase the productivity of small businesses in the Merseyside sub-region. [2015]

Nigel Griffiths [holding answer 3 July 2001]: We have established the Small Business Service on Merseyside to help small businesses enhance their competitiveness and profitability. They work with a range of partners, including the Government Office (especially as the managing agent for the European Objective One Programme, which has a significant resource dedicated to developing business) and the North West Development Agency, to champion entrepreneurship and business improvement and to minimise the burden of regulation.

Manufacturing

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on her policies for supporting UK manufacturing industries. [1728]

Mr. Wilson: The platform of economic stability the Government have established, together with our policies to foster enterprise and help firms to innovate and grow, are the best way to secure the long-term success of UK manufacturing industries.

Export Controls

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when she will publish responses to the consultation on draft legislation on export controls published on 29 March (Cm 5091); and if she will make a statement. [3099]

Nigel Griffiths: The Department has received 52 responses to the consultation on draft legislation on export controls published on 29 March. I am today placing copies of the responses in the Libraries of both Houses and in the Library of the Department. I have also arranged for copies of the responses to be made available by the Department's Export Control Organisation on request.

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Universal Bank

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government will make transitional finance available for rural sub-post offices before 2003; and if she will make it her policy that the universal bank will be post office based. [30]

Mr. Alexander: Decisions on the provision of transitional financial assistance for rural sub-post offices will be taken in the context of advice from the Postal Services Commission which we expect to receive in the autumn in line with the recommendations of the Performance and Innovation Unit report. Earlier this year, a new Government fund, with a funding allocation for the current financial year, was announced to help with the costs of relocating and refurbishing rural post offices. Universal banking services is a Post Office based approach which will ensure that those benefit and pension recipients who wish to continue to collect their benefits in cash, in full, across a post office counter, will be able to do so.

Public Services

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with trade unions in respect of proposals to introduce greater private sector management into the public services. [1757]

Ms Hewitt: I have regular meetings with trade unions at which we discuss a wide range of topics.

Adhesive Label Manufacturing

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact of the reclassification of backing paper as packaging material on the competitiveness of the UK adhesive label manufacturing industry. [1236]

Mr. Wilson: The Department has not assessed the impact of this obligation on the competitiveness of the UK adhesive label manufacturing industry. Nevertheless, the regulations should not place UK business at a competitive disadvantage in the domestic market given that imported packaging is equally obligated. Similarly, packaging which is exported from the UK is not obligated under the UK packaging regulations.

The Department works closely with representatives of the UK's paper and printing related industries in order to help improve their long term prospects. To this end, we are currently exploring ways to take forward recommendations from recent competitiveness studies for paper related industries, in partnership with the Confederation of Paper Industries and the British Printing Industries Federation.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the change in the annual cost to the UK adhesive label manufacturing industry of the reclassification of backing paper as packaging material; and if she will make a statement. [1237]

Mr. Wilson: The Department has not independently estimated the change in the annual cost to the UK adhesive label manufacturing industry.

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However, the Environment Agency have estimated that the cost in 2001 to the UK adhesive label manufacturing industry as a whole will be in the order of £430,000.


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