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Interoperability

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the campaigns in Bosnia and Kosovo in terms of lessons for interoperability of equipment and personnel. [42950]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence constantly monitors the performance of our armed forces, including the interoperability of equipment and personnel. The

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process for collecting and analysing the lessons learned from operations is well proven. The results of our most recent analysis of operations in Kosovo can be found in the MOD publication "Kosovo: Lessons from the Crisis". This has already been placed in the Library of the House.

We are alert to the need to fine-tune our procurement priorities to take account of operational lessons learned. This is done in co-operation and consultation as necessary with our allies and likely partners.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Post Office

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to ensure banking services are made available through the Post Office network; and if she will make a statement. [41916]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 11 March 2002]: All the major banks have agreed to make their own basic bank accounts accessible at post offices. This agreement is now subject to detailed commercial negotiations between Post Office Ltd. and the individual institutions. The Post Office is also in discussion with the banks about wider access to their other bank accounts. These 'network' banking arrangements are strictly a commercial matter between the banks and the Post Office.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures she is taking to enable sub-postmasters to diversify the range of services available in their post offices; and if she will make a statement. [41915]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 11 March 2002]: Post Office Limited continually seeks opportunities to widen the network's client base in order to develop new products and services which will benefit customers and to ensure a viable future for the post office network. The Horizon automated platform, in which the Government invested £480 million, and which computerised the whole of the post office network should help this expansion.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advertising budget will be made available for marketing the proposed Universal Bank Account. [41929]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 11 March 2002]: The delivery of the Post Office Card Account (POCA) is a commercial matter for Post Office Ltd. Accordingly, the Department of Trade and Industry will not be making any financial provision for its marketing or advertising.

Gender Pay Gap

Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what the average gap between men's and women's pay is in the Stockton, North constituency; [42395]

Alan Johnson: The Office for National Statistics publishes data on men and women's pay in the New Earnings Survey (NES). However, in the case of Stockton,

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North constituency, the data are not sufficiently reliable for publication. Data are available for the north-east Government Office Region (GOR).

According to the 2001 NES, average hourly pay for full-time employees, excluding overtime, in the north-east GOR, was £10.08 for men and £8.48 for women, a pay gap of £1.60 per hour.

Current trends in women's individual incomes have been explored in two studies, published last year, by the Women and Equality Unit (WEU). Copies of these reports are available on the WEU website http:// www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/publications/ researchandpublications.htm.

WEU Gender Briefing, which provides statistical briefing on the position of women compared with men in the labour market, is also available on the website http://www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/ genderbriefing/home .htm.

There are no plans to commission further research into the gap between men and women's pay in the north-east GOR.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what plans the Government have to commission data on the gender pay gap at regional and national levels; [41468]

Alan Johnson: Estimates of earnings by gender, region, and country of the UK are available from the annual New Earnings Survey (NES). Comparisons of gender pay differences are calculated by comparing estimates of average hourly earnings excluding overtime for full-time employees, for those employees whose pay was not affected by absence.

Current trends in women's individual incomes have been explored in two studies, published last year, by the Women and Equality Unit (WEU). Copies of these reports are available on the WEU website: http:// www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/publications/ researchandpublications.htm.

WEU Gender Briefing, which provides statistical briefing on the position of women compared with men in the labour market, is also available on the website: http://www/womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/ genderbriefing/hom. htm.

There are no plans to commission further research into the gap between men and women's pay at regional and national levels.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to commission research into the gap between men's and women's pay in the Warrington, North constituency; and what the average gap is. [41441]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 11 March 2002]: The Office for National Statistics publishes data on men and women's pay in the New Earnings Survey. However, in the case of Warrington North constituency, the data is not sufficiently reliable for publication. Data are available for the Warrington unitary authority.

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According to the 2001 New Earnings Survey (NES), average hourly earnings for full-time employees, excluding overtime, in the Warrington unitary authority was £11.78 for men and £9.14 for women, a pay gap of £2.64 per hour.

Current trends in women's individual incomes have been explored in two studies, published last year, by the Women and Equality Unit (WEU). Copies of these reports are available on the WEU website: http:// www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/publications/ researchandpublications.htm.

WEU Gender Briefing, which provides statistical briefing on the position of women compared with men in the labour market, is also available on the website: http://www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/ genderbriefing/home .htm.

There are no plans to commission further research into the gap between men and women's pay in Warrington.

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her estimate is of the pay gap between men and women in (a) Warrington, South and (b) the north-west region; and if she will commission research into the gender gap between men's and women's pay in these areas. [42691]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 12 March 2002]: The Office for National Statistics publishes data on men and women's pay in the New Earnings Survey (NES). However, in the case of Warrington, South constituency, the data are not sufficiently reliable for publication. Data are available for Warrington Unitary Authority (UA) and the north-west Government Office Region (GOR).



Current trends in women's individual incomes have been explored in two studies, published last year, by the Women and Equality Unit (WEU). Copies of these reports are available on the WEU website. http:// www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/publications/ researchandpublications.htm.

WEU Gender Briefing, which provides statistical briefing on the position of women compared with men in the labour market, is also available on the website http://www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/ genderbriefing/home.htm.

There are no plans to commission further research into the gap between men and women's pay in Warrington UA or the north-west GOR.

Broadband

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of rural-based businesses have broadband internet access; and what her expectation is for change in that percentage over the next five years. [42002]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 12 March 2002]: The Government have not made an assessment of the number of rural-based businesses with broadband access. A map showing availability of broadband services in the UK was

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contained in the UK Online annual report and has been placed in the Libraries of the House. The report states that satellite and leased-line services are universally available and offer one of the solutions to the issue of rural provision.


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