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Broadband

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the growth

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in level of (a) internet use and (b) broadband connectivity among small and medium enterprises over the last 12 months for which figures are available. [43816]

Mr. Alexander: The Government's Business in the Information Age International Benchmarking Report 2001 (October 2001) assesses the extent to which UK businesses are using information and communications technologies in their operations. The report has been placed in the Libraries of the House. Oftel's report Business use of Internet small and medium business survey contains the broadband connectivity figures.

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what international comparators she has identified as an appropriate basis for measuring UK broad band infrastructure roll-out. [43815]

Mr. Alexander: The UK Online Annual Report (December 2001) sets out the market performance metrics by which we will measure the UK's standing in the G7 in terms of the competitiveness and extensiveness of the broad band market.

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what international comparators she has identified as an appropriate basis for measuring performance of the local-loop unbundling initiative in the UK. [43814]

Mr. Alexander: Oftel is working with other European telecoms regulators to collect data relating to local loop unbundling (LLU) across Europe on a consistent basis.

Post Offices

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices there were in Wales in 1997; how many were classified as rural; and how many there are now that are classified as rural. [44043]

Mr. Alexander: 965 post offices in Wales were classified as rural according to the latest available figures to the end of December 2001.

I am informed by Post Office Ltd. that data by country are not available before 1998.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many rural network advisers there are for the Post Office. [43627]

Mr. Alexander: I am informed by Post Office Ltd. that there are currently 31 rural transfer advisers.

Pensions

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she proposes to secure equivalence of treatment in respect of pensions on the transfer of an engagement from the public sector to an outside contractor. [43134]

Alan Johnson: It has been the policy of successive Governments to ensure that the occupational pension rights of public sector staff are protected on a "broadly comparable" basis on transfer within the public sector and

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from the public sector to the private. The Government remain committed to that policy, which is set out in the Treasury note "Staff Transfers from Central Government: A Fair Deal for Staff Pensions".

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether pensions are treated by her Department as deferred pay in connection with industrial relations and the resolution of disputes. [43133]

Alan Johnson: Whether employment law would enable an employee to seek legal redress in respect of a dispute involving a pension will depend upon the nature of the dispute. If the pension forms part of the employee's contract of employment there may be redress through the employment tribunals or civil courts, for example in the form of a breach of contract claim.

Disabled People (Access)

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the number of premises at which the provision access for disabled people would be commercially unviable. [38385]

Maria Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

In order to comply with the physical access duties under Part III of the DDA that come into force in October 2004, service providers will only have to make changes to premises that are reasonable. Several factors are considered in determining reasonableness, including the cost of the adjustments, its practicality, and the service provider's resources. There is no question of unreasonable costs being imposed on businesses.

Disability Discrimination Act

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to extend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to apply to disabled youngsters on work placements. [38278]

Maria Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

We are considering what amendments should be made to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in the light of the ongoing consultation on the Article 13 Employment Directive, including possible changes in relation to practical work experience.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Advertising

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the publicity and advertising campaigns run by his Department in each of the last four years, specifying the (a) purpose, (b) cost to public funds, (c) number of staff involved and (d) method of evaluation in each case. [39074]

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Angela Eagle: The campaigns run by the Home Department in the last four years are as follows:


In answer to sections (a), (b) and (d) I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) on 25 January 2001, Official Report, column 718W.

(C) Staff in the Department's Marketing Communications Unit (currently 20) work on the development and management of advertising campaigns and other publicity initiatives. The number of staff involved in each project varies as it progresses, often on a week by week basis.

Police Stations

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the design and construction quality of new police stations. [39541]

Mr. Denham: The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) receives grant-in-aid from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in order to fulfil its remit to promote high standards in the design of public buildings. The Home Office, along with other Government Departments, is fully committed to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's Better Public Buildings Initiative, and is working with CABE at a practical level in order to achieve excellence in design and construction in the built environment.

The design and construction of new police stations is the direct responsibility of individual police authorities and is subject to town planning control procedures. The Department is working with CABE and police authorities to support the achievement of better design and construction quality in new police stations.

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Relocation Expenses

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on the payment of relocation expenses to staff in his Department. [41025]

Angela Eagle: Home Office policy is consistent with section 8 of the Civil Service Management Code which sets out the conditions under which Departments and agencies may provide for the reimbursement of relocation expenses to staff who are subject to permanent and compulsory transfers. Relocation terms must be cost effective compared with the alternatives and the level of reimbursement must reflect the reasonable additional costs necessarily incurred.

The details of the Department's policy are set out in the Transfer Manual and the Permanent Transfer Guide.

Islamophobia

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further action he is taking to tackle instances of Islamophobia; and if he will make a statement. [40970]

Angela Eagle: The Government are committed to tackling Islamophobia, along with all other forms of religious discrimination.

The Government are committed to implementing the Article 13 EC Employment Directive outlawing discrimination in employment and training on the grounds of religion by 2 December 2003.

The Human Rights Act 1998 also provides protection against religious discrimination.

The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 created new religiously aggravated offences including assaults, threatening behaviour and criminal damage, which carry higher maximum penalties where there is evidence of religious hostility.

A question on religious identity was included in the 2001 census reflecting the importance of recognising faith identity. When the census results are released they will provide Government with reliable data to help plan and deliver services sensitive to the needs of faith communities.

The Government favour a comprehensive approach in which education, training and a greater effort to teach more in schools about the diversity of faith will all play an important part.

The option of a state-supported faith-based education to those from minority faiths is being extended. This will build on the long-standing tradition of church schools and add to the inclusiveness and diversity of the school system, but will not involve the introduction of new policy or legislation.

In addition, education in citizenship is being introduced within secondary schools from September 2002 so that for the first time, students will be taught as part of the national curriculum about the diversity of identities and cultures in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding.

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Many people of different faiths share common problems in our society today regardless of their religious beliefs and values. The Government support them in their pursuit to eliminate harmful and discriminatory practices.

Our relations with the Muslim community are extremely important and we will continue to strive to improve them. I hope they—like other faith communities—will always find in this Government not just a sympathetic ear, but a friend willing to do all it can to make Britain a safe and fulfilling place to live.


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