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Post Office

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advice will be given to customers of post offices which are expected to be closed in the restructuring of Post Office Counters networks in respect of where they will be able to receive post office counter services; and if she will make a statement. [48796]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 15 April 2002]: The Post Offices objective in restructuring the urban network is to retain and expand its customer base at modernised, improved facilities. Sub-postmasters leaving the network will be encouraged to help achieve this, for example, assisting customers by advising them of the nearest post office and introducing them to services available at the new outlet. Consultation on closure will involve the community, local stakeholders, sub-postmasters and Postwatch.

Under the Code of Practice, Post Office Ltd. are required to consult Postwatch on individual changes and plan to brief them on the process they envisage for reaching decisions.

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John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many agency workers have been involved in delivering mail for the Royal Mail in the past year; [49946]

Mr. Alexander: These are matters that falls within the day to day responsibility of Consignia and I have therefore asked the chief executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information she has received from Consignia on the number of proposed closures of post offices in Norfolk. [48990]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 16 April 2002]: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. The programme of urban restructuring has not yet begun.

Wainstones Plc

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to what extent Wainstones plc may transfer to a third party the licence to build a gas-fuelled power station at Langage, Plympton. [50987]

Mr. Wilson: Like any planning permission, the consent goes with the land and as such can be transferred.

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the licence granted to Wainstones plc to build a gas-fuelled power station at Langage contained a condition as to timescale for commencement of the project. [50986]

Mr. Wilson: The commencement of the development must be before the expiry of five years from the grant of consent.

Corus

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on Government actions to encourage business and industry to develop in the areas affected by Corus Steel plant closures. [50637]

Alan Johnson: Measures to help the Tees Valley and Scunthorpe areas, including regeneration and improvements to infrastructure, training and advice for people leaving Corus and help in the establishment of small firms were announced on 3 May 2001 as part of a £135 million package responding to closures in England and Wales. These are now being implemented. Measures in Wales are matters for the Assembly.

My Department is also in contact with the South Yorkshire Task Force, and will discuss their report with them once it has been finalised.

Lakshmi Mittal

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether she sought advice from HM ambassadors to (a) the Irish Republic and (b) Kazakhstan in connection with the takeover of Sidex by LNM/Ispat. [50454]

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Ms Hewitt: No I did not seek advice from either ambassador.

Small Businesses

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions she has had with the Small Business Service about the regulatory burdens on small companies. [49477]

Nigel Griffiths: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has appointed me as the Minister for Small Business. Since January I have had three meetings with Small Business Service (SBS) officials specifically about regulatory burdens and had a number of other meetings where regulating issues have been discussed.

Broadband

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what policy initiatives are being considered in response to the recommendations of the Broadband Stakeholder Group. [49858]

Mr. Alexander: The Government response to the Broadband Stakeholder Group's report was set out in the UK Online annual report 2001, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Delegated Legislation

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment she has made of the cost-effectiveness of the Public Telecommunication System Designation (Carrier 1 UK Ltd.) Order; and if she will make a statement; [50186]

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Ms Hewitt: The Department makes an assessment of the costs and benefits of regulations when developing regulatory proposals. Where a regulatory proposal has an impact, in terms of costs, benefits and risks that affect businesses, charities and the voluntary sector, a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) is undertaken to inform policy development. Final RIAs are placed in the Libraries of the House when the regulation is presented to Parliament, but are not required for regulations where it has been assessed that no or negligible costs or savings would be

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imposed or those that increase statutory fees via a predetermined formula. The Small Business Service are consulted on RIAs to ensure that the impact on small firms is not disproportionate.


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