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19 Jun 2007 : Column 1600W—continued

Minimum Wage: Young People

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Low Pay Commission has undertaken research into the effect of a minimum wage for those under the age of 16 years. [143611]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 18 June 2007]: The Low Pay Commission has not been asked to undertake research in this area.


19 Jun 2007 : Column 1601W

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will consider introducing a minimum wage for those under the age of 16 years. [143612]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 18 June 2007]: The Government have no plans to introduce a minimum wage for those under the age of 16.

Overseas Trade: Russia

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the UK’s trade with Russia was conducted with the province of Kaliningrad in each year since 1997. [143362]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 18 June 2007]: The statistics are not available. HM Customs and Excise do not record trade with individual Russian provinces (or regional data for any other country).

Packaging

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many prosecutions were made by local authority trading standards departments for over-packaging in each year since 2000. [143655]

Malcolm Wicks: There were two successful prosecutions made by trading standards departments in 2000, followed by a further one in 2004 and another in 2006.

Tidal Power

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the proportion of UK energy supply which tidal power (a) could theoretically provide and (b) is expected by his Department to provide in the next decade. [143330]

Malcolm Wicks: The tidal energy resource can be split into two categories: tidal current—the extraction of kinetic energy from fast moving tidal currents, and tidal range—the extraction of potential energy release from water at high level relative to low level.

The UK tidal energy programme that ran between 1978 and 1994 estimated the total resource available in the UK, for tidal range energy generation from reasonably exploitable estuaries with a mean tidal range of 3 metres or more, at around 50 tera

watt hours per year (around 15 per cent. of current UK demand). Nearly all of this potential resource is in England and Wales, with 90 per cent. located in eight large estuaries—the Severn, the Dee, the Mersey, Morecambe Bay, Solway Firth, the Humber, the Wash and the Thames. The remaining 10 per cent. is in 30-40 smaller estuaries.

A study undertaken in 2005(1) estimated the tidal-current resource at approximately 16 tera watt hours per year (around 5 per cent. of current UK demand).

(1 )Black and Veatch (2005). Tidal Stream—Phase II UK Tidal Stream Energy Resource Assessment. A report to the Carbon Trust's Marine Energy


19 Jun 2007 : Column 1602W

The Department has also carried out a study called ATLAS(2) that looks at the marine resource around the UK, including tidal power. A copy of the study can be found online at

(2) ABPmer, The Met Office, Garrard Hassan and Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (2004). Atlas of UK Marine Renewable Energy Resources:

Technical report. A report to the Department of Trade and Industry.

The Department has not assessed the proportion of UK energy supply that tidal power could be expected to provide in the next decade.

Trade Unions

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what mechanisms the Certification Office has in place to monitor whether trade unions affiliate more members to the Labour Party than contribute to their union's political fund. [143170]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Some unions with political funds do not affiliate to any political party. In the case of those unions that affiliate to a political party, the affiliation arrangements are matters for the unions and political parties to decide in accordance with their rules and constitutions. The Certification Officer therefore has no specific powers to monitor the number of members that trade unions affiliate to political parties.

Unfair Commercial Practices Directive

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what progress has been made in implementing the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive; [141284]

(2) when he plans to introduce regulations to implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. [141288]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 11 June 2007]: On 29 May I published a consultation paper seeking views on draft Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations to implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. On the same day the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a consultation on joint OFT/DTI draft guidance to accompany the regulations. The deadline for responses to both consultations is 21 August. The regulations will be made in the autumn to come into force on 6 April 2008. The guidance will be finalised at the end of this year or in early 2008.

Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether his Department has any plans to update the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. [141287]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 11 June 2007]: The Government asked the Law Commission and the Scottish Law Commission to consider the case for a unified regime for unfair terms in consumer contracts, bringing together the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations
19 Jun 2007 : Column 1603W
1999. The Commissions reported in February 2005 in favour of a unified regime, and provided a draft Bill. The Government have accepted in principle the recommendations of the Commissions, subject to further consideration of the detail of the issues, and to further work to identify potential cost impacts.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Arms to Sierra Leone Inquiry

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost was of the 1998 inquiry into the arms to Sierra Leone affair. [143721]

Mr. McCartney: According to the published report, the inquiry undertaken by Sir Thomas Legg and Sir Robin Ibbs took 68 days and its direct costs amounted to approximately £112,500.

Departments: Advertising

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on advertising by (a) her Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last five years. [139519]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advertises in different media for a number of varied reasons. The main expenditure is on recruitment advertising for generalist and specialist staff in the FCO and FCO Services (an executive agency of the FCO since 1 April 2006). In the last five financial years the following totals have been spent on recruitment advertising:

£

2002-03

456,504

2003-04

381,683

2004-05

493,324

2005-06

547,514

2006-07

460,359


Other FCO departments may also place advertisements on an ad hoc basis, as will the FCO's agency (Wilton Park), and its posts overseas. Details of this expenditure are not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Manpower

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of staff in her Department are (a) male, (b) female, (c) registered disabled and (d) aged 55 or over. [143913]

Mr. Hoon: The figures requested for Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff are:

Staff Percentage

Male

57.5

Female:

42.5

Disabled(1)

4.3

Aged 55 or over

11.2

(1 )Staff are not obliged to declare whether they have a disability nor what it may be. This number represents those who have told us that they are disabled.

19 Jun 2007 : Column 1604W

We are committed to ensuring that our UK workforce reflects fully the diversity of modern Britain.

We were also one of the few Departments to decide in 2006 to dispense with mandatory retirement ages for staff below the Senior Management Structure.

Departments: Recruitment

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many recruits to her Department were graduates of Oxford or Cambridge university in each year since 1995. [142460]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 14 June 2007]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold educational details on all staff centrally, and the full information could be collated only at disproportionate cost. Some details are available from 1997 for the FCO fast stream, administered by the Cabinet Office, and for the FCO operational stream from 1997-2000 and 2006. 2007 data are not yet available, as the final list of FCO fast stream and operational appointments has not yet been made.

Oxbridge appointments to the fast stream since 1997
Percentage of intake from Oxbridge Number of appointments from Oxbridge

1997

48

1998

65

1999

44

2000

57

20

2001

61

13

2002

47

17

2003

51

18

2004

40

10

2005

44

8

2006

50

13


Oxbridge appointments to the operational stream since 1997
Percentage of intake from Oxbridge Number of appointments from Oxbridge

1997

6

1998

7

1999

4

2000

4

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

8

6


Our recruitment processes are run on the principle of fair and open competition, as laid down in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Code (www.civilservicecommissioners.gov.uk). The minimum education requirement to apply at fast stream is a lower-second class degree in any subject. To apply at operational stream the minimum education requirement is a degree or 2 A-levels with GCSE Mathematics and English Language (grade A* - C) or five GCSEs including Mathematics and English Language (grade A* - C).


19 Jun 2007 : Column 1605W

Our work experience schemes for undergraduates in 2006 offered placements to students from 18 different universities. The FCO is also active in outreach activities, such as careers fairs and community business events throughout the UK. Through this, the FCO aims to recruit a talented and diverse work force that reflects the society we serve.

Departments: Sick Leave

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what average number of days per year was taken by staff in her Department as sick leave in each of the last five years for which records are available. [143063]

Mr. Hoon: The average number of days recorded as sick leave absences by staff of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for each of the past five calendar years is as follows:

Number

2002

4.93

2003

5.66

2004

6.17

2005

5.62

2006

5.14


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