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Refurbishment Project

Ms Walley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) building and (b) refurbishment projects are planned by his Department in (i) the current year and (ii) the next financial year; and what the costs are of each project. [6523]

Mr. Andrew Smith: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire (Mrs. Lawrence) on 5 May 2000, Official Report, column 231W.

Approved Pension Schemes (Tax Relief)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of the total cost of tax relief for approved pension schemes in the last financial year was provided to higher rate taxpayers. [14417]

Ruth Kelly: The estimates available for 2000–01 are as follows:

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The employers' component is estimated on the basis that under present arrangements, employers' contributions are not taxable as a benefit in kind of the employees. The estimates assume that the proportion of total employers' contributions related to higher rate taxpayers is the same as that observed for employees' contributions. It is not possible to apportion the other elements of the total cost of tax relief between higher rate taxpayers and others.

Estimates are provisional, based on the Survey of Personal Incomes 1999–2000.

Departmental Secondments

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many secondees in his Department are paid by (a) their previous employer and (b) his Department. [14702]

Ruth Kelly: There are currently 20 people seconded to HM Treasury from outside the civil service. In each case the Treasury meets the salary cost by reimbursing the employer.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the term of secondment of each secondee in his Department; and if they are renewable. [14701]

Ruth Kelly: Details of the people seconded from outside the civil service are set out in the table:

NameStart dateEnd date
Trevor Ashenden3 April 20002 April 2002
Rachel Austin24 September 200123 September 2003
Paul Bilton13 August 200112 February 2003
Dee Bingham24 September 200128 December 2001
Nick Bloom24 September 200123 April 2002
Graeme Brown26 February 200131 August 2002
Tony Burdon3 September 20012 September 2002
Nick Buxton5 June 20004 June 2002
Steven Cain4 January 20003 January 2002
Nigel Fawcett12 February 200130 November 2001
Paul Gregg24 May 199923 May 2002
Robert Jennings3 October 20012 April 2002
Paul Kennedy15 November 19991 December 2001
Birone Lynch23 April 200130 November 2002
Richard Maddison26 October 200030 November 2002
Ciaran Martin10 January 20009 January 2002
Simon Pink6 August 20015 February 2003
Colin Stratton8 January 20017 January 2003
David Watkins10 January 20009 January 2002
Peter Westaway1 September 200131 December 2001(1)

(1) Four days per week.

Secondments are not renewable but may be extended by mutual agreement.

All secondments in HM Treasury operate in accordance with Civil Service Commissioners Recruitment Code, which states that periods of secondment may be granted up to three years and extended to a period not exceeding five years.


Steel Industry

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with Corus management in the last six months regarding the future of the steel industry; and if she will make a statement. [13728]

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Mr. Wilson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry met Corus management recently for a general discussion. The Government attach great importance to the steel industry and will maintain close contact with Corus and other key players in order to maintain its future.

Terrorist Threat

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost is of additional security arrangements at nuclear installations since 11 September; and what her calculation is of the annual future costs of these arrangements if they are continued. [13719]

Mr. Wilson: Robust security arrangements were already in place at civil nuclear installations before the events of 11 September. Security at nuclear sites is kept under regular review. The additional costs to the operators of increased security has not been collated centrally.

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is on the protection of (a) nuclear power stations and (b) road and rail bridges from terrorist attack. [13411]

Mr. Wilson: The Government's policy on the protection of nuclear power stations is to maintain an independent regulatory authority and provide it with regulatory powers. The Government's security regulator is the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), which is responsible for setting security standards and enforcing compliance under the Nuclear Generating Stations (Security) Regulations 1996 made under the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974. OCNS ensures that levels of protection at nuclear power stations is adequate, taking into account the likely level of threat against them.

In respect of road and rail bridges, security policy is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.

Nuclear Energy

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Government plans are with regard to nuclear energy; and if she will make a statement. [13885]

Mr. Wilson: Nuclear power currently produces about 25 per cent. of electricity generated in the UK, and with almost zero carbon emissions is contributing to the achievement of UK and international carbon emissions targets. Existing nuclear stations are expected to continue to contribute to our energy requirements, provided they meet the stringent safety and environmental standards currently required. The Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit review of energy policy announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 25 June is looking at the objectives of energy policy to develop a strategy that ensures current policy commitments are consistent with longer-term goals. To achieve its aim, the review is considering all sources of energy including nuclear. At this stage, there is no presumption of any change in nuclear industry policies. The review is due to report to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister at the end of the year.

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Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list each of the buildings at Sellafield which have facility arrangements and particular safeguards provisions in place for the application of international safeguards; and, for each building or group of buildings, when the safeguards provisions came into effect. [14688]

Mr. Wilson: The European Commission has provided particular safeguards provisions for a total of 28 Material Balance Areas at the BNFL Sellafield facility. Facility Attachments for the two parts of the BNFL Sellafield facility (Special Nuclear Materials Store 9 and the THORP Plutonium Product Store) that the IAEA has designated for routine inspection have been drawn-up with the European Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Under Exemption 1.1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, disclosure of detailed information on nuclear material accountancy arrangements, including the description and location of Material Balance Areas, would harm national security and would not be in the public interest.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the annual cost of storing plutonium at Sellafield; and what proportion of the cost is recovered from overseas customers. [14693]

Mr. Wilson: This is a commercial matter for BNFL and its customers, under Exemption 13—Third Party's Commercial Confidences—of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) financial investment and (b) other assistance the North-west Regional Development Agency has put into St. Helens in each of the last three years. [14718]

Alan Johnson: The North-west Development Agency has invested in a range of projects in St. Helens during the last three years. Expenditure breaks down as follows:

Year£ million

Total investment during the current financial year is expected to be approximately £7.1 million. The agency also works closely with St. Helens metropolitan borough council and other partners to provide advice and guidance on economic development and regeneration issues.

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