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26 Nov 2002 : Column 223Wcontinued
Alan Johnson: The East Midlands Regional Development Agency has been allocated a net budget of £101,247,000 for expenditure on the agency's Single Programme in 200203. Grant in aid paid to the agency by the Department of Trade and Industry includes contributions from four other Government Departments.
Mr. Wilson: The Council agenda states that the Commission intends to make a presentation on their package of measures for a Community approach to nuclear safety in the European Union. The Commission proposals were published on 6 November and include a directive on the safety of nuclear installations during operation and decommissioning, a directive on spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and a draft decision authorising the Commission to negotiate an Agreement between Euratom and the Russian Federation on trade in nuclear materials. Discussion of the proposals at the Council is not envisaged. The Commission will need to seek the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee and the group of experts established under Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty before taking the directives forward in the Council.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on preparations for a major incident at (a) chemical plants, and (b) nuclear installations during the period of industrial action by the Fire Brigades Union. 
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Mr. Wilson [holding answer 21 November 2002]: Chemical Industries Association (CIA), member companies and operators of nuclear installations have been carrying out contingency planning since strike action by the firefighters became a real possibility, and keeping the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) informed.
The CIA has discussed with member companies the need to review the adequacy of existing plans and procedures, and to consider any additional steps they might take in the absence of emergency assistance from the Fire Brigade. The nuclear operators are likewise acting in the light of their responsibilities for safety on their sites and for emergency preparedness, and are keeping under review the implications of possible further strike action for their day-to-day activities.
The Health and Safety Executive has offered advice to employers operating onshore major hazard sites and nuclear licensed sites. In essence, this advice is for businesses to review their risk assessments in the light of the changed circumstances and consider what additional actions might be necessary. Overall, the HSE view is that the existence of a strike should not, of itself, cause the vast majority of legitimate industrial or commercial activities to be curtailed, since emergency plans and evacuation should not be dependent on the presence of the fire brigade. The HSE's advice, and other advice to relevant industries, is available on HSE's website: www.hse.gov.uk/firefighters.htm
Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will provide assistance to small businesses who are (a) finding it difficult to obtain insurance and (b) being charged premiums that are substantially higher than before; and if she will make a statement; 
(3) what assessment she has made of the impact of the rise in public liability and employers' liability insurance premiums over the last year on the competitiveness of UK businesses; and if she will make a statement. 
Officials have had discussions with the Federation of Small Businesses as well as with the Association of British Insurers and the British Insurance Brokers Association to explore how affordable cover can be provided. The DTI, Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions are closely monitoring the effect of insurance premium rises on UK firms of all sizes.
Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the effect of the events of 11 September 2001, on insurance requirements for small and medium sized architecture businesses. 
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Nigel Griffiths: A number of businessesparticularly small businessesare experiencing increases in liability insurance premiums, and in some cases difficulties in obtaining cover. Insurance premiums are rising across the board at present for a variety of reasons, not least the tragic events of September 11 last year, which had a severe effect on the global insurance market.
The DTI, Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions are closely monitoring the effect on SMEs of insurance premium rises. We are exploring with Association of British Insurers and the British Insurance Brokers Association ways to ensure that affordable cover is available.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much financial support has been given to (a) the nuclear generating sector, (b) the nuclear waste sector, (c) nuclear fusion and (d) other parts of the nuclear industry in each year since 1972. 
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 20 November 2002]: Funding to the UK nuclear industry has been provided primarily in the form of grant and grant-in-aid to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Over the period in question, the funding enabled UKAEA to undertake civil nuclear research programmes and to discharge liabilities arising from past programmes.
|Grant and grant-in-aid|
|Grant and grant-in-aid||Nuclear fusion||Other nuclear|
(18) Grant payment.
(19) Prior to 1995, UKAEA was a trading fund with a negative external financing requirement.
Grant-in-aid to the UKAEA includes provision for its running costs.
Government Expenditure Plan Reports.
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At the time BNFL acquired Magnox Electric in 1998, Magnox Electric benefited from the NFFO and NFFL. Any sums received by Magnox Electric under the NFFO and NFFL were received as part of its trading revenues in the ordinary course of business. Magnox Electric applied these sums in the ordinary course of funding its business of the generation and wholesale supply of electricity, and the de-fuelling and decommissioning of closed Magnox nuclear generating stations.
The NFFL and NFFO also applied in Scotland and had implications for Scottish Nuclear. In 1996, following the flotation of British Energy, the premium payments from SP and SHE under the Nuclear Energy Agreement were ended. The price controls were modified to remove the 'Nuclear Premium'. In 199697, the Nuclear Premium for Scotland was £50 million.
BNFL, as a commercial company, does not receive support from Government. However, the Secretary of State announced last November HMG's intention for a Liabilities Management Authority to be established to take responsibility for those BNFL and UKAEA civil nuclear liabilities and associated assets that are properly the responsibility of the State.
The Government are providing British Energy with a credit facility of up to £650 million in respect of the period up to 29 November, and has taken security for the loan over the company's assets. The facility has been provided in respect of the company's working capital requirements and cash collateral for trading in the UK and North America.
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