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17 Jun 2004 : Column 1073W—continued


Child Support Agency

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what percentage of cases relating to Child Support the Child Support Agency has made an error in (a) January 1997, (b) January 2000 and (c) January 2004; and if he will make a statement. [177452]

Mr. Pond: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Doug Smith. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Elaine Fox to Miss Anne McIntosh, dated 17 June 2004:

Financial Assistance Scheme

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to what date he has instructed his Department to work for the publication of draft regulations for the Financial Assistance Scheme. [178593]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer my hon. Friend to my Statement during report stage of the Pensions Bill on 19 May 2004, Official Report, columns 984–85.
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New Deal for 50 Plus

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the New Deal 50 Plus Training Grant will be retained after the changes to the New Deal announced on 19 May. [178863]

Malcolm Wicks: Following the publication of a preliminary paper on the 19 May, today we published our full strategy paper "Building on New Deal: Local solutions meeting individual needs".

The New Deal has already helped over a million people to find jobs and we are continuing to build on this success. The strategy published today will introduce greater flexibility into our employment programmes, providing a service tailored to the needs of individuals, local areas and local employers. Jobcentre Plus District Managers will have increased flexibility to provide whichever type of support is needed to help people move into sustained work.

Our strategy for employment programmes is developing in parallel with the development of the Government's overall skills strategy. As the strands of these strategies develop we will continue to explore the most appropriate way of ensuring that older workers can access the training they need.

Objectives' Programmes

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much public funding has been spent from the (a) Objective 1, (b) Objective 2 and (c) Objective 3 programmes in Crosby, since the programmes' inception. [177866]

Mr. Raynsford: I have been asked to reply.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund in Merseyside. The Department for Work and Pensions hold a similar role for the European Social Fund. Merseyside does not receive Objective 2 or Objective 3 funding and information on levels of European funding at ward level is not held. However Objective 1 public funding is available in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton, which includes Crosby, and the following table shows how much has been spent from the start of the current programme in 2000 to 14 June 2004. Final figures for domestic match funding only become available as projects complete. As the majority of projects are still under way the figures given for domestic public match funding are estimated using data from the Merseyside Objective 1 programme plan. In addition to the funding shown here it should be noted that almost 50 per cent. of the Objective 1 programme delivers pan-Merseyside projects, to which residents and businesses in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton also have access.

FundEuropean structural funds grant paidEstimated domestic public match funding
European Regional Development Fund6,557,06912,854,600
European Social Fund8,428,07326,850,000

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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact which the UK National Allocation Plan will have on the competitiveness of UK industry. [178483]

Mr. Timms: The UK has set out to implement the EU ETS in a way that meets the twin goals of maintaining UK industry's competitiveness, while maintaining commitment to our environmental goals. As the EU ETS is a new instrument, and, before the start of the first Phase, there remain great uncertainties as to what the EU allowance price may be, detailed analysis of the potential impact on the UK of the scheme was necessary to inform our decisions on implementation. An additional and crucial uncertainty has been how other member states will implement the scheme.

The DTI published an analytical paper on the impact of the EU ETS on UK industry, examining in particular the trading patterns of EU ETS sectors and possible regional dimensions to the impacts. This is available on the DTI website at in addition, we commissioned ILEX Energy consultants to examine the possible impact on electricity prices of differing EU allowance prices and the impact on power sector investment. This paper is available on the DTI website, as above. Further work has been commissioned to examine the cross EU impacts on power prices.

This analysis informed the decision for the UK to allocate allowances equal to estimates of what sectors will require in the 2005–07 period under 'with measures' projections. This is to ensure that EU ETS will not impose a reduction in emissions beyond what is expected given current measures. The exception to this is electricity generation, which due to the very limited international competition that the industry faces, has been allocated a reduction below 'with measures' projections in the 2005–07 period.

When the Commission's assessment and decisions on all NAPs have been made, a more informed assessment of the impact of EU ETS on UK industry will be possible.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact on UK competitiveness of the national allocation plans of other EU member states; and if she will make a statement. [178485]

Mr. Timms: The UK has closely followed the publication of other member states National Allocation Plans (NAPs), and, has actively called for robust and consistent review by the Commission. The need for the Commission to ensure there is consistent adherence to the principles of the Directive's rules for allocation in each NAP, as well as an assessment of possible State Aid implications from allocation, is crucial to ensure that there is minimal distortion of competition between the EU member states.

The Commission has yet to make final decisions on the 14 NAPs submitted to date, so no detailed assessment of the competition implications for the UK
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can be made. However, ECOFYS consultancy has been commissioned to analyse key aspects of other member states NAPs that are published, which inform UK comments in the peer review process of NAPs. We will continue to work with the Commission to highlight where clear distortions of competition arise from implementation and breaches of the directive establishing the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Departmental Budgets

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made towards the 5 per cent. reduction in real terms in her Department's administration budget by 2008, announced by the Chancellor in the House on 17 March 2004, Official Report, column 331. [176502]

Ms Hewitt: The real terms reduction of 5 per cent. or more will be a central feature of the public spending settlements for 2006–08 to be announced in detail later this year.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will urge the European Commission to delay the start of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme until it has approved the National Allocation Plan of each member state. [178484]

Mr. Timms: The EU Emissions Trading Directive and related regulations on the monitoring and reporting of emissions from installations covered by the scheme comes into force in every member state from 1 January 2005.

It is crucial that NAPs from member states that have not been submitted to the Commission in sufficient time ahead of January 2005 are not subject to less thorough or differing assessment or approval mechanisms by the Commission. The UK has asked for clarification on this, and the Commission has stated that the three month period for assessment of the plan by the Commission will be retained, regardless of when the date of notification of the NAP is. Late submissions of National Allocation Plans will not lift the requirements to comply with the directive in any member state, rather it will deny industry the certainty and access to use of the market from the outset to help in compliance. There are no plans to call for a delay in the start of the scheme.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what level of reliance other EU member states are placing on project credits available from the Kyoto project mechanism to meet their national targets for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. [178486]

Mr. Timms: To date, 14 National Allocation Plans for the EU ETS, including the UK's, have been submitted to the European Commission. Of these, seven have indicated an intention to use purchase of JI and CDM to meet Kyoto targets in 2012. The level of these planned purchases as well as the state of advancement of these policies differs in each plan. In some cases, there are clear plans and substantiated programmes and funding for this, in others there is less clarity as to how firm the policy is, whether it has been budgeted for and from what sources.
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The Commission has stated in a letter to all 25 member states on 17 March 2004, that the plans will be assessed for any State Aid implications that allocations may imply, in particular the use of public funds to buy Kyoto credits.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to enable UK companies fully to utilise the Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism components of the Linking Directive. [178487]

Mr. Timms: The Government are committed to ensuring that UK industry has access to the cost effective reduction potential that the JI and CDM mechanisms offer. The UK Climate Change Programme assumes some of the reductions envisaged to meet the 2010 goals and beyond may be made via use of these mechanisms.

In the context of the EU ETS, the linking amendment on the use of project credits from JI and CDM allows member states the discretion to consider whether or not such credits can be used for compliance against emissions covered by the EU ETS. The decision must be notified to the European Commission by June 2006. The Government are keen to allow the use of project credits from Phase One of the EU ETS and negotiated in favour of allowing early linking of the CDM from 2005. A final decision on how UK companies will be able to use such credits in the 2005–07 period of the EU ETS has not been made.

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