Previous Section Index Home Page

1 Mar 2005 : Column 1128W—continued

Flexible Employment

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) men and (b) women have so far exercised their right to request more flexible employment arrangements; and how many have been successful, broken down by gender. [215528]

Mr. Sutcliffe: From the results of the First Working Employee Survey (2004) 10 per cent. all of male employees requested to work flexibly, compared with 16 per cent. of all female employees. However of those with children under six 10 per cent. of male employees, compared with 37 per cent. of female employees have requested flexible working.

Over three quarters (77 per cent.) of flexible working requests were fully accepted and a further 9 per cent. were either partly accepted or a compromise arrangement was reached. 78 per cent. of all female employees reported requests being fully accepted, compared with 75 per cent. of all male employees.

Gas Prices

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps her Department is taking to limit the impact of the recent gas price rises on customers with low incomes. [218820]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 28 February 2005]: I am working with the industry, Ofgem, Energywatch and voluntary sector to ensure that customers on low incomes are aware of, and take advantage of, the significant reductions that can be made in energy bills by transferring supplier, using the cheapest and simplest payment methods, installing energy efficiency measures and accessing Government and industry social and fuel poverty programmes.
 
1 Mar 2005 : Column 1129W
 

Hydrogen Fuel

Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to develop new and renewable energy sources in the North East and Tees Valley, with particular reference to the use of hydrogen. [218504]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government's role is to provide a supportive regulatory/fiscal framework for the development of renewable energy sources. The Government's key mechanism for supporting the development of renewables is the Renewables Obligation. The obligation is a market-based mechanism which is technology neutral. In addition to the obligation the Government are spending over £500 million between 2002 and 2008 on R and D and funding for capital grants for emerging renewable and low carbon technologies.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier (like electricity), not a renewable energy source. It can be produced via a number of different routes, including electrolysis using fossil, renewable or nuclear electricity, or by chemical reactions using biomass, natural gas or coal.

Kazakhstan

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many visits were made to Kazakhstan by her (a) officials and (b) Ministers in 2004. [208934]

Mr. Alexander: Officials made four visits to Kazakhstan in 2004. There were no ministerial visits.

Nuclear Waste

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the Department's policy is towards burying nuclear waste. [215884]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

The UK Government and devolved Administrations have established the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) to assess the options for the long term management of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste. This includes underground disposal. The Committee's recommendations are due to be delivered in July 2006. Further details of CoRWM's work programme, including the options that the Committee is considering, can be found at www.corwm.org.uk.

Post Office

Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post office closures have been stopped following objections from local users in each of the last five years. [218649]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Under the urban reinvention programme, to date, 78 closure proposals have been withdrawn following public consultation.

Data prior to the start of the urban reinvention programme in November 2002 is not available.

Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many post offices have been closed since the start of the Post Office Reinvention Programme. [218650]


 
1 Mar 2005 : Column 1130W
 

Mr. Sutcliffe: To the end of December 2004, the latest quarter for which figures are available, 2,070 sub-post office had closed under the Urban Reinvention Programme.

Postal Services (Scotland)

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations were conducted with mail users in Scotland on the opening of the UK postal services market to full competition by 1 January 2006. [218593]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Postcomm conducted consultations concerning the opening of the UK postal services market to full competition throughout the UK including Scotland.

Solar Photovoltaics

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her Department's estimate is of the number of jobs that will be affected in the solar PV industry and related sectors in (a) Wales and (b) the UK when the Government's 2002–2012 solar PV Major Demonstration Programme comes to an end in March 2006. [218602]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department plans to continue its support for PV and other building scale renewables through a low carbon building programme". This programme will succeed both the Major PV Demonstration Programme and the Clear Skies programme which are due to end in March 2006

The low carbon building programmes is currently under development and there will be formal consultation on this later this year. As recommended in the Renewables Innovation Review, February 2004, the programme will be technology blind addressing building integrated renewables and energy efficiency technologies. Therefore the Department has not estimated the number of jobs that will be affected in the solar PV industry and related sectors by the introduction of this programme.

Mr. Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to ensure continuity of capital grant support for large scale solar PV installations when stream 2 funding allocations under her Department's 2002 to 2012 solar PV demonstration programme comes to an end in November. [218981]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The final call for proposals for the Major PV Demonstration programme will take place at the end of 2005. Grants are expected to be paid up to March 2007.

The Department plans to continue its support for PV and other building scale renewables through a low carbon building programme". The low carbon building programme is currently under development and there will be formal consultation on this later this year. The programme is expected to begin operating in financial year 2006–07.
 
1 Mar 2005 : Column 1131W
 

Trade Balance

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent steps her Department has taken to promote trade with Europe. [217365]

Mr. Alexander: My Department promotes trade with Europe on an ongoing basis through UK Trade and Investment, the Government organisation which helps UK companies build their international business success. It does so through a range of services and support designed to help companies gain international trade skills and turn trade opportunities into real business.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Benefit Recipients (Scotland)

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in Scotland were in receipt of (a) the minimum income guarantee, (b) council tax benefit, (c) jobseeker's allowance and (d) housing benefit in 2002–03; [217724]

(2) how many non-pensioners in Scotland were in receipt of income support in 2002–03. [217725]

Mr. Pond: The information is in the table.
Benefit recipients in Scotland, 2002–03

Number
Housing Benefit447,700
Council Tax Benefit527,900
Jobseekers Allowance101,000
Minimum Income Guarantee185,400
Income Support (non-pensioners)260,100




Notes:
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.
2. The data refers to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
3. HB/CTB figures for any non-responding authorities have been estimated.
4. Council Tax Benefit totals exclude any Second Adult Rebate cases.
5. Housing Benefit figures exclude any Extended Payment cases.
6. Figures are given as a four quarter average (May, August, November 2002 and February 2003).
7. Non-pensioners are defined as working age claimants (i.e. men aged 16–64 and women aged 16–59) therefore there will be a small overlap between the Income Support non-pensioner figure and the Minimum Income Guarantee figure; men aged 60–64 are counted in both categories.
Sources:
Information Directorate, 5 per cent. samples for Income Support and Minimum Income Guarantee; Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. caseload stock-count; and Seasonally adjusted count of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus computer systems.





Next Section Index Home Page