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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will commission research into the (a) reasons for and (b) level of unavoidable miscellaneous charges made by banks, with particular reference to (i) survey fees, (ii) booking fees, (iii) arrangement fees, (iv) higher lending charges fees and (v) sealing of deeds fees; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government have no plans to commission research into miscellaneous charges made by banks. The Banking Code requires that signatories give their customers details of any charges for the day-to-day running of their account when they open it, and that they inform their customers personally if they increase any of these charges or introduce a new charge, at least 30 days before the change takes effect. The signatories are also required to tell customers the charge for any other service or product before they provide that service or product, and at any time the customer asks.
Companies are bound by legislation on a wide range of social and environmental issues including matters relating to employment terms and conditions, health and safety and environmental protection.
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Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact on UK industry and consumers of the recent rises in the cost of gas on the spot market; what proposals she has to bring price stability to the gas market; and what plans she has to reform the operation of the forward market for wholesale gas. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The impact on UK industry of the recent temporary rises in spot gas prices will depend on a variety of factors, including how much gas a particular company uses, the degree of their exposure to spot and/or forward prices and the duration of the high prices. It will also be affected by the energy prices paid by their competitors. The impact on domestic consumers will depend on whether the energy supply companies decide to pass on the costs of what was a short-lived spike in spot prices. Prices in the domestic sector are set to cover a range of weather, including such cold snaps, so we would not expect these peaks to feed into domestic prices.
The Department is working to ease the potential supply tightness which causes high prices by facilitating investment in gas import infrastructure projects, such as a doubling of the import capacity of the Bacton-Zeebrugge interconnector, new pipelines from Norway and the Netherlands, and three major new Liquefied Natural Gas terminals.
Regarding the operation of the forward gas market, my Department has commissioned an independent consultant to analyse how it is working, and to propose, if necessary, recommendations for improving it to both Government and industry.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if she will make a statement on the recent rises in the forward gas market; and what assessment she has made of the impact the increase in the price for delivery in winter 2006 will have on the competitiveness of UK manufacturing; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
The forward wholesale price for gas for the first quarter of 2006 averaged around 48p/therm in February 2005, and for the first two weeks of March it has been around 54p/therm. However, the average actual price paid for delivery in the winter tends to be lower than the forward price, and the same may happen in 2006. Nevertheless, 54p/therm is above the
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forward price in respect of previous winters, driven by changing market views about the tightening winter supply situation.
The Department has commissioned an independent consultant to analyse the operation of the forward market and, if necessary, to propose recommendations for improving it to both Government and industry.
The impact on the competitiveness of manufacturing companies will depend on a variety of factors, including how much gas a particular company uses, the degree of their exposure to spot and/or forward prices, and the duration of the high prices. It will also be affected by the energy prices paid by their competitors. We are working with industry to identify ways it can mitigate the effects of high forward gas prices.
This Government implemented the Manufacturing Strategy in 2002, the first from any Government in over 30 years. In July 2004 we published a review of the Strategy setting out a framework for action to address many of the challenges currently facing manufacturers in the UK. It focuses on support for innovation and skills, and assisting industry to produce smarter, higher-value-added products. This message was reinforced in The DTI Five-Year Programme, published in November 2004.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the average full and final settlement is for (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims and (b) vibration white finger claims, broken down by constituency. 
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on progress made by the European Commission on its investigation into the setting up and financing of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, with particular reference to state aid matters. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 17 March 2005]: The UK has recently submitted its comments on the submissions that the Commission has received from third parties. We now expect the Commission to take some time to consider these and other views submitted to it. We stand ready to answer any further questions it might have.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what steps she is taking to implement the Energy White Paper commitment to a 2002 to 2012 solar photovoltaics demonstration programme in line with those of the UK's main competitors; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Department of Trade and Industry has implemented the Energy White Paper commitment by supporting a "Major Photovoltaic Demonstration Programme" from 2002. This programme is due to end in March 2006, although grants are expected to be paid up to March 2007.
The Department will continue its support for PV through a "low carbon buildings" programme. The low carbon buildings programme will be the subject of formal consultation later this year. Although the programme will be technology blind, projects incorporating PV will be supported. The programme is expected to begin operating in 200607.
Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the number of terrawatt hours of electricity generated from renewable sources required to meet the Government's 2010 renewables target. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 17 March 2005]: The 2010 10 per cent. renewable energy target relates to electricity supply to consumers. The latest DTI energy projections indicate that the supply to consumers could be around 330TWh in 2010. This would indicate that to meet the target, renewables generation would need to be 33TWh.
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