Previous Section Index Home Page

1 Feb 2006 : Column 549W—continued

Nuclear Energy

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which (a) power generation companies and (b) investment institutions have indicated a positive interest in (i) building and (ii) investing in new nuclear build. [46567]

Malcolm Wicks: Many companies regularly express interest publicly in a variety of energy infrastructure projects that relate to a number of different generating technologies, including nuclear, renewables, gas and carbon capture and storage.

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of electricity used in the UK was produced from nuclear energy in the latest year for which figures are available. [48021]

Malcolm Wicks: In 2004, the latest full year for which data are available, 19 per cent. of the electricity supplied to customers in the UK was from nuclear sources.

Operating and Financial Review

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what impact assessment was made of the decision in November 2005 not to require listed companies to prepare Operating and Financial Review statements. [45501]

Alun Michael: The Government have decided to widen their current consultation on company narrative reporting requirements. This will ensure that all points of view and relevant up-to-date evidence are taken into account while the current Company Law Reform Bill is going through Parliament.

The Government took the decision in November 2005 to repeal the mandatory requirement on quoted companies to prepare an Operating and Financial Review (OFR) as contained in the OFR regulations so that they are required to prepare a Business Review instead. This decision was made in the light of the Government's strong commitment to sustainable development, strategic forward-looking narrative reporting and its policy of not imposing unnecessary burdens on UK companies, and taking into account the large body of evidence from previous consultations on narrative reporting.

Chapter 6 of Part 15 of the Company Law Reform Bill contains provisions relating to narrative reporting by companies. The Government are now inviting comments on any considerations which Ministers should take into account in deciding whether, and if so how, to frame amendments to these or other provisions of the Company Law Reform Bill to ensure effective forward looking narrative reporting by quoted companies, including, where appropriate, on social, community, employee and environmental matters. The consultation is therefore extended to invite views from all stakeholders on the full range of options for reporting, including matters previously contained within Schedule 7ZA of the Companies Act 1985 and within the Accounts Modernisation Directive (2003/51/EC), and any other matters relevant to narrative reporting.
1 Feb 2006 : Column 550W

The Government will also consider in light of responses to this consultation whether existing business reporting requirements should be amended by regulations under secondary legislation as an interim measure before the new Bill comes into force. For the avoidance of doubt, however, no such changes would apply to financial reporting periods which had commenced before any new regulations had been passed. This is to ensure that companies have certainty as to their current legal reporting obligations and have adequate time to prepare for any changes.

The closing date for responses to this consultation is 24 March 2006. The Government are keen to ensure conclusions can be reached in a time scale which allows any resulting policy changes to be introduced and debated during the appropriate parliamentary stages of the current Bill.

The Government have already issued an invitation for views on narrative reporting on a more limited basis (my statement of 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 177WS). Comments already received as a result of that invitation will be taken into account in this wider consultation exercise. Those who have already expressed a view are welcome to submit further comments should they so wish.

Company Law

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how he intends to ensure that companies meet their social, environmental and community responsibilities in his review of company law; and if he will make a statement. [47328]

Alun Michael: The Company Law Reform Bill is part of a wider programme of Government and market-led reform to support enterprise, encourage investment and promote long-term performance in order to ensure that Britain remains one of the best places in the world to set up and run a business.

A key part of the Bill is the statutory statement of directors' duties. This will provide greater clarity on what is expected of directors. It will also recognise in statute that business prosperity and responsible business behaviour are two sides of the same coin: directors are required to promote the success of the company in the collective best interests of shareholders, having regard to wider factors such as the interests of employees, the community and the environment. Re-stating this requirement will help directors to understand that they need to look beyond the short-term financial bottom line, but company law is not the right vehicle for addressing specific social, environmental or community issues.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what cost-savings he expects to result from the Company Law Reform Bill when enacted. [47375]

Alun Michael: The Government's Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Company Law Reform Bill, presents an estimated range for the total direct benefits that are expected to result from provisions in the Bill. This range is £160 million to £340 million per year. Details are available at
1 Feb 2006 : Column 551W

Parliamentary Questions

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will reply to question number 39575, tabled by the hon. Member for Westmoreland and Lonsdale on 19 December 2005; and what the reasons are for the delay in replying. [47583]

Alan Johnson: I have answered the hon. Member's question today. I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in responding.

Post Office

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library a copy of the report received from Post Office Ltd on pilot schemes for innovative ways of providing a service. [46062]

Barry Gardiner: We have very recently received the analysis we requested from the Post Office on pilot studies trialling new models of service delivery. We are viewing this and will encourage the Post Office to draw it together into a report for publication.

Power Generation

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the number of new electricity generators which may be required to take account of (a) the decline in energy generated by existing power stations that will come to the end of their working lives over the next decade and (b) an increase in demand of (i) 20 per cent., (ii) 30 per cent. and (iii) 40 per cent. over the next decade. [46679]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 30 January 2006]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's first Annual Report on Security of Supply lists planned major new electricity projects ( This will be updated in the next report of the Joint Energy Security of Supply Working Group, which will also consider the position on electricity supply and demand over the next decade. The report will be published shortly.

Race Equality Impact Assessments

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many Race Equality Impact Assessments his Department had completed in (a) April 2004 to March 2005 and (b) April 2005 to November 2005; and how many assessments in each period resulted in a change of policy. [32830]

Meg Munn: The DTI has completed three Race Equality Impact Assessments (REIA) since April 2004. In one case, the assessment of the impact on race equality recorded in the REIA reflected the considerable changes made to the original proposals to mitigate potential adverse effects. In the other two, the REIAs did not result in a change of policy. The DTI is reviewing its Race Equality Scheme, including an analysis of
1 Feb 2006 : Column 552W
completed Race Equality Impact Assessments, with a view to publishing a revised, more effective scheme by June 2006.

Next Section Index Home Page