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17 July 2006 : Column 132W—continued


Coal Health (Compensation)

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many coal health (a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and (b) vibration white finger cases have been submitted for deceased claims by Berefords Solicitors in (i) Wales and (ii) Scotland; and how many of each have been refused. [83834]

Malcolm Wicks: The figures requested for deceased claims submitted by Beresfords solicitors are set out in the following table:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Vibration White Finger
Wales Scotland Wales Scotland

Deceased claims submitted

6,839

3,006

11

12

Denials made

525

412

5

2


John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many meetings have taken place between his officials and UDM Vendside on coal health compensation since June 2005. [83897]

Malcolm Wicks: Three operational meetings have taken place since June 2005 between officials and representatives of the UDM. Two of these related to the vibration white finger scheme and the third to the respiratory disease scheme.

Company Law Reform Bill

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his definition is of a proper purpose for inspection of a company register of members under the provisions of the Company Law Reform Bill. [81592]

Margaret Hodge: The Bill does not define what is a proper purpose.

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under what circumstances a company could refuse to disclose information on its members under the provisions of the Company Law Reform Bill. [81593]


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Margaret Hodge: Under clause 116 of the Bill, a request to inspect or to be provided with a copy of a company’s register of members must include the purpose for which the information is to be used. The company must either meet the request within five working days or apply to a court. The court will direct the company not to comply with the request if it is satisfied that it is not sought for a proper purpose.

Electricity Transmission

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what quantity of carbon dioxide emissions were attributable to electricity transmission and distribution losses in each of the last five years. [84529]

Malcolm Wicks: Estimated losses through the electricity transmission and distribution networks for the period 1999 to 2003 were as follows:

GWh

1999

28298

2000

29649

2001

30902

2002

29890

2003

29862


Using the average carbon emission factor for each year provides the following estimates for the carbon emissions associated with these losses. These estimates are based on the average emissions factor for electricity generation in each of these years, which takes account of the mix between coal, gas and other forms of generation in those years.

Million tonnes of carbon

1999

3.28

2000

3.67

2001

3.95

2002

3.72

2003

3.83


Energy

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in which year the Government expect the UK to be a net importer of energy. [84355]

Malcolm Wicks: Data on net imports of primary fuel are published in the annual Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics. Table 1.1.3 in the 2005 edition shows that, having been a net exporter of primary energy since 1993, the UK became a net importer of primary energy in 2004.

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why the minutes of the latest meeting of the advisory board on sustainable energy policy have not yet been placed in the public domain. [85412]

Malcolm Wicks: The minutes of the Sustainable Energy Policy Advisory Board (SEPAB) have now been
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published on the DTI website as usual. Publication was held back until the Energy Review conclusions had been announced to Parliament.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry from which (a) ministerial colleagues, (b) hon. Members and (c) members of the House of Lords he received a submission to the Energy Review; and what criteria were adopted in deciding which of these submissions were posted on the Energy Review pages of his departmental web site. [85048]

Malcolm Wicks: All responses to the Energy Review consultation exercise, which closed on 14 April 2006, have been posted on the DTI website at http://www. dti.gov.uk/energy/review/consultation-submissions/page27883.html.

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many applications for (a) gas and (b) electricity were declined by each energy supplier in (i) each region of England, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Wales in the last full year for which figures are available. [84377]

Malcolm Wicks: Ofgem does not collect data about refusal to supply.

Condition 32 of the standard gas and electricity supply licences requires suppliers to offer terms at a domestic customer's request. There are a number of exclusions within these conditions. Complaints about refusal to supply may be made to the statutory gas and electricity consumer body, Energywatch. Energywatch can refer matters to the industry regulator, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) where it believes Ofgem may be able to use its power of licence enforcement.

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the role of the energy supply ombudsman. [84573]

Malcolm Wicks: In July 2005, the industry regulator, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) required gas and electricity suppliers to establish an independent ombudsman scheme to deal with billing disputes that had not been satisfactorily resolved under standard complaints procedures. The suppliers have now established the Energy Supply Ombudsman scheme, which was launched on 1 July 2006. The Ombudsman will handle both billing and transfer disputes, can reach decisions that are binding on suppliers and may award compensation of up to £5,000 to customers. The scheme is additional to the statutory arrangements governing the investigation of customer complaints, which continue to operate.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will establish an inquiry into (a) wholesale energy prices, (b) the level of competition in the UK energy market and (c) the impact of energy prices on manufacturing industry. [85097]

Malcolm Wicks: Despite sustained benefits from liberalised energy markets over the past decade, the Government fully appreciate that high energy prices do
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create problems for the competitiveness of industry, and take very seriously the potential loss of jobs and investment. The Government are leaving no stone unturned, working closely with industry, to find solutions and reduce the impact. The new Business Energy Forum, co-chaired by the Secretary of State and Richard Lambert of the CBI, met for the first time on 5 July and is monitoring this work and looking at other strategic energy issues impacting on business. Higher energy prices in the UK reflect higher global prices, caused by rising demand and supply constraints (for oil and gas), the lack of EU energy market liberalisation, and domestic factors, such as the tight winter supply demand balance in the UK gas market.

The importance of the Government’s activity in pushing for European energy market liberalisation was highlighted in a Global Insight report in 2005. The report estimated that the lack of effective liberalisation and the dominance of oil-linked long-term supply contracts in Europe would cost UK industrial consumers of gas some £2.6 billion over the following year. Ofgem analysis suggests that the cost to UK gas consumers of Interconnector flows not always being in line with price signals during the last winter was £1.5 billion and would cost £3 billion if repeated during the coming winter. The European Commission has been active in reviewing competition in gas and electricity markets.

During the past two years there have been several investigations and reports into competition in UK gas and electricity markets. These include the Ofgem gas price probe, and two inquiries from the Trade and Industry Select Committee. The Ofgem gas price probe found no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour in the UK gas market. More recently, Ofgem published a “Domestic Retail Market Report”, which concluded that, “competition remains effective and vigorous in all segments of the domestic energy market.” Independent research by Oxera concluded that in 2004 the UK had the most competitive electricity and gas markets in the EU and G7 (available at www.dti.gov.uk/files/file28425.pdf).

Enterprise Insight

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the level of Government funding for Enterprise Insight is for 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. [82195]

Margaret Hodge: The level of Government funding for Enterprise Insight in 2006-07 is £5 million.

This support enables Enterprise Insight to continue developing and running the highly successful ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign. The campaign is aimed at people aged between 14 and 30 and encourages them to be enterprising in the broadest sense.

Enterprise Week is the focal point of the campaign. Last year saw 408,000 people from all over the UK attend 2,215 events, run by 722 organisations helped by 3,874 businesses. It is anticipated that these already impressive results will be bettered during Enterprise Week 2006, which Enterprise Insight will run from 13-19 November.

The funding will also support the development of new Local Enterprise Campaign Hubs in some of the
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country’s most deprived and under-performing areas. In addition, the funding will support the development of partnerships to run campaigns in specific industry sectors, emphasising the role of enterprise in the successful start up and growth of companies.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last met representatives of Enterprise Insight; what the outcome was of the meeting; and what plans he has to hold further meetings with this organisation. [82196]

Margaret Hodge: As Minister for Industry and the Regions with responsibility for the Small Business Service, I met Enterprise Insight on 18 May.

The outcome of my meeting was a reaffirmed commitment that the Department will support the development and running of the ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign; and, to Ministerial participation in key events during the campaign’s flagship annual initiative of ‘Enterprise Week’, which this year will run from 13-19 November.

Further meetings with Enterprise Insight will be scheduled as the year progresses.

Gas Appliances

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department has taken in the past 10 years to encourage research and development of gas appliances. [78523]

Malcolm Wicks: This is a matter for manufacturers of gas appliances, which is a competitive commercial activity.

Global Oil Production

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in which year the Government expect (a) global conventional oil production and (b) global total oil production to peak; and what the Government expect to be the level of peak global oil production. [84272]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government consider that the world’s oil resources are sufficient to prevent global total oil production peaking before 2030, by which time the International Energy Agency’s reference case scenario in its 2005 World Energy Outlook shows global oil demand reaching 115.4 million barrel per day, nearly 40 per cent. higher than current levels. The exact levels and years of the peaks in global conventional and total oil production will depend on assumptions about a number of factors, including the rate of global oil demand growth, the rate of investment in the global oil sector, and technological developments in finding and producing oil.

Market mechanisms will ration the remaining global supplies of oil and provide the incentive for a shift to alternative sources of energy. This process needs to be supported by Governments. The UK Government are already putting in place policies that will help ease the UK economy away from power supplied primarily through fossil fuels and is also promoting international
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efforts, for example through the G8 Gleneagles Plan of Action, to develop cleaner energy technologies and promote energy efficiency.

Home Heat Helpline

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many calls the Home Heat Helpline has received in each month since its launch; [83936]

(2) whether the Home Heat Helpline refers callers to (a) Energywatch, (b) local energy efficiency advice centres and (c) the Energy Savings Trust; [83937]

(3) how many people have (a) received benefit entitlement checks after contacting the Home Heat Helpline and (b) been identified as eligible for a benefit following a benefit entitlement check. [83938]

Malcolm Wicks: The Home Heat Helpline was established by the Energy Retail Association on behalf of gas and electricity suppliers. The Government supported the introduction of the Helpline, but is not involved in its funding or its administration. Questions about its operations are, therefore, entirely for the Association.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas Market

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of households in (a) rural areas and (b) non-rural areas using cylinders of a smaller capacity than those investigated by the Competition Commission in their recent inquiry into the domestic bulk liquefied petroleum gas market; and if he will make a statement. [84658]

Mr. McCartney: No such estimates have been made, as the successful functioning of consumer markets, and market investigations when required, are matters for the independent competition authorities rather than for the Government.

Manufacturing Forum

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who the members of the Manufacturing Forum are; and what its remit is. [84477]

Margaret Hodge: The membership of the Manufacturing Forum is:


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