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9 Oct 2006 : Column 567W—continued

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what statutory powers are available (a) to prevent and (b) to disperse blockades of domestic fuel storage, refining and distribution facilities; and when these powers were last reviewed. [90585]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 11 September 2006]: I have been asked to reply.

There is a wide range of powers available to the police to deal with blockades particularly where they disrupt lawful activity or are violent or intimidatory. These powers are kept under review.


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Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on how many occasions and at what locations (a) he, (b) his predecessors as Secretary of State and (c) the Energy Minister met (i) representatives from trade unions working at nuclear sites, (ii) national environmental groups and (iii) regional environmental groups to discuss nuclear policy in the period during which the Energy Review was held. [86933]

Malcolm Wicks: Over the consultation period Ministers and the energy review team were engaged in around 300 consultation activities with a wide range of organisations across the energy and environment landscape—business and industry representatives, green NGOs, consumer groups, unions and academia. These activities included eight seminars across England, Scotland and Wales attended by regionally based participants nominated by Government offices. The issue of civil nuclear power was discussed at most of these engagements.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reason town-scale combined heat and power plants were not included in the modelling of relative electricity generating technologies set out at Annexe B of the Energy Review, Cm 6887. [86934]

Malcolm Wicks: The Energy Review modelled new large-scale technologies that have the potential over time to become less expensive and, in turn, to play a major role in UK electricity generation, including new generation nuclear, cleaner coal, and gas and coal with carbon capture and storage. In addition, we modelled gas-fired and coal-fired plant as ‘base cases’ for comparison.

CHP is a proven and mature technology. Its broad costs are well known to market participants. Indeed it accounts for over 5.5GW of capacity, or around 7 per cent. of the UK total. Its potential for playing a larger role in the UK energy mix is substantial, at large-scale and community level, as set out in the Energy Review.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to paragraph 5.134 of the Energy Review, from which companies (a) the Environment Agency and (b) the Office for Civil Nuclear Security will be able to recover the costs of their proposed contribution to the pre-licensing process for new reactors. [88708]

Malcolm Wicks: The Environment Agency and Office for Civil Nuclear Security will be able to recover the costs associated with a pre-licence assessment from the organisation that has made the application. Industry will, as now, meet the costs of licensing any nuclear plant.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost was of consultancy fees in relation to the Energy Review; whether
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consultants from Wales were engaged as advisers; and whether consultants have been retained to take forward the proposals in the Review. [88710]

Malcolm Wicks: Approximately £1,200,000 was spent on consultancy work relating to the Energy Review.

Details of the consultants appointed are at

No further appointments have been made.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate his Department has made of the extra energy used per day in (a) businesses and (b) households when the temperature rises above 25 degrees Celsius. [87931]

Malcolm Wicks: National Grid has produced an estimate on the impact of high air temperatures on electricity demand. This suggests that the total extra electricity demand for cooling equates to 250MW per degree Celsius in excess of 20 degrees Celsius.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what additional public investment in energy security he expects to take place as a result of the agreement on energy made at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. [88155]

Malcolm Wicks: G8 members agreed at St. Petersburg that the challenges we face in relation to energy security are best addressed by developing competitive markets. The role of Governments should be to establish stable regulatory frameworks to facilitate investment in the production and transportation of energy.

The G8 also agreed that improving energy efficiency and diversifying the energy mix make important contributions to energy security, as well as climate security. The communiqué also covers fuel poverty. It is now for individual G8 nations to consider how to deliver the agreements reached, and the extent of any public funding. The Gleneagles Dialogue meeting on “Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development”, to be hosted by Mexico in October, will be part of this process.

Energy White Paper

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he intends to publish his next annual report on progress towards implementation of the 2003 Energy White Paper. [74495]

Malcolm Wicks: The third annual report on implementation of the Energy White Paper was published on 24 July 2006.

Enterprise Insight

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether all contacts awarded by Enterprise Insight have been (a) put out to competitive tender and (b) advertised on the Supply2.gov.uk website; how many contracts have been awarded to organisations who have previously carried out work for Enterprise Insight; and if he will make a statement. [88310]


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Margaret Hodge: Enterprise Insight is a company limited by guarantee formed by the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors, and as such is not subject to public procurement rules. However, it is stated in Enterprise Insight’s workplan for 2006-07, a document that forms part of their funding agreement, that they

Supply2.gov.uk is currently a mechanism for Government procurement, and is therefore not appropriate.

Information on contracts awarded to organisations that have previously carried out work for Enterprise Insight is not available.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his answer of 18 July 2006, Official Report, column 287W, on Enterprise Insight, how levels of entrepreneurial activity and deprivation were measured; what plans he has to increase the number of areas with local campaign hubs; and whether it is possible for local authorities to apply for a campaign hub to be based in their locality. [90268]

Margaret Hodge: Levels of entrepreneurship were measured by reference to the number of VAT registrations, and levels of deprivation were measured by reference to the Index of Multiple Deprivation. The five places selected for the local campaign hubs are all in the lowest 20 per cent. of entrepreneurial activity, and all but one are in the worst 20 per cent. for deprivation.

Plans to increase the number of campaign hubs are the responsibility of Enterprise Insight. Local authorities should contact Enterprise Insight should they wish to discuss the topic of campaign hubs.

EU Directives

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations his Department has made on the adoption of a Cross Border Transfer of Registered Office of Company Directive. [88853]

Mr. McCartney: In the context of responding to the consultation on the EU Action Plan on Company Law and Corporate Governance on 28 March 2006, the then Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South made written representations to the European Commission concerning the proposed transfer of registered office directive. These were in the following terms:


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The full text of this letter is available on the website of the European Commission at http://cc.europa.eu/internal_market/company/consultation/index_en.htm#060706.

The proposed directive has also been discussed by officials of the Department of Trade and Industry in meetings with the European Commission and other member states.

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the compatibility of oil and gas development in special areas of conservation with Article 12 (1) (d) of the EU Habitats and Wildlife Directive; and if he will make a statement. [88865]

Malcolm Wicks: Article 12 (1) (d) requires that member states shall take the requisite measures to establish a system of strict protection for animal species listed in Annexe IV of the Habitats Directive in their natural range, prohibiting deterioration or destruction of breeding sites or resting places.

These requirements are primarily implemented in the UK through Regulations 10 and 16 of the 2001 Offshore Petroleum Activities (Conservation of Habitats) Regulations and by Regulation 39 of the 1994 Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations. Regulation 10 of the 2001 Regulations makes it an offence, subject to specified defences, for a person to carry out oil and gas activities on the UK continental shelf in such as way as to cause deterioration or destruction of breeding sites or resting places of such animal species. Regulation 39 of the 1994 Regulations makes similar provision with regard to territorial waters.

Moreover, as I advised the hon. Gentleman in previous replies my officials are conducting an appropriate assessment to determine the likelihood of damage or disturbance to special areas of conservation and, if appropriate, which mitigative measures should be applied.

I am also awaiting the results of the SCANS II (Small Cetaceans in the European Atlantic and North Sea) survey conducted in the summer of 2005 and in the light of these may commission through the strategic environmental assessment process a review of the science base of breeding biology of selected marine mammals in British waters. The scope of this review would be discussed with our statutory advisers and a number of interested stakeholders.

EU Funding

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Truro and St Austell (Matthew Taylor) of 8 June 2006, Official Report, column 857-8W, on EU funding, how much match funding will be provided by the Government for the EU convergence funding programme for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly region between 2007 and 2013. [89086]

Margaret Hodge: Under the Structural Funds Regulations for 2007-13, the contribution of the funds to UK programmes established under the convergence objective is limited to 75 per cent. of eligible
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expenditure, with the balance provided by match funding from public, or public and private, sources.

The actual intervention rate that will apply to the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly programme has still to be negotiated and agreed with the European Commission, so it is not possible at this stage to give a precise figure for the amount of match funding that will be required.

As in the current programme, it is expected that the match funding requirements will be met from a mix of existing funding sources at national, regional and local levels.

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many infrastructure programmes in the UK have received funding from EU structural funds in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [92194]

Margaret Hodge: There are no specific infrastructure programmes in the UK co-financed by EU structural funds. However, there are infrastructure projects in the UK which receive such funding, but details are not held in DTI centrally and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Export Controls

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Export Control Act 2002 as a vehicle for prosecution of trafficking and brokering breaches of export control; and what steps his Department has taken to establish a register of brokers in line with the EU Common Position on Brokering. [91446]

Malcolm Wicks: The Quadripartite Committee has raised these questions with the Government in their Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls. The Government are currently preparing their response, which will be publicly available at the end of this month.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what export licences were refused to Saudi Arabia on the grounds of (a) aggressive use, (b) contribution to regional conflict, (c) human rights abuses and (d) internal repression in each of the last 10 years. [91449]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government publish detailed information on their export licensing decisions, including refused licences, by destination, in their annual and quarterly reports on Strategic Export Controls. The Government's annual reports are available from the Libraries of the House and the DTI Export Control Organisation website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/europeantrade/strategic-export-control/index.html

Information as to export licence applications for Saudi Arabia is available only from the point at which the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing criteria were introduced in 2000. I can confirm that in that period, four standard individual export licence applications for Saudi Arabia were refused. Of these, two licence applications were refused under criterion two


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and two applications were refused under criterion five

Fashion Industry

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to promote the British fashion industry. [86710]

Mr. Woodward: I have been asked to reply.

My Department gained responsibility for the fashion sector in 2005. Since then we have been working with representatives from the industry to understand their issues and how Government policies and programmes can best respond to them.

As part of this the Secretary of State and my predecessor as Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism hosted a fashion summit on 27 April this year. The fashion industry highlighted a number of issues including how London Fashion Week might be strengthened, what should be done to develop better partnerships between industry and colleges, how access to new technologies might be improved and how support might better be provided for young fashion businesses. We shall review progress in the next few months and the outcome of this dialogue with industry and with the sector skills council for the fashion industry (Skillfast-UK) will feed into the Department’s ongoing Creative Economy Programme, which aims to improve the growth and productivity of the creative industries.

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that newly qualified fashion professionals are retained by the UK’s fashion industry. [86715]

Mr. Woodward: I have been asked to reply.

It is estimated that over 3,000 students graduate from UK university fashion and textile design courses every year. According to data supplied by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, of those who obtain a job in the next six months following graduation, 14 per cent. secure a design job in the apparel, footwear and textiles sector.

According to Skillfast-UK’s Skills Need Assessment report 2005, there is an over-supply of qualified people, but employers have still identified significant skills shortages. More students could be employed in UK businesses, if they had the appropriate complementary skills to underpin their creativity—in particular, technical skills such as pattern cutting, grading and garment construction, together with commercial and production understanding.

Skills issues were discussed at a fashion summit which was held on 27 April this year and hosted by the Secretary of State and my predecessor as Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism. DCMS is working with Skillfast-UK, the sector skills council for apparel, footwear and textiles, the British Fashion Council and Creative London on how best to respond to skills shortages, and support young designers so that they can utilise their design talent within the UK.


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Plans for a technical training centre and designer mentoring service in London, which will bring established names together with young talent, will be discussed at a meeting of top designers, convened by the sector skills council, in early September.

Skillfast-UK is also working with the Higher Education Subject Design Centre and the Centres of Vocational Excellence to ensure that higher education courses include the technical and commercial skills that employers require.

As part of our continuing dialogue and work with the fashion industry my Department will stay in close touch with how skills and employment issues develop, and we intend a further major discussion with the industry on priorities and progress to take place at an appropriate time in the next few months.

Feed-in Tariffs

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the use of feed-in tariffs in EU member states. [89244]

Malcolm Wicks: The UK Government have not carried out their own assessment but the Commission issued a Communication in December 2005 which assessed the four main groups of support systems—feed-in tariffs, green certificates, tendering systems and tax incentives. The report acknowledges that the current level of support for renewable electricity differs significantly among EU member states and that it is difficult to assess the long-term impact of green certificates/quota systems, which is a relatively new system, against the more established feed-in tariff schemes.

The report can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/res/biomass_action_plan/doc/2005_12_07_comm_biomass_electricity_en.pdf

Franchising

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 225W, on franchising, what the reason is for the (single tier) exemption from the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973 part XI and its amendments including the Trading Schemes Act 1996; and if he will make a statement. [87220]

Mr. McCartney: The Trading Schemes Act 1996, and supporting trading schemes regulations 1997 sought to tackle multi-level “scam” trading schemes which had been devised to avoid the controls in the Fair Trading Act 1973. The policy rationale for this legislation was, and continues to be, to provide a degree of protection to a person who is vulnerable in relation to another in terms of financial position and level of business acumen (i.e. a person analogous to a consumer), while not burdening legitimate business, particularly the franchise sector, with unnecessary legislation.

The Trading Schemes (Exclusion) Regulations 1997 reflected the second of these aims and excluded from regulatory control single tier schemes which consist of essentially one member on one level and all other
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participants on a level below. This was to exclude legitimate franchise business arrangements.

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 225W, on franchising, whether the review of the content of File FT 851 and the Department’s view that the two master franchisers in the UK of a foreign-based franchise-trading scheme were both exempt from the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973 part XI and its amendments, including the Trading Schemes Act 1996, included a review by Treasury Counsel responsible for the original opinion on which the Department’s view was based; and if he will make a statement. [87221]

Mr. McCartney: Treasury Counsel did not review the content of File FT 851 or the Department’s view that the two master franchisers in the UK of a foreign-based franchise-trading scheme were both exempt from the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973 part XI and its amendments, including the Trading Schemes Act 1996.

Franco-British Nuclear Forum

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects the first meeting of the Franco-British nuclear forum to take place. [89181]

Malcolm Wicks: It is expected that the first meeting of the Franco-British nuclear forum will take place in Paris by the end of the year, with the second meeting taking place in London in the spring.

The forum, announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and President Chirac following the Franco-British summit on 9 June, is expected to attract considerable interest from both UK and French industry. It represents an excellent opportunity to develop civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

Officials at the DTI and their counterparts at the Ministry of Finance and Industry in France are currently working together to develop important aspects of the forum. These include membership and structure as well as content and timing of the events. Officials at the DTI will write to advise the hon. Gentleman of the date of the first meeting, once it has been agreed.

Fuel Stocks

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what the statutory basis is for maintenance of strategic stocks of (a) petroleum products, (b) natural gas and (c) coal; [92232]

(2) what estimate he has made of the current levels of the UK’s strategic stocks of (a) petroleum products, (b) natural gas and (c) coal, broken down by (i) Government stocks and (ii) privately-held stocks. [91450]

Malcolm Wicks: EU member states are required by Directive 2006/67/EC (a codification of previous legislation dating from 1968 and 1998) to hold oil stocks equal to 90 days’ average daily national consumption during the preceding calendar year.


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There are no similar EU Directives relating to natural gas or coal and consequently no compulsory stocks for either natural gas or coal.

As a net exporter of oil and oil products the UK currently has no obligation to hold stocks through its membership of the International Energy Agency but has an obligation to take part in any collective response to a major international supply disruption, as happened following Hurricane Katrina.

The UK has always met these international oil-stocking obligations by directing companies to hold stocks. Section 6 of the Energy Act 1976 allows my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to give directions to businesses producing, supplying or using petroleum products within the UK market, requiring them to hold minimum levels of oil stocks.

The Directive (2006/67/EC) provides that as a crude oil producer the UK has a derogation which reduces our obligation by 25 per cent. to 67.5 days’ consumption.

Latest figures for July 2006 show that the UK held oil stocks of 11.2 million tonnes, equivalent to 81 days of consumption. Other than military stocks that are excluded from strategic stockholding, all UK oil stocks are held by industry.

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many days supply of (a) petroleum products, (b) natural gas and (c) coal were held in storage in the UK in (i) 1995 and (ii) 2005. [92243]

Malcolm Wicks: For petroleum products, stocks at the end of the December 1995 were equivalent to 80 days of consumption. For 2005 the equivalent figure was 74 days. By July 2006 stocks had risen to the equivalent of 81 days’ consumption.

For coal, stocks at the end of the December 1995 were equivalent to 96 days of consumption. For 2005 the equivalent figure was 93 days, but this falls to 77 days if the average rate of consumption during the first quarter of 2005 is used, since consumption during winter quarters is higher than the average. By July 2006 coal stocks had shown a seasonal rise to the equivalent of 97 days' average consumption.

For gas, indigenous gas fields connected only to the UK transmission system and in continuous production act in the same way as storage facilities for other fuels. However, gas demand is seasonal and storage capability is necessary to meet peak winter demand and daily demand fluctuations and to enable shippers to balance the gas they put into the network with their offtakes on a daily basis. Even in winter gas storage is unlikely to be used as a continuous form of supply, and stocks are replenished during periods of lower demand. Indicator 2 of the Sixth Report of the Joint Energy Security of Supply Working Group (April 2006), a copy of which is in the Library of the House, shows how gas storage contributes to gas supply over the 100 coldest winter days.


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Gas Storage

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government are taking to improve gas storage in the UK. [91870]

Malcolm Wicks: It was announced on 12 January 2006 that the Government would put in place new measures to increase the potential for gas storage in the UK. The current consents regime for onshore gas supply infrastructure, including gas storage, will be reviewed and streamlined, with the possibility of further legislation as appropriate. The DTI will be consulting on possible changes, in view of the recommendations of the Barker Review of Land Use Planning and the Eddington Transport Study, due to publish towards the need of the year. Offshore, new legislation to provide a fit for purpose consents regime for offshore gas storage in salt caverns will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time is available.

Additionally we published a Parliamentary Statement of Need for additional Gas Supply Infrastructure on 16 May 2006 which noted the importance of local decision makers taking the national need for such infrastructure into account when considering development applications.

Government Arms Policy

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the likely impact on the Government’s arms policy of the situation in Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories. [87173]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

We assess rigorously all relevant export licence applications on a case by case basis against our EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria taking full account of the prevailing circumstances at the time of application and other announced Government policies, and will continue to do so. A licence will not be issued where to do so would be inconsistent with the criteria. The Government are proud of the UK’s robust and transparent export licensing regime, which is amongst the best in the world.

Our Embassies monitor the situation in this region closely, including how this might affect export licence applications. They report, for instance, any illicit diversion of UK supplied equipment, should this come to light.

Harold Yates

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what arrangements are in place for access to files relating to the late Harold Yates by Mrs Sheila Yates in relation to her claim for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [89721]

Malcolm Wicks: DTI officials are not familiar with this claim and have been unable to trace it from the information provided. In general, information relating to a claim would be held by the claimant’s representative to whom inquiries should be directed.


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Highly Enriched Uranium

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the written statement of 20 July 2006, Official Report, column 54WS, on civil plutonium and uranium stocks, what the purpose was of the blending down of the highly enriched uranium; and at what locations this process has taken place. [89495]

Malcolm Wicks: High enriched uranium residues are recovered during the decommissioning activities being carried out at the Gas Diffusion Enrichment Plant at Capenhurst, which ceased operations in 1982. The recovered high enriched uranium is blended with natural or depleted uranium to give a low enriched uranium product with a U-235 content of less than 5 percent., which is the BNFL Capenhurst site limit for the storage of nuclear material.

Home Computing Initiative

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 18 July 2006, Official Report, column 296W, on the Home Computing Initiative, on what dates he discussed with the Treasury the withdrawal of the tax exemption for loaned computer equipment under the Home Computing Initiative Scheme. [89899]

Margaret Hodge: The DTI have regular discussions with the Treasury on budgetary issues. We do not publish details of these for reasons of confidentiality.

Identity Fraud (Training)

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what internal training courses for tackling identity fraud are provided to departmental staff who have access to members of the public’s personal information. [86652]

Jim Fitzpatrick: We take the security of information very seriously and people who have limited access to information, including any personal information about the public, are given appropriate training, guidance and supervision by colleagues and line managers as our internal training providers do not run courses on this subject matter.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people entered into individual voluntary arrangements in (a) 2000-01, (b) 2001-02, (c) 2002-03, (d) 2003-04 and (e) 2004-05, broken down by those aged (i) under 20, (ii) 21-25, (iii) 26-30, (iv) 31-35, (v) 36-40 and (vi) over 41. [92064]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Official individual voluntary arrangement statistics are not available by age group.

The figures in the table give financial year totals for England and Wales, based on published headline seasonally adjusted quarterly data.


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Individual Voluntary Arrangements
Number

2000-01

7,466

2001-02

6,003

2002-03

6,421

2003-04

8,227

2004-05

11,829


Industry (Investment)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to promote investment in industry in Southend-on-Sea; and if he will make a statement. [87108]

Margaret Hodge: The Department has promoted investment in industry in Southend-on-Sea through the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

East of England Development Agency (EEDA) has, since 1999, engaged in a wide range of regional activities to increase enterprise throughout the East of England including Southend-on-Sea. Business Support activity includes, for example, funding services such as Business Link, the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS-East); and promoting inward investment and trade through East of England International (EEI) established in 2005 as successor to the previous regional organisation, Invest East of England. Further examples include programmes such as ‘Towards 2010’ (developing business skills) and ‘Enterprising Women’ (increasing rates of women in enterprise, launched in January 2006). All of these services have a region-wide remit.

Business Link Activity in Southend-on-Sea

According to the Inter-departmental Business Register (IDBR) there are 7,932 registered small and medium sized businesses in the unitary authority area of Southend-on-Sea. Of this total, Business Link (Essex) has provided a service to 1,590 (20 per cent.) in the 12 months to 30 June 2006. In addition, a further 620 early stage businesses have been supported in the past 12 months.

The register shows that 150 SMEs have developed a more in-depth relationship with Business Link and have received individualised support with their business development issues.

In addition to the above:

Business Link (Essex) has secured European Regional Development Funding to help finance a £2.1 million programme of business support operating in the Objective 2 wards within Southend-on-Sea. These are Milton, Shoeburyness, St. Lukes, Thorpe and Victoria.

Objective 2 funding in Southend-on-Sea is intended to stimulate business start-up activity, improve prospects for survival and growth and strengthen the competitive performance of established businesses. Working with partners including Southend borough council, the East of England Development Agency, the Regional Centre for Manufacturing Excellence, South East Essex College and the University of Essex at Southend, Business Link provides an integrated package of subsidised business support according to
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businesses’ needs and encourages active labour market policies, lifelong learning, adaptability and entrepreneurship.

Business Link (regionally) has also used funds from the East of England Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund to set up the East of England Co-investment Fund (COIN), which helps to stimulate investment into businesses located in or re-locating to an Objective 2 area by investing alongside private capital.

The fund has been designed for businesses with viable business plans who are looking for investment capital to finance their start-up or growth plans and who are keen to work with one or more private equity investors who will often bring skills and experience as well as capital.

Business Link (Essex) raises awareness of Objective 2 and COIN in Southend-on-Sea using the Business Link website, events for local businesses and e-newsletters aimed at established and growing businesses. These encourage businesses to take the advice available to them and offer information and articles on the latest issues affecting businesses, such as new legislation and best practice.

International Investor Development

Southend-on-Sea is home to some eleven overseas-owned investors including Olympus Keymed and the UK’s largest manufacturer of endoscopy equipment

Olympus Keymed provides over 900 high quality jobs in Southend in the medical devices sector and is a priority company for the EEI investor development programme which also directly supports the other overseas-owned companies in the area, two of which also operate in this high-technology sector.

Airport Development

EEI have also worked with the new owners of Southend Airport to provide route development assistance over the last year to help them attract new airlines and routes to this airport.

In addition EEDA has invested in a number of key regeneration projects in Southend which ultimately will provide a more attractive environment for business investment. Key projects include:

University of Essex—Southend Campus

The University of Essex (UoE) and South East Essex College in partnership are moving to a new £50 million campus in the centre of Southend in September 2004 which will accommodate up to 12,000 students (not all full-time). EEDA have acted as accountable body for £14 million of ODPM funding spent between 2003-06. EEDA also contributed in the region of £4 million towards the acquisition of the site in 2003.

EEDA and UoE are discussing subsequent potential phases of the Southend Campus project. These include innovative proposals for Business Incubation, based around focused research and International Cluster development (in key clusters around an Indo-Chinese axis.) EEDA is proposing to provide £200,000 to support this initiative.

The Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel is a prominent landmark building and historic cultural asset on the seafront above the pier in Southend. It has fallen into a neglected physical
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condition and prior to the instigation of this project was being used to provide temporary accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers. Securing its refurbishment and maximising the potential of this asset for Southend is seen as a key aspect of wider emerging regeneration plans for the town centre and seafront areas on which its future has significant impacts.

EEDA is working with the University of Essex on the creation of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and business training facility, over one floor within a refurbished Palace Hotel, as part of a larger scheme to regenerate the property (which will involve the creation of a high quality hotel using private capital).

High quality training facilities, aimed at a business audience, will provide a unique facility in the sub-region, with the opportunity to tap into the London market. It forms part of the strategic development of the university to enhance its offer to business and fits well within the development of Southend as an important education hub. The project also sits well in the context of developing Southend as a more upmarket leisure destination.

The proposed EEDA investment of £1.5 million is part of a wider public and private sector investment of £26.5 million.

Former Rossi’s Factory Site

The regeneration of the commercial seafront area of Southend-on-Sea is a key element of the overall vision of the town as a significant urban area and cultural and educational focus which serves local people and the Thames Gateway. The Seaway Car Park site was identified as a site which should be undertaken in a comprehensive redevelopment incorporating properties fronting the Golden Mile and adjoining properties to the west of site including the Rossi Ice Cream Factory.

The purchase of this key development site (1.94 ha) will assist in assembling a land package which includes the Seaway Car Park and will facilitate the unlocking of the area which enables its regeneration within a wider integrated regeneration strategy for the central seafront commercial area.

EEDA has allocated about £1.5 million for this acquisition and heads of terms for funding agreement have already been drafted. Negotiations between the vendors and Southend borough council (who are leading delivery on behalf of the partners) are ongoing.

Progress Road Industrial Estate

The acquisition and redevelopment of this site is key to improving the quality of the Progress Road employment area. The site currently accommodates a low quality production and warehouse facility. Its acquisition (and eventual redevelopment) would act as a catalyst for approx. 1.5-2 ha of under-utilised employment to the south of the site alongside an area of council owned land to the west of the site. The site runs to 0.57 ha and the premises 35,000 sq ft.

The site was acquired in late March by Southend borough council via EEDA funding of £2 million over 2005-06. A further £200,000 is projected to be spent 2006-07 in undertaking on-site demolition and clearance, followed by master-planning of the broader
9 Oct 2006 : Column 582W
Progress Road employment area to support delivery of the emerging Regeneration Framework.

The above demonstrates that the economic development of Southend is a major priority for EEDA with in excess of £10 million being invested and committed within the past three years.

International Arms Trade Treaty

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on progress toward an international arms trade treaty. [87561]

Dr. Howells: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are fully committed to securing an international treaty on the trade in all conventional arms. Both my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, the latter most recently in her speech to the UN General Assembly on 22 September, have made clear our commitment to securing agreement, at the General Assembly this year, for a UN based process to this end. I, along with my Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence counterparts, hosted a meeting with London’s diplomatic community, non-governmental organisations and industry representatives on 14 September. This gave us the opportunity to emphasise to the diplomatic community why an arms trade treaty is so important to the Government, and our determination to secure agreement at the UN. With a range of partners we intend to bring forward the appropriate resolution at the UN First Committee for this initiative. In advance of this we are continuing to build further support through intensive lobbying.

Japan

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much the Department spent in each of the last five years building links between the UK and Japan with a focus on (a) engineering, (b) science and technology and (c) innovation. [79329]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The majority of the Department’s expenditure on these subjects is allocated from the Science Budget to the UK Research Councils. In turn, the UK Research Councils allocate the majority of their funds in a “bottom-up” mode responding to the demands of the science community and making funding decisions on quality rather than international geographic focus. It is therefore not possible to provide exact figures on spending which relates to collaboration with Japan. However, there is active collaboration, supported by the Research Councils, in a wide range of areas—including genome work, nano and bio-nanotechnology, climate change, sustainable development and energy technologies.

The Office of Science and Innovation does have specific schemes to support links between UK and Japan in these areas, which are administered by the Embassy in Tokyo and which cost £120,000 over financial years 2001-02 to 2005-06.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 583W

John Lennon Airport

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact on local trade of the expansion of Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport. [89223]

Margaret Hodge: The Department has not made any specific assessment of the impact on local trade of the expansion of Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

However, a series of economic growth scenarios have been commissioned by local and regional stakeholders to inform economic development policy at local, sub-regional, and regional level. These all suggest that the airport will be a significant driver in the future economic prosperity of the Liverpool City region.

The Liverpool City Region Development Plan identifies John Lennon Airport as a key asset for the North West, North Wales, North of England and the UK, providing a gateway for trade, goods and people. At a regional level, the North West Regional Economic Strategy (2006) identifies the growth of Liverpool John Lennon Airport as a key transformational action.

The Airport has commissioned a report on the economic benefits of the Airport as part of the development of its Master Plan to 2030.

Junk Mail

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many pieces of junk mail were sent in the UK in each year since 2001. [91847]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Royal Mail produces annual statistics on the volume of unsolicited addressed direct mail it delivers. The figures for each year since 2001 are as follows:

Million

2001

4,939

2002

5,233

2003

5,438

2004

5,418

2005

5,134


The Door to Door Council produces annual statistics on the volume of all unsolicited unaddressed mail delivered. The figures are as follows:

Million

2001

9,250

2002

10,170

2003

11,880

2004

12,560


Figures for 2005 are not yet available.

Labour Providers

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many labour providers operate in the UK; and how many operated in (a) 1973, (b) 1983 and (c) 1993. [90009]

Jim Fitzpatrick: We do not have data for the number of labour providers operating in the UK at these dates.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 584W

Data from the Annual Business Inquiry for 2004 indicate there were 16,487 enterprises in labour recruitment and the provision of personnel; the number of enterprises involved in providing personnel as opposed to recruiting activities will be a sub-set of this.

A survey commissioned by the DTI in 1999 and undertaken by the Bostock Marketing Group (BMG) indicated there were 9,900 employment agencies and employment businesses in operation. The DTI expect to publish a more up-to-date estimate by early 2007.

Law Society

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry about which solicitors his Department has made a formal complaint to the Law Society in the last six years. [92654]

Malcolm Wicks: Complaints to the Law Society are confidential and it would be inappropriate for me to divulge this information.

Live Web Chat

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many questions were received from the public by the Minister for Energy during the live web chat held on 13 July; how many were (a) supportive and (b) critical of the proposals set out in the Energy Review; what criteria were used in the choice of questions answered; and what the reasons were for running a live web chat. [87043]

Malcolm Wicks: A total of 144 questions were posed for the Minister of Energy’s web chat on 13 July. The Minister answered as many questions as was possible in the one hour available. The questions answered were chosen to reflect the wide range of energy issues raised.

While the majority of the questions related to the Energy Review, many were neither positive nor negative about the review’s proposals, but instead sought further clarification.

Local Better Regulation Office

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from the Scottish Executive on the Local Better Regulation Office project. [89613]

Margaret Hodge: The Scottish Executive is engaging in a constructive dialogue with the DTI on the proposals DTI is developing for the Local Better Regulation Office project.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 585W

Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) year one, (b) year two and (c) year three budgets are for the household stream of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. [89725]

Malcolm Wicks: The budgets for the household stream of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme are as follows:

Budget (£ million)

2006-07

3.5

2007-08

2.0

2008-09

1.0

Total

6.5


Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total value is of household applications to the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. [89727]

Malcolm Wicks: By 17 September 2006, there had been £2.8 million worth of household applications to the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. It is important to note that not all of these projects will be offered a grant.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to increase the funding available for the household stream of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme; and if he will make a statement. [89728]

Malcolm Wicks: Current grant funding for household applications is £6.5 million over the next three years. There are no current plans to increase this funding. However, we are monitoring the uptake of grants and will keep the situation under review.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his estimate is of the date on which year one household grants under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme will be allocated in full. [89729]

Malcolm Wicks: The current allocation for year one under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Household Stream is £3.5 million. Although we have received a high number of applications, we have not made estimates of when the funding will be allocated in full, as a number of these applications may not go forward.

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what date the EU State Aid application for his Department’s Low Carbon Buildings programme was submitted. [91314]

Malcolm Wicks: EU State Aid application for Stream 2 of the Low Carbon Buildings programme was submitted on 21 December 2005.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 586W

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many domestic solar hot water systems he estimates could be installed through the capital grant support to the household section of his Department's Low Carbon Buildings programme. [91315]

Malcolm Wicks: Under the Low Carbon Buildings programme household section, we have to date received 1,478 applications for domestic solar hot water systems, which is 65 per cent. of the total applications. We have not made any estimates of how many solar hot water systems could be installed going forward.

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the likely take-up of the Low Carbon Buildings programme’s first stream of funding in the first year; and what provision is in place to support applications if take-up exceeds the allocated fund. [91316]

Malcolm Wicks: Under the Low Carbon Buildings programme household applications, we have currently committed £3 million towards 1,676 applications.

However, not all of these applications are likely to go forward to completion. We will keep the funding for Stream 1 under review.

Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the second stream of funding for the Low Carbon Buildings programme will be made available. [91318]

Malcolm Wicks: We are currently finalising the documentation to invite applications under Stream 2. However, guidance notes and building assessment forms have recently been issued to those who have registered an interest under Stream 2B.

Microgeneration

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much his Department (a) has spent in each of the last three years and (b) plans to spend in 2006-07 on the promotion of micro-electricity generation; and if he will make a statement. [85535]

Malcolm Wicks: The Clear Skies programme had a £12.5 million budget over the last three years, with approximately 25 per cent. of funds supporting micro electricity generation (wind and hydro) and 75 per cent. heat. The Major Photovoltaics Demonstration programme had a £31 million budget over the last four years and the Low Carbon Buildings programme has a £80 million budget over the next three years, £1.5 million of which was brought forward to extend the Clear Skies and PV programmes.

The amount of grant committed in each year over the last three years is as follows:

2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Clear Skies(1)

4,406,040

4,337,485

3,472,715

MDP PV

7,950,643

8,253,471

9,425,805

(1) Full budget including micro-electricity generation and heat


9 Oct 2006 : Column 587W

The Department plans to commit £13 million on the first phase of the Low Carbon Buildings programme (£30 million) in 2006-07. In terms of the additional £50 million announced in the March 2006 budget, we are currently working up the new programme and it is too early to estimate how much will be spent in the 2006-07 tax year.

Milk

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will refer milk pricing to the forthcoming investigation into the market power of supermarkets. [89504]

Mr. McCartney: The UK competition framework has established the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Competition Commission (CC) as independent statutory bodies. Responsibility for deciding on the scope of the current inquiry into the grocery market rests with these bodies: the Government no longer have a role in such decisions.

When the OFT announced its decision to refer the grocery market to the CC on 9 May it detailed the
9 Oct 2006 : Column 588W
competition concerns that it felt warranted investigation. In doing so, the OFT made it clear that the CC was not limited to investigating only the issues that the OFT had identified. On 15 June, the CC published its issues statement which set out the specific questions and areas that the inquiry intends to examine. But it also noted that this did not represent a final judgment on any aspect of the investigation. A copy of the issues statement can be found on the CC’s inquiry website at

http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/inquiries/ref2006/grocery/index.htm

Miners' Compensation

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many deceased claims have been made for miners in relation to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Bassetlaw constituency in the last five years, broken down by solicitor. [89722]

Malcolm Wicks: The number of deceased chronic obstructive pulmonary disease claims submitted in Bassetlaw, broken down by solicitor are in the following table.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 589W

9 Oct 2006 : Column 590W
Deceased claim receipts for Bassetlaw constituency by year
Solicitor <2001 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total

1 Legal Solicitors

0

0

0

0

34

0

0

34

Beresfords Solicitors

26

25

140

387

102

0

0

680

Mark Gilbert Morse

33

293

21

85

31

0

0

463

Wake Smith

5

2

2

247

14

0

0

270

BRM Solicitors

0

3

1

81

159

0

0

244

Raleys Solicitors

76

18

17

23

93

0

0

227

Kidd & Spoor Harper Solicitors

9

4

25

125

37

0

0

200

Graysons Solicitors

77

16

11

24

37

0

0

165

The Legal Warehouse

2

0

63

66

27

0

0

158

Barber & Co.

0

1

0

99

45

0

0

145

Moss Solicitors

76

14

20

17

4

0

0

131

Union of Democratic Mineworkers/Venside

63

10

0

13

16

0

0

102

Ashton Morton Slack LLP

90

7

0

2

2

0

0

101

Avalon Solicitors

1

0

2

23

71

P

0

97

Delta Legal

0

0

0

1

92

0

0

93

O H Parsons & Partners Solicitors

70

7

4

7

5

0

0

93

Thompsons Solicitors

63

10

5

1

11

0

0

90

Hugh James

4

0

0

34

23

0

0

61

Randell Lloyd Jenkins & Martin

0

0

4

39

13

0

0

56

Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

26

3

6

3

19

0

0

57

Onyems & Partners

0

0

0

52

3

0

0

55

Recompense Ltd

0

0

0

0

52

0

0

52

Ingrams Solicitors

0

0

1

33

14

0

0

48

Stuart Bell & Associates

7

4

4

4

27

0

0

46

Birchall Blackburn

0

0

0

21

23

0

0

44

Hopkins

28

0

0

0

14

0

0

42

Foy & Co Solicitors

14

2

2

2

19

0

0

39

Hilary Meredith Solicitors

0

0

0

5

32

0

0

37

Simpson Millar Solicitors

24

2

0

0

6

0

0

32

Watson Burton LLP

5

2

1

4

13

0

0

25

Towells Solicitors

12

4

1

6

1

0

0

24

Atteys

1

2

1

5

11

0

0

20

Richmonds Solicitors

8

6

4

1

1

0

0

20

Browell Smith & Co

4

0

4

1

7

1

0

17

Morions Solicitors

1

1

12

2

1

0

0

17

Wheelers Solicitors

0

0

0

14

2

0

0

16

Meloy Whittle Robinson

0

5

5

3

2

0

0

15

Keeble Hawson Moorhouse

9

1

1

2

1

0

0

14

J M Skinner Solicitors

0

5

0

4

3

0

0

12

Cordner Lewis Solicitors

1

0

0

0

10

0

0

11

German Hamilton Solicitors

1

0

0

6

3

0

0

10

Tracey Barlow Furniss & Co

4

1

0

1

2

0

0

8

Gorvin Smith Fort

2

2

2

1

0

0

0

7

Pannone & Partners

0

0

2

3

1

0

0

6

Colemans Solicitors

0

0

5

0

0

0

0

5

Ryan Carlisle Thomas Lawyers

2

0

0

0

3

0

0

5

Bac Solicitors

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

4

Frank Alien Pennington Solicitors

1

1

0

1

1

0

0

4

Proddow & Mackay Solicitors

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

4

Burroughs Day Solicitors

2

0

0

0

1

0

0

3

Marrons Solicitors

0

0

1

2

0

0

0

3

MLM Solicitors

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

3

Robinson King Solicitors

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

3

Bailey Bravo Jobling

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

2

Bell Dallman & Co

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

2

Bell Wright & Co

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

2

DMH Stallard

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

2

Emsleys Solicitors

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

2

Hindle Campbell Solicitors

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

2

Ilett & Clark Solicitors

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

2

Reeds Solicitors

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

2

Shaw & Co Solicitors

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

2

Taylor Bracewell Solicitors

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Twigg Farnell

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

Bleasdale & Co

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

Brian McArdle Solicitors

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Corries Solicitors

0

1

0

11

7

0

0

19

Dean Thomas & Co Solicitors

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Elliot Mather

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Endlars Solicitors

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Farleys

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

Furley Page

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Hickmotts Solicitors

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Hollis & Co Solicitors

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Kites Solicitors

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

Lawrence Hamblin

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

Lopian Wagner Solicitors

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

1

McConville O’Neill

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Morrish & Co Solicitors

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Oakley & Davies

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Peace Revitt Solicitors

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Shacklocks Mansfield

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

SIS Law

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

Wake Smith Solicitors

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

Wilson Browne Incorp. Holyoak & Co

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

Total

758

454

374

1,474

1,118

1

4,179

Note: The above analysis is of claims that were deceased as at 17 September 2006 where the claimant postcode falls in the Bassetlaw constituency. The analysis will include claims that were alive when the claim was submitted but have since died in process.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims handlers were registered on his Department's website for Vibration White Finger and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease miners compensation cases and hearing loss cases; with how many cases each handler dealt; and what the value was of each case. [92653]

Malcolm Wicks: Since British Coal’s liabilities were transferred to the Department, the claims handlers have been IRISC who were subsequently bought by Capita. They have handled about 820,000 Vibration White Finger, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease and hearing loss claims. Over 550,000 of these claims have been settled to date and over £3.3 billion has been paid in compensation.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 591W

Minimum Wage

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the costs to UK (a) businesses and (b) consumers of the October 2006 increase in the minimum wage. [91303]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Under the assumption that in the absence of an uprating the earnings of low paid employees would have remained unchanged, it is estimated that the gross increase in aggregate wage costs to business due to the October 2006 national minimum wage uprating would be around £540 million.

However, it is unlikely there would be no change in earnings in the absence of a minimum wage increase. Under the alternative assumption that low-paid earnings would have risen in line with average earnings in the absence of any uprating (the median forecast for AEI growth in 2006 is 4.2 percent.), the Department estimates that the net increase in aggregate wage costs resulting from the October 2006 NMW increase is around £89 million. This only represents a 0.013 percent. increase in the economy’s total wage bill to business.

The DTI does not have an estimate for the costs to UK consumers resulting from the increase, although these are likely to be very small given the overall increase in total labour costs.

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he plans to link future rises in the minimum wage for adult workers to the headline rate of inflation. [91304]

Jim Fitzpatrick: We have no plans to index link or peg the NMW, as stated in our manifesto.

Ministerial Meetings

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last met his Scottish counterpart; and what subjects were discussed. [89390]

Malcolm Wicks: Ministers meet regularly to discuss a wide range of matters.

Mobile Phones

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions his Department has had with telephone companies on improving reception available on mobile phones in rural areas; and if he will make a statement. [91375]

Margaret Hodge: DTI officials regularly meet with each of the UK’s five Mobile Network Operators to discuss regulatory and policy concerns, and this includes mobile coverage across the UK.

Under the Telecommunications Act regime (i.e. up to 2003) the Operators were required to provide Second Generation (2G) of mobile services to cover 90 per cent. of the UK population by the year 2000. For the third generation (3G) of mobile services the Operators are required under the terms of their licences to achieve coverage of 80 per cent. of the population by the end of 2007. Competition between the Operators has
9 Oct 2006 : Column 592W
accelerated rollout to the vast majority of the country, and today, mobile phone services are available to 99 per cent. of the population. The Industry Regulator Ofcom is currently consulting on ‘3G rollout obligations’. This consultation closes on 20 October. If Members would like to respond, a link can be found at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/3g_rollout/dti

The remaining 1 per cent. of the population is generally located in deep rural locations with very small populations and topography that often presents physical barriers to radio waves. This means that the costs incurred by the Operators to develop new infrastructure to service these areas would massively outweigh the revenue, and would prove so uneconomic that the business case to provide a service by the Operators is not sustainable. It is not Government policy to put pressure on any of the Operators to provide a service in a particular location if the commercial case does not justify it. The Universal Service Obligation ensures that there is 100 per cent. coverage of fixed line services across the UK.

In Government’s experience though, the Operators have been willing to listen to representations to extend coverage to certain areas. One way of addressing poor mobile reception is by presenting evidence of local demand to one or more of the Operators, with a view to persuading them that investing in infrastructure in that area is worth while.

Mobile Telephone Masts

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has had any discussions with the Health and Safety Executive in relation to the potential effect of mobile telephone masts on public health. [89343]

Margaret Hodge: The Department participates in regular discussions with a wide range of Government bodies, including the Department of Health, the Health Protection Agency, devolved administrations and the Health and Safety Executive to discuss matters relating to exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and any potential effects of mobile phone masts on public health. This includes an inter-departmental liaison group on non-ionising radiation, which meets twice per year.

Mobile phone operators ensure that mobile phone base stations comply with international EMF public exposure guidelines. The results of an independent audit of exposures around base stations can be found on the Ofcom website at:

Specific advice for the public on mobile phone base stations and health is the responsibility of the Department of Health, with expert advice from the Health Protection Agency. For further advice please see their respective websites:


9 Oct 2006 : Column 593W

Multinational Enterprises

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 6 July 2006, Official Report, column 1297W, on multinational enterprises, by what process and using what criteria the National Contact Point decides which complaints justify consideration as a specific instance for inclusion in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s annual report on the guidelines. [87235]

Mr. McCartney: As noted in the answer I gave on 6 July 2006, the National Contact Point reports details of all complaints that it has decided justify consideration as a specific instance for inclusion in the OECD’s annual report on the guidelines.

Nuclear Power

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to paragraph 5.132 of the Energy Review, Cm 6887, how much the report prepared by the Health and Safety Executive and Nuclear Installations Inspectorate on the pre-licensing assessment of candidate reactor designs cost; and whether any of those costs will be recovered from any company that puts forward proposals to build a new nuclear power plant. [86083]

Malcolm Wicks: The Health and Safety Executive produced an expert report on the health and safety risks of a number of developments in the energy sector, including an increasing need for gas storage in the UK, new demonstration projects for carbon capture and storage and its potential in the UK, increasing penetration of renewables and distributed generation in the UK and the potential for pre-licensing assessments of generic nuclear power station designs. This report was funded from existing resources.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to paragraph 5.126 of the Energy Review, Cm 6887, whether the costs of the assessment of the suitability of sites to develop nuclear plants will be passed on to the companies which put forward proposals to develop new nuclear power plants at these sites. [86084]

Malcolm Wicks: Any new nuclear power stations would be proposed, developed, constructed and operated by the private sector. It is Government’s role to set the right policy framework to attract investment in energy projects—a key part of this framework is the planning system. In the past Government have undertaken strategic siting assessments for offshore renewables and for the licensing of oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. The costs of this will be met by Government, as is the case with all other similar assessments, as part of their role to set the policy framework for energy investment.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of (a) the safety of nuclear goods transported by rail and (b) the security of trains carrying nuclear goods through Brent. [89163]


9 Oct 2006 : Column 594W

Malcolm Wicks: The transport of radioactive material, including irradiated or spent nuclear fuel, is governed by the stringent internationally-agreed standards recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the agency appointed by the United Nations to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies worldwide. During the period of over 40 years that the IAEA regulations have been in existence, there has been no instance of death or serious injury to persons, nor significant damage to the environment, from radiological effects caused during the transport of radioactive material worldwide by all modes of transport when properly packaged and transported in conformity with those regulations.

In 2005 the Department for Transport commissioned a survey into the radiological impact of the transport of radioactive material by road and rail. This report has sections explicitly covering the transport of irradiated nuclear fuel by rail. The report concludes that radiation doses from these transports are low. A copy of this report (Survey into the Radiological Impact of the Normal Transport of Radioactive Material in the UK by Road and Rail NRPB-W66) has been placed in the Libraries of the House and it is also available on the internet at the following address:

The transportation of spent nuclear fuel is carried out in a secure manner, in accordance with stringent security regulations—the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR). These regulations are administered and enforced by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), who regulate the security of such movements of spent nuclear fuel.

The security of the transportation of civil nuclear material was thoroughly reviewed following the events of 11 September 2001, and is regularly reviewed in light of the prevailing threat. OCNS is satisfied that the measures in place to prevent theft or sabotage are adequately robust, and that in the event that a credible threat were detected, appropriate action would be taken. As I am sure you will understand, it is not Government policy to disclose details of security measures taken in connection with the transportation of nuclear material.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he plans to publish a White Paper setting out the Government's proposals before any decision is made on whether to build new nuclear power stations; and if he will make a statement. [75707]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 8 June 2006]: As we said in the 2003 Energy White Paper, before any decision to proceed with the building of nuclear power stations there will need to be the fullest public consultation and publication of a further White Paper setting out Government proposals. The recent consultation in the Energy Review was part of this process, as is the ongoing consultation on the policy framework for new nuclear build (as set out in Annexe A of The Energy Challenge, Cm 6887), which ends on 31 October 2006.

An Energy White Paper will be published around the turn of the year.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 595W

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he plans to hold a debate in Parliament before any decision is made on whether to build new nuclear power stations; and if he will make a statement. [75708]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 8 June 2006]: Should any Energy Review proposals require further legislation they would of course be subject to the usual parliamentary procedures.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the basis is for the assumption set out at paragraph 5.101 of the Energy Review, Cm 6887, that nuclear power generation will cost £38/MWh as a central case. [86086]

Malcolm Wicks: The assumptions for the cost of nuclear power generation can be found in the Nuclear Power Generation Cost Benefit Analysis and in the overview of modelling of the relative electricity generating costs of different technologies. These documents are available on the DTI Energy Review web page—under the Nuclear Policy Framework link (www.dti.gov.uk/energy/review).

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to page 159 of the Energy Review, Cm 6887, whether he plans to recover costs from the nuclear industry for the development of the new planning proposals for nuclear installations development being produced by the Health and Safety Executive/Nuclear Installations Inspectorate mentioned. [86087]

Malcolm Wicks: No. It is a matter for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to determine whether any such costs are recoverable and the means by which that may be done. The HSE recovers the full cost of its regulation of each licensed nuclear site from the site licensee under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (as amended). This includes charging applicants for new nuclear site licences for the work undertaken in processing those applications.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 596W

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what level of stand-by power generation capacity is available when each existing nuclear power generation plant is shut down for annual routine maintenance. [86112]

Malcolm Wicks: Power station operators would normally notify their customers well in advance of any planned maintenance outages in order that demand has sufficient time to contract with new sources of supply if necessary. In its role as Great Britain system operator, moreover, National Grid seeks to hold an ‘operating margin’ of capacity in excess of electricity demand so as to limit the probability of inadequate generation in the short term. This operating margin varies widely between different times of the day and year; it is derived statistically by National Grid according to a number of factors such as generator availability and forecast demand. The level of the operating margin during a given period would therefore reflect any scheduled plant outages.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the (a) cost of and (b) time needed to decommission each nuclear power station scheduled to close up to 2010; and if he will make a statement. [90166]

Malcolm Wicks: The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) assumed responsibility for the decommissioning and clean up of the UK's civil nuclear legacy on 1 April 2005. The NDA has four operational Magnox nuclear power stations: Dungeness A, Sizewell A, Oldbury, and Wylfa; and, seven which are being decommissioned: Berkeley, Bradwell, Calder Hall, Chapelcross, Hinkley A, Hunterston A, and Trawsfynydd. The recently approved NDA Strategy contains the following assumptions about decommissioning costs, end dates and states but also signals that the NDA intends to review these in consultation with stakeholders in the near future. Details are as follows:

Operational Magnox Lifetime planned closure date End state/date Estimated decommissioning and clean-up costs( 1) (£ million)

Dungeness A (Kent)

1965-2006 Planned to cease generation end 2006

Landscaped/2111

1001.4

Sizewell A (Suffolk)

1966-2006 Planned to cease generation end 2006

Delicensed/2110

870.6

Oldbury (Gloucestershire)

1967-2008 Planned to cease generation end 2008

Delicensed/2118

1076.6

Wylfa (Anglesey)

1971-2010 Planned to cease generation end 2010.

Brownfield/2125

1006.5

Non operational Magnox

Berkeley (Gloucestershire)

1962 to 1989

Delicensed/2083

773.7

Bradwell (Essex)

1962 to 2002

Delicensed/2103

1086.6

CalderHall (Cumbria)

1956 to 2003

Site cleared for delicensing/2117

1073.9

Chapelcross (Dumfriesshire)

1959 to 2004

Undetermined/ 2128

1332.1

Hinkley Point A (Somerset)

1965 to 2000

Delicensed/2104

1213.7

Hunterston A (Ayrshire)

1964 to 1989

Delicensed/2090

1071.7

Trawsfynydd (Gwynedd)

1965 to 1991

Delicensed/2096

1116.0

(1 )Decommissioning and clean-up costs are based on the 2005-06 Lifecycle Baseline (LCBL)—see NDA Strategy.

9 Oct 2006 : Column 597W

The NDA’s Strategy and details of its other activities are available through its website at www.nda.gov.uk

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether (a) the full cost of (i) management and eventual disposal of radioactive waste produced from, (ii) the decommissioning of and (iii) pre-construction safety analysis for and (b) the full insurance liabilities for any new nuclear power stations will be paid for entirely by private investors; and if he will make a statement. [75610]

Malcolm Wicks: It will be for the private sector to initiate, fund, construct and operate any new nuclear power station, this includes the cost of insurance that is compulsory. Government will need to be satisfied that potential developers have put in place appropriate and robust funding structures and safeguards to deal with their full costs of decommissioning and their full share of the costs of final waste disposal.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy to allow hon. Members a debate and a vote in the House before a decision is taken on nuclear rebuild. [72927]

Malcolm Wicks: Parliamentary approval is not required to confirm a decision by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (or Scottish Ministers in Scotland) for the building of power stations of any type.

Should the Government bring forward new legislative proposals, as a result of any aspect of the Energy Review, then the House will have the opportunity to fully debate these proposals.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what sources of evidence apart from the advice of the Office for Civil Nuclear Security were considered in preparing paragraph 5.124 on nuclear security of the Energy Review, Cm 6887. [86085]

Malcolm Wicks: The Energy Review commissioned advice from several regulatory bodies on a range of issues. The Office of Civil Nuclear Security, as the UK’s nuclear security regulator, provided expert advice on nuclear security.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to receive the next annual report from the Nuclear Security Regulator. [88709]

Malcolm Wicks: The report was published on 8 August 2006.

Nuclear Waste

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who provides the security for trains carrying nuclear waste through Brent. [89134]

Malcolm Wicks: Direct Rail Services (DRS) handles the specialist transportation of spent nuclear fuel by rail.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 598W

The transportation of spent nuclear fuel is carried out in a secure manner, in accordance with stringent security regulations—the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR). These regulations are administered and enforced by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), who regulate the security of such movements of spent nuclear fuel. A key requirement of the NISR is that all carriers of civil nuclear material submit a Transport Security Statement (TSS), which is legally binding, detailing the security policies and procedures implemented in order to prevent the theft or sabotage of civil nuclear material in transit. Before a carrier can commence the transport of civil nuclear material, the TSS has to be approved by OCNS who must be assured that the standards detailed are sufficiently robust.

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the safety implications of individual nuclear power station operators storing nuclear waste on-site during the operating lifetime of their plants. [89245]

Malcolm Wicks: None. Oversight of the safety of waste stored at nuclear power stations is a matter for the regulators and the Health and Safety Executive in collaboration with the environment agencies.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the written statement of 20 July 2006, Official Report, column 54WS, on Civil Plutonium and Uranium Stocks, what locations are covered by the term ‘or elsewhere’ used in the document deposited in the Library. [89697]

Malcolm Wicks: The figures in the statement are compiled from information supplied by the licensed holders of such materials in the UK: British Energy, British Nuclear Group, UKAEA, Urenco and Imperial College Reactor Centre (Ascot), as well as information on the much smaller inventories of nuclear materials held at other organisations. The main locations covered by the term ‘or elsewhere’ are the UKAEA sites at Dounreay, Harwell, Winfrith and Windscale, and the British Nuclear Group site at Sellafield. There are also very small quantities, in total less than 3 g, held at ten other locations: Thales Optics, the National Physical Laboratory, the Science Museum, Centronic Ltd, the Health Protection Agency, the Daresbury Laboratory, GE Healthcare Ltd, the University of Birmingham, the University of Northumbria, and Serco Assurance.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry who is responsible for ensuring the security of trains carrying nuclear waste through Brent. [91608]

Malcolm Wicks: Direct Rail Services (DRS) handles the specialist transportation of spent nuclear fuel by rail.

The transportation of spent nuclear fuel is carried out in a secure manner, in accordance with stringent regulation—the Nuclear Industries Regulations 2003 (NISR). These regulations are administered and enforced by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), who regulate the security of such movements of spent nuclear fuel.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 599W

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the security of trains carrying nuclear waste through Brent. [91609]

Malcolm Wicks: The transportation of spent nuclear fuel is carried out in a secure manner, in accordance with stringent security regulations—the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR). These regulations are administered and enforced by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS), who regulate the security of such movements of spent nuclear fuel.

The security of the transportation of civil nuclear material was thoroughly reviewed following the events of September 11 2001, and is regularly reviewed in the light of the prevailing threat. OCNS is satisfied that the measures in place to prevent theft or sabotage are adequately robust, and that in the event that a credible threat were detected, appropriate action would be taken.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the agency given responsibility to deliver the proposals put forward by the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management for the long-term management of radioactive waste will be able to recover costs, pro rata, from any company that puts forward proposals to build and operate a new nuclear power plant for the preparatory work done to establish a safe strategy to handle nuclear waste. [86081]

Malcolm Wicks: The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management’s final report was published on 31 July. The Government will respond in a formal statement to Parliament as will the devolved Administrations, setting out how work to manage long-term waste will be taken forward.

The long-term waste management solution developed by Government will factor in waste from new build. There will be an assessment of how new build affects the cost of delivering the national waste management solution and the private sector will pay a charge covering the full and equitable costs of managing the waste generated over the expected life of each new power station.

Government intend to appoint an individual with senior management or financial experience of major capital investment projects to lead the development of arrangements for the costs associated with new build waste management. What is clear is that the private sector would meet their full share of long-term waste management costs of any new nuclear power stations.

Offshore Wind Projects

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what his Department’s timetable is for round 3 offshore wind projects; and if he will make a statement. [89664]

Malcolm Wicks: We do not currently have a timetable for any activity beyond round 2 although we are aware of interest and we have begun exploratory dialogue with the Crown Estate. However, the progress and timetable will depend on the outcome of the proposals for a Marine Bill.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 600W

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps his Department has taken to start the round 3 offshore wind programme; and if he will make a statement. [89665]

Malcolm Wicks: We are concentrating on the delivery of the remaining round 1 and round 2 offshore wind farm projects. We are aware of the interest beyond round 2 and have begun to explore options with the Crown Estate for further development. Out intention is to take a long term view over the next 10-15 years and feed into the proposed Marine Bill.

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions his Department has had with Governments of other EU member states regarding the creation of an offshore wind grid in the North sea; and if he will make a statement. [89666]

Malcolm Wicks: This is one of a number of common issues that member states looking to develop offshore wind farms are discussing through the process that has included the workshops held in Egmond aan Zee in 2004 and Copenhagen last year, and which will continue at next year’s planned follow-up meeting in Berlin.

The declarations from the England and Copenhagen meetings can be found at:

Parliamentary Questions

John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will answer question 72393, on an appeal to the Information Tribunal, tabled on 16 May 2006 by the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare. [85173]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 1033W.

Pharmaceutical Research and Development

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the amount that parallel import traders invested in pharmaceutical research and development in the last financial year. [90098]

Margaret Hodge: The DTI research and development (R & D) scoreboard contains data on global and UK companies’ investment in R & D. As far as we are aware, none of the companies in the 2005 R & D scoreboard is primarily engaged in the parallel trade of pharmaceutical products. This report is available and can be downloaded at www.innovation.gov.uk

Phoenix Fund

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been allocated to the Phoenix Fund in each year of the Comprehensive
9 Oct 2006 : Column 601W
Spending Review; how that funding has been distributed to support the objectives of the fund; what discussions have taken place regarding continuation of the fund; and if he will make a statement. [90158]

Margaret Hodge: No decisions have yet been taken about allocations for the Comprehensive Spending Review, however, as the Phoenix Fund is due to end in March 2008 it is envisaged that any future spend on objectives supported by the Fund would be allocated to separate funding streams.

Post Office Card Account

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what guidance he has issued on the advice to be given by the Post Office to pensioners with Post Office card accounts in relation to the merits of pension credit payments being made directly into a bank account. [87945]

Jim Fitzpatrick: None. Post Office Ltd is developing its strategy to enable as many of the existing 4.3 million Post Office card account customers who want to use the Post Office to receive their benefits can do so beyond 2010. The company will be undertaking a small-scale trial to inform customers of a current savings account option which may be suitable for a small number of customers.

Post Offices

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) post offices and (b) sub-post offices there were in (i) 1997-98 and (ii) 2004-05 in (A) Greater London and (B) the London borough of Bexley. [87141]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The question the hon. Member has asked relates to operational matters for which Post Office¬(r) Ltd. is directly responsible. Post Office¬(r) Ltd. have provided the following figures relating to the numbers of post office branches in Greater London and the London borough of Bexley.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 602W
Area Number

Greater London

2001-02

Total number of Post Office¬(r) branches

1,209

Total number of sub-Post Office¬(r) branches

1,064

2004-05

Total number of Post Office¬(r) branches

867

Total number of sub-Post Office¬(r) branches

738

London borough of Bexley

2001-02

Total number of Post Office¬(r) branches

45

Total number of sub-Post Office¬(r) branches

43

2004-05

Total number of Post Office¬(r) branches

26

Total number of sub-Post Office¬(r) branches

24


Postwatch

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what factors were taken into account when the decision was made not to give Postwatch power to veto changes to the Post Office network. [89306]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Postwatch was created as a strengthened consumer body under the Postal Services Act 2000 with the role of providing advice and information, representing views of postal users, and making proposals in support of consumer interests. Matters and decisions relating to the operations of the Post Office network are the direct responsibility of the management of Post Office Ltd. though changes to the network are subject to advice and representations from Postwatch.

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of total income was spent on administration by each of the regional development agencies in each year since 1997. [89247]

Margaret Hodge: The following table shows the percentage of annual budget each regional development agency has spent on administration from their creation in financial year 1999-2000 to 2005-06 and the estimated percentage for 2006-07.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 603W

9 Oct 2006 : Column 604W
RDA administration costs as a percentage of annual budgets( 1)
Percentage
1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

Advantage West Midlands

7

7

6

7

7

9

7

7

East of England Development Agency

15

13

11

10

11

12

9

8

East Midlands Development Agency

17

11

9

10

10

11

10

10

London Development Agency

3

4

6

5

9

8

n/a(2)

North West Development Agency

8

9

5

8

10

9

10

10

One North East

10

11

6

10

10

10

9

9

South East England Development Agency

8

9

7

13

12

15

11

11

South West Development Agency

17

14

11

14

16

14

13

13

Yorkshire Forward

6

7

5

8

7

6

7

6

(1) The income figure used is the Government grant to the Agency. (2) The London Development Agency’s administration budget is subject to the approval of their 2006-07 Corporate Plan by the Mayor.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will simplify the process whereby the biomass content of the waste stream as part of the energy from waste process is measured for eligibility for Renewables Obligations certificates. [89830]

Malcolm Wicks: As administrator of the Renewables Obligation on behalf of DTI, Ofgem is responsible for agreeing fuel measurement procedures to establish eligibility for Renewables Obligation certificates. Ofgem is working with industry and the Government through the Biomass Working Group to reach agreement on acceptable fuel measurement procedures for biomass and energy from waste, following the introduction of changes to eligibility of waste under the Renewables Obligation in April 2006.

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many renewable obligation certificates were issued in Scotland in (a) 2004 and (b) 2005; and how many have been issued so far in 2006. [89986]

Malcolm Wicks: The amount of renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) that were issued in Scotland for the years in question were:

Amount

2004

3,117,750

2005

3,623,098

2006

(1)748,940

(1) Up to May

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) biomass generating stations, (b) hydroelectric plants and (c) wind energy generating stations in Scotland have been issued with a renewable obligation certificate. [89987]

Malcolm Wicks: In Scotland, two biomass generating stations, 118 hydroelectric generating stations and 53 wind generating stations have been issued with renewable obligation certificates.

Mr. Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much the Government spent on research into alternative and renewable sources of energy in 2005. [90212]

Malcolm Wicks: Final figures for Government investment in research on alternative and renewable sources of energy are not yet available for financial year 2005-06. Available information includes: the DTI Technology Programme which spent £14.5 million on low carbon energy technologies, the Research Councils which spent £15.8 million on renewable energy and the Carbon Trust which spent £7.5 million.

Funding for (non nuclear) R and D for renewables and energy efficiency was also provided by DfT, DEFRA, the Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government, the Department for Trade, Enterprise and Investment in Northern Ireland and the Regional Development Agencies.

In addition, the DTI also supports a range of demonstration programmes such as offshore wind, low-carbon buildings and microgeneration, bio-energy, marine, carbon abatement technologies and hydrogen and fuel cells.

Renewable Heat Obligation

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to paragraph 3.46 of the Energy Review, Cm 6887, what mechanisms he intends to establish to facilitate the contribution of suggested solutions to the practical problem of establishing a renewable heat obligation. [86115]

Malcolm Wicks: DTI and DEFRA remain open to suggestions on appropriate mechanisms to bring forward an increased contribution from renewable heat. We will be particularly keen to engage with key interested parties on this issue as we develop the “Biomass Strategy” to be published by April 2007.

Research Councils

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the merger between the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council and the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils. [91333]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government announced on 25 July their plans to create a new Large Facilities Council through the merger of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council and the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils. This followed a consultation on proposals. The creation of this Council would allow the UK to take a more strategic and integrated approach to investments in large scientific facilities, both nationally and internationally.

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of the (a) Arts and Humanities Research Council, (b) Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, (c) Council for the Central Laboratory of Research Councils, (d) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, (e) Economic and Social Research Council, (f) Medical Research Council, (g) Natural Environment Research Council and (h) Particle Physics and
9 Oct 2006 : Column 605W
Astronomy Research Council budget was spent on administration costs in 2005-06; and what proportion of the funding grant this represented in each case. [91334]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The following table shows the proportion of the total budget spent on administration
9 Oct 2006 : Column 606W
costs in 2005-06 and the proportion of Government funding spent on the same. The information is taken from expected outturn figures for 2005-06 for each of the Research Councils. This was published in the DTI Departmental Report 2006, Annexe B3, which can be found at: http://reporting.dti.gov.uk/cgi-bin/rr.cgi/http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file28518.pdf

Research Councils
£000
AHRC BBSRC CCLRC EPSRC ESRC NERC MRC PPARC

Central administration spend

3,586

10,000

(1)n/a

23,054

6,851

21,366

17,437

5,461

Resource/capital budget

68,846

326,364

292,921

575,010

123,712

371,092

486,539

306,566

Proportion of administration costs to Government funding (percentage)

5.21

3.06

n/a

4.01

5.54

5.76

3.58

1.78

Total budget(2)

86,769

341,294

368,618

575,687

136,298

417,273

571,076

343,221

Proportion of administration costs to total budget (percentage)

4.13

2.93

n/a

4.00

5.03

5.12

3.05

1.59

Notes:
1. This figure is not stated in the departmental report separately.
2. Includes financing by third party income.

Retail Shops (Scottish Islands)

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of independent retail shops which (a) opened and (b) closed in (i) Orkney, (ii) Shetland and (iii) the Highlands and Islands in each year since 1997. [86411]

Margaret Hodge: Value added tax (VAT) registrations and de-registrations are the best official guide to the pattern of business start-ups and closures. DTI data on the number of VAT retail business registrations and de-registrations in (i) Orkney council area, (ii) Shetland council area and (iii) the Highlands and Islands from 1997 to 2004 are shown in the following table.

VAT registration and de-registration data do not capture all business activity.

Businesses are unlikely to be registered if their turnover falls below the compulsory VAT threshold, which has risen in each year since 1997. Similarly, businesses that de-register may not have closed. In the retail sector 63 per cent. of enterprises in the UK (200,000 out of 320,000) were registered for VAT at the start of 2004.

VAT registrations and de-registrations in retail( 1) in Orkney, Shetland and the Highlands and Islands, 1997-2004
Number
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

Orkney

Registrations

5

5

0

5

5

5

5

5

De-registrations

5

5

10

5

5

5

5

5

Shetland

Registrations

5

10

5

10

5

5

5

5

De-registrations

10

5

5

10

5

5

10

5

Highlands and Islands

Registrations

100

130

120

110

100

130

110

105

De-registrations

155

160

140

145

110

125

130

125

(1 )Standard Industrial Classification 52, retail trade (except of motor vehicles), repair of personal and household goods. Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 5 for data protection reasons. Source: Small Business Service figures based on data from the ONS Inter Departmental Business Register.


9 Oct 2006 : Column 607W

Royal Mail

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will make an announcement on employee share ownership of the Royal Mail. [87562]

Mr. Darling: Royal Mail has submitted proposals on an employee share ownership scheme and these proposals are currently under consideration by the Department. No decisions have been made on whether to introduce a share scheme.

Small Business Service

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether an independent assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the Small Business Service; and if he will make a statement. [91373]

Margaret Hodge: The National Audit Office published its report on support for small business, which focused on the work of the Small Business Service, in May this year. The Department has also carried out an internal review following informal consultation with the main business representative organisations. We shall be making a further statement shortly.

Solar Energy

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many photovoltaic cells were installed in each of the last five years; what total subsidy was provided for their installation; and what estimate he has made of the amount of electricity generated from them. [85536]

Malcolm Wicks: The main Government support programmes for photovoltaic (PV) installations over the last five years were the Major PV Demonstration programme with a budget of £31 million, which closed to applications in March 2006. PV Field Trials with a budget of £10 million. PV will continue to receive support, along with other microgeneration technologies, through the new £80 million Low Carbon Buildings Programme over the next three years. It is not possible to provide detailed information on the PV installations under the Low Carbon Buildings programme, which was launched in April 2006.

For the PV programme and Field Trials we do not hold information on the number of cells installed, as this was not a measure used. The approximate number of kWp (size of system) installed under the Major PV Demonstration programme and the PV Field trials are set out as follows.

Major PV Demonstration programme

Stream 1 Household applications
KWp Number of projects kWh/yr

2002

176.07

94

266,025.80

2003

497.17

228

777,359.80

2004

786.78

339

1,209,289

2005

1,188.85

483

1,836,101

2006

193.4

80

306,417.50


9 Oct 2006 : Column 608W

Stream 2 Large-Scale projects
KWp Number of projects KWh/yr

2002

530.22

17

396,146

2003

1,324.64

43

1,035,728.52

2004

509.1

21

405,943.47

2005

19.6

1

15,934.80


In terms of subsidy levels under the Major PV Demonstration programme, for Stream 1 grant support is up to 50 per cent. of eligible costs. For Stream 2 the grant paid to applicants depends on the type of system installed (bolt-on system or an integrated roof tile system) and the date at which the grant was approved for funding. Information on how much grant is paid per kWp for each type of PV system is in the following table.

£/kWp

From June 2003

Bolt-on

3,000

Integrated

4,250

From 19 July 2004

Bolt-on

2,800

Integrated

4,000

Semi-integrated

3,400

Glass/glass

5,000

From 1 March 2005

Bolt-on

2,500

Integrated

3,500

Semi-integrated

3,000

Glass/glass

5,000


Field Trials

Total installed capacity 1.4MW

Total spend to date is £7.3 million (direct to sites)—to be 7.8 million by the end. This is around 80 per cent. of the total value (approximately £9.4 million) of the PV Systems installed. The balance of the £10 million for the PV Field Trials has been taken up by the detailed monitoring required. We do not have precise information on output as yet. However, current estimates suggest in the region of 800MWh pa. This is based on a figure of 750kWhpa/kW for crystalline silicon at an optimum elevation. However, as many of sites were not installed in this way a 25 per cent. reduction has been applied. A rough estimate of total energy produced to date from the Field Trials is 2,000MWh, based on the average project generating for 2.5 years. Subsidy on the PV Field Trials was in the region of 80 per cent.

Solar Photovoltaics

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much of the budget for his Department’s solar photovoltaics major demonstration programme remains unspent. [89655]

Malcolm Wicks: As at 30 June 2006, £11,217,895 of the £31,750,000 budget for the major PV demonstration programme remains unspent.


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Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total value is of grants allocated but not yet paid under stream 2 of his Department’s solar photovoltaics major demonstration programme. [89656]

Malcolm Wicks: The total value of grants allocated but not yet paid under stream 2 of the Major PV demonstration programme is £10,171,566. Payment is subject to the completion of projects and submission of the relevant documentation.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total value is of grants paid by his Department under (a) stream 1 and (b) stream 2 of the Solar photovoltaics major demonstration programme. [89657]

Malcolm Wicks: The total value of grants paid up to 30 June 2006 under the major PV demonstration programme was £8,118,233 for stream 1 (household applicants) and £9,541,387 for stream 2 (large scale projects).

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total value was of household grant allocations made in the final full year of his Department’s Clearskies and Solar PV Major Demonstration programmes. [89726]

Malcolm Wicks: The total value of household grant allocations in the financial year 2005-06 for Clearskies and Solar PV Major Demonstration programmes was as follows:

£ million

Clearskies

2.1

Solar PV Major Demonstration

4.5


Spam E-mails

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what change there has been in the number of spam e-mails since the passage of the Communications Act 2003. [91829]

Margaret Hodge: It is not possible to provide this information as the Government do not collect data on the number or nature of e-mails distributed in the UK.

State Aid

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the funding for (a) the Assisted Area Status programme and (b) other state aid schemes by the EU since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [90167]

Margaret Hodge: (a) The Department of Trade and Industry is currently undertaking an evaluation of the Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) and Selective Finance for Investment in England (SFIE) programmes, the largest schemes operating under the Assisted Areas map. This evaluation is due to be published in the near future.


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(b) The Government do not have explicit rules requiring the compilation of reports on the effectiveness of State Aid, but the Departmental financial rules deriving from the Treasury’s Green Book do require that all Government spending schemes (whether State Aid or not) are subject to a scrutiny and appraisal process to ensure that they effectively achieve their objectives.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what methodology was used to determine the Assisted Area Status draft map published in July; and if he will make a statement. [90168]

Margaret Hodge: A description of the methodology used in determining the draft Assisted Areas map can be found in the document ‘Review of Assisted Areas—Stage 2—The Government's Response and Draft Assisted Areas Map’, available on the DTI website and in the Libraries of the House.

Further details on the indicators used for prioritising Assisted Area coverage are available on the DTI website, in the document ‘Draft Assisted Areas Map (2007-2013): Further Details on Data and Analysis’. The detailed data for all Great Britain wards are also available on the DTI website in the document ‘Assisted Areas Review—Ward Level Data’. All three documents are available at:http://www.dti.gov.uk/regional/assisted-areas/assisted-areas-review/page24618.html.

Stem Cell Research

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which organisations have received grants under the Department's technology programme relating to stem cell research since May 2005. [92255]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Details of individual collaborative research projects supported under the Technology Programme are not released by DTI until the project consortium has formally accepted the terms of the grant offer letter. Projects led by the following organisations have been offered grants through the Technology Programme for projects relating to stem cell research since May 2005: Avecia Ltd, Axordia Ltd, VASTox plc. Details of several other projects will be released when formal agreement of their grant offers is reached.

Tidal Power

Mr. Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions (a) he and (b) his Department has had regarding the generation of tidal power from the Severn estuary; and if he will make a statement. [90082]

Malcolm Wicks: During the course of the recent Energy Review we received a range of views on tidal generation, including representations by the Severn Tidal Power Group(1) on their plans for a Severn Barrage, which could provide around 5 per cent. of current UK electricity demand by 2020 and cost in the region of £14 billion. We also received representations from a number of the Environmental Non-Government Organisations, that raised strong
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concerns, regarding such a scheme, in view of the environmental designations that apply to the Severn Estuary.

We are interested in improving our understanding of how to make best use of the potential tidal resource in UK waters. Therefore, together with the Welsh Assembly Government, we are working with the Sustainable Development Commission, the South West Regional Development Agency and other key interested parties to explore the issues arising on the tidal resource in the UK, including the Severn Estuary, including potential costs and benefits of development using a range of tidal technologies and their public acceptability.

Underground Coal Gasification

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the potential for underground coal gasification since the Department’s feasibility study in 2004; and why the Energy Review of July 2006 did not refer to underground coal gasification. [88329]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 25 July 2006]: The Department’s Carbon Abatement Technologies Strategy for Fossil Fuel Use, published in June 2005, assessed the possibility of using underground coal gasification (UCG). This concluded that this technology, whilst it had longer term potential, would need to be deployed with carbon capture and storage so as to significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the carbon dioxide emissions which would be associated with it. The Department is therefore keeping a watching brief on the development of those key enabling technologies which would permit its deployment in the future.

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Coal Forum will discuss the potential for underground coal gasification; and if he will make a statement. [88331]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 25 July 2006]: As stated in the Energy Review Report further information about the forum’s remit and particulars will be announced shortly. We will need to take views on how the participants in the Coal Forum will wish to address underground coal gasification within their remit.

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals he has to fund a major trial of underground coal gasification; and if he will make a statement. [88332]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 25 July 2006]: The Department is currently part-funding a feasibility study by Heriot-Watt University in the Firth of Forth area and therefore continues to keep a watching brief on the development of the key enabling technologies for underground coal gasification (UCG). There are currently no plans to fund any major trials of UCG.


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Uranium

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 9 January 2006 to the hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells, Official Report, columns 298-9W, on uranium, what assessment he has made as part of the Energy Review analysis of the long-term availability of high-grade uranium ore to the nuclear industry. [89716]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department has assessed that uranium resources are sufficient to meet future energy demands at current and increased levels. We do not expect higher-grade resources to be depleted in the near future. The Cigar Lake mine in Canada, due to begin production in 2007, has an average grade of 18 per cent. uranium, showing that high-grade deposits are still being discovered.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much his Department has spent on the implementation of the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive; and if he will make a statement. [90255]

Malcolm Wicks: This question cannot be answered without incurring disproportionate cost.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with business regarding the implementation of the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive. [90256]

Malcolm Wicks: Throughout the review of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive, announced in December 2005, and the informal consultation period, my Department has been in very close contact with businesses and business representatives to ensure that their concerns are taken into account. I set up a WEEE Advisory Group of business and trade association representatives to provide a further mechanism for business to input to the process and to allow stakeholders and Government to work together to ensure an effective and workable implementation of the directive. In addition, I have personally received representations from stakeholders on a range of issues. Now that the Government have launched a formal consultation on the WEEE directive, business has another opportunity to input into the development of the WEEE Regulations in the UK.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will consult hon. Members on the implementation of the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive. [90257]

Malcolm Wicks: The statutory instrument for implementing the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive will be laid before Parliament 21 days before entering into force and Members will have 40 days to raise objections in line with standard procedures.


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Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with EU officials on the implementation of the waste electrical and electronic equipment directive. [90258]

Malcolm Wicks: The European Commission has been kept fully informed on the progress of the implementation of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) directive. The Department has sent regular updates to the Commission and the consultation documents have also been forwarded to the Commission. In addition to this, the Department has sent a response to the “Request for Information” which forms part of the Commission’s review of the WEEE directive which is due to conclude in 2008 and in which we intend to play an active role. Officials from the Department have also attended the regular Technical Adaptation Committee meetings which bring together representatives from all the member states and the Commission.

Waste Management

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what incentives to local authorities to develop anaerobic digestion of wastes as part of local distributed generation of electricity were examined as part of the Energy Review. [86113]

Malcolm Wicks: The Energy Review was a high level and long-term review. It laid out a very substantial programme of action in relation to low carbon buildings and low carbon government, including a process for upgrading the Code for Sustainable Homes and the Building Regulations, a feasibility study into making the Thames Gateway a carbon neutral area, a new duty and powers on the Mayor of London in relation to climate change, and a strong statement from the Planning Minister encouraging local authorities to act on renewable energy. The review also announced a comprehensive review with Ofgem of all the barriers and incentives that impact on distributed generation, and a review by the Office of Science and Innovation of the long-term potential of distributed generation as an alternative or supplement to centralised generation. The review did not look at incentives on local authorities to develop any specific technology, including anaerobic digestion of wastes.

Weights and Measures

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to his answer of 22 May 2006 to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar, (Mr. Pickles) Official Report, columns 1465-6W, on weights and measures, if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance provided to the Local Authorities Co-ordinating Office on Regulatory Services—LACORS. [89790]

Mr. McCartney: I have placed a copy of the guidance provided to LACORS, which was in the form of a letter from the Chief Executive of The National Weights and Measures Laboratory dated 22 June 2004, in the Libraries of the House.


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Wind Power

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the continuity of supply of power from (a) onshore and (b) offshore wind farms. [89182]

Malcolm Wicks: The UK has one of the best wind profiles in Europe, with the potential to supply a significant portion of our energy needs. It currently offers the best, and most cost-effective, potential in the short to medium term for expansion of renewable energy, ahead of solar, biomass, wave/tidal and geothermal. The UK renewable resource is huge and there are no technically insurmountable challenges to dealing with intermittency.

The geographical dispersion of wind farms means that the probability of having no wind across the entire country is extremely low. A report by the Environmental Change Institute of the University of Oxford—on behalf of the DTI—found that:

A copy of their report is available from http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/renewables/ukwind


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