Previous Section Index Home Page

30 Nov 2006 : Column 826W—continued

Wind Farms

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) when the first application was received for an offshore wind farm at Shell Flat, Fleetwood; whom the applicant was; and if he will make a statement; [100697]

(2) how many wind turbines are planned for the offshore wind farm at Shell Flat, Fleetwood; how many (a) square miles and (b) square kilometres the offshore wind farm is expected to cover; and from whom he has received objections to the plans; [100698]

(3) what time extensions he has granted to the applicant planning to develop the offshore wind farm at Shell Flat, Fleetwood; [100699]

(4) what the time limit is for (a) lodging of objections and (b) negotiations with objectors in respect of the development of the offshore wind farm at Shell Flat, Fleetwood; [100700]

(5) of what negotiations between the applicant proposing to build an offshore wind farm at Shell Flat, Fleetwood and those objecting to the plans he has been informed; and if he will make a statement; [100701]

30 Nov 2006 : Column 827W

(6) when he plans to make a decision on the application for the offshore wind farm at Shell Flat, Fleetwood. [100837]

Malcolm Wicks: An application for an order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWA) to permit the construction and operation of the proposed Shell Flat offshore wind farm was submitted by Cirrus Energy Ltd. on 31 January 2003. The application proposed that the wind farm would have up to 90 turbines and cover an overall area of 44 square kilometres.

The application was subject to consultation in accordance with the requirements of the TWA. While the public notices that advertised the TWA application specified a period of approximately six weeks for any representations or objections to be made to the Secretary of State, the process allows the Secretary of State to consider relevant submissions received after the specified date. As a result of the consultation, 15 objections are in place from: the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (holding objection), Blackpool Airport, the Ministry of Defence, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the Countryside Council for Wales, the Royal Yachting Association, the RSPB, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Fylde Bird Club, English Nature/Natural England, the Wildlife Trusts, Wyre borough council and three individuals.

All the consultation responses were sent to Cirrus Energy for consideration and the company then replied directly to respondents and, where appropriate, followed these up with discussions.

There are no specific time scales in the TWA process for negotiations with objectors to be undertaken. Where objections to a proposal are received, the Secretary of State is required to take a decision on how to deal with them within 28 days of the final date for submission set out in the public notice. However, the TWA process enables the Secretary of State to extend that decision-making timetable in response to a request from the developer, or at his own discretion, if he feels that objections may be removed as a result of further discussions between the developer and an objector. In the case of Shell Flat, the timetable has been extended on a number of occasions from the original date of 8 April 2003 to 16 December 2006. The decision to extend the timetable has been drawn to the attention of objectors as the extensions have been granted.

There is no specific timetable for a decision to be taken about the application for the TWA order. However, Cirrus Energy has indicated that it proposes to submit consent applications for an alternative wind farm on a new site close to the existing Shell Flat location. Should any application come forward, then it will be subject to public consultation.

Minister for Women

Single Mothers

20. Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government have taken to enable single mothers to return to work. [106230]

30 Nov 2006 : Column 828W

Meg Munn: The Government have a range of measures to help single mothers who want to return to work. These include New Deal for Lone Parents, the National Childcare Strategy, the right for parents of children under six or a disabled child under 18 to request flexible working, the national minimum wage and tax credits. All of which are making work possible and making work pay.


21. Bob Russell: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the number of females detained in prisons more than 50 miles from their homes. [106231]

Meg Munn: I have had no recent discussions with the Home Secretary.

I will shortly meet with Baroness Corston who has been commissioned by Home Office Ministers to conduct a review into provision for vulnerable women in the criminal justice system. The distance for women between prison and home will be one of the issues we discuss.

Elected Bodies

22. Ms Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what assessment she has made of progress in promoting the representation of women in elected bodies. [106232]

Meg Munn: In 2002 we introduced the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act allowing positive measures towards women's increased participation. This legislation is having an impact. 27 per cent. of Labour MPs are women, whilst 9 per cent. of Conservative MPs and 14 per cent. of Liberal Democrat MPs are Women. Overall, women make up 20 per cent. of MPs compared with 9 per cent. before 1997.

In the National Assembly for Wales, 52 per cent. of Members are women and in the Scottish Parliament 39 per cent. of Members are women.

Flexible Working

23. Michael Fabricant: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government have taken to encourage UK businesses to adopt flexible working patterns for the parents of young children; and if she will make a statement. [106233]

Meg Munn: The Government encourage flexible working across the workforce by providing detailed guidance, promoting the benefits and sharing best practice. In April 2003 we introduced the right to request flexible working for parents of children under six and disabled children under 18. The law has been a success with almost a quarter of eligible employees asking to work flexibly and the vast majority of requests agreed.

30 Nov 2006 : Column 829W


Chris McCafferty: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what assessment she has made of recent trends in the number of homeless women; and if she will make a statement. [106227]

Meg Munn: We have a good record in tackling homelessness. Rough sleeping is down 73 per cent. compared with 1998. We have ended the scandal of families with children having to spend long periods in B&B hotels and new cases of homelessness are at their lowest levels for decades—down from 116,660 in 2001-02 to 93,980 in 2005-06.

56 per cent. of new homeless households were headed by a woman in the last quarter. Our prevention activities should lead to a further significant reduction in homelessness among women.

Musculo-skeletal Conditions

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality if she will take steps to encourage Government Departments to employ women with musculo-skeletal conditions and help them return to work; and if she will make a statement. [103084]

Mr. McFadden: I have been asked to reply.

Permanent appointments for individuals from outside the civil service must be made on merit on the basis of fair and open competition.

The civil service is an equal opportunities employer and actively encourages applications from people with disabilities. There are a number of Government initiatives to assist disabled people in finding civil service employment opportunities including the guaranteed interview scheme, Workstep programme and summer placement scheme. The civil service corporate Diversity 10-Point Plan includes many deliverables designed at increasing gender and disability representation at all levels within the civil service.


2012 Olympics

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which (a) officials and (b) Ministers were involved in discussions on the VAT status of the Olympic development authority before it was established; and when they met the Mayor of London’s representatives to discuss this issue. [106197]

Dawn Primarolo: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recommendations his Department made to the Olympic Delivery Authority for contingencies in respect of (a) projects and (b) programmes in funding
30 Nov 2006 : Column 830W
delivery of the Olympic games and provision of the Olympic park; and what factors were taken into account in making such recommendations. [106546]

John Healey: DCMS are the Government Department responsible for the Olympic Delivery Authority. HM Treasury’s “Green Book—Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government” provides guidance to Departments on all aspects of appraising government programmes and projects, including risk management and optimism bias.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what correspondence he has had with (a) the European Commission, (b) the French Government and (c) the International Olympic Committee on the non-application of VAT to Olympic projects; and if he will make a statement on the mechanisms by which such VAT can be disapplied. [104505]

Dawn Primarolo: The Chancellor has not had any correspondence with these bodies on this issue. The VAT treatment of construction projects is determined by the VAT Act 1994 and EU legislation.

Barker Review

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recommendations the Treasury’s review of land use planning by Kate Barker has made on amending planning regulations on out-of-town retail development. [104101]

John Healey: Kate Barker’s review of land use planning was tasked, jointly by the Chancellor and the Deputy Prime Minister, to consider how, in the context of globalisation, the planning system can better deliver for the economy alongside other sustainable development goals. The review is due to report shortly; it has not yet made any recommendations.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) for what purpose the Office for National Statistics is planning to include questions on household income in the next census; [104072]

(2) what the average number of (a) residents and (b) households is in census output areas in England; [104082]

(3) how many Census output areas there are in England. [104318]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Jil Matheson, dated 30 November 2006:

Child Care Vouchers

Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what proportion of people participating in pre-tax salary child care voucher schemes were in (a) starting, (b) basic and (c) upper rate tax brackets in each year since the schemes were introduced; [104415]

(2) how many people have been participating in a pre-tax salary child care voucher scheme in each year since the schemes began; [104416]

(3) what estimate he has made of the cost to the Exchequer in reduced tax revenue of participation in pre-tax salary child care voucher schemes in each year since the schemes were introduced. [104426]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 27 November 2006]: Since the introduction of the income tax and national insurance contributions exemptions on employer-supported childcare in April 2005, employers and employees have not been required to report tax-free employer-supported child care vouchers provided to employees. Therefore information on the marginal tax rate of participants, overall numbers participating, or cost to the Exchequer is not available.

HMRC have recently commissioned the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), an independent social research organisation, to monitor the initial impact of reforms to employer-supported child care. They conducted a survey of employer perception of employer-supported child care as a whole, and not just child care vouchers.

30 Nov 2006 : Column 832W

Child Trust Funds

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the take-up is of child trust funds in Oxford. [103962]

Ed Balls: Child Trust Fund information on take up at constituency level will be available early next year.

Latest UK-wide information on the number of Child Trust Fund vouchers issued and the number of accounts opened was published on 29 September 2006 on the HMRC website at:

Christmas Cards

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of the Christmas cards prepared by his Department in 2005 were unused. [102857]

John Healey: The Treasury’s Christmas cards are ordered and sent at team level.

The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Next Section Index Home Page