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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, what the Departments annual budget is for employing workers on a consultancy basis; and how much of this budget has been used in each of the last five years for which records are available.
The Patent Office does not employ staff on a consultancy basis. Some professional service companies have been engaged for short term projects but any individuals are not under our direct control.
The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has asked me to reply to you directly on behalf of The Insolvency Service in respect of your question (2006/136), asking how many staff were employed on a consultancy basis in his Department and each of its agencies in each of the last five years for which information is available; and what the average and longest period was for which a consultant was employed in each year.
Individuals and companies are engaged as consultants on ad hoc basis to undertake specific pieces of work. The number and duration of their engagements varies from activity to activity. The information you request is not collected and could only be collected at disproportionate cost.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the total amount spent by (a) small and (b) medium-sized businesses on gas and electricity in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people lived in fuel poverty in Beverley and Holderness in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Fuel poverty statistics are only available at Government Office region level. Latest available figures are sourced from the 2004 English House Condition Survey and show that in 2004, 163,000 households in Yorkshire and The Humber (7.7 per cent. of all households in Yorkshire and The Humber) were in fuel poverty. This statistic cannot be broken down farther. Figures for fuel poverty in Yorkshire in 2001, 2003 and 2004 are given as follows. Figures for other years are not available.
|Number of households poverty in fuel|
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much has been spent by his Department and its associated public bodies in order to achieve Gershon efficiency savings; whether these costs have been included in reporting headline efficiency savings; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sir Peter Gershon's independent report into public sector efficiency did not require that efficiencies be recorded net of upfront investment costs and the Department has followed this advice.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the budget required to meet household demand for grants in full under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-8 and (c) 2008-09. 
Malcolm Wicks: Since the Low Carbon Buildings Programme was launched in April 2006, demand from the household stream has been higher than anticipated. With a limited pot of £28.5 million available under Phase 1, we announced on 25 October 2006 that a further £6.2 million would be allocated to the household stream. Together with this, we have introduced measures to manage the demand going forward, which should make it possible for us to fund the household stream through to June 2008. By this time, some of our wider measures to promote microgeneration should be taking hold, and we believe the sector may have matured to a point where householder grants are no longer necessary.
Malcolm Wicks: We announced on 25 October 2006 that we would be re-allocating £6.2 million of the total £28.5 million funding to the household stream, giving a total pot of £12.7 million. On projected demand levels this should allow householder funding to continue until June 2008. By this time, some of our wider measures to promote microgeneration should be taking hold, and we believe the sector may have matured to a point where householder grants are no longer necessary.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures in the Government's micro-generation strategy will provide, from summer 2008, capital support to a householder wishing to install micro-generation equipment equivalent to the current grant levels available under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme. 
Malcolm Wicks: The aim of the microgeneration strategy is to create conditions where microgeneration becomes a realistic alternative generation source of heat and/or electricity. This will be achieved when costs are reduced and awareness of these technologies is widespread. The low carbon buildings programme is currently helping to reduce the upfront costs of microgeneration installations, and, to complement this, the measures in the strategy are aimed at stimulating widespread demand to help achieve the economies of scale that will lead to costs falling and negate the need for capital grants. Key measures that will help to achieve this include:
Making it easier for microgenerators to access renewable obligation certificates
Working with energy suppliers to ensure that microgenerators receive a fair reward for exported electricity
A robust accreditation scheme (to build trust in the industry)
Local authorities requiring new developments to source a percentage of energy requirements from onsite renewable sources (whilst not in the strategy itself, the Housing Minister made a statement that she expected all local authorities to develop such requirements following work undertaken in relation to the strategy)
The removal of unnecessary controls in the consents regime (which regulates a wide range of developments by householders).
Malcolm Wicks: Between 1978 and 1994 the Government supported a number of studies under their Tidal Energy Research and Development Programme. Those studies included a detailed assessment of a Severn barrage tidal power generation scheme(1).
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(2) 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, which raised strong 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 from 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.
(1) Energy Paper 57 HMSO 1989 (ISBN 0 11 412952 5)
(2 )The Severn Tidal Power Group is a joint venture of four large power engineering and construction companies: Alstom, Balfour Beatty, Sir Robert McAlpine and Taylor Woodrow.
To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the Electoral Commission has made a decision that the implementation of electoral
reviews of districts will take precedence over parish review cases. 
Peter Viggers [holding answer 12 December 2006]: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has not made such a decision, and seeks to progress both parish review cases and electoral reviews of districts as quickly as possible.
Mr. Heald: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what powers the Electoral Commission has (a) to inspect local authorities' electoral registration departments and (b) to set targets for those departments. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission has statutory powers to observe the working practices of electoral registration officers, and to seek information from them on expenditure in connection with the performance of their functions. The Commission also has powers to determine and publish performance standards for electoral registration officers in Great Britain, and to prepare and publish assessments of their performance against such standards.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Scotland how many (a) marketing officers, (b) communications officers and (c) press officers are employed in his Department; and what the total expenditure on communications for his Department was on (i) Government Information and Communication Service staff and (ii) other (A) press officers, (B) special advisers and (C) staff in the last year for which figures are available. 
The Office does not record expenditure in the form requested; however, the Office spent £29,261 on communications during 2005-06, excluding overhead costs, such as accommodation, utilities and corporate services, which are paid centrally.
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the effective date is of the annual pay award for staff in his Office; and what the actual implementation date was in each of the last five years. 
David Cairns: All the staff in the Scotland Office are on secondment from the Scottish Executive or the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) and the Office reimburses these Departments for the sums involved. The Office is not involved in pay negotiations or the implementation of any pay agreement; this is a matter for the parent Departments.
Staff on secondment from the Executive have had their pay awards implemented on 1 August in each of the last five years, with the exemption of the August
2005 award, which was delayed due to protractedpay negotiations, and processed and backdated inMay 2006.
At the beginning of 2004, some Scotland Office staff formally transferred to the DCA from the Scottish Executive following the completion of a preference exercise as a consequence of the earlier merging of the Scotland Office into the DCA. These staff became eligible for the DCAs 2004 pay award which was processed and backdated at the end of November 2004; their 2005 pay award was processed and backdated at the end of March 2006, and their pay award for August 2006 is still under negotiation.
David Cairns: The Scotland Office has generally, but not exclusively, obtained office furniture through central procurement contracts set up by the Scottish Executive. The Office does not separately identify expenditure on furniture, or the source of supply; however, the following table details the amount spent on furniture and fittings in each year since 2000, from all sources.
|Furniture and fittings|
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that private organisations contracted to work in his Department are aware of their duties under gender equality legislation when they are exercising public functions on behalf of public bodies. 
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department is taking steps to meet the requirements of the forthcoming duty on public bodies (a) to end unlawful discrimination and harassment and (b) to promote equality between women and men. 
David Cairns: The Scotland Office is part of the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) who will be ensuring better performance on the general gender equality duty which will require public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment and promote equality of opportunity between women and men. The Scotland Office will be working with the DCA on the implications of the Department's gender equality scheme.
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