|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
22 Jan 2007 : Column 1559Wcontinued
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much Defence Estates allocated for
improvements to service families accommodation at Blandford Camp in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006; and how much has been allocated for 2007. 
Derek Twigg: The information requested will take a little time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much his Department spent on advertising with The Guardian newspaper, including online, advertorials and advertising features, in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The DTI spent £17,541.73 on advertising with The Guardian in the year 2005-06. The figure does not include advertising purchased by recruitment and other agencies acting for the Department, figures for which could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what definition his Department uses of (a) biomass, (b) biofuels and (c) bioenergy; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: Biomass is a shorthand for biological mass. This is a broad term, used to cover both biofuels and bioenergy sources.
Biofuels can be any fuels used to produce bioenergy, but tends to be more commonly used to refer to biologically derived fuels for transport uses e.g. biodiesel and bioethanol. Bioenergy can refer to any energy derived from biomass or biofuels but is more commonly used for heat and power generated from biomass.
In the Government response to the Biomass Task Force (link below) bioenergy is defined as biomass derived from energy crops such as short-rotation coppice and miscanthus forestry and agricultural plant and animal wastes. It can be used to generate Electricity and/or heat and to produce transport fuel.
In Table 7.7 of the Renewables chapter of the DTIs Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKESlink below) the term Biofuels is used as a heading (other headings used are Wind, Solar photovoltaics Geothermal aquifers and Hydro) to cover
Sewage sludge digestion
Wood combustiondomestic and industrial
Municipal solid waste combustion
Co-firing with fossil fuels
Other biofuels include, but are not restricted to, farm waste digestion, poultry litter, combustion, meat and bone combustion, straw, and energy crops.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which 10 consultancy fees charged to his Department since May 1997 were the most expensive. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Central figures on consultancy spend are not readily available before 2003. Central records indicate that the top 10 recipients of consultancy payments by value from financial year 2003-04 to date are:
Further information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of expenditure by his Department in each of the Government Office regions in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The information requested is shown on pages 178 to 181 (Annexes A7, A8 and A9) of DTIs Departmental Report 2006 (Cm 6826).
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employees of UK Trade and Investment work in Mercosur countries; and what the projected staffing level is (a) in six months and (b) at the beginning of 2008. 
Mr. McCartney: There are currently 73.5 UK Trade and Investment staff working in the Mercosur countries. The following table highlights the allocation of staff in the markets that have full and associate membership of Mercosur over the next two years. This is, however, subject to regular reviews and staffing levels will depend on operational requirements and available resources.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the East of England Development Agency has provided additional funding to the East of England Tourist Board for (a) the latter half of 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. 
Margaret Hodge: A budget of £1 million for 2006-07 and £1 million for 2007-08 was agreed by the EEDA Boards to fund the activities of the new EETB. No additional funding has been given in 2006-07 and additional funding has neither been requested nor agreed for 2007-08.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many times the Department has been sued by employees since 2001; on how many occasions cases have been referred to ACAS in the same period; and how much the Department has spent on compensation in such cases in each category. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The number of Employment Tribunal cases against the Department is as follows:
|Number of employment tribunal cases||Compensation (£000)|
No cases were referred to ACAS during this period.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps (a) his Department and (b) Ofgem have taken to support small businesses in the energy market. 
Malcolm Wicks: The DTI and the Small Business Service provide advice to small businesses across all sectors, including Energy, through the Business Link network. Small business consumers are encouraged to approach their local Business Link to find out what information and support is available in their region.
In respect of support in the energy market, in November 2005, DTI and Energywatch organised the SME/Public Sector Seminar to spread best practice. Ofgem organises a Small and Medium User Group and a Non-domestic Review Group to provide practical advice and information for small businesses. This group enables consumer
representative bodies and trade associations to meet energy suppliers to discuss practical steps to help make energy contracts more user-friendly and to help improve customers understanding of contracts. Ofgem is also currently exploring with Energywatch, the statutory gas and electricity consumer body, the possibility of conducting a Business Customer Satisfaction survey in the near future.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will assess the merits of introducing a cooling-off period in small business energy contracts similar to that provided to domestic customers. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) is responsible for regulating gas and electricity supply, including supply to business sector. It is open to Ofgem to consider whether additional regulatory protection, including the introduction of a cooling-off period, is required.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what requirement there is on energy suppliers to notify their small business customers prior to automatically renewing their supply contract. 
Malcolm Wicks: Renewal arrangements are a contractual matter between the supplier and the customer. Small businesses that have been unable to resolve complaints with their supplier may seek assistance from the statutory consumer body, Energywatch.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has assessed the impact on small businesses of poor billing by energy suppliers. 
Malcolm Wicks: Billing arrangements are a contractual matter between the supplier and the customer. Ofgem is responsible for overseeing the performance of suppliers, and decides what appropriate regulatory action is to be taken should a supplier fail to meet its obligations.
The issue of gas and electricity metering and billing is also the subject of a consultation as part of the Energy Review. The consultation closes on 6 February.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will discuss with Ofgem providing small businesses with a level of protection similar to that afforded to domestic customers in respect of energy supplies through (a) industry codes of practice, (b) ombudsmen schemes and (c) a requirement on suppliers that consumers should have as long to pay back any debt as the time over which the debt has accrued. 
The level of regulatory protection in respect of gas and electricity broadly reflects that in
general consumer law. Ministers discuss general regulatory approaches with Ofgem, but it is for Ofgem to decide whether the level of regulatory protection in any particular area is sufficient.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the level of competition in the retail energy market for small business consumers; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) is responsible for the regulation of the gas and electricity market. It is open to Ofgem to consider the level of competition within the market, and to take further appropriate action in the light of that consideration.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|