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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he made of the impact on the wood panel industry of increasing the level of subsidy for co-firing using a wood-based raw material. 
The Government support co-firing through the renewables obligation (RO). Currently, all technologies under the RO receive the same level of support. The Energy Review Report proposed banding the RO so that it provides different levels of support to different technologies. As co-firing is one of the most economic technologies, we have consulted on proposals to decrease the level of support it receives. These proposals would require amendments to the Electricity Act 1989 and will be the subject of an announcement later this year. At present, the level through which suppliers can meet their obligation through co-firing is
capped at 10 per cent. having fallen from 25 per cent. in 2006. This cap not only protects the RO certificate market but also restricts the volumes of biomass, including wood, that can be used.
The Government also commissioned an independent report to look at the current and future impact of co-firing on the wood panel industry (ILEX, September 2005). The report concluded that allowing more waste wood (which is not suitable for use by the wood panel industry) to qualify for support through the RO would ease competition for the industrys preferred feedstock. We accepted these recommendations and have implemented them through changes to the biomass definition in the Renewables Obligation Order 2006 and will make further changes through the Renewables Obligation Order 2006 Amendment Order 2007 from 1 April 2007.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with Ofcom on its plans for fostering competition in the market for business and small and medium-sized enterprises communications services as part of its policy objectives for 2007 and 2008. 
Margaret Hodge: I meet regularly with representatives of the independent regulator Ofcom (the Office of Communications) to discuss a wide range of issues. SMEs use a number of communication services including voice lines, calls, internet access/broadband and leased lines. In each of these Ofcom is taking various steps to increase the level of competition and choice for businesses including:
Supporting development of local loop unbundling (LLU) by allowing BT's competitors to install equipment in BT exchanges. Where this occurs, for the first time, consumers have a choice of companies from which to rent telephone lines, as well as a wider choice than before of telecommunications packages.
Improving wholesale line rental (WLR) product and moving to equivalence. This means that BT Retail has to purchase WLR from BT Wholesale in exactly the same manner as its competitors, and ensures a more level playing field, particularly in areas where no competitors of BT have decided to install equipment in the BT exchange.
Reviewing the leased line market (typically used by businesses needing a network to connect offices around the country) to ensure that remedies introduced in 2004 to improve retail competition remain appropriate.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many British companies have (a) applied to and (b) received the European Union Research and Development Framework programme in each of the last three years. 
The European Commission is responsible for providing member states with data on the implementation of the Framework programme.
The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) covered the years 2003 to 2007. The data provided by the European Commission on total applications for funding are by member state total and not broken down by organisation type.
The European Commission data for 2006 cover the entire year for total applicants, but only cover projects signed up to July 2006 for specific organisation type. 4,036 UK participants applied for funding; with 2,049 applicants receiving funding; 70 of these were classified as industry participants.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment was made by his Department of the future commercial viability of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority prior to his agreement to provide further public money to support its continuing operation; 
Malcolm Wicks: The Government are committed to funding the costs of the decommissioning and clean-up of the historic civil public nuclear liabilities arising at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authoritys (NDA) sites. The Consolidated Fund is the mechanism for funding this, with a mixture of grant in aid and commercial income. Over time the contribution from income will fall off, as productive units are progressively taken out of service. The NDAs commercial income is taken fully into account in setting its budget. We have agreed a budget for 2007-08 that will ensure that the NDA delivers a small increase in programme funding and which will ensure the NDA can meet its core objectives and maintain safety. We are now discussing longer term funding for the NDA in the context of the Spending Round.
Malcolm Wicks: The Department was advised by consultants, by means of a contract for services, on matters relating to arrangements for setting up the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Services under the contract included providing strategic management and direct technical and commercial functions to both the Department and the shadow NDA. The contract was signed on 12 August 2002 and was novated to the NDA on 25 May 2005. The final cost was £23.16 million. The NDAs operational costs as given in their management accounts are as follows:
|Audited actual 2004-05||Audited actual 2005-06||Period 10 forecast 2006-07 (unaudited)|
1. Expenditure in 2004-05 represents the shadow NDA. Figures for 2005-06 and 2006-07 show the NDA established with its full staff complement.
2. Expenditure is stated on a near-cash basis and includes capital expenditure but excludes non-cash items such as depreciation and movement in provisions.
Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much funding his Department gave to the (a) UK Atomic Energy Authority, (b) Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and (c) Civil Nuclear Police Authority in each of the last five years; and how much has been provided to each body in 2006-07. 
The Energy Act 2004 produced a reorganisation of the Governments nuclear decommissioning. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA) were established with effect from 1 April 2005. The NDA acquired the responsibility for the nuclear liabilities which were previously the responsibility of UKAEA and the CNPA took over the responsibility for nuclear policing. These changes were reflected in a change to the funding arrangements provided by the DTI in 2005-06. The NDA received the major part of the
decommissioning funding and the CNPA received minor sums. The funding to UKAEA was reduced accordingly.
|(1) Spring Supplementary Estimate.|
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of householders who have received renewable obligations certificates (ROCs) in the last year; and what the average value was of the ROCs received. 
Malcolm Wicks: Ofgem administer the issuing of ROCs to renewable generators. They do not keep data on the number of generators who are households; however 57 of the 975 accredited generators were small generators below 50KW, and accredited to individuals rather than businesses. These 57 small generators claimed 952 ROCs in the 2005-06 period.
Changes we have introduced in the Renewables Obligation Order 2006 (Amendment) Order 2007currently before Parliamentwill remove the requirement for sale and buyback agreements and allow agents to act for small generators, including householders. It is expected these changes will make it easier for householders to claim ROCs. Ofgem are expecting a consequent rise in the number of applications from small generators.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the net balance of research and development investment is in (a) each UK region, (b) the United Kingdom and (c) the European Union. 
The OECD has for many years provided the most reliable and consistent international analyses of R&D expenditures, under the guidance of the Frascati Manual which sets out how to describe and measure R&D activities. In line with the Frascati Manual, the UK national statistics on R&D are at gross level.
The following table shows the latest available R&D statistics at regional level. Private non-for-profit expenditure on R&D (PNPERD) is not available at regional level. In 2004, PNPERD accounted for 3 per cent. of the UK gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD).
|Estimated regional breakdown of expenditure on Intramural R&D in the business, government and higher education sectors, 2003|
|R&D performed within business (BERD)||R&D performed within government establishments (GOVERD)( 1)||R&D performed within higher education institutions (HERD)|
|(1) Figures include estimates for those areas of central Government not available from the Government survey and local authorities. Note : 1. Information on GERD at the UK level for 2005 was released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on 23 March. GERD amounted to £21,764 million in 2005. 2. For international comparisons, because of movements in exchange rates, it is more meaningful to express R&D as a percentage of GDP. The latest figures for 2005 were 1.8 per cent. both for the EU25 (OECD data) and 1.8 per cent. for the UK (ONS). Source: ONS.|
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