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11 Jun 2007 : Column 766W—continued


The Insolvency Service have already responded directly.

Departments: Sick Leave

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people took sick leave for stress in his Department in the last 12 months; and
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what percentage of the total staff number this represents. [135465]

Jim Fitzpatrick: 107 people in the DTI took stress-related sick leave in the last 12 months. This represents 2.7 per cent. of the Department.

Departments: Smith Institute

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what payments were made to the Smith Institute as part of the Government’s Review of Maternity Pay and Leave and Parental Leave. [141267]

Jim Fitzpatrick: As far as our records show no payments were made to the Smith Institute as part of the Government’s review of maternity pay and leave and parental leave.

European Space Agency

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the membership is of the European Space Agency; how many UK citizens are represented in the agency; and at what levels. [141066]

Malcolm Wicks: The European Space Agency (ESA) has 17 foil member states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Canada, Hungary and the Czech Republic also participate in some projects under co-operation agreements.

ESA employees are drawn from across the member states, ideally in proportion to the contribution of each state.

At 6 June 2007 there were 201 UK nationals employed by ESA:

The ‘ideal’ figure for UK employees in the period 2007-10 and based upon the UK's contribution to the agency should be 256.

Food: Measurement

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to publish proposals for consolidating and simplifying the weights and measures provisions relating to food; and if he will make a statement. [140702]

Malcolm Wicks: We expect to publish proposals to consolidate and simplify the weights and measures provisions relating to food later this year. This will incorporate the implementation of a new European directive to deregulate most specified quantities for foods which is still subject to formal agreement in Brussels.


11 Jun 2007 : Column 768W

Media City Development Project: Finance

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding has been given to the Media City Development Project by (a) the Northwest Development Agency and (b) other Government agencies. [140086]

Margaret Hodge: NWDA will invest up to £30 million in specific public infrastructure and public realm elements of the “mediacity:uk” project and has recently entered into a funding agreement with Salford city council to this effect.

Metrication

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether traders may weigh, measure and price in imperial units only. [139732]

Malcolm Wicks: No. However, the use of imperial units alongside metric units is permitted by current legislation until 31 December 2009 provided they are not larger or more prominent than the metric units.

Mining: Methane

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much money from the public purse has been paid to companies who extract methane from former colliery sites. [140801]

Malcolm Wicks: I am not aware of any money from the public purse having been paid to such companies.

Nuclear Power Stations

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the nuclear industry on plans for new nuclear power stations. [139724]

Malcolm Wicks: DTI Ministers and officials had discussions with a range of interested parties in preparing for the current consultation on nuclear power, including with companies represented in the nuclear industry and in other energy sectors. The purpose of the discussions was to elicit views on the range of issues that would be relevant to considering whether energy companies should be allowed to invest in new nuclear power stations, in order to ensure that these issues, and issues raised by other interested parties, could inform the development of the consultation document.

Nuclear Power Stations: Decommissioning

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had with the Office for Civil Nuclear Security on the adequacy of resources to vet drivers recruited by contractors carrying out the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's decommissioning programme. [140388]

Malcolm Wicks: In order to comply with the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003, transport companies which hold ‘Approved Carrier’ status to transport nuclear material must ensure that their
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drivers are security vetted to a level appropriate to the material they are transporting. Security vetting standards in the civil nuclear industry comply with national standards. The Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) has adequate resources in their vetting office to meet current demand.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to paragraph 12-17 of the consultation paper on the future of nuclear power, when he expects (a) the final batch of spent nuclear fuel to be reprocessed at Sellafield and (b) the decommissioning of Sellafield’s reprocessing plants to start. [140389]

Malcolm Wicks: The NDA Strategy, which was published in March 2006, noted that all current reprocessing contracts for THORP were expected to be completed by about 2010. However, given that the THORP plant has been closed since an incident in April 2005, it is not possible at this stage to say when the final batch of spent fuel will be reprocessed and the decommissioning of the THORP plant will commence. Decommissioning of the Magnox reprocessing plant is expected to begin in around 2016.

Nuclear Power: Public Participation

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to ensure publication on receipt of all submissions made to the second round of consultation on nuclear power on his Department’s website. [139959]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government will publish all submissions we receive in response to the current consultation on the future of nuclear power, with the exception of those cases where respondents have requested confidentiality. Submissions will be published online after the consultation has closed.

Nuclear Power: Research

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much was spent by (a) his Department and (b) research councils on research and development for nuclear power in each year since 1996. [141045]

Malcolm Wicks: DTI has interest in research into power from both nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.

Responsibility for funding of nuclear fusion research was transferred from the DTI’s Nuclear Industries Directorate to the Office of Science and Technology in April 2002, and then to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in April 2003. The amount of funding from 1995-96 until 2006-07 is given as follows.


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£ million

1995-96

15.7

1996-97

12.1

1997-98

16.6

1998-99

12.6

1999-2000

14.3

2000-01

17.0

2001-02

14.4

2002-03

14.8

2003-04

15.9

2004-05

22.7

2005-06

20.6

2006-07

25.7


Government expenditure (excluding spending by the Research Councils) on nuclear fission research is as follows:

£ million

1995-96

6.0

1996-97

9.3

1997-98

1.0

1998-99

1.6

1999-2000

2.5

2000-01

0.0

2001-02

2.0

2002-03

2.1

2003-04

2.1

2004-05

2.2

2005-06

2.3

2006-07

2.4


Expenditure by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council on nuclear fission research is as follows:

£ million

1995-96

n/a

1996-97

n/a

1997-98

0.04

1998-99

0.08

1999-2000

0.06

2000-01

0.13

2001-02

0.33

2002-03

0.31

2003-04

0.21

2004-05

0.11

2005-06

0.95

2006-07

3.93


Nuclear Power: Security

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what account was taken of submissions to the Energy Review 2006 on nuclear security matters in preparation of paragraphs 6.26 to 6.42 of Chapter 6 of the consultation document on the future of nuclear power. [140567]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government considered information gathered from a wide range of sources, including from the security regulator, the Office for Civil Nuclear Security, in preparing, ‘The Future of Nuclear Power, The Role of Nuclear Power in a Low Carbon Economy, Consultation Document, May 2007’.

Oxford-Cambridge Arc

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much his Department has
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paid Bedfordshire county council in respect of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. [139986]

Margaret Hodge: No money has been paid directly to Bedfordshire county council in respect of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

Along with SEEDA and EMDA, BED A has awarded £70,000 per year over a three year period to Milton Keynes Economic and Learning Partnership to support the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. The funding is used to administer the Oxford to Cambridge Arc Company Ltd.

This company has been established to promote innovation and enterprise in the area between Oxford and Cambridge. The area includes the Milton Keynes South Midlands Growth Area. It aims to support the growth of both Oxford and Cambridge as well as the use of those global brands to support economic development in the Arc, including at Milton Keynes and Bedford.

The funding was given to support the appointment of a director to lead the company and undertake some project work.

Post Offices: Rushden

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the closure of the post office in Rushden town centre against the Government’s access criteria. [141473]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Decisions on individual post office branches are operational matters for which the management of Post Office Ltd (POL) have direct responsibility. I understand that the branch will close on 11 June 2007 following the decision by POL’s current partners Budgen Stores Ltd to withdraw from providing post office services at the site. I also understand that POL are committed to maintaining a branch in this location and they have two prospective applicants, with suitable premises, currently progressing through their application process. During the period of temporary closure POL’s customers are free to visit the branch most convenient to them and I understand that there are several branches in the surrounding area.


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