some default text...
Previous Section Index Home Page

20 Jun 2007 : Column 1820W—continued


Mobile Phone Masts

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what advice the chief scientific adviser has provided in relation to mobile telephone masts. [143656]

Malcolm Wicks: To my knowledge, None.

In 2000, the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones chaired by Sir William Stewart undertook a comprehensive review of the scientific literature. It concluded that the “balance of evidence to date suggests that exposure to radiofrequency radiation below international guidelines does not cause adverse health effects to the general population” (www.iegmp.org.uk). A more recent report by the Health Protection Agency in 2004 on Mobile Phones and Health came to the same conclusion. This advice is available on the website of the Health Protection Agency

(www.hpa.org.uk/radiation).

Nanotechnology

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what role he expects the Technology Strategy Board to play in nanotechnology research and knowledge transfer in the next 10 years. [143286]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government's 10-year Science and Innovation Investment Framework, published in July 2004, reaffirmed the commitment to support businesses investing in new and emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology. The delivery mechanism for this work is the Technology Strategy Board, comprising mainly experienced business leaders, which will identify the new and emerging technologies critical to the growth of the UK economy into which Government funding and activities can be directed.

Over the period 2005-08, £320 million is available to businesses in the form of grants to support research and development through the Technology Strategy Board.

This includes over £100 million already invested in nanotechnology on collaborative R and D and a network of development facilities. A new nanotechnology knowledge transfer network was established in May 2007 to take forward the work of the Micro and Nanotechnology
20 Jun 2007 : Column 1821W
Network. Future decisions on technology and funding priorities will lie with the new TSB.

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps (a) to ensure that nanotechnology research activities receive long-term large grant support sufficient to enable sustained work to be carried out in the area and (b) to protect the existing UK research base. [143287]

Malcolm Wicks: The research councils provide funding in responsive mode for research including nanotechnology related activities. This is a flexible mechanism and can support larger longer term grants where this is appropriate. This will, by stimulating competition, ensure that the councils continue to support a healthy research base in the UK.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is implementing a programme in nanoscience through engineering to application, in order to build on the platform of earlier investments and to realise the benefits of the technology for society and the economy. Key features will be:

Over £100 million has already been invested in nanotechnology by the Technology Strategy Board over the period 2005-2008.

National Institute for Medical Research

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations have taken place with Camden council on the future location of the National Institute for Medical Research. [143067]

Malcolm Wicks: The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is a wholly owned institute of the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The MRC has met Camden council on three occasions relating to the fixture location of the NIMR.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects a final decision to be made on the future location of the National Institute for Medical Research. [143068]

Malcolm Wicks: The national Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is a wholly owned institute of the Medical Research Council (MRC). The Medical Research Council is currently preparing a detailed business case for the relocation of the NIMR to central London.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what planning barriers exist to development of the Mill Hill site of the National Institute for Medical Research. [143069]


20 Jun 2007 : Column 1822W

Malcolm Wicks: The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is a wholly owned institute of the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The Mill Hill site of the NIMR is in a conservation area.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what consultations have been held with the British Library on the proposed move of the National Institute for Medical Research to the site near the British Library. [143070]

Malcolm Wicks: The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is a wholly owned institute of the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The MRC has not consulted the British Library about the relocation of the NIMR to a site near to the British Library.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what factors were taken into account in deciding not to move the National Institute for Medical Research to the Temperance Hospital site. [143072]

Malcolm Wicks: The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is a wholly owned institute of the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The MRC has not taken a final decision on the preferred site for the NIMR.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what the purchase price was for the Temperance hospital site intended as the new centre for the National Institute for Medical Research; [143073]

(2) how much has been spent on the process of purchasing and considering the development of the Temperance hospital site in Camden for the future location of the National Institute for Medical Research, excluding the direct purchase price of the site. [143105]

Malcolm Wicks: The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is a wholly owned institute of the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC paid £28 million for the National Temperance hospital site and has spent an additional £0.8 million on development costs.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what consultations have taken place with National Institute for Medical Research staff on the decision not to move to the Temperance hospital site and to consider relocation to the British Library site; [143074]

(2) what planning and development restrictions apply to building on the British Library site intended as the future home for the National Institute for Medical Research. [143076]

Malcolm Wicks: The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is a wholly owned institute of the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The interim Director of NIMR ‘Sir Keith Peters’ communicates regularly with NIMR staff about the development of a business case including the option of
20 Jun 2007 : Column 1823W
relocating NIMR to the National Temperance hospital site, as well as work to determine the feasibility of relocation to a larger site adjacent to the British Library. No decision has been made.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the current estimate is of the cost of relocating the National Institute for Medical Research from Mill Hill to Central London. [143075]

Malcolm Wicks: The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is a wholly owned institute of the Medical Research Council (MRC).

The MRC is currently preparing a detailed business case for the relocation of the NIMR to central London. This will address the cost of various options.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate has been made of the area that would be available to the National Institute for Medical Research at the British Library site in light of the other organisations intended to be accommodated there. [143082]

Malcolm Wicks: The site adjacent to the British Library is approximately 3.5 acres of which about one third could be made available to NIMR.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Finance

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what effect he expects the planned change in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s budget for 2007-08 and beyond to have on the release of decontaminated land for development at Harwell. [142652]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 14 June 2007]: The NDA’s annual plan for 2007 sets out their proposals for cleanup at Harwell. And the NDA’s budget for 2007-08 has been set. It is for the NDA, in discussion with the site, to prioritise cleanup in light of available funding. The NDA budget for 2008-09 and beyond is part of the CSR discussions which are in train.

Nuclear Power Stations: Decommissioning

Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what effect he expects the reduction in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s budget for (a) 2007-08 and (b) the following three years to have on the timescales for decommissioning nuclear sites. [143337]

Malcolm Wicks: There has been no reduction in funding for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The settlement for 2007-08 enables the NDA to operate a programme budget of some £2.47 billion, giving the NDA and its contractors the certainty they need without impacting on the planned programme of nuclear clean up work. The NDA’s funding in respect of the Comprehensive Spending Review period (2008-09 to 2010-11) is under discussion and will be settled in the autumn.

Parental Leave

Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he plans to table regulations to provide for additional paternity leave under section 3 of
20 Jun 2007 : Column 1824W
the Work and Families Act 2006; and if he will make a statement. [136530]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government have made a commitment to introduce additional paternity leave and additional statutory paternity pay, which will give additional flexibility to families to make their own choice as to which parent is best placed to take the second six months of leave, before the end of this Parliament. A formal date for introduction is still to be decided, but it is intended to be brought in alongside the extension of statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance and statutory adoption pay from 39 weeks to 52 weeks. This will give families the choice for the first time on the best arrangements for their family when having a baby.

Political Funds

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate the Certification Office has made of the total revenue collected from political fund contributions by union members in the most recent year for which figures are available, broken down by each trade union. [142181]

Malcolm Wicks: This information is included within the annual returns of those trade unions with political funds. Their latest annual returns have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Post Office Card Account: Successor

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the written statement of 17 May 2007, Official Report, column 52WS, on the Post Office card account (successor), what his estimate is of the number of post office branches which will be operating in 2010; and what effect he expects the size of the personal teller network for the successor to the Post Office card account announced in his statement to have on the number of branches operating at that time. [139099]

Mr. Darling: The Government have announced a commitment to provide up to £1.7 billion in support of the post office network, on top of the £2 billion made available since 1999, together with policies aimed at creating a stable network following a managed programme of no more than 2,500 compensated closures by the end of 2008.

The number of post office outlets operating in 2010 will be dependent on a range of factors, including Post Office Ltd’s efforts to introduce new financial services products and drive efficiencies within the business. The Department for Work and Pensions has announced that it requires in the region of 10,000 outlets to deliver the successor to the Post Office card account. There is no direct link between this number and the future number of post offices, but given the size of their network, Post Office Ltd should be in a position to make a strong bid.

Post Offices

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will undertake an analysis of the
20 Jun 2007 : Column 1825W
accessibility arrangements for Crown Post Offices transferred to branches of WH Smith in (a) England and (b) Worcestershire; and if he will make a statement. [138699]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Decisions on the management and location of individual post offices are operational issues for POL. The company is committed to local consultation on the service implications where Crown post offices are transferred to the management of a franchise partner, including WH Smith. In particular views are invited on access arrangements and facilities and WH Smith are committed to ensuring that customers continue to have access to Post Office services. The location of the new Post Offices within WH Smith stores will be fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Post Offices: Cash Dispensing

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans the Post Office has to install a free cash machine in the Walker Post Office in east Newcastle upon Tyne. [143731]

Jim Fitzpatrick: This is an operational matter for which the management of Post Office Ltd. (POL) have direct responsibility. I understand that this branch currently has a fee paying ATM. The site has been assessed by POL and their venture partner the Bank of Ireland and this is a site where they want to place an external free to use ATM.

I also understand that the subpostmaster has been sent the contract and terms and conditions, and POL are currently waiting for them to return the signed paperwork.

Research: Tax Credits

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions he has had on research and development tax credits and their potential extension to include money spent on the design process itself. [144038]

Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no recent discussions on this subject. Research and development (R&D) tax credits are already available for qualifying costs of R&D, as defined under the DTI’s guidelines of 5 March 2004. The Department has sought to make clear the scope of coverage of the guidelines, both in awareness-raising literature published last November (prepared in consultation with HM Treasury and HMRC) and during direct contacts with industry during the normal course of our work.

R&D takes place where an activity seeks to achieve an advance in science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty. Design can be R&D and when it is, R&D tax credits are available.


Next Section Index Home Page