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Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Civil Nuclear Constabulary

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much funding was made available to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary in each year since its establishment. [156349]

Malcolm Wicks: The then Department of Trade and Industry provided the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA) with £6 million as working capital on its set-up in April 2005.

£3 million was then made available to the CNPA for 2006-07, and a further £3 million for 2007-08, for capital spending. To date, £1 million only of this funding for 2006-08 has been drawn upon. Capital costs will be recovered by the CNPA through depreciation charges. The costs of the CNPA and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary are met by the civil nuclear operating companies to whom policing services are provided.

Details of the operating costs of the CNPA can be found on the CNPA's website at: www.cnpa.police.uk/funding and within the CNPA's annual report and accounts, also available on the website.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many arrests were made by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007; and how many of these resulted in successful prosecutions. [156350]

Malcolm Wicks: In the 2004-05 Crime Year, officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) made three arrests, of which one resulted in a successful prosecution and one resulted in a caution being given.

In the 2005-06 Crime Year, CNC officers made seven arrests, of which four resulted in successful prosecutions and two resulted in cautions being given.

In the 2006-07 Crime Year, CNC officers made three arrests, of which one resulted in a successful prosecution and one resulted in a caution being given.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was spent on training for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007; and how much is proposed to be allocated in each of the next five years. [156351]

Malcolm Wicks: The costs of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary are met by the civil nuclear operating companies to whom policing services are provided. Training costs for the Constabulary are as follows:

£

2005-06

2,848,000

2006-07

3,083,000

2007-08

(1)3,791,000

2008-09

(2)3,768,000

2009-10

(2)3,601,000

2010-11

(3)3,709,000

2011-12

(3)3,820,000

(1) forecast
(2) budget
(3 )modelled

Energy Supply

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received from energy suppliers on their programmes of assistance to vulnerable consumers; and if he will make a statement. [156371]

Malcolm Wicks: Meetings have been held or are to be held with representatives of Centrica, Scottish Power, Npower, Powergen, Scottish and Southern Energy and EDF at both ministerial and official level to discuss their programmes of assistance to vulnerable consumers.


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Energy Supply: Rural Areas

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many rural households in England are in fuel poverty; and if he will make a statement. [156373]

Malcolm Wicks: In 2004, 325,000 households in rural areas were in fuel poverty. These households accounted for around a quarter of all households in fuel poverty in that year.

Energy Supply: Disadvantaged

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how he plans to determine whether the corporate social responsibility assistance provided by each energy supplier to help vulnerable consumers is adequate and proportional; and if he will make a statement. [156361]

Malcolm Wicks: A range of factors are being taken into account in considering the corporate social responsibility assistance provided by each energy supplier to help vulnerable consumers, drawing on the evidence in Ofgem’s review of supplier’s voluntary initiatives to help vulnerable customers. Major factors include the level of assistance delivered to vulnerable customers relative to the size of the supplier and the overall price level offered by the supplier.

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether he has set a deadline for energy companies to put into place the programmes of assistance described at paragraph 2.1.21 of Meeting the Energy Challenge—A White Paper on Energy; and if he will make a statement. [156362]

Malcolm Wicks: No deadline for the introduction of programmes of assistance has been set. However, companies will need to indicate a commitment by the end of October 2007 to put in place any further programmes of assistance, so that decisions can be taken as to whether powers should be taken in the Energy Bill in line with the Energy White Paper.

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which consumer groups will be targeted by the winter 2007-08 cross-Government communications campaign on energy-related assistance for vulnerable and low-income households. [156374]

Malcolm Wicks: The campaign is directed towards older, vulnerable and at-risk people to help eliminate fuel poverty and promote independence and well-being, by ensuring that those needing help are aware of, and take advantage of, the advice and financial support available to help keep them and their homes warm.

Energy: Meters

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the Government’s policy is on introducing smart meters for
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gas and electricity in the domestic sector; over what time scale meters are expected to be introduced; and if he will make a statement. [156949]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government are currently consulting on proposals on metering and billing set out in the Energy White Paper, including smart meters. The Paper included an expectation that smart meters would be universally rolled out within 10 years, and the current consultation aims to gather stakeholder views on how this objective might best be delivered. The Government will develop their approach on smart metering in the light of information from the consultation and other work being undertaken by the Government, Ofgem, energy suppliers and interested bodies.

Export Credits Guarantee Department

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what environmental criteria are taken into account before the Export Credits Guarantee Department offers guarantees for projects to commence. [156355]

Malcolm Wicks: ECGD undertakes a review of all projects in accordance with its Case Impact Analysis Process, which is available on its website. The environmental impact analysis of each case will vary depending on the nature, scale and location of the project.

It is ECGD's policy that projects should comply in all material respects with the relevant safeguard policies, directives and environmental guidelines of the World Bank Group.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many approved independent and environment consultants the Export Credit Guarantee Department uses when assessing the environmental impact of a project; how these consultants are selected; and what safeguards are in place to ensure their assessments are impartial. [156356]

Malcolm Wicks: ECGD has contracts with two environmental consultancy organisations to provide review and advice services on a call-off basis. The contracts were procured through an open competition in line with EU procurement rules. Each contract provides that the consultancy will perform its tasks with all due skill, care and diligence, while informing ECGD of any conflicts of interest.

On projects where ECGD is part of a lender group, an independent environmental consultant may be employed. The usual role is to review on behalf of the lender group the environmental information provided by the project sponsor. Typically, the lender group will agree the terms of reference for the appointment of the independent environmental consultant with the project sponsor, together with a short list of companies to be invited to tender for the appointment. It will review the tender proposals received and will attend tender interviews. The project sponsor will then appoint the independent environmental consultant taking into account the recommendations of the lender group. The appointed independent environmental consultant undertakes the
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work on the instructions of the lender group, and its terms of engagement will provide an express duty of care to each member of the lender group.

First Solution Money Transfer

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what action the Insolvency Service has taken to investigate the circumstances in which individuals have lost money as a result of their use of First Solution Money Transfer services; and if he will make a statement. [157833]

Mr. McFadden: In the light of the financial difficulties and apparent closure of First Solution Money Transfer Ltd. in June 2007 Companies Investigation Branch ('CIB') of the Insolvency Service appointed investigators to examine the facts of the case. This investigation is continuing. CIB investigations are confidential and do not result in a publishable report. However, CIB can use the information in a number of ways, for example, to seek to disqualify any directors shown to be unfit to run limited companies or to pass information to a criminal prosecutor or other regulator for action as necessary. It can also petition the court to wind up the company compulsorily and such a petition was presented to the High Court on 2 August. The court has fixed 7 November 2007 to hear that petition. In the meantime the official receiver has been appointed provisional liquidator to preserve and protect remaining assets.

Fuel Poverty

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 12 September 2007, Official Report, column 2068W, on fuel poverty, what definition his Department uses of a proportional programme of assistance; what methodology is used by his Department to measure proportionality; and which of the major six energy companies offer a proportional programme of assistance. [156822]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 10 October 2007]: A range of factors are being taken into account in considering the corporate social responsibility assistance provided by each energy supplier to help vulnerable consumers, drawing on the evidence in Ofgem's review of supplier's voluntary initiatives to help vulnerable customers. Major factors include the level of assistance delivered to vulnerable customers relative to the size of the supplier and the overall price level offered by the supplier. A supplier is said to be offering a proportionate programme of assistance if it is offering a level of assistance under these measures around or above the industry average at the time of publication of the White Paper. We are currently analysing the findings of the Ofgem update report on "Ofgem's review of Suppliers' voluntary initiatives to help vulnerable customers" published on 8 October to determine which of the major six energy companies offer a proportional programme of assistance.


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Industrial Diseases: Compensation

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on what date Ministers were informed of a separate claims handling agreement between the then Department of Trade and Industry and Vendside in relation to vibration white finger. [156925]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 11 October 2007]: The then Minister responsible was briefed on the development of the CHA between the former Department of Trade and Industry and Vendside with respect to vibration white finger in December 1998 and prior to the agreement being signed off.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on what date Ministers were informed of a separate claims handling agreement between the then Department of Trade and Industry and the Union of Democratic Mineworkers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. [156926]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 11 October 2007]: The then Minister responsible was briefed on the development of a claims handling agreement between the former Department of Trade and Industry and the Union of Democratic Mineworkers with respect to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in November 1999 and prior to the agreement being signed off.

Industrial Diseases: Solicitors

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what criteria were used in determining solicitors’ fees for coal health claims in the (a) CSG—the Claimants Solicitors Group—and (b) UDM Vendside agreements. [156575]

Malcolm Wicks: Solicitors’ fees were negotiated as part of the original Claims Handling Agreement between the Department and the group representing claimants' solicitors. These are court based schemes and the Department was obliged to negotiate all elements including solicitors’ involvement and associated costs. At the time, it was felt that the fees reflected fairly the cost of the provision of legal advice to claimants.

The Department negotiated a reduction of legal costs of 16.66 per cent. for claims represented by UDM/Vendside, compared to the group representing claimants’ solicitors.

Iran: Overseas Investment

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether his Department is advising UK businesses not to invest in Iranian oil and gas-related projects; and if he will make a statement. [157389]

Mr. Hutton: UK Trade and Investment advice makes clear to British companies the considerable commercial and political risks associated with investment in Iran, including the implications of existing and potential future sanctions. However, investment decisions within the current legal boundaries remain a commercial decision for individual companies.


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Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much funding has not yet been committed under phase one of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme; and if he will make a statement. [156259]

Malcolm Wicks: From a budget of £36 million for the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 1 there remains £16,492,729 uncommitted.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much has been committed under phase one of the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (a) in total and (b) in each region in each month since the scheme began; and if he will make a statement. [156260]

Malcolm Wicks: As at 30 September, a total of £19,507,271 had been committed under the Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 1. This includes amounts for grant offers, management fees and funds used by the Clear Skies and Solar PV Major Demonstration Programmes to smooth the transition between these programmes and the Low Carbon Buildings Programme.

Further details have been placed in the Libraries of the House.


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