|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what discussions he has had with national suppliers of (a) unleaded and (b) diesel on regional variations in the price of petrol; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what accountability mechanisms his Department uses to ensure the fair and competitive pricing of petrol; what complaint procedures are in place to allow customers to challenge regional variations in pricing; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) how many investigations of price-fixing in the petrol industry there were in each of the last five years; and how many of those investigations resulted in action being taken against the companies concerned; 
(5) pursuant to the Answer of 10 September 2007, Official Report, column 2030W, on fuel prices, what assessment he has made of the price variations for (a) unleaded and (b) diesel within the South West; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 22 October 2007]: The Department has discussions with companies and representative associations in the downstream oil sector on a wide range of issues. BERR does not collect information on regional petrol prices. A range of factors determine retail petrol and diesel prices. Price differentials between rural and urban areas reflect different costs in distributing and supplying petrol and diesel. Price setting is a commercial matter for individual companies. The Office of Fair Trading continues to monitor the UK petrol market to ensure that anti-competitive behaviour does not occur. Customers should refer any complaints concerning pricing and anti-competitive behaviour to the Office of Fair Trading. In the past five years there has been one investigation, carried out by the Office of Fair Trading in 2006, and this did not result in any action against the companies concerned.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will establish a mechanism to provide incentives for BAA to spend money to improve conditions for passengers at Heathrow airport. 
Such mechanisms already exist. As part of its economic regulation of airport charges at Heathrow (under Part IV of the Airports Act 1986), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) put in place in 2003 a regime of service quality targets for BAA with financial penalties if these targets were not met on a month-by-month basis. Similar targets and penalties are also in place at Gatwick airport. As part of the current review of price controls and other economic regulation of
Heathrow and Gatwick, the Competition Commission has recently recommended strengthening and extending this scheme.
In addition, the CAA through its price controls encourages timely investment in facilities, many of which are designed to improve conditions for passengers. This has provided sufficient incentive for BAA to bring forward investment in Terminal 5, which is scheduled to open in March 2008 as planned, and which should significantly enhance passenger experience across the airport. Looking forward, the Competition Commission has recently recommended that future investment at Heathrow be further incentivised through greater financial penalties for later delivery of projects.
The CAA will be consulting on its regulatory proposals, in light of the Commissions recommendations, in November, with a view to setting new controls on Heathrow and Gatwick in early 2008 for the five years 2008-13.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many former miners compensation claims have been under consideration for longer than (a) four, (b) five, (c) six, (d) seven and (e) eight years since first application; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The number of coal health claims that are outstanding as at 14 October 2007 for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Vibration White Finger (VWF) broken down as requested are shown in the table as follows:
|Claim outstanding age bands||COPD||VWF|
The aforementioned table shows the total number of claims outstanding for more than four years not yet settled by payment, denial, withdrawal or strike out. The main reasons why these claims are outstanding are that the Departments claims handlers, Capita, are awaiting responses to offers, more information is needed to reach assessment stage, or they are subject to delays due to co-defendants involvement.
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what average level of damages has been recovered by the 10 firms of solicitors with the highest number of cases registered under (a) the British Coal Vibration White Finger scheme and (b) the British Coal Respiratory Disease scheme in relation to those schemes. 
Malcolm Wicks: The average amount of damages recovered by the 10 firms of claimants representatives with the highest volume of claims for Vibration White Finger (VWF) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as at 14 October 2007 is shown on the following table:
|Claimants representatives||Claims registered||Average damages paid on claims settled by payment (£)|
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many addresses of miners with compensation claims have been released to the Law Society for communications about solicitors double charging; and how many are due to be released in 2007. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department has released 3,644 miners' addresses to the Legal Complaints Services (LCS) to inform miners of their rights regarding solicitors fees with respect to coal health claims as part of the pilot in the Rother Valley constituency.
Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many claims for (a) miners hearing loss, (b) vibration white finger and (c) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were paid in Bolsover constituency in each of the last seven years. 
The number of claims settled by payment for miners hearing loss (NIHL), vibration white finger (VWF) and chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD) claims in the Bolsover constituency as at 21 October 2007 are shown in the following table.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many former miners' health compensation claims are unresolved in (a) Hemsworth constituency and (b) West Yorkshire. 
Malcolm Wicks: The number of former miners' coal health claims that are outstanding for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Vibration White Finger (VWF) for Hemsworth constituency and West Yorkshire as at 30 September 2007 is shown in the following table:
|Area||Total claims||Total outstanding claims|
Batley And Spen Borough
Bradford North Borough
Bradford South Borough
Bradford West Borough
Leeds Central Borough
Leeds East Borough
Leeds North East Borough
Leeds North West Borough
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|