Previous Section Index Home Page

16 Jan 2008 : Column 1312W—continued


Christmas

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department spent on (a) Christmas cards and (b) postage of Christmas cards in 2007. [176923]

Mr. Thomas: The cost of producing 900 departmental Christmas cards in 2007 was £1,020.81.

Specific postage costs cannot be provided as the cards were posted along with regular departmental mail.

Departmental Marketing

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many branded plastic bags his Department has purchased in the last 24 months for which figures are available; and at what cost. [176363]

Mr. Thomas: Central records indicate that the Department has not purchased any departmentally branded plastic bags in the last two years.

Farepak

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when the investigation of Farepak will be finalised and the report published. [178524]

Mr. McFadden: I expect the investigation of Farepak to be completed within the next two to three months. For reasons given in a written ministerial statement by the Under-Secretary on 10 December, the report cannot be published. However, as my hon. Friend explained, if court proceedings ensue, information from the investigation will enter the public domain.

Fuel Poverty: Greater London

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many households are classified as living in fuel poverty in each London borough. [179281]


16 Jan 2008 : Column 1313W

Malcolm Wicks: London borough level estimates of fuel poverty are available only for 2003. The following table shows fuel poverty levels taken from the Fuel Poverty Indicator dataset (available online at http://www.fuelpovertyindicator.org.uk/) for all the London boroughs;

London Borough Estimate of number of fuel poor households

Barking and Dagenham

3,900

Barnet

6,700

Bexley

5,000

Brent

5,300

Bromley

6,700

Camden

4,800

City of London

200

Croydon

7,700

Ealing

6,100

Enfield

6,000

Greenwich

5,300

Hackney

4,600

Hammersmith and Fulham

3,800

Haringey

5,200

Harrow

4,000

Havering

5,000

Hillingdon

4,800

Hounslow

4,300

Islington

4,200

Kensington and Chelsea

4,100

Kingston upon Thames

3,200

Lambeth

6,100

Lewisham

5,900

Merton

4,200

Newham

5,800

Redbridge

5,200

Richmond upon Thames

4,100

Southwark

5,400

Sutton

3,900

Tower Hamlets

3,800

Waltham Forest

5,300

Wandsworth

5,900

Westminster

5,600

Grand Total

16,2200


Home Information Packs

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what role the new Local Better Regulation Office will play in the enforcement of home information pack regulations by local authorities. [176362]

Mr. McFadden: The Local Better Regulation Office’s objective, as proposed in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill, is to ensure that local authorities in England and Wales exercise their statutory duties effectively, in a way which does not give rise to unnecessary burdens, and which is transparent, accountable, proportionate and consistent. It has a number of functions in pursuance of its objective. These could include LBRO ensuring that local authorities are enforcing home information pack regulations effectively and in accordance with the principles of better regulation, if the need arose.


16 Jan 2008 : Column 1314W

Housing: Carbon Emissions

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps are being taken to encourage householders to access the low carbon building programme. [178091]

Malcolm Wicks: We are working in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust to promote the low carbon buildings programme household funding stream, raising awareness of the funds that remain available to successful applicants.

To date, we have used both their advice network and market segmentation models to target those that are most likely to install microgeneration technologies and apply for grants. We have also raised awareness at a national and regional level through the issuing of a press release that focussed on the low carbon buildings programme in

December 2007.

Furthermore, at officials' last review meeting with industry representatives in September 2007, we encouraged the involvement of industry in promoting the programme, and look forward to meeting with them in February 2008 to discuss the outcomes.

Grants of up to £2,500 remain available to successful applicants until the funds are exhausted in full or March 2009, whichever comes sooner. Further details are available at www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk.

Industry: Heating

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what estimate he has made of the watts of heat which were generated by British industries between November 2006 and March 2007; [179047]

(2) what estimate he has made of the watts of heat generated in the UK by industry which were captured and reused between November 2006 and March 2007. [179051]

Malcolm Wicks: The latest data available are for 2005. They show that industrial sectors used 233.4 TWh of energy for heating purposes whilst the services sector used 149.7 TWh. The majority of this energy was supplied by gas and other heating fuels. These data are published in UK Energy Consumption on the BERR website.

The topic of utilising surplus heat is being considered as part of work on Heat, with a Call for Evidence due to be published by the end of January.

Insolvency: Complaints

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that all complaints against insolvency practitioners are investigated by a body independent of the accountancy and law trade associations. [178448]

Mr. McFadden: There are no plans to bring forward such legislative proposals.


16 Jan 2008 : Column 1315W

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many complaints made against insolvency practitioners in the last 10 years were not resolved within five years. [178529]

Mr. McFadden: The seven recognised professional bodies that are authorised by the Secretary of State for the purpose of authorising and regulating insolvency practitioners are not required to maintain or provide this information to the Secretary of State. Of the 90 insolvency practitioners who are authorised by the Secretary of State, officials are not aware of any complaints that took more than five years to resolve.

Insolvency: Fees and Charges

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will investigate instances of insolvency practitioners charging more than £500 per hour. [178443]

Mr. McFadden: The Insolvency Rules 1986 determine how the remuneration of an office holder (liquidator/trustee etc.) is to be fixed and provide that such remuneration shall be fixed by reference to the time properly given to the administration, or as a percentage of the assets which are realised and distributed. In most insolvency cases it is for the liquidation or creditors’ committee to determine the basis for fixing the remuneration or, in the absence of such a committee, the creditors decide the matter. The Rules also make provision for the court to review the amount of remuneration charged.

As the amount of remuneration is subject to review by the court the Secretary of State has no powers to investigate the amount of remuneration charged.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will make it his policy to investigate those cases where the fees paid to insolvency practitioners exceed 10 per cent. of the cash collected by them. [178447]

Mr. McFadden: The Secretary of State has no plans to investigate the fees paid to insolvency practitioners. In liquidation and bankruptcy cases it is for those who have most interest in the matter, the creditors, to consider the level of remuneration charged by an insolvency practitioner and they, or the relevant committee, must approve such remuneration. Where a minority of creditors are concerned that the remuneration appears excessive, provided at least 25 per cent. in value of creditors agree, application may be made for the court to review the level of remuneration charged.

Insolvency: Licensing

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many insolvency practitioners have been licensed by each of the recognised supervisory bodies. [178450]

Mr. McFadden: The most recent figures for the number of insolvency practitioners licensed by each of the recognised supervisory bodies are set out in tabular form as follows:


16 Jan 2008 : Column 1316W
Year 2007
Authorising body Total number of IP s as at 1 January 2007

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)

729

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

174

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)

106

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)

46

Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA)

369

The Law Society (LS)

152

The Law Society of Scotland (LSS)

16

Total

1,592


Insolvency: Regulation

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward legislative proposals to achieve the regulation of the insolvency industry by a single independent regulator. [178449]

Mr. McFadden: The Secretary of State has no plans to bring forward proposals to provide for a single insolvency regulator. The Insolvency Regulation Working Party considered this matter and in their report, published in 1999, emphasised that insolvency practice had never been the prerogative of any one profession. The Working Party also considered that the operational role allocated to the professional bodies in the regulation of insolvency practitioners had bought significant value in creating a regulatory infrastructure and in extending the scope of regulation.

Maxwell Companies: Insolvency

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when the administration and liquidation of the Maxwell Group of Companies began; what fees were collected by insolvency practitioners and their advisers in relation to the companies; and when the liquidation was finalised. [178445]

Mr. McFadden: The “Maxwell Group of Companies” has never been a single group of companies under common ownership or in a common insolvency proceeding. The term is a generally descriptive one that has been used to refer, inter alia, to Maxwell Communication Corporation plc (“MCC”), Mirror Group Newspapers plc (“MGN”), various private companies reputedly in the ownership of the Maxwell family and certain pension scheme related companies.

MGN did not enter any form of insolvency proceeding.

MCC was a parent company of some 400 companies worldwide, and entered administration on 20 December 1991. The majority of the subsidiary companies entered various forms of insolvency proceeding, most of which have been finalised. MCC remains in administration. The majority of private companies and pension related companies also entered various insolvency proceedings during December 1991.


Next Section Index Home Page