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16 Jan 2008 : Column 1316W—continued

In relation to MCC and some 300 of its subsidiaries, as at 31 May 2007 the administrator’s legal and other professional fees amounted to some £59 million. In
16 Jan 2008 : Column 1317W
addition, a further £33 million of fees were incurred in relation to litigation actions. Total realisations, including recovery actions, amount to more than £1,200 million.

Further fees were borne by various MCC subsidiary companies that are not included in the above. In addition, the figures do not include fees incurred in relation to the various private companies and pension scheme related companies, information which is not readily available to the Insolvency Service without incurring disproportionate cost.

Members: Correspondence

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he will reply to the hon. Member for Edinburgh West's letters of 10 October 2007 and 23 November 2007, with regard to Mr. Iain Hay of Edinburgh. [177822]

Mr. Thomas: I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. This was due to an administrative error. A reply will be issued shortly.

National Identity Register

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans his Department has to make use of data on the national identity register when they are established; and what the estimated annual cost to his Department of that use is. [174029]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform will be working with the Home Office prior to the introduction of the national identity scheme to establish how identity information held on the proposed national identity register might be used to provide easier access to the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's services for our customers. It is too early in the process to establish the detailed costs and benefits.

Nuclear Power Stations

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) with reference to the answer of 8 July 2006, Official Report, columns 779-80W, on nuclear power stations, whether the full costs of funding research into Generation IV reactor designs will be met by private investors should a new generation of nuclear reactors be built in the UK; and if he will make a statement; [179079]

(2) how much has been spent from the public purse on research into Generation IV reactor designs; and if he will make a statement. [179087]

Malcolm Wicks: In line with the reactor designs currently being assessed by the regulators through the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process, any new nuclear reactors built over the next 10 to 15 years will be Generation III designs. These designs are already available commercially and any research necessary for their deployment in the UK will be a matter for industry.

Generation IV reactor designs are not expected to be built commercially until 2030 or beyond. Basic research into aspects of their development, for example on new materials that would be reliable at higher temperatures, is generally too far from potential exploitation in the market place to attract private sector funding. Basic
16 Jan 2008 : Column 1318W
research of this type is likely to continue to rely on public funding through the UK Research Councils and the European Union Euratom Framework programme, with the level of support dependent upon both the quality of the scientific proposals and the strategic priority given to that research area by the organisations concerned.

BERR does not fund research into Generation IV advanced reactors systems and the UK has now stood down as an active member of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). The decision to stand down reflected the need to match financial and other resources with the Department’s strategic priorities. While valuable in some respects, further involvement in the forum was not considered to be as relevant to the Department’s mission as other competing priorities.

Since 2005 the UK Research Councils, which are funded from the science budget through the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, have provided some £1.63 million to support research relevant to Generation IV advance reactor systems.

UK research organisations also participate in European research collaborations relevant to Generation IV advance reactor systems that are funded by the European Commission. Details of collaborations from 2002-06 (including a small number on advanced reactor systems) can be found in “Euratom FP6 Research Projects and Training Activities Vols 1-3”, which are available from the following website:

Nuclear Power Stations: Finance

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received from energy companies interested in building new nuclear power stations on guarantees for the funding of radioactive waste arisings and final decommissioning of any new plants constructed. [177841]

Malcolm Wicks: Government are clear that any energy company that operates a new nuclear power station must pay its full costs of decommissioning and its full share of waste management and disposal costs. The Energy Bill, introduced to Parliament on 10 January 2008, will impose new legal duties on operators in this regard and will create new powers for Ministers to ensure that operators meet those duties.

In the course of his official engagements, the Secretary of State regularly meets representatives from energy companies as well as other stakeholders. Representations by energy companies interested in building new nuclear power were received in response to the Government consultation on “The Future of Nuclear Power” which closed on 10 October 2007 and are available on the BERR website.

Political Levy

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 1073W, on the political levy, what guidance has been produced or offered by (a) his Department and (b) the Certification Officer, on the (i) legality and (ii) appropriateness of the practice of trade unions
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charging the same overall subscription fee for members who opt-out and re-diverting the political levy revenue into their general fund. [177694]

Mr. McFadden: The Department has produced guidance on contracting out of a political fund in a publication entitled ‘Trade union political funds: a guide for trade unions, their members and others’. The Certification Officer has also produced guidance on contracting out of a political fund in a publication entitled ‘Guidance for trade unions and employers’ associations wishing to establish a political fund’. These guidance materials describe the statutory requirements relating to the manner of giving effect to exemptions.


16 Jan 2008 : Column 1320W

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 1073W, on the political levy, according to records held by the Certification Officer, how many union members each union has who do not contribute to the general fund. [177695]

Mr. McFadden: The following table shows the number of members not contributing to the general fund of the trade unions concerned. As before, the figures are based on the latest returns made to the Certification Officer by the relevant trade unions.

Name Total number of union members declared on union’s annual return to Certification Officer (a) Total number of members contributing to the general fund declared on union’s annual return to Certification Officer (b) Number of members not contributing to the general fund (a) - (b)

Amicus(1)

1,175,910

795,526

380,384

Aspect

3,969

3,969

0

Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen

17,944

17,944

0

Association of Revenue and Customs

2,594

2,594

0

Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union

25,057

24,564

493

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union

26,543

26,543

0

Communication Workers Union

238,817

238,817

0

Community

33,459

29,117

4,342

Connect, the Union for Professionals in Communications

19,473

19,473

0

Educational Institute of Scotland

59,978

58,829

1,149

Fire Brigades Union

45,839

45,839

0

GMB

575,892

575,892

0

Musicians Union

32,641

32,641

0

National Association of Colliery Deputies and Shotfirers

429

336

93

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Woman Teachers

298,884

251,763

47,121

National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education

69,849

62,023

7,826

National Union of Mineworkers

9,910

7,418

2,492

National Union of Mineworkers North Western Cheshire and Cumbria Miners Association

17

17

0

National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers

74,539

65,399

9,140

POA

35,772

35,772

0

Prospect

101,532

90,456

11,076

Transport and General Workers Union(1)

751,869

670,432

81,437

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association

30,570

30,570

0

Union of Construction Allied Trades and Technicians

128,914

124,217

4,697

Union of Democratic Mineworkers

2,268

2,268

0

Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers

341,291

341,291

0

Unison, the Public Services Union

1,343,000

1,343,000

0

Unity

7,239

7,239

0

(1) Final return for period up to 26 April 2007.

Post Offices

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what Crown post offices there are, broken down by Government Region; and in each case whether the premises are (a) owned outright, (b) jointly owned and (c) leased by the Government; and if he will make a statement; [179277]

(2) how many Crown post offices there were on 1 May 1997. [179282]


16 Jan 2008 : Column 1321W

Mr. McFadden: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd (POL). I have therefore asked Alan Cook, Managing Director of POL to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Copies of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Regional European Offices: Finance

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much central Government funding the North West Brussels Office received in each of the last five years. [176599]

Mr. Timms: The North West Brussels Office does not receive funding directly from the central Government.

International Development

Whales

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, (1) what discussions he has had with representatives of other Governments on whaling since the IWC59 meeting; and if he will make a statement; [177573]

(2) whether he plans to discuss whaling and the international moratorium on whaling with other Governments before the IWC60 meeting; and if he will make a statement; [177574]

(3) what recent discussions he has had with his foreign counterparts on the subject of whale conservation; and if he will make a statement. [177575]

Jonathan Shaw: I have been asked to reply.

The UK forms part of a core anti-whaling grouping within the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and supports the IWC’s moratorium on commercial whaling. The UK remains strongly opposed to any attempt to lift or weaken the moratorium and, in the longer term, wishes to see it strengthened. We will be meeting with the core anti-whaling group in the run up to IWC60. Posts abroad will also lobby a wide range of Governments prior to the meeting to ensure support for the moratorium.

The UK has led efforts to recruit more conservation-minded countries to the IWC through our publication ‘Protecting Whales—A Global Responsibility’. This publication has recently been updated and was re-released on 21 December 2007. In the coming weeks, posts will deliver the updated version to host Governments, and will continue to engage in discussion with their counterparts on whaling at every appropriate opportunity.

This year, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will write to 18 countries encouraging them to join the IWC for the greater protection of whales.

The UK Government have consistently voiced their opposition to Japanese “scientific” whaling. Most recently, on 8 January, I called in the deputy ambassador from the Japanese embassy in London to express the UK’s outrage and urge Japan to end its slaughter of whales.

On 21 December 2007, the UK along with 29 other countries took part in a demarché to the Japanese Government calling on Japan to


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