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Nuclear Power: Inspections

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with reference to paragraph 2.93 of the White Paper on Nuclear Power, Cm7296, by what (a) percentage and (b) amounts the Government have authorised the Health and Safety Executive to increase salary levels of the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate’s nuclear inspectors; how these changes in remuneration were arrived at; and whether there has been any effect on recruitment as a result of the new payment package. [180451]

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Malcolm Wicks: Details of the pay settlement for nuclear inspectors in the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) are a matter for the Health and Safety Executive. We are hopeful that this settlement will enable the NII to recruit and retain the right calibre of staff they need to carry out their work. However, it is too early to assess the effect the settlement has had on recruitment.

We will continue to work closely with the regulators to ensure they have sufficient resource to carry out their work, including generic design assessments of new nuclear reactors within the three to three and a half year time frame.

Nuclear Power: International Cooperation

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions his Department has had with the United States administration on Global Nuclear Energy Partnership proposals. [180030]

Malcolm Wicks: There have been no recent discussions between my Department and the US Administration on Global Nuclear Energy Partnership proposals.

Political Impartiality

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for what purpose his Department records the political opinions of (a) staff and (b) the public. [179321]

Mr. Thomas: The Department does not record the political opinions of its staff.

On public appointments to non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) information is sought at application stage of political activity, in line with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies, and is declared in the press notices which announce appointments to these bodies. Appointees are asked to update this information on a regular basis.

Post Offices: Pensions

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps the Government are taking to protect the pensions of those post office workers affected by national post office reorganisation. [177816]

Mr. McFadden: Subpostmasters are agents or franchises and not employees of POL. Therefore neither they nor the staff they employ are members of the Royal Mail pension scheme.

POL staff in Crown Offices are members of the Royal Mail pension scheme. Royal Mail has proposed changes to the scheme to help it tackle the current pension fund deficit and to bring pensions costs down to a more affordable and sustainable level. UNITE and the CWU have both accepted the proposals for pension reform for existing members.

The Government agreed a finance framework in March 2007 which provides Royal Mail with the ability
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to manage its pension deficit by allowing the transfer of £850 million of reserves into an escrow account to support the pension fund. This is supplemented by £150 million from Royal Mail’s resources.

Post Offices: Peterborough

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether an alternative site for the main post office in Cowgate, Peterborough has been identified for after the expiry of its lease in December 2008; and if he will make a statement. [179271]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 17 January 2008]: 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.

Power Failures: Kent

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many severe electrical blackouts were recorded in (a) Gravesham constituency and (b) Kent in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [180184]

Malcolm Wicks: Major electricity interruptions are reported to the Secretary of State in accordance with regulation 32 of the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002.

Since 2002:

(a) one major incident affecting the Gravesham constituency was reported in 2007; and

(b) four major incidents were reported that affected parts of Kent—two in 2003 and two in 2007.

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many power cuts attributable to the performance of networks operated by distributors covering the Kent area were reported in each year since 2002; and in each case what was the (a) date, (b) location and (c) number of users affected. [180185]

Malcolm Wicks: Power cuts are a daily occurrence due to faults on every distribution network. Individual reports for each interruption are not submitted to Government. Instead, electricity distribution companies report summary information to Ofgem on an annual basis. These reports include numbers of customer interruptions (CI) and durations of interruptions (customer minutes lost CML). The performance figures for EdF South East (which includes Kent) are:

















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Public Sector Index (Non-Housebuilding) (PubSec) Index

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will place in the Library a copy of the latest version of the Public Sector Index (Non-Housebuilding) (PubSec) Index. [180297]

Mr. Timms: The Public Sector (Non-Housebuilding) Index was published in the bulletin "Quarterly Building Price and Cost Indices", and I have arranged for a copy of the Index from the December 2007 issue to be placed in the Library.

From January this year, it will be published on the World Wide Web, on BERR's behalf, by the Building Cost Information Service. Their website is at The publication has always been available on subscription, and in future the subscription will give access to the information in electronic form. Requests for subscriptions to periodicals should be addressed to the Librarian.

Radioactive Wastes: Waste Management

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of disposing of historic nuclear waste. [180448]

Malcolm Wicks: In 2003 Nirex produced figures for the estimated total cost of UK nuclear waste disposal in a geological facility which ranged between £7.5 billion and £10.4 billion (undiscounted) depending on facility design and whether or not high and intermediate level wastes were ultimately located in the same facility or in two separate facilities.

In October 2006, when Government responded to the recommendations of the independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) was given responsibility for taking forward development and implementation of a geological disposal facility for higher activity wastes. The NDA is working to produce a new model which will estimate the cost of implementing a deep geological disposal facility for a variety of scenarios i.e. geology type, geographical position and types and amounts of wastes. We anticipate the model to be complete during 2008.

Recycling: Finance

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the value of the recycle payment for each renewables obligation certificate held was on each occasion on which recycle payments have been made. [180446]

Malcolm Wicks: The Renewables Obligation (RO) was introduced in 2002. Recycle payments for each Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) presented to Ofgem by electricity suppliers in order to comply with their renewables obligation have been made as follows:

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RO England and Wales RO Scotland Northern Ireland RO( 1)


















(1) The Northern Ireland RO was not introduced until 2005-06.

Regional Development Agencies: Finance

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what requirements his Department has placed on regional development agencies in spending monies allocated via the single pot from his Department. [179227]

Mr. Timms: Government Departments and the RDAs agreed a Tasking Framework which came into effect from April 2005. This required each RDA to show in its corporate plans for 2005-08 how, in support of its statutory role and responsibilities, it would contribute to the delivery of the Government's Public Service Agreement (PSA) Targets on Regional Economic Performance, Sustainable Development and Productivity/Rural Productivity and, through these, how it would contribute to delivery of a range of other PSAs and output targets.

In line with the conclusions of the Review of Sub-national Economic Development and Regeneration, BERR is working with the RDAs and other Government Departments to set overarching regional economic growth objectives for the RDAs which will apply from April 2008 (and will replace the 2005 Tasking Framework). The regional growth objectives will be aimed at increasing regional GVA per head, consistent with the Government Regional Economic Performance PSA. From April 2008, RDAs will also be required to demonstrate regard to two underlying cross-cutting principles—sustainable development and economic opportunities for all—as they seek to achieve the regional growth objective.

The RDAs are currently developing new corporate plans, for the period 2008-11, in which they will set out corporate objectives showing how their activities will be aligned with their overarching regional growth objective and how they will apply the cross-cutting principles of sustainable development and economic opportunities for all. BERR and other Government Departments will review the new corporate plans and in my capacity as the Minister for the Regions, on behalf of Government, I will approve the new corporate plans for the eight RDAs outside London.

All RDA activity must be in line with the statutory purposes and powers set out for them in the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. In addition, the RDA financial duties are set out in the Management Statement and Financial Memorandum.


Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for which regulators and inspectorates his Department has had
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responsibility in each year since 1997; what the budget was of each such body in each year; and what the cost to the public purse was of any restructuring of each such body in each year. [175310]

Mr. Thomas: The Department (and the former DTI) has sponsored the following inspectorates/regulators since 1997:



Executive Agencies

Executive NDPBs

The following bodies are financially independent but BERR/former DTI has had policy responsibility for the areas they cover:

Non Ministerial Departments

Public Corporation

Other Bodies

Until June 2007, the Department also had responsibility for the following bodies, which were transferred to DIUS:

Executive Agencies

Executive NDPBs

The budgets and restructuring costs of these bodies are not held in a composite form and could be collated only at disproportionate cost. However, with the exception of the Engineering Inspectorate and Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, budgets can be obtained from their past and present annual reports or the Central Government Supply Estimates in each of the relevant years.

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