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Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many vehicles were (a) owned and (b) purchased by his Department and its predecessor in each of the last 10 years. 
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to reduce energy costs for (a) vulnerable people and (b) people on low incomes in (i) west Lancashire and (ii) England. 
Malcolm Wicks: Action to reduce energy costs for those on low incomes cuts across several Departments. The Government have a package of measures in place to support vulnerable households to reduce energy costs.
We have announced that spend on energy efficiency measures for those on low incomes for the period 2008-11 will be in excess of £2.3 billion. Since 2000 the Warm Front programme has helped over 5,500 vulnerable households install energy efficiency measures in west Lancashire. In England as a whole, 1.6 million households have been assisted since the start of the Warm Front scheme.
In the Energy White Paper we made it clear that we expected energy suppliers to have a proportionate programme of assistance in place for vulnerable customers. Energy companies have responded positively and have recently increased the level of support they provide to vulnerable customers from £40 million to £56 million this winter.
Malcolm Wicks: The Secretary of State has had both bilateral and multilateral meetings with CEOs and senior representatives from the energy supply companies. His last multilateral meeting was on 29 November 2007, hosted by the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy, where they discussed effective operation of the market, including prices.
In addition, the Government have established the Business Energy Forum, a high-level strategic group involving representatives of the energy industry, national grid and Ofgem, and jointly chaired by BERR and CBI. This group has looked at developments in energy globally and the impact of world prices on our markets. I attended the last meeting in late October.
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question on the number of people employed in the engineering sector in 2007. (182946)
The definitive source for the number of people employed is normally the Labour Force Survey (LFS). However, because of the interest in the engineering sector an estimate of UK employee jobs has been compiled from the Short-Term Employment Surveys (STES).
The data provided is collected from the STES for June 2007. It is classified by the industry definition Engineering and Allied Industries, taken from the Index of Production First Release. This is defined as the combined sub-sections: DK, DL and DM (Standard Industry Codes 29, 30-33, 34, 35).
Table 1, attached, provides an estimate of jobs in Engineering and Allied Industries in the United Kingdom for the month of June 2007.
As with any survey, results from the STES are subject to a margin of uncertainty.
|PQ123 Employee jobs in the engineering sector June 2007 United Kingdom (June 2007), not seasonally adjusted|
|Employee jobs by class||Total employee jobs|
1. Figures are for the month of June in 2007.
2. As with any survey, results from the STES are subject to a margin of uncertainty.
Short Term Employment Surveys (STES)
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to implement the European Union directive on the sale of pyrotechnic articles; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of recent trends in (a) gas and (b) electricity prices on the number of people affected by fuel poverty. 
Malcolm Wicks: Most recent figures show that there were approximately 2.5 million households in fuel poverty in the UK in 2005. This is around 4 million fewer than in 1996, but represents an increase of 0.5 million households since 2004, reflecting the impact of rising energy prices on fuel poverty. The following table shows estimated numbers of households in fuel poverty in recent years for both England and the UK:
|Level of fuel povertytotal in millions of households|
Estimates for the number of households living in fuel poverty in England in 2006 indicate an increase, from 1.5 million in 2005, to 2.4 million in 2006, due to increases in gas and electricity prices. UK figures for 2006 will be available later this year.
Increases in energy prices since the end of 2006 will result in upward pressures on the numbers in fuel poverty. However, the additional number of households in fuel poverty will also be affected by increases in incomes and energy efficiency levels. These data come from the year long English House Conditions Survey, and it is only when we have this information that we will be able to produce meaningful estimates for these years.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people were classified as living in fuel poverty in each of the last three years, broken down by region. 
Malcolm Wicks: No regional breakdown of the fuel poverty statistics exists for the last three years. National figures for the most recent three years that have been published are shown in the following table:
|Estimate of number of fuel poor households in the UK|
The most recent year for which sub-national estimates were made for number of households in fuel poverty is 2003. The data for 2003 cover regions in England and comes from the Fuel Poverty Indicator dataset (available online at http://www.fuel povertyindicator.org.uk/).
|Region||Estimated number of fuel poor households (2003)|
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 5 February 2008]: My Department has not been able to do exhaustive research in the time available to answer these questions. The Government received a letter from the Commission in February 2005 and a reply was sent in June 2005. A further letter on this subject was sent from the Commission on 21 December 2007. A reply to that letter has not yet been sent. UKREP and Ofcom would have been involved in preparing a reply to the earlier letter and are involved in discussions about the latest correspondence. We have no records of separate correspondence between Ofcom and the Commission.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many staff are employed by the National Secretariat of the Regional Development Agencies for England; what its expenditure was in each of the last five years; and in which offices it is located. 
Mr. McFadden: The Secretariat of England's Regional Development Agencies currently employs six full-time and one part-time staff. Its annual expenditure in each of the last five years is shown in the following table. Since the establishment of the RDA Secretariat in 2003, its functions have grown to reflect the increasing requirements upon a co-ordinating function. The RDA Secretariat is currently located in Broadway House, Tothill street, London SW1.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he has taken to establish accurate estimates of the costs associated with decommissioning nuclear facilities and radioactive remediation of civil nuclear sites. 
Malcolm Wicks: Establishing the liability costs for all the sites in the Nuclear Decommissioning Authoritys (NDA) portfolio is a responsibility of the NDA and is an ongoing and unprecedented process, reflecting the fact that this is the first time that there has been an attempt to systematically catalogue the scale of the UKs civil public nuclear legacy. The latest future cost estimates are published in the NDAs Annual Report and Accounts 2006-07, which is available on their website at:
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his policy is on how the Post Office should acknowledge or respond to letters on proposed post office closures. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 7 January 2008]: Post Office Ltd. aims to acknowledge and fully consider all letters received during local consultations on post office closure and new outreach proposals. After final decisions have been reached, a decision booklet is issued which contains a summary of the issues and concerns raised and of how these were taken into account in the decisions.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what obligations arising from (a) the UK's membership of the European Union and ( b) the UK's participation in single market legislation govern the provision of subsidy to the network of Post Office branches; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: All state support for undertakings, whether privately or publicly owned, are subject to the rules laid down in Article 87(1) of the EC treaty. Funding of the Post Office network is therefore subject to the state aid rules and can only be given in compliance with these rules.
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