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28 Feb 2008 : Column 1800Wcontinued
United Arab Emirates
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Yeovil of 21 February 2008, Official Report, columns 849-51W, on extended schools, what the equivalent data are for the Wirral. 
Beverley Hughes: In 2008-09 to 2010-11 a total of £1.3 billion of funding will be made available nationally to support the development of extended schools. The allocations for the Wirral are set out in the following table.
|Extended schools funding 2008-2011 , Wirral LA|
|2008-09 (£)||2009-10 (£)||2010-11 (£)||Total CSR period (£ million)|
|(1) Funding not available until 2009-10|
The Department has announced the individual local authority allocations for the next three years for the start-up, sustainability and capital funding streams. The Government have not yet announced the individual local authority allocations for the extended schools subsidy and the academic-focused study support funding.
As my answer to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) of 21 February 2008, Official Report, columns 849-51W, explained, information is not collected centrally on the number of schools which charge parents for their children to attend extended activities, and what the levels of charges are.
9. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discussions he has had with Post Office Counters Ltd on its incentive structure for post office closures. 
Mr. McFadden: Post Office Ltd. has no staff incentive structure based on numbers of post office closures.
12. Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what stage the post office closure consultation programme has reached; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: As of this week, 20 area plans have been published and put out to local consultation and final decisions had been announced for 12 of them.
22. Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of the effect of post office closures on local economies. 
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effects of post office closures on local economies. 
Mr. McFadden: The Government have asked Post Office Ltd., in drawing up its proposals for post office closures, to consider a range of local socio-economic factors including the impact on local economies and availability of public transport.
Assessment of the local impact of the proposed closure of specific individual post offices is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd., with input from Postwatch, in developing its area plan proposals and consulting locally on them.
13. Mr. Mackay: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has for further regulatory reform. 
Mr. McFadden: The Government have one of the most respected regulatory reform programmes in the world, focused on improving regulatory outcomes while reducing unnecessary burdens. Our focus is on ensuring this programme delivers effectively.
The Simplification Plans that Departments published in December 2007 showed that Government had delivered £800 million of annual savings for business through these plans.
14. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he next expects to meet representatives of small business organisations to discuss the regulation of agency workers. 
Mr. McFadden: The Department is in regular contact with representatives of small businesses to discuss all issues of relevance to the sector.
15. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what account he takes of local opinion in determining applications for onshore wind farms; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Secretary of State takes all representations into account before reaching a decision. Where a local authority, on behalf of the local community, objects to an onshore wind farm application within its boundaries, the Secretary of State is obliged to call a public inquiry. The Secretary of State can also call a discretionary public inquiry in the light of other objections.
16. Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his policy is on carbon capture at new coal-fired power stations. 
Malcolm Wicks: Following our commitment in last year's Energy White Paper, we will be consulting shortly on carbon capture and storage. This will include seeking views on the recently published draft EU Directive which proposes mandatory carbon capture readiness for all combustion power stations.
17. Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of the effects of changes in energy costs on energy intensive industries; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government fully appreciate the significance of energy costs to industry. Therefore my Department meets regularly with members of the Energy Intensive Users Group and other representative industry groups, to understand the implications for business of changes in these costs. We also seek industry
views on strategic energy issues through the Business Energy Forum, which is jointly chaired by Ministers and the CBI.
18. Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking to prevent unscrupulous lending practices. 
Mr. Thomas: I am committed to tackling unscrupulous loan sharks who exploit vulnerable people in our poorest communities. In 2004 we established two pilot enforcement teams in Birmingham and Glasgow to track down and prosecute illegal money lenders.
Following evaluation of the pilots I announced £2.8 million in September for a national crackdown on illegal lending. There's now a team in every region of Britain and we have committed to fund this work through the next spending period.
19. John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to prevent e-mail and postal fraud. 
Mr. McFadden: The Government set out their consumer strategy in their publication "A Fair Deal for All". The strategy recognises that enforcement needs to be more effective at stopping those who deliberately set out to defraud consumers, often targeting the most vulnerable. The Office of Fair Trading takes the lead on tackling scams conducted through mass mailings which pose a serious problem for unwary consumers.
Many ISPs are taking active steps to prevent bad traffic reaching their customers and many have spam e-mail boxes which enable their customers to complain about specific e-mails. Both Government and Ofcom are talking to the ISPs about how we might improve standards across the sector and how those improvements might be made more visible to end users. These discussions now need to reflect the recently published proposals from the European Commission regarding the review of the telecoms regulatory framework and which include recommendations designed to reduce the impact of spam.
21. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will commission research on the effects on mortality rates and livelihoods of different forms of electricity generation per MWh of electricity generated. 
Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no such plans. If the hon. Member has particular concerns, he could draw them to the attention of the Health Protection Agency or the Health and Safety Executive.
23. Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the merits of feed-in tariffs in encouraging local generation of renewable energy. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Government are absolutely committed to the renewables obligation as a market-based mechanism to deliver renewable energy to the UK.
We are now proposing a new renewable energy strategy and we are developing that within BERR. We will be consulting in the early summer and we will be looking afresh at microgeneration and any proposals to boost microgeneration, including a feed-in tariff arrangement.
I want to make it clear that a fresh look at microgeneration is not at all challenging the mainstream renewables obligation, which we think is fit for purpose.
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