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26 Mar 2008 : Column 285W—continued

Eurostar

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department and its agencies spent on (a) first class and (b) other travel by Eurostar in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [187669]

Mr. Thomas: The amount spent on travel by Eurostar by BERR, and previously by DTI in the last 12 months was:

The proportion of this expenditure on first class travel was 77 per cent. (£407, 276).

All travel is undertaken in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code.

Fuel Poverty: Elderly

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many pensioners aged (a) 60 to 70, (b) 71 to 80, (c) 81 to 90 and (d) 90 and over were classified as living in fuel poverty in (i) Ribble Valley constituency, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) nationally in each of the last five years. [194963]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 17 March 2008]: Splits of the level of fuel poverty by the age of the Household Reference Person (HRP) or age of the youngest/oldest member of the household are not available at a sub-national level. The detailed tables which accompany the “Fuel Poverty Strategy Report” hold information on household composition split by HRP and age of the youngest/oldest member of the household on national level only. These data are published annually with the earliest figures covering 2003, the latest figures cover 2005. It is available online through http://www.berr.gov.uk/energy/fuel-poverty/index.html. The following table holds extracted details:


26 Mar 2008 : Column 286W
Fuel poor households in group
Thousand
2003 2004 2005

Household c omposition (of primary benefit unit)

Couple, no dependent child(ren), aged 60 or over

138

134

210

One person aged 60 or over

463

450

551

Age of youngest person in household

60-74

287

278

390

75 or over

302

292

357

Age of oldest person in household

60-74

306

286

383

75-84

245

223

307

85 or more

83

95

104


Fuel Poverty: Lancashire

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) households including at least one child and (b) households were classified as living in fuel poverty in (i) Ribble Valley constituency, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) nationally in each of the last five years. [194964]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 17 March 2008]: Splits of the level of fuel poverty by the household composition of the primary benefit unit or age of the youngest/oldest member of the household are not available at a sub-national level. The detailed tables which accompany the “Fuel Poverty Strategy Report” hold information on household composition of the primary benefit unit and age of the youngest/oldest member of the household on national level only. These data are published annually with the earliest figures covering 2003, the latest figures cover 2005. They are available online through http://www.berr.gov.uk/energy/fuel-poverty/index.html. The following table holds extracted details:

F uel poor households in group
Thousand
2003 2004 2005

Household Composition (of primary benefit unit)

Couple with dependent child(ren)

53

54

83

Lone parent with dependent child(ren)

98

91

116


Regional estimates of fuel poverty are available only for England in 2003 and are taken from the Fuel Poverty Indicator (FPI) dataset available online at http://www.fuelpovertyindicator.org.uk/. This estimates that there were 2,400 fuel poor households in Ribble Valley and 39,300 in Lancashire.

National fuel poverty rates are published annually and are again available online through the BERR website at http://www.berr.gov.uk/energy/fuel-poverty/index.html.

The report shows the following table outlining national level of fuel poverty since 1996:


26 Mar 2008 : Column 287W

26 Mar 2008 : Column 288W
Number of households in fuel poverty (million)
1996 1998( 1) 2001 2002( 1) 2003 2004 2005

England

5.1 (5.5)

3.4 (4.0)

1.7 (2.3)

1.4 (2.0)

1.2 (1.5)

1.2 (1.5)

1.5 (1.8)

Scotland

0.7

0.3

0.4

0.4

Wales

0.4

0.1

Northern Ireland

0.2

0.2

UK estimate (approx.)

61/2

43/4

21/2

21/4

2

2

21/2

(71/2)

(53/4)

(31/2)

(23/4)

(21/2)

(21/2)

(3)

(1) Figures for England in 1998 and 2002 are estimates based on movements in energy prices, incomes and energy efficiency.
Figures in brackets do not include housing benefit/ISMI as part of income.

Internet: Fraud

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent estimate he has made of the cost to business of (a) internet fraud and (b) malicious computer security breaches. [193806]

Malcolm Wicks: BERR does not collect information in this way. The Department works with business to produce a biennial Information Security Breaches Survey. The Survey is intended to raise awareness of the importance of effective information security management. The Surveys do not set out to survey or measure the costs of internet fraud or malicious computer security breaches but to research the costs of all information security breaches. Based on information gathered for the 2006 Survey, the figures indicated that serious security incidents cost on average between £8,000 and £17,000 per incident in 2005.

Work is almost complete on the 2008 Information Security Breaches Survey and the results will be announced at Infosecurity Europe on 22 April. The Survey will present up to date information on the costs of information security breaches.

Joint Frequency Management Group: Conditions of Employment

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what arrangements will be made for the handling of employment contracts of employees of the Joint Frequency Management Group following the introduction of a commercial bank manager; and if he will make a statement. [194151]

Malcolm Wicks: The matter raised is the responsibility of the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which is accountable to Parliament rather than Ministers. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the chief executive's letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire dated 5 February on premium rate SMS services. [194161]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 14 March 2008]: I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. A letter was sent to the hon. Member on 17 March 2008.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with reference to the announcement of 6 March on market engagement of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, what discussions he has had with the Authority on the assets to be included in the list of assets and activities in which interested parties are invited to express an interest. [195075]

Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no discussions with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) about potential market interest in its assets and activities.

As stated in the announcement on 6 March, the NDA is trying to gauge the market interest in its assets, consistent with its requirement to ensure maximum value to the taxpayer. Interested parties should respond to the NDA by 3 April, but no final decision has been taken on whether any assets will be sold.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discussions he has held with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on the inclusion of the (a) thermal oxide reprocessing plant and (b) Sellafield MOX plant in the list of assets to be offered for sale by the Authority. [195078]

Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no discussions with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) about the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) and the Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP) in relation to the market engagement announcement.

As stated in the announcement on 6 March, the NDA is trying to gauge the market interest in its assets, consistent with its requirement to ensure maximum value to the taxpayer. Interested parties should respond to the NDA by 3 April, but no final decision has been taken on whether any assets will be sold. THORP and SMP are not included in the list of assets for sale.

Nuclear Power Stations: Security

Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the likely security of future generation of nuclear power stations against accident or deliberate attack. [195743]


26 Mar 2008 : Column 289W

Malcolm Wicks: As part of the consultation on the Future of Nuclear Power, the Government carefully considered the security and safety of new nuclear power stations. Having reviewed the arguments and evidence put forward and based on the advice on independent regulators, and the advances in the designs of power stations that might be proposed by energy companies, the Government set out in their White Paper that they continues to believe that nuclear power stations pose very small risks to safety and security.

We also believe that the UK has an effective regulatory framework that ensures these risks are minimised and sensibly managed by industry. The White Paper said that we will work with the independent regulators to explore ways of further enhancing the transparency and efficiency of the regulatory regime, without diminishing its effectiveness in dealing with the challenges of new build.

Offshore Drilling: Nature Conservation

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will take steps to prevent oil and gas extraction from affecting the Moray Firth Dolphin Sanctuary; and if he will make a statement. [195796]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 20 March 2008]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Ceredigion (Mark Williams) on 3 March 2008, Official Report, column 2236W.

Offshore Industry: Natural Gas

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the Government’s policy is on the reduction of offshore gas flaring. [195734]

Malcolm Wicks: BERR restricts flaring of UK offshore gas where it is technically possible and economically sensible to do so. All offshore flaring is tightly controlled by the issue of flaring consents and, since the start of this year, flaring is also included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. We continue to look for ways to keep offshore flaring to a minimum.

Through the European Union, the UK supports the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership which, by sharing global best practices and implementing country specific programmes, facilitates and supports national efforts to use currently flared gas by promoting effective regulatory frameworks and tackling the constraints on gas utilisation, such as insufficient infrastructure and poor access to local and international energy markets, particularly in developing countries.


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