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James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there were in 2006 in relation to pirate radio stations and illegal radio broadcasts. 
Malcolm Wicks: I am informed by the Office of Communications (Ofcom) that in 2006 they brought forward 62 prosecutions and secured 62 convictions under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1949 and 2006 for illegal broadcasting.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what minimum safety and security requirements apply to vessels carrying nuclear material by sea for a distance of (a) less and (b) more than 500 miles. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 20 March 2008]: The security of nuclear material on board a UK-flagged vessel is regulated by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) in accordance with the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR). These regulations, which ensure that the UKs obligations under the Convention on the Physical Protection on Nuclear Material (CPPNM) are met and which take full account of international recommendations in this area, are supplemented by a Technical Requirements Document which details minimum security standards. This document is protectively marked; it is not Government policy to release precise details of security measures since this information could be of use to those with malicious intent.
In terms of security arrangements for the transport of nuclear material, distance is not the factor which sets the level of security. The overall security posture will be dictated by the category of the material being carried and the threat pertaining. The mode(s) of transport, packages to be used and other physical, procedural and administrative measures based on the principles of defence-in-depth and graded approach will also be relevant in designing a security system combining deterrence, detection, delay and response measures, complemented by other measures for mitigating the consequences of malicious acts, including recovery and for minimizing the radiological consequences of any theft, sabotage or other malicious act.
Vessels transporting nuclear material by sea are required to operate in compliance with the requirements of prevailing international law on the safety of ships, most notably the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS, found at http://www.imo.org/Conventions/contents.asp?topic_id=257&doc_id=647). Additionally they are required to comply with supplementary measures contained in the International Code for the Safe Carriage of Packaged Irradiated Fuel, Plutonium and High Level Radioactive Wastes on board ships (the INF code, found at http://www.imo.org/Safety/mainframe.asp ?topic_id=354) which deal specifically with the carriage of nuclear material.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth:
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
what guidance he has issued to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority on the arrangements for the transportation of plutonium dioxide powder by (a) land and (b) sea; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 20 March 2008]: It is a regulatory requirement that any transport of category I civil nuclear material is conducted in accordance with a Transport Security Plan (TSP) to be submitted by the approved carrier in accordance with the requirements of the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003. The TSP must be approved by the regulator, the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS). These plans take full account of all relevant national regulations, international standards and obligations regarding the carriage of nuclear material and OCNS approval will not be given until it is satisfied that all security measures are adequately robust.
Packages for transporting plutonium oxide powder are approved by the Department for Transport to a standard that is set by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Vessels for transporting plutonium oxide are approved to a standard set by the International Maritime Organisation.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with Ofgem on connection charges for green energy projects in remote areas; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: My officials met with Ofgem on 3 October 2007 and 29 January 2008 to discuss connection charges for renewable energy projects in the Scottish Islandsthese discussions covered Ofgems consultation on delivering island connection infrastructure, National grids review of security standards (the SQSS review) and the power to adjust transmission charges for renewable projects in remote areas provided in section 185 of the Energy Act 2004.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discussions he has had with the consortiums bidding for the Sellafield nuclear clean-up on the timetable for selecting the preferred bidder and awarding the contract; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no discussions with the bidders on any aspect of the competition for the Sellafield Parent Body Organisation (PBO). To do so would be completely inappropriate.
On 21 December 2007, as planned, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) announced that invitations to submit final tenders had been issued for the Sellafield PBO. This followed the completion of eight months of competitive dialogue with the four bidders. Responses are scheduled to be returned to the NDA in spring 2008, and an announcement of the winning PBO bidder is expected to be made in summer 2008.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many complaints of (a) sexual harassment and (b) sexual discrimination have been made by staff in (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Thomas: In the calendar year 2007, the most recent for which figures are available, there have been less than five sexual harassment and sexual discrimination complaints made by staff. Further information cannot be provided on grounds of confidentiality.
Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether he plans to implement the recommendation of the Competition Commission to establish a supermarket ombudsman. 
Mr. Thomas: The Competition Commission has not yet published its final findings and remedies in regard to its inquiry into the UK grocery market. A supermarket ombudsman is just one proposal currently under consideration. The Government will reflect on and respond to the Competition Commissions final report which is expected in May.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which public authorities, other than police forces and the ambulance service, have access to the ex-directory telephone database. 
Malcolm Wicks: Ex-directory telephone information is available on the databases that are maintained on behalf of the emergency services namely the police, fire and ambulance services and the maritime and coastguard services. Such information may also be accessed using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) by a variety of public authorities and through the Social Security Fraud Act 2000 (SSFA) by the Department for Work and Pensions and its agencies.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department has taken to regulate utility bill price increases for low income households over the last three years; and if he will make a statement. 
In the Energy White Paper, we called for suppliers to increase their help to vulnerable customers. The level of help has now increased from £40 million to £56 million during winter 2007-08 with around 700,000 households benefiting.
However, the Government believe that, given recent rises in energy prices coupled with a growing global demand for fossil fuels, vulnerable households need further help. We will continue discussions with the energy companies and Ofgem with the aim of delivering a fair programme of assistance for vulnerable households. Our aim is to increase the level of assistance from £56 million a year to £150 million a year. The Government are prepared to introduce legislation, if necessary, designed to enable it to require energy companies to make a fair contribution.
Mr. Thomas: On 17 March the Council of Ministers agreed a proposal from the European Commission to impose anti-dumping duties on imports of certain types of air compressor originating in the Peoples Republic of China. The measures will come into force on 20 March and last for two years.
Bill Rammell: There were 242,100 adults on LSC-funded full level 3 courses in 2006/07, the latest year available. The following table provides breakdowns by further education, work-based learning and Train to Gain. Full-time and part-time breakdowns are only relevant to learning in further education.
|Learners aged 19+ in 2006/07|
Learning and Skills Council Statistical First Release ILR/SFR14, December 2007
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department has taken in Staffordshire and the West Midlands to increase the number of apprenticeships. 
Bill Rammell: West Midlands Learning and Skills Council works with employers across the region to increase the number of people starting and completing Apprenticeships. It plans to increase Apprenticeships by around 4 per cent. in 2008/09. Projections are for 12,550 Apprenticeship starts with 8,415 completions and a further 5,620 Advanced Apprenticeship starts with 3,385 completions in 2008/09. The overall completion rate will be 65 per cent. which represents a rise of 3 per cent. on the projected 2007/08 level.
The increase in Apprenticeships in the West Midlands will be achieved by re-directing funding to high performing providers, introducing the Apprenticeship matching service, developing closer employer engagement, removing support for poorly performing provision and introducing new opportunities for young people to prepare to undertake an Apprenticeship.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much his Department and its predecessor spent on (a) business and (b) first class air travel in the last 12 months. 
Bill Rammell: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was created as a result of Machinery of Government changes in June 2007. Information on travel expenditure to this detail is not collected centrally in the Department. This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, year to date, the Department has spent £276,455 on air travel.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what percentage of appeals by employees of (a) his Department and (b) its agencies were (i) heard and (ii) upheld by the Civil Service Appeal Board in each of the last 10 years; how much was awarded in compensation by the Board to each successful appellant in each year; what the reason was for each compensation award; how many appellants were reinstated by the Board in each year; and what the reason was for each (A) dismissal and (B) reinstatement. 
Bill Rammell: It is not possible to provide the response for the period prior to the creation of this Department as part of the Machinery of Government changes on 28 June 2007. However, since then there have been no instances of appeals by employees being lodged with the Civil Service Appeal Board for decision.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what items of his Department's (a) revenue and (b) expenditure are uprated using (i) the consumer prices index, (ii) the retail prices index and (iii) other measures of inflation. 
Bill Rammell: The Department uses a range of indices in order to uprate payments. Decisions on the appropriate indices to use are devolved to the individual business units within the Department and this information can be gathered only at disproportionate cost.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress his Department has made in its zero-based budget review under the Comprehensive Spending Review. 
Bill Rammell: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Annex pertaining to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills in Meeting the aspirations of the British people: the 2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review (Cm 7227).
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the sums to be paid by his Department in unoccupied property rates in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09. 
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