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Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the value is of the contract his Department has signed with UBS AG Bank for advice on the commercial and financial aspects of new nuclear power plants; when the contract was signed; and what its duration is. 
Malcolm Wicks: UBS AG has been appointed to advise the Government on the realisation of their policy on new nuclear build, and started work in early March 2008. The terms of the appointment are confidential.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the security implications of developing new nuclear facilities in the United Kingdom, with reference to paragraph 4.89 of the National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, Cm 7291. 
Malcolm Wicks: Paragraphs 2.83 to 2.109 of our White Paper on Nuclear Power set out the assessment we have made and our reasons for concluding that the UK has an effective regulatory framework that ensures that safety, security, health and proliferation risks are minimised and sensibly managed by industry.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether vulnerabilities of (a) nuclear installations and (b) nuclear materials in transit were evaluated in drawing up the new National Security Strategy. 
Malcolm Wicks: Our evaluation of these vulnerabilities, set out in paragraphs 2.83 to 2.115 of our White Paper on Nuclear Power, was taken into account in the preparation of the National Security Strategy.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 21 February 2008, Official Report, column 840W, on Overseas trade: Finance, how many overseas offices each agency maintains; and in which countries. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the European Union on subsidising post offices to minimise closures; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: The European Commission has given state aid clearance for the Governments funding package for the post office network. This includes subsidy payments to support the non-commercial part of the network.
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what account Post Office Ltd will take of the cost of individual sub-postmasters contracts in deciding whether a post office should be closed. 
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what process will be followed by Post Office Ltd and his Department in determining a final list of post offices for closure. 
Mr. McFadden: Final decisions on post office closures rest with Post Office Ltd. However, there is a four stage review process in place for Post Office Ltd and Postwatch to reach an agreed way forward by a bilateral review of individual closures. The review process is instigated by Postwatch if it appears that the company has not given due consideration to material evidence received during the public consultation in coming to its decision or where evidence emerges from consultation that the proposal for the branch does not meet the Governments policy requirements.
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking to ensure that Post Office Ltd investigates alternative courses of action, including renegotiation of contracts with sub-postmasters, in relation to post offices earmarked for closure. 
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps he is taking to ensure that Post Office Ltd will take account of planned housing development in areas where post offices are earmarked for closure; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Post Office Ltds economic model in identifying post offices for (a) potential and (b) final closure. 
Mr. McFadden: Following the national consultation on the future of the post office network, the Government have set a framework of access criteria and other factors to be considered by Post Office Ltd in developing its proposals for post office closures at area plan level and subsequently reaching final decisions on them. Postwatch acts as the consumer voice in this area and it assesses whether, for an individual branch, Post Office Ltd has not given due consideration to material evidence received during the public consultation in coming to its decision, or evidence has emerged from the consultation that the proposal for the branch does not meet the Governments policy requirements. In these circumstances, Postwatch can trigger a review process to enable it and Post Office Ltd to reach an agreed way forward on the relevant branch.
Mr. McFadden: Under the Postal Services Act 2000, Parliament established Postcomm as the independent regulator for postal services. Postcomms primary statutory duty is to ensure provision of a universal postal service. Subject to this, Postcomm will exercise its functions in the manner which it considers is best calculated to further the interests of users of postal services, wherever appropriate by promoting effective competition between postal operators.
The Government have commissioned Richard Hooper to lead an independent review of the postal services sector and how best to maintain the universal service. We will give careful consideration to all the panels recommendations when it reports later this year.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what Government funding streams are available to regional development agencies; and if he will make a statement. 
Since April 2002, the RDAs have been financed through a Single Programme budget (the Single Pot). Money from the six contributing Departments (BERR, CLG, IUS, EFRA, CMS and UKTI) is pooled into one single budget. The funding, once allocated, is available to the RDAs in order to achieve the regional priorities identified in their regional economic strategies and the challenging targets set by them in their Corporate Plans. In 2007-08, the Single Pot allocated funding of £2.3 billion to the nine English RDAs.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was set up in 1975 to stimulate economic development in less prosperous regions of the European Union (EU). As EU membership has grown, ERDF has developed into a major instrument for helping to redress regional imbalances. Between 2007 and 2013, England will benefit from an investment of a further €3.2 billion (approximately £2.5 billion) of ERDF. The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) manages ERDF in England and provides programme funding directly to the RDAs.
The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is a 7-year (2007-2013) EU programme that aims to safeguard and enhance the rural environment, improve the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sectors and foster competitive and sustainable rural businesses and thriving rural communities.
The overall budget for the programme is approximately £3.9 billion. Some £600 million of this will be made available for socio-economic schemes aimed at making agriculture and forestry more competitive and sustainable, enhancing opportunity and the quality of life in rural areas, and diversifying the rural economy. This part of the RDPE is being delivered primarily by the RDAs.
In line with the landfill tax back to business commitment, the Spending Review 2004 (SR2004) announced that the additional revenues will be used to fund programmes to support business in improving its resource efficiency, including waste minimisation and diversion from landfill. The RDAs have been given the responsibility of co-ordinating the programme at regional level. In 2007-08, DEFRA has provided funding of £10.9m through the Single Pot to the RDAs in respect of their programme.
The Northern Way is collaboration, formed in 2004, between the three Northern RDAs of England (North West RDA, Yorkshire Forward and One NorthEast). Its aim was to work together to improve the sustainable economic development of the North towards the level of more prosperous regions in the UK. In 2007-08, CLG provided funding of £25.8 million to the RDAs,
this being the remaining contribution from Government toward the £100 million Northern Way Growth Fund. BERR is now the lead Government Department for the Northern Way Growth Fund.
In the Social Enterprise Action Plan the Office of the Third Sector announced it would provide £5.9 million to RDAs to improve Business Links capacity to broker business support for social enterprises.
Mr. Ingram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department received from the transfer of funds from the England and Wales fossil fuel levy for the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources in (a) 2004-05, (b) 2005-06, (c) 2006-07 and (d) 2007-08. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 25 March 2008]: The Department has received no transfer of funds from the England and Wales fossil fuel levy for these purposes. However, the Sustainable Energy Act 2003 provides a power for the Secretary of State to direct Ofgem to pay into the Consolidated Fund up to £60 million from funds paid to Ofgem and arising from the auctioning of renewable obligation certificates and electricity generated under non-fossil fuel obligation contracts. There is also a corresponding duty on the Secretary of State to spend a matching sum to promote the use of energy from renewable sources.
£60 million was transferred to the Consolidated Fund in 2004-05 and formed part of the £500 million which Government have announced they would spend from 2002 on R and D and capital grants for emerging renewable and low carbon technologies.
Mr. Thomas [holding answer 25 March 2008]: The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 will prohibit traders from engaging in unfair commercial practices, including aggressive selling techniques, towards consumers. A practice is considered aggressive if, through the use of harassment, coercion or undue influence, the average consumers freedom of choice or conduct is significantly impaired, and this causes or is likely to cause him to take a different purchasing decision.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many plasma television screens have been purchased by his Department, its predecessor and its agencies, and at what cost, in the last 24 months. 
Information on asylum applications from principal applicants (since 2001) and dependants (since 2002) is available by age at time of application from the annual Statistical Bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom. Information prior to these dates is not available. Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at:
Any children, under the age of 18, recorded as being principal asylum applicants may not necessarily be unaccompanied; they could for example be living with a relative who, in turn, may or may not have status in the UK.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the purpose of the Counterpoint Childhood Wellbeing research paper was; how much it cost; and what account will be taken of it during his Departments policy formulation process. 
The Department commissioned Counterpoint (UK) Limited to undertake research into Childhood Wellbeing in order to increase our understanding of parents and childrens perceptions of wellbeing and happiness, the factors that are significant to them, and their main sources of anxiety and of confidence. This work followed extensive public debate about the state of childhood today and provided insights into the attitudes of parents and children themselves, including their views on appropriate roles for Government, councils, schools and families in creating the right conditions for happy childhoods. The research cost £80,840 (including VAT). The outcomes have informed the Childrens Plan, published in December 2007, and particularly the proposals for a new focus on improved opportunities for outdoor play.
We will continue to draw on the research as we develop policies for implementing the Childrens Plan to create better futures for children and families.
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