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Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment has been made of the risk of flooding of existing and proposed nuclear reactors on coastal sites over their lifetimes; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: UK coastal nuclear power stations are designed to be protected against flooding, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requires flood defence plans to be periodically reviewed by site operators. HSE would also require appropriate flood protection measures and flood defence plans for any new nuclear power station in the future.
The potential impact of flooding would be a relevant consideration in any future siting assessment for any proposed new nuclear build, alongside a range of other considerations. We will be consulting on draft criteria for the strategic siting assessment in due course.
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans his Department has for the further regulation of the operation of Christmas savings clubs. 
Mr. Thomas: The Government have already indicated that the possibility of regulation will be considered once the outcome of the Companies Act investigation into Farepak is available. This consideration will also take account of the initial advice delivered by the OFT and FSA in December 2007, and the Thirteenth Report (2006-07) by the Treasury Select Committee.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether exchanges of expertise and technology for the disposal of highly radioactive nuclear waste take place between the UK and France. 
Malcolm Wicks: Collaboration with France on nuclear power is already well established, and with the commitment to new nuclear in the UK there is now greater scope to reap the benefits. At the recent UK/French summit one of the issues discussed was the scope for exchange of staff and information on waste management between the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and its French counterpart. A bilateral agreement between NDA and ANDRA (the French waste management organisation) will be signed in the coming weeks.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to address the skills gap in the renewables sector identified in the Government's White Paper relating to that sector; and if he will make a statement. 
We are also actively collaborating with employers and sector skills councils to help develop academies for nuclear, the process industries and oil and gas and are working on plans for the power and environmental sectors with the aim of delivering the required skills to work across the energy sector, including renewables.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what proportion of renewable energy supply came from hydro-generation in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in each year between 1998 and 2007. 
|Proportion of electricity from renewable sources generated by hydro sources|
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what proportion of renewable energy supply generated in the United Kingdom is derived from rivers; and what that figure is expressed in the number of homes powered by such electricity. 
Malcolm Wicks: In the statistics collected on renewable energy by BERR, no distinction is currently made between hydroelectricity derived from rivers and hydroelectricity derived from lakes or other reservoir sources.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will commission research on the effect of supermarket chains on the convenience shop sector, with particular reference to the level of competition and local dominance; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: This Department has no plans to commission research into this market. Competition in the supermarket and grocery sectors is a matter for the independent competition authorities. The Competition Commission's (CC) inquiry into the UK grocery market is assessing local market concentration in some detail. The CC's final report is expected shortly.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discount rate has been assumed in carrying out the cost benefit analysis for wind farms (a) at current levels of Government subsidy and (b) assuming no subsidy. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 April 2008]: The Department does not carry out cost benefit analyses of individual wind farms. The Department has produced estimates of the levelised generation costs for fossil fuels (coal and gas) and low carbon technologies. Estimates for onshore and offshore wind use a pre-tax commercial discount rate of between 10 and 12 per cent.
The Department uses the Treasury Green Book social discount rate to estimate the present value of the resource cost to the economy of low carbon generation technologies compared with generation using fossil fuels.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much has been allocated to the preventing violent extremism community leadership fund for (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11. 
Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 25 April 2008]: The preventing violent extremism: community leadership fund has been allocated £1.1 million, £1.3 million, and £1.5 million for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent discussions she has had with the Local Government Association on alleged price fixing in the construction industry and the implications of such practices for local authorities. 
John Healey: There have not been any recent discussions between Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association about alleged price fixing activities in the construction industry.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the reasons are for the different figures given in the answer of 28 January 2008, Official Report, column 112W, on council tax, and the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2498, on council tax: tax yields, for council tax receipts in England in 1997-98. 
Mr. Dhanda: I have written to the hon. Member explaining the reasons for the different figures given in the two answers. A ministerial correction amending the answer of 28 January 2008 was published on 23 April 2008, Official Report, column 10MC.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what her most recent estimate is of the unfunded liability in present value terms of each public sector pension scheme for which her Department is responsible; and on what assumptions for (a) discount and (b) longevity the estimate is based; 
(3) what the (a) rate and (b) cost was of employer contributions for each public sector pension scheme for which her Department has responsibility in each year since 1990-91; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Dhanda: The 89 local authority pension funds that comprise the Local Government Pension Scheme in England and Wales are valued by actuaries every three years. The most recent valuation took place in March 2007 but the national outcome will not be known until later in the year. Details of individual fund valuation results, including new employer contribution rates and the assumptions used for discount and longevity can be obtained directly from each scheme administering authority.
When the funds were last valued in 2004, this showed that the assets of £80 billion represented some 75 per cent. of the total scheme liabilities of £107 billion. Each scheme administering authority has in place a funding strategy to manage and recover to ensure the on-going solvency of the scheme. Valuation results for English and Welsh local authorities participating in the scheme are available at
The pension liability for the two firefighters' pension schemes falls on individual fire and rescue authorities. The current unfunded liabilities are estimated to be about £18 billion for English authorities.
The 1992 Firefighters' Pension Scheme has an employer contribution rate of 22 per cent. of payroll; the 2006 New Firefighters Pension Scheme's rate is 11 per cent. The estimated costs for employers in the two schemes are:
|1992 scheme||2006 scheme|
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many public consultations were held by her Department and its predecessor in each of the last three years; and how many respondents took part in each consultation. 
Mr. Dhanda: As reported in the annual reports of my Department and its predecessor, and as set out in the Government summaries of responses, the following public consultations were held in each of the last three years:
In the calendar year 2005 my predecessor Department ODPM launched 57 public consultations.
In the calendar year 2006 my Department launched 34 public consultations.
In the calendar year 2007 my Department launched 48 public consultations.
Identifying how many respondents took part in each consultation could be done only at disproportionate cost. The number of responses to these consultations varies greatly. For example there were only 76 responses to our consultation on Tolerated Trespassers issued in August 2007. However, there were 55,000 responses for our consultation on Proposals for Future Unitary Structures issued in March 2007.
Undertaking exit interviews for all staff is a matter of good practice. Fire and rescue services were provided with guidance encouraging this practice by the Home Office as part of two equalities action plans entitled "Toward Diversity" published in 2000 and 2001.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the cost of initial training for (a) a full-time firefighter and (b) a retained firefighter was in each fire and rescue service in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Dhanda: The cost of initial training for both full-time and retained duty system firefighters is a matter for individual fire and rescue service. The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much Government funding has been provided to help repair properties which were damaged in the floods of 2007. 
To date, Government have made available up to £88 million to support communities in England affected by the floods of June and July 2007. This includes around £18.4 million from Communities and Local Government in flood recovery grant to support the recovery work of local authorities.
support payments to flood affected households;
purchase and provision of new household items to flood affected households;
provision of temporary caravans to allow people to remain within their communities while houses are repaired;
resilience and rescheduling of home improvement programmes to support families in flood damaged homes;
other priorities set through consultation with flood-affected householders and communities.
Communities and Local Government have invited councils to adapt their timetables for the multi-billion pound decent homes programme to help get their tenants back into fully renovated homes as quickly as possible.
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