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6 May 2008 : Column 877W—continued


Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which (a) contractors and (b) external law firms his Department has used in connection with the administration of the coal health compensation schemes. [202747]

Malcolm Wicks: With respect to the coal health compensation schemes, the Department’s contractors and laws firms are shown in the following table.

Role

Name of contractor

Healthcall (up to 2002)

Medical assessment for COPD and VWF for General Damages

Atos Origin (previously known as SEMA)

Medical assessment contractor for COPD and VWF for General Damages

Capita Healthcare Solutions

Medical assessment for VWF services

Capita Insurance Services (previously known as AON)

Claims handling contractor

RPS Business Healthcare

Medical records

Iron Mountain (previously known as Hays)

Records management contractor

Consultant from PWC

Audit and compliance consultancy

Consultant from Deloitte

Operational advice

Web Technology Group (previously Cable and Wireless)

Hosting, development and delivery of coalclaims.com website

Law firms

Nabarro

Legal advice England and Wales

McLure Naismith

Legal advice Scotland


Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many (a) law firms and (b) claims companies have submitted claims under the Coalminers’ Compensation Scheme. [202749]

Malcolm Wicks: With respect to coal health compensation schemes, the Department has received claims from 787 law firms and two claims companies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and vibration white finger.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many people in Warrington, North constituency have had coal health claims settled since the scheme was introduced; and how much has been paid out to them. [203151]


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Malcolm Wicks: Since the coal health compensation schemes were introduced the following number of claims have been registered and settled in the Warrington, North constituency for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and vibration white finger (VWF) as at 31 March 2008:

COPD

VWF

Low Carbon Buildings Programme

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many grant awards have been made under the domestic stream of the Low Carbon Buildings programme in each month since its inception. [199374]

Malcolm Wicks: Grant awards made each month under the domestic funding stream of the Low Carbon Buildings programme since its inception are shown in the following table:

Month Number of grant awards

May 2006

389

June 2006

161

July 2006

509

August 2006

512

September 2006

402

October 2006

1078

November 2006

1051

December 2006

346

January 2007

266

February 2007

199

March 2007

191

April 2007

May 2007

299

June 2007

290

July 2007

240

August 2007

201

September 2007

213

October 2007

193

November 2007

196

December 2007

118

January 2008

234

February 2008

181

March 2008

174


There has been a decline in the number of grant awards being issued since the changes made at the re-launch of the household stream in May 2007, when amongst other measures, a pre-requisite to seek planning permission prior to applying for a grant was introduced to reduce the number of speculative applications being received. However the quality of applications being received to the programme is much improved with fewer offers being withdrawn or expiring now than at any time during the life of the programme.


6 May 2008 : Column 879W

More recently we have announced that the household funding stream will remain open to new applicants until the funds are exhausted or to June 2010, whichever comes sooner. With the £2,500 cap per household, we believe this provides a simple and fair way of allocating funds to householders across all technologies and to increase the number of installations, which is an important aim for this demonstration programme. We believe with the extension, we will see increased take up, supported by easing of planning requirements implemented in April.

Nuclear Power Stations: Decommissioning

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether trustees appointed to oversee the implementation of a funding arrangement plan for the approved funded decommissioning programme for a new nuclear plant will be eligible to become a trustee for another nuclear plant decommissioning fund. [202077]

Malcolm Wicks: The “Consultation on Funded Decommissioning Programme Guidance for New Nuclear Power Stations” document, published on 22 February 2008, states that the Secretary of State will wish to be satisfied that suitable arrangements are in place for the governance of a fund. The governance arrangements will depend on the fund structure adopted and such arrangements should be set out in the Funding Arrangement Plans submitted to the Secretary of State for approval.

Oil

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the Government’s estimate is on when global oil production will peak; and what information has been used to arrive at that estimate. [203516]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government do not estimate the timing of peak in global oil production. However, it is our assessment that the global oil reserves are sufficient to prevent total global oil production peaking in the foreseeable future provided sufficient investment in both upstream and downstream is forthcoming in order for production to keep pace with the growing global oil demand. This is consistent with the assessment made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its 2007 World Energy Outlook (WEO).

Public Houses

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of the financial viability of public houses. [202446]

Mr. Thomas: My Department has made no such assessment.

Public Houses: Closures

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will commission research to determine whether there is a relationship between tied lease agreements and the
6 May 2008 : Column 880W
number of (a) pub closures and (b) landlord bankruptcies; and if he will make a statement. [202924]

Mr. Thomas: The Insolvency Service has a limited budget available for research and evaluation, working co-operatively with stakeholders and other parts of Government. It regularly reviews the priority areas for research funding and at present the relationship between tied lease agreements and pub closures/landlord bankruptcies is not an area targeted for research.

Renewable Energy: Finance

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the reasons for the level of applications for the UK Export Credits Guarantee Department's £50 million credit line for renewable energy projects; what steps he is taking to encourage more applications; and if he will make a statement. [202011]

Malcolm Wicks: ECGD's renewable energy initiative has generated a number of approaches since its introduction in 2003, though there has been no take up of ECGD cover so far. The main reason would appear to be that most opportunities to date for exporters in the emerging UK renewable energy sector have arisen in OECD markets where ECGD cover is not generally required.

ECGD officials continue to work alongside colleagues in BERR, UKTI and relevant trade associations to promote awareness of the ECGD cover availability. As a result of contact with the British Wind Energy Association, ECGD is currently following up approaches for potential wind turbine exports with a combined value of up to £10 million.

Shares: Sales Methods

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the role of Companies House is in combating illegal share sale boiler room operations. [203628]

Mr. Thomas: Companies House fulfils the following functions under company law:

This means that information from the companies register is available to law enforcement agencies, with whom Companies House has a working relationship.

Companies House does not have a role in regulating sales of shares or in pursuing people who may have committed financial crime.

Small Businesses: Beer

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what support his Department makes available to micro-breweries, with specific reference to (a) new businesses and (b) social enterprises. [201253]


6 May 2008 : Column 881W

Malcolm Wicks: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform does not have any specific measures to address the needs of micro-breweries. However, Business Link has been created to act as the primary channel for all businesses providing them with access to the help and support they need to start and develop their business. The service provides business with information, helps diagnose their needs and then identifies and connects them to appropriate public and private sector solutions.

Businesses can access the service in a number of ways. The national website http://wwvv.businesslink.gov.uk, provides a wealth of information and tools designed for all types of business. This is supported by a network of advisers across England managed by the Regional Development Agencies but delivered locally. Advisers offer a mix of "light touch" and in-depth support services tailored to meet the specific needs of individual businesses. Access to these face-to-face services can be obtained by calling the national helpline on 0845 6009006.

Responsibility for Social Enterprises now rests with the Office of the Third Sector (OTS). Officials in BERR, OTS and the Regional Development Agencies are working together to ensure organisations delivering Business Link services are aware of the needs of Social Enterprises and can identify suitable solutions specifically designed to meet their needs.

In addition, on 12 March, Government published a renewed enterprise strategy which aims to make the UK the most enterprising economy in the world and the best place to start and grow a business. The strategy contains a number of measures to help small businesses, such as micro-breweries, to grow. These include measures to reduce regulatory burdens, for example by considering exempting small firms from new regulations, and measures to help businesses to access the finance they need to grow, for example the strengthening of the small firms loan guarantee scheme, which is available to businesses regardless of sector. The strategy is available at

Sustainable Development: Education

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what reports he has received of the Centre for Alternative Technology's Wales Institute for Sustainable Education initiative; and if he will make a statement. [201295]

Malcolm Wicks: To the best of our knowledge no reports are listed, following checks on our electronic
6 May 2008 : Column 882W
management record and correspondence systems, as being received by the Secretary of State or other Ministers on the Centre for Alternative Technology's Wales Institute for Sustainable Education initiative.

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will provide £1.2 million of funding to the Centre for Alternative Technology to support completion of the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education; and if he will make a statement. [201296]

Malcolm Wicks: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Davies) on 22 April 2008, Official Report, column 1976W.


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