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14 July 2008 : Column 72Wcontinued
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on its submission to the consultation on the future of nuclear power, with particular reference to (a) radioactive waste disposal and (b) security issues. 
Malcolm Wicks: Ministers have regular contacts with Welsh Assembly colleagues on a range of issues and officials have discussed with Welsh Assembly colleagues actions arising from the Governments decision to allow companies to build new nuclear power stations.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment he has made of the availability of (a) electrical engineers and (b) systems engineers for the future nuclear power and decommissioning programmes. 
Malcolm Wicks: Our White Paper on Nuclear Power sets out our view in sections 2.190 to 2.216. This is that the energy sector, nuclear and otherwise, faces challenges in meeting its need for skilled workers, but that the situation is manageable and that building new nuclear power stations does not present a significantly greater challenge than the alternatives. Indeed, a nuclear renaissance presents opportunities for companies to grow and for individuals to have rewarding careers.
As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said at our Nuclear Investors' Conference on 12 June, we want the new Office of Nuclear Development we are establishing to work with skills bodies, employers, universities and colleges to help identify skills shortages and gaps so we can deliver learning, research and training at every level of our education system. As part of this, the Sector
Skills Network is completing a report on energy sector skills, which we expect to publish this summer. This will outline the demand, what is being done and make recommendations where Government can help develop the future skills base. Government will respond to this report.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will hold discussions with Ministerial colleagues on the production of contingency plans for each Department to cover (a) the eventuality of global oil production peaking and (b) continued high oil prices. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Government constantly monitor risks to the UK economy, including from energy-related developments, as detailed in the Energy White Paper (May 2007) and the Long-term Opportunities and Challenges for the UK (November 2006). In addition, the UK's policies, as outlined in the Energy White Paper, in promoting open and competitive markets, increasing energy efficiency, investing in low carbon technologies and the use of alternative energy sources such as renewables will reduce the risks to the UK of any potential future declines in global oil and gas production. Given these initiatives and policies, the government does not feel the need to hold contingency plans specifically for peak oil
The Government test the robustness of their policies against a number of oil price scenarios. These oil price assumptions are published for the period till 2030 and are disseminated throughout Whitehall and where relevant are used by Government Departments in their analytical work. In order to capture some of the uncertainty around future oil prices there are four illustrative scenarios used: low, central, high and high-high. Further details are available at the following links:
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment his Department has made of the operation of feed-in tariff policies in other EU countries; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: In the context of the Renewable Energy Strategy we have considered a variety of approaches taken by other EU countries to encourage renewable generation, including different feed-in tariff mechanisms. We believe we should retain the renewables obligation as the prime means of support for renewable centralised electricity but are consulting on a number of possible measures to overcome the constraints to small-scale energy generation through the Renewable Energy Strategy consultation, including feed-in tariffs.
The consultation can be accessed at:
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the average connection charges to the National Grid are for (a) renewable generation in Scotland and (b) renewable generation in the UK excluding Scotland. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 20 June 2008]: It is not possible to compare the connection charges to national grid in Scotland with those in England and Wales, on a like-for-like basis.
In England and Wales, most generators connect directly to national grid. As the generator owns most of the actual connection assets, there are no annual connection charges.
In Scotland, the transmission network owners (SHETL and SPTL) own most of the connection assets. SHETL and SPTL define the connection charges payable by generators for such connection assets and pass those charges through to national grid as GB system operator.
Selecting 10 recently signed agreements for renewable generators in Scotland, national grid advise that the average annual connection charge payable as advanced capital contributions in instalments up to completion of the works is £2.3 million.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent communications or discussions (a) he, (b) other departmental Ministers and (c) officials, have had with (i) the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and (ii) consortium applicants for the Sellafield decommissioning contract on the indemnification of the contract holder against claims arising from property damage, the cost to human health, or the cost of measures of reinstatement of any significantly impaired environment in the event of an on-site accident or other incident resulting in the dispersal of radioactive materials off-site. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department has been informed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) that it expects to have to grant an indemnity against uninsurable claims arising from a nuclear incident that fall outside the protections offered by the Nuclear Installations Act and the Paris/Brussels Convention to whichever of the four bidders for the Sellafield contract is successful. The NDA is conducting the Sellafield parent body organisation competition under the EU Competitive Dialogue procedure, evaluating the four bids received against agreed evaluation criteria. Within that process bidders were invited to make proposals for a nuclear indemnity under competitive tension against an established framework. It would not be viable for any of the bidders to proceed without an indemnity because any fee earning benefits of the contract would be overwhelmed by the potential liabilities. The NDA has assessed that the benefits of engaging a new contractor far outweigh the remote risk that an indemnity might be called upon. The final form of the indemnity will reflect the specific terms proposed by the preferred bidder.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many consumers there are on a social fuel tariff from each of the six top energy suppliers, broken down by constituency. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 10 July 2008]: Data on social fuel tariffs broken down by constituency do not exist. Ofgem published an aggregated review of suppliers voluntary initiatives in August 2007 and updated the figures in October 2007.
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans his Department has to increase the number of wind farms in the United Kingdom in the next 10 years. 
Malcolm Wicks: On 26 June 2008 the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform launched a public consultation on a UK Renewable Energy Strategy. The consultation seeks views on how to drive up the use of renewable energy in the UKincluding on and offshore windas part of our overall strategy for tackling climate change, and to meet our share of the EU target to source 20 per cent. of the EUs energy from renewable sources by 2020. The strategy will be published in spring 2009.
The consultation, which runs until 26 September 2008, can be accessed at:
A copy of the consultation document is also available in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the UK's progress towards achieving the EU benchmark on adult participation in lifelong learning. 
Mr. Lammy: The UK has surpassed the EU benchmark on adult participation in lifelong learning. The EU benchmark is for 12.5 per cent. of the working age population of the EU to be participating in education and training by 2010. In the UK, 26.8 per cent. of the working age population were participating in education and training in 2006 when the most recent data were collected for this benchmark, which is an increase from 20.5 per cent. in 2000.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many individual domestic air flights were undertaken within Great Britain by representatives of (a) his Department since its creation and (b) its agencies in the most recent year for which figures are available; and at what cost. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was established under machinery of government changes in June 2007. Travel by Ministers and civil servants are undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code respectively. The Department does not hold records at this level of detail, to answer the question would be at disproportionate cost.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much his Department spent on (a) new capital investment and (b) refurbishment of property in each of the last 10 years, broken down by project. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was created as a result of machinery of government changes in June 2007. To provide a response to this question would be at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many staff in his Department and its agencies have been (a) dismissed and (b) disciplined for their conduct since the Department was established. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department was created in the machinery of government changes announced on 28 June 2007 with staff from the ex-Department for Education and Skills (DFES), and the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) being incorporated into the new Department. No officials have been dismissed or disciplined for their conduct since the establishment of the Department.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many staff in (a) his Department and (b) his Departments agencies have taken early retirement since the Department was established. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department was formed as a result of machinery of government changes in June 2007. The Departments people information is maintained on the HR management systems of the two Departments from which staff were transferred, namely BERR and DCSF. To obtain the information would be deemed a disproportionate cost.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many of his Department's staff have access to the Department's IT infrastructure at home. 
Mr. Lammy: All DIUS staff are issued with laptops which they can take home and work from; therefore all staff have access to the IT infrastructure.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the change in the number of employees of his Department and its agencies has been since the Department was established. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department was established as part of the machinery of government changes of 28 June 2007. At the point of establishment, there were 779 employees in the Department; at 31 May 2008 there were 802 employees. The overall increase of 23 staff includes 32 additional Government Skills staff who transferred into the Department from the Cabinet Office on 1 April 2008.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of staff of his Department and its agencies did not receive the maximum bonus possible under a bonus scheme applying to them in the period since the Department was established. 
Mr. Lammy: My Department was created on 28 June 2007. In accordance to the Cabinet Office guidance, broadly 75 per cent. of senior civil servants have not received the maximum annual bonus available in their grade. The pay settlement for grade 6s and below has yet to be finalised.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what (a) planning applications and (b) licensing applications his Department has submitted since its establishment. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department has not submitted any planning or licensing applications since its establishment in June 2007.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much was spent by his Department on subscriptions for magazines, newspapers and other publications in each of the last 24 months. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was established under machinery of government changes in June 2007. To provide an accurate response would be at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many departmental identity cards or departmental passes have been reported lost or stolen by staff in (a) his Department and (b) each of its executive agencies since its creation. 
Mr. Lammy: Nine departmental access passes have been reported lost or stolen since its creation. There is nothing on the pass which indicates which buildings or organisations it gives access to.
Answers in respect of our agencies could be given only at disproportionate cost.
Security and pass issuance services in respect of London staff are provided on behalf of this Department by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and answers given by that Department may include DIUS staff as well.
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