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Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps the Government is taking to ensure that falls in the price of oil are passed on to drivers via the pump price. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 16 October 2008]: The Government believe that efficient and competitive markets for wholesale and retail fuel are the most effective means to pass falls in the oil price on to drivers. In order to ensure competitive pricing, the Office of Fair Trading monitors the UK petrol and diesel market. It is empowered to act if the price level appears to be the result of anti-competitive behaviour. The best way of ensuring a competitive market is for consumers to shop around to support trades who reduce prices and punish those who do not by not buying there.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will instruct the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to release the full unredacted version of the macro-economic study of United Kingdom plutonium and uranium stocks and options for future management. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 14 October 2008]: I do not intend to instruct the NDA to release the full version of their Uranium and Plutonium: Macro-Economic Study paper as it contains security and commercial information that is restricted. The public version of the document has since been supplemented by the NDAs Plutonium Options Paper that was recently published on their website.
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the annual budget of his
Department (a) is in 2008-09 and (b) will be in 2009-10; how much of the budget in each year is attributable to the costs of nuclear decommissioning and the handling of nuclear waste; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 15 October 2008]: The machinery of government changes of 3 October 2008 announced the creation of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, formed from the Energy Group located in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Climate Change Group located in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will transfer their budgets for energy and climate change respectively to the new Department, based on the settlements agreed in the comprehensive spending review 2007 (CSR07), for the financial years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. The annual budgets for the Department of Energy and Climate Change will be agreed in due course.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) ensures that civil nuclear sites are managed, decommissioned and cleaned up safely, securely, cost-effectively and in ways that protect the environment. The NDA was assigned a programme budget of £1.53 billion in the comprehensive spending review 2007 (CSR07) for 2008-09, and £1.61 billion for 2009-10.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the timescale is for issuing a statement on the proportion of the 2020 renewables target to be met by (a) Northern Ireland, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government will publish a new Renewable Energy Strategy in spring 2009. The strategy will set out how we will meet the UKs share of the 2020 target, and may include scenarios for geographical distribution.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much was spent under the Warm Front Scheme on improving the energy efficiency of park home residents in 2006-07. 
Joan Ruddock: Although Warm Front does provide measures to park home properties, we do not classify these properties separately in our records, and therefore do not hold accessible data on the total spend for park homes.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress the Government made in (a) 2006, (b) 2007 and (c) in the first nine months of 2008 on meeting the targets arising under the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: Tackling fuel poverty is a priority for the Government. Since 2000, the Government have spent £20 billion on fuel poverty benefits and programmes. The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy was published in November 2001 and sets out the approach of the Government (and the Devolved Administrations) for tackling fuel poverty. The latest version of the Fuel Poverty Strategy reflects the requirements of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act to do all that is reasonably practicable to end fuel poverty amongst the vulnerable by 2010.
The 2005 figures show fuel poverty levels were also significantly below 1996 levels with approximately 2.5 million households in fuel poverty, of which an estimated 2 million were vulnerable, although these figures do show an increase in fuel poverty of 0.5 million since 2004, reflecting the impact of rising energy prices.
The Government's Sixth Annual Progress Report on Fuel Poverty was published on 2 October 2008. It shows that in 2006 there were approximately 3.5 million households in fuel poverty across the UK, an increase of 1 million households since 2005. Around 2.75 million of these are vulnerable households (containing children, the elderly or a person who is disabled or suffering from a long-term illness).
In England, the overall number of households estimated to be in fuel poverty in 2006 is 2.4 million of which around 1.9 million are vulnerable. This represents a rise of 900,000 households since 2005 and a rise of 700,000 vulnerable households over the same period.
The rise in the number of households in fuel poverty during 2006 was due to increases in consumer energy prices. The overall cost of energy to domestic consumers rose by 22 per cent. in real terms between 2005 and 2006, with gas prices rising by 29 per cent. and electricity prices rising by 19 per cent.
Official figures for 2007 will not be available until next year, however indicative projections for 2007 and 2008 were published in the Sixth Annual Progress Report, copies of which have been placed in the Library. The projections made for 2007 in England show that further price rises are likely to have pushed a further 0.7 million households into fuel poverty, which would mean a total of around 3.1 million households. Projections for 2008 show a further increase in fuel poverty for England of around 0.5 million households; this amounts to a total of around 3.6 million households. These projections are based on known price changes along with estimates for income and energy efficiency improvements.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when the fuel poverty strategy required by the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 was published; what changes have been made to it since publication; what discussions he has had with energy companies on it since its publication; what discussions he has had with HM Treasury on the strategy; what recent representations he has received on it; and if he will make a statement. 
Joan Ruddock: The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy was published in November 2001. It sets out the approach of the Government (and the Devolved Administrations) to tackling fuel poverty. It defined the interim target "to seek an end to the blight of fuel poverty for vulnerable households by 2010."
In September 2002, a joint consultation was issued by Defra and the then-DTI seeking views on proposals to clarify the duties provided for in the Fuel Poverty Strategy for England. The revision to the FPS was announced in December 2002.
In England, the Government as far as reasonably practicable will seek an end to fuel poverty for vulnerable households by 2010. The as far as reasonably practicable qualification was introduced into the interim target in order better to reflect the nature of the commitment which the Government had undertaken in relation to the final target. It emphasises that the Government could not be committed, in the interim, to the eradication of fuel poverty whatever the cost of the necessary measures and regardless of the amount of money which could properly be made available for fuel poverty measures.
Fuel poverty in other households in England will, as far as reasonably practicable, also be tackled as progress is made on those groups, with a target that by 22 November 2016 no person in England should have to live in fuel poverty.
Vulnerable households are households including older householders (those aged 60 or more), families with children and householders who are disabled or suffering from a long-term illness.
Ministers are in regular contact with energy suppliers and other stakeholders to discuss fuel poverty, among other issues. As announced in the 2008 Budget, the Government negotiated a voluntary agreement with each of the six main energy suppliers which means that the total level of assistance offered to vulnerable households by suppliers will increase from £100 million in 2008-09, to £125 million in 2009-10 and £150 million in 2010-11.
Ministers in the new Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will continue discussions with colleagues in other Departments with links to fuel poverty issues including those in HM Treasury, Communities and Local Government, Department of Work and Pensions and the Department of Health.
Friends of the Earth and Help the Aged brought a claim for judicial review against the Secretary of State alleging a continuing failure to perform his duties outlined in the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000. The case was dismissed; the court has, however, granted the claimants the right to appeal.
The Government remain committed to tackling fuel poverty. While recent energy prices have made the challenge more difficult, we keep the position under constant examination and develop our approach as the situation changes.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many Christmas functions (a) he, (b) officials from his Department and (c) officials from its executive agencies (i) hosted and (ii) attended in 2007-08; what the cost to the public purse was; and if he will make a statement. 
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw) hosted one official Christmas function in 2007-08. This was an informal event at which approximately 50 officials attended and it was requested that each official should provide their own drinks. A minimal amount was spent on the provision of refreshments, the total cost of which did not exceed £50.
Ministry of Justice HQ and Associated Offices, HM Courts Service, The Tribunals Service, Office of the Public Guardian, National Offender Management Service including HM Prison Service and National Probation Service, Office for Criminal Justice Reform.
Attendance at and hosting of hospitality events including Christmas parties by departmental staff may be recorded in local hospitality registers, in accordance with Ministry of Justice policy. This data is not collated centrally, and gathering information from local registers (including operational establishments) would be possible only at disproportionate cost.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prosecutions there have been for the offences of (a) careless driving, (b) causing death by careless driving and (c) causing death by dangerous driving following inappropriate use of a satellite navigation device in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Maria Eagle: In 2006 (latest available), there were 37,994 and 336 prosecutions for the offences of careless driving and causing death by dangerous driving respectively. 2007 data will be available later this year. The new offence of causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving was commenced on 18 August 2008. 2008 data will be available late in 2009.
The information on prosecutions for motoring offences held by my Department does not identify the circumstances surrounding the case or the precise behaviour of the driver that led to the offence being committed e.g. inappropriate use of a satellite navigation device. The only case information captured for such prosecutions, apart from court results for individual offences, is the age and gender of the defendant.
Maria Eagle: It is not possible to list the costs spent on overnight accommodation by the Department in the last 12 months as the expenditure is not separately identifiable with the Departments accounts and may be provided only at disproportionate cost.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people aged over (a) 55 and (b) 60 years were recruited by his Department in 2007-08; and what percentage in each case this was of the number of new recruits. 
Mr. Wills: 690 people aged 55 and over were recruited by the Ministry of Justice in 2007-08. This represents 7 per cent. of all new recruits in 2007-08. 262 people aged 60 and over were recruited by the Ministry of Justice in 2007-08. This represents 3 per cent. of all new recruits in 2007-08.
James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will place in the Library the names and addresses of each organisation that supplied goods and services to his Department in 2007-08, based on the purchase order data held in his Departments financial database. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which companies were used by his Department for providing temporary staff in each year since it was established; and what the value of contracts with each such company was in each of those years. 
Mr. Wills: The Ministry of Justice was established on 9 May 2007. The Department has a contract with Kelly Services and makes use of a framework contract established by the Home Office which gives access to a number of suppliers.
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