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Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Dr. Whitehead) of 22 January 2009, Official Report, column 886, on a European supergrid, what recent assessment he has made of the merits of a pan-European supergrid; what estimate he has made of the likely annual cost of such a supergrid; and what assessment he has made of its likely effects on security of supply. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding reply 4 February 2009]: DECC officials are currently in discussion with the European Commission and other European countries on proposals for a supergrid linking offshore wind projects in the North Sea. This would be a major, long term but expensive project.
We are currently putting in place a new regulatory regime to connect to the GB Grid up to 33GW of renewable offshore generation needed in to meet our renewable energy targets. The cost of offshore connections for these projects alone is estimated to be up to around £15 billion - more than twice the value of the onshore grid.
shows that the most economic connections for those offshore wind farms are direct connections to the nearest shore involving little extra cable capacity. This was supported by the recent study prepared by National Grid for the Crown Estate, on grid connections for round three offshore wind projects:
The UK supports further energy market integration by enabling greater cross-border electricity trade, which should also increase security of supply. However, it should be for the market to decide, based on the most economically efficient solutions.
Joan Ruddock: The prices for Warm Front measures have been set through a competitive Official Journal of European Union tendering process. Installers in each region provided independent quotations for each installation type-service available on the scheme and the most economically advantageous quotes were selected. Prices are harmonised at a regional level to reflect regional price variations and to ensure fairness.
In 2007 the Government commissioned an independent audit looking at whether Warm Front prices provided value for money, this is available on the DEFRA website. The report found that Warm Front delivers heating systems at significantly below the wider market rate.
Warm Front is currently undergoing a new round of installer retendering, to select contractors who will work on the scheme from June 2009. As in the previous tendering exercise, the price offered by applicants will be a key determinate in whether their bid is successful.
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many Warm Front scheme grants were awarded to applicants from Wansbeck constituency in each of the last five years. 
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Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people in the UK without a bank or building society account, broken down by (a) age and (b) sex. 
The Family Resources Survey data for 2006-07, published in June this year, shows that the number of adults living without access to a bank account fell from 2.8 million in 2002-03 to 2.1 million in 2006-07. The Financial Inclusion Taskforce recently published their third annual report on access to banking. The report contains profiles of the number of people in the UK without access to a bank account, including breakdowns by age and sex. You can find the report on the Taskforces website:
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the needs of older people in the development of new payment methods and banking technology by banks; and if he will make a statement. 
Decisions relating to the development of new payment methods and banking technologies are commercial ones. However, the Payments Council (the organisation that sets strategy for UK payments) is tasked to ensure that payment systems meet the needs of users, payment service providers and the wider economy.
Jessica Morden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what provision the EU Payment Services Directive makes for persons who have been the subject of internet fraud to have access to the (a) time, (b) date and (c) location of money transfer agency money collections. 
The Payment Services Directive requires payment service providers to provide their customers with information before, during and immediately after a payment transaction. However, there are no provisions
requiring the provider to disclose specific information about the recipient in the event of internet fraud.
The UK implementation of the Directive will bring money remitters under the Financial Ombudsman Service's (FOS) remit. If a customer is not satisfied with the transactional information provided and had complained to the provider without success, he or she could refer the matter to the FOS.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the (a) domestic assets and (b) foreign assets of (i) the UK banks in which UK Financial Investments has taken a significant stake and (ii) the regulated banking sector are non-performing. 
Ian Pearson: UK Financial Investments Limited (UKFI), which is wholly owned by the Government, manages the Government's investments in the recapitalised banks but ownership of the shares of the recapitalised banks still lies with HM Treasury. Neither HM Treasury nor UKFI collect or hold such information relating to non-performance of assets. However, information on non-performing assets is reported by each bank in their annual accounts.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who he has appointed as members to the independent review of the corporate performance of the UK banking industry; on what basis he appointed Sir David Walker as Chair of the review; when he expects the review to report; and if he will make a statement. 
The review will examine board management of risk (including the effectiveness of risk and audit committees), incentives to manage risk in bank remuneration policies, the competences needed on bank boards, board practices and structures, and the role played by institutional shareholders.
As a former regulator, director and banker, Sir David has a strong understanding of the issues of corporate governance, board practices, financial markets and relationships with institutional shareholders.
The review will report jointly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury with preliminary conclusions by the autumn and final recommendations by the end of the year.
Ian Pearson: The comprehensive package announced last October was designed to ensure the stability of the financial system and to protect ordinary savers, depositors., businesses and borrowers. The action we took including the recapitalisation scheme prevented the collapse of the banking system.
On 19 January 2009 the Government announced further measures designed to reinforce the financial system, to increase confidence and capacity to lend, and in turn to support the recovery of the economy. The tripartite authorities are now working on the implementation of these measures and will monitor the impact of these schemes. The Government will publish further details of the asset protection scheme shortly.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish his Department's analysis of the 2007 accounts published by banks regulated by the Financial Services Authority. 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much in (a) assets and (b) liabilities is being held off-balance sheet by each of the banks regulated by the Financial Services Authority. 
Ian Pearson: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answers given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 13 October 2008, Official Report, columns 23-25WS, 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 26WS, and on 12 February 2009, Official Report, columns 1495-1496.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps UK Financial Investments Ltd. is taking to monitor the use to which the recapitalisation funds provided by the Government to the banking industry are being put. 
Ian Pearson: UK Financial Investments Ltd. (UKFI) is actively engaged with the banks in order to monitor and work to secure compliance with the conditions agreed as part of the Governments recapitalisation scheme announced last October.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Government has spent on (a) equity, (b) preference shares, (c) loans, (d) guarantees and (e) other financial support to each bank for which it has provided support. 
Ian Pearson: Under the recapitalisation scheme announced on 8 October 2008, the Government have invested £19.97 billion in RBS and £16.96 billion in Lloyds TSB/HBOS. These banks are also eligible to use the Governments Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS), under which up to £250 billion of bank lending will be guaranteed. Participating banks have accessed some £100 billion of funding under the CGS so far. Figures for individual banks are confidential.
On 19 January, the Government announced a comprehensive package designed to reinforce the stability of the financial system, to increase confidence and capacity to lend, and in turn to support the recovery of the economy. The liabilities taken on will be backed by financial assets and fees will be charged for guarantees, safeguarding the taxpayers interests. For more details, I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Chancellor on 19 January 2009, Official Report, columns 483-86.
As set out in written ministerial statements dated 13 October and 6 November, the Government have made payments totalling £5.4 billion to retail depositors in Bradford and Bingley (B and B) and UK subsidiaries of Icelandic banks covering deposits above Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) limits. These written statements and a Treasury Minute dated 21 October 2008 gave details of the short-term loan facilities provided by the Bank of England to the FSCS to cover their share of payouts to retail depositors in these banks. As set out in the pre-Budget report, the Government are refinancing £21 billion of these Bank of England loans to the FSCS in 2008-09.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect of Government policy and banking practices on lending standards; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: Following consultation and legislation, the Government put in place statutory regulation of first charge mortgages in 2004. The Financial Services Authority has published the findings of a review of its rules at:
Other consumer credit business is regulated by the Office of Fair Trading under consumer credit legislation. The regime is strengthened by the 2006 Consumer Credit Act, which has been fully implemented as of October 2008. The Government are committed to review the changes to the framework of consumer protection introduced as a result of this Act after a period of three years.
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