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Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what Government-funded re-training courses are available for people in the East Riding of Yorkshire who are not eligible for the Rapid Response Service; what qualifications these courses can lead to; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 3 February 2009]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what Government-funded re-training courses are available for people in the East Riding of Yorkshire who are not eligible for the Rapid Response Service and what qualifications these courses can lead to. These are issues that fall within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus is able to access a combination of Government and European Social Funding to offer training for people who find themselves unemployed. I am pleased to tell you that our Regional Minister, Rosie Winterton, recently announced that across Yorkshire and the Humber, Rapid Response Service funding can now be offered to any individual losing their job due to redundancy.
In East Riding of Yorkshire, Jobcentre Plus Advisers are able to refer customers to a range of training provision delivered by our providers Working Links, In Training, A4E and East Riding College. They offer short duration training, mixing accredited and non-accredited provision that is relevant to the local labour market. Qualifications available include health and hygiene certificates, safety passports, fork lift driving licences, manual handling certificates, SIA licences to allow people to work in the security industry as well as help with literacy and numeracy.
The same provision helps individuals with the soft skills that employers look for such as self presentation and team work. Our
approach reflects what local employers tell us they look for in their recruitment, through Sector Skills Councils and other representative organisations.
In addition, the Learning Skills Council (LSC) fully funds any first level 2 qualification and many level 3 qualifications. These are delivered through a mixture of Further Education Colleges, private sector and community based providers and can be delivered full time or part time to best suit the individual.
People who become unemployed, or those under threat of redundancy, can get impartial information, advice and guidance about qualifications and training they need to move into their chosen career from the LSC funded Next Step service. This is actively promoted by Jobcentre Plus advisers.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to answer question 251164, tabled on 21 January 2009, on payment of jobseeker's allowance to prisoners on release. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the estimated cost in empty property business rates for the vacant properties recorded on the e-PIMS database at (a) Anderson House, (b) Heron House, (c) St David's House, (d) Delta House, (e) Royal Exchange House, (f) Civic House, (g) Capital Tower, (h) St Mary's House and (i) Atholl House is in 2008-09. 
(b) Not vacant
(e) Not vacant
(g) Not vacant
(h) £32,940 (partially vacant)
(i) Not vacant
Mr. Thomas: The Government have regular contact with the US Administration on a range of issues, including trade policy and tariffs. We will continue to press strongly for no new protectionist measures, including tariff increases, and for effective advocacy of open markets and their importance.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to Question 256515, tabled on 9 February 2009, when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Chelmsford of 24 November 2008 on his constituent Mr. Alan Briggs of Walford Place, Chelmsford. 
Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the review undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers into the activities of HRH the Duke of York in his capacity as UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. 
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much revenue he estimates would be received from the sale of 30 per cent. of Royal Mail. 
Mr. McFadden: The consideration received as a result of any partnership arrangements will be subject to commercial negotiation with the chosen partner. It is not appropriate to provide an estimate at this stage.
6. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of progress towards meeting the Governments 2010 and 2016 targets for reducing fuel poverty. 
Joan Ruddock: While the Government believe they continue to do all that is reasonably practicable to reduce fuel poverty by the target dates, we recognise that the current mix of fuel poverty measures is unlikely to eradicate fuel poverty among the vulnerable by 2010. Driven by the effect of higher energy prices on fuel poverty numbers and by the Governments more ambitious aims for reducing carbon emissions, we are undertaking a review of fuel poverty policies and objectives. Initial findings of this review are expected in the summer.
7. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent representations he has received on the price of heating oil for domestic use; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Unsurprisingly, the Government have received frequent representations on the price of domestic heating oil when it increases, especially following the dramatic rise in crude oil prices during 2008.
The price trend of the last few months has been down. Changes in exchange rates have offset some of the falls that might otherwise have occurred, but prices are now around 50 per cent. below their peak in July 2008 and at their lowest level for more than 18 months.
8. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the contribution of combined heat and power to meeting the Government's targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. 
Joan Ruddock: Combined heat and power has an important role to play in moving the UK towards a thriving, competitive, low-carbon economy. An assessment of its potential in the UK was published by DEFRA in October 2007. We launched a consultation on 12 February on the draft Heat and Energy Efficiency strategy, which will examine the role of combined heat and power in meeting our forthcoming carbon budgets and other targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
9. Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the role of nuclear generation in the provision of a balanced energy supply in the next 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: In the Nuclear White Paper the Government made clear their view that new nuclear has a vital role to play in the UKs future energy mix. Nuclear is a low-carbon energy source and can help address the twin challenges of tackling climate change and ensuring the security of energy supply.
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
National Grid publishes levels of gas storage stocks on its website, and these figures are updated on a daily basis. Following increases in the
amount of gas storage volume last week, as at 3 March 2009, the total volume of gas storage stocks in the UK was 1.26 billion cu m. The UKs total gas storage capacity is approximately 4.4 billion cu m. At this stage of the winter that is what we would expect. Gas storage is there to be used.
Joan Ruddock: On 12 February we published a Heat and Energy Saving Strategy consultation on the Governments long-term vision for dramatically increasing the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses and expanding the provision of low carbon heat. We are also consulting on a 20 per cent. increase to the existing household carbon saving obligation on energy suppliers and on introducing a new £350 million community programme to deliver carbon abatement measures to households in deprived communities.
12. Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress has been made towards the Government's 2020 targets for renewable energy generation; and if he will make a statement. 
17. Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of likely changes to domestic energy tariffs in 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: One of the six largest energy suppliers has already reduced its prices, and a further four have announced that they will do so from the end of March. Recent high prices have been driven mainly by unprecedentedly high wholesale costs for both gas and electricity, which make up around 60 per cent. of the cost of an average domestic bill. Ofgem's estimations of the suppliers' purchasing strategies show that the supply companies' costs peaked towards the end of 2008 and, on the basis of current forward wholesale prices, are expected to decline throughout 2009. Ofgem are now reporting on a quarterly basis on the link between wholesale and retail energy prices as it is vitally important that energy suppliers pass further savings on to their customers.
14. Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with energy suppliers on their use of pre-payment meters; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have met all energy suppliers over the past months on a number of occasions. At these meetings, we have made clear that suppliers should not improperly discriminate against customers due to their method of payment. Ofgem has recently consulted on how best to do this, and we await with interest the outcome of this consultation.
Joan Ruddock: The most recent comprehensive report assessing the scientific evidence for global warming is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report, published in 2007. In December 2008, at the Government's request, the Committee on Climate Change reported to Government on the nature of the climate change threat and recommended actions that the UK should undertake. We continue to commission research from the Met Office Hadley Centre and others on climate change.
16. Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on the proposed new generating units at Kingsnorth power station; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The application by E.ON UK Plc for consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for a 1600MW coal fired generating station is currently with the Department. A decision on the application will follow the conclusion of both the consultation of carbon capture readiness and the planned new consultation on a new framework for coal fired power stations.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the future skills needs of low-carbon, resource-efficient industrial sectors. 
Joan Ruddock: In 2008, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs commissioned a review of the evidence of the skills that are, or will be, needed for a low carbon resource-efficient economy. The review was commissioned to identify gaps in the evidence base and help inform policy development in this area, and as such no evaluation of it has been commissioned. However, the reviews conclusions are being discussed with stakeholders.
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