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Population is definitely an issue in relation to climate change; my hon. Friend is absolutely right. Many people make that point to me at meetings
that I attend. As she implies, the answers to this are the traditional answers that we know work, particularly in developing countries, in terms of women's education and ensuring that development aid goes to women. The economic growth that the world will see over the next 50 years far outweighs, in terms of its impact on carbon emissions if we do nothing, the impact of population issues. The real challenge is to break the link between economic growth and carbon emissions.
Mr. Rob Wilson (Reading, East) (Con): In January, the UK was down to only a few days' gas storage, while Germany typically has 99 days and France has 120 days. Current Government plans extend this only by a few hours. Does the Minister agree that it is time to secure our gas storage facilities?
Edward Miliband: We do need more gas storage in this country, and there are 18 projects under way. A new gas storage project at Aldburgh is coming on-stream this winter. This is not only about gas storage but about our import capacity, which is up by 25 per cent. since last winter; indeed, our import capacity now represents 125 per cent. of total demand. We need more gas storage-the hon. Gentleman is right about that-but we also need to have import capacity as North sea capacity declines, and to make the transition to other low-carbon fuels.
T5.  Mr. Jim McGovern (Dundee, West) (Lab): It is possible that this question has been asked, and answered, but it is so important that it is worth repeating. How will the poorest people in my constituency and, indeed, in the city of Dundee generally, benefit from the community energy saving programme?
Joan Ruddock: I thank my hon. Friend for his question. CESP, a new programme that began in September, is designed to apply to areas that have the very lowest decile income groups. His constituency certainly meets that criterion. A total of £350 million will be invested in energy-saving measures over the next three years, coming from suppliers and generators in 100 low-income communities. I can tell him that British Gas has already announced agreement in principle to work with local authorities in 10 areas: Dundee, Glasgow, Swansea, Preston, Knowsley, Birmingham, Walsall, Blacon in Cheshire, Southwark and Haringey. We hope that they will undertake measures such as solid wall, which we have long pressed for as a means of helping those with the most difficult homes to insulate.
Edward Miliband: We said in the low carbon transition plan, which is getting a lot of airtime today, that the impact of the climate change measures that we announced in it would be about 6 per cent. on bills by 2020, or about 8 per cent. including previous measures.
It is important to say that we do not believe there is a low-cost, high-carbon future out there, even if we wanted to pursue it. As we import more gas and as demand from China, India and other countries goes up, if we do
not transition to other fuels we will be subject to more volatile prices as a result of growing demand from those countries.
T6.  Paul Flynn (Newport, West) (Lab): Why are expensive new nuclear developments advancing at the speed of a striking cobra while good value, clean marine developments are moving at the pace of an arthritic sloth?
Edward Miliband: I will draw on the compliment paid to us by my hon. Friend that we are advancing with the speed of a striking cobra as far as the nuclear industry is concerned. I am sure that Opposition Front Benchers agree with that point.
On the sloth issue, in the marine industry part of the challenge has been proving the marine technology. I think there was some recent good news on that from a company called Marine Current Turbines. We set up the marine renewables deployment fund of £50 million, and the condition agreed with the industry was that the technology had to work for three months. The problem has been that it has not been able to work so far, which is why we have set up an intermediate fund to help companies over that barrier.
Miss Anne McIntosh (Vale of York) (Con): The Secretary of State wants to speed up the planning process for public planning inquiries. Will he therefore go out and educate the public on energy from waste plants? If he truly believes that they are not harmful, why is he not explaining that to the Great British public?
T7.  Alun Michael (Cardiff, South and Penarth) (Lab/Co-op): It is clear that most people are much more positive and objective about wind energy if they own the project, whereas problems arise when they see outside companies coming in to do something to the local area. Will my right hon. Friend look again at the case that I outlined in Westminster Hall on 12 July 2006 and get his Department to act to promote community ownership of wind energy?
Edward Miliband: My right hon. Friend, who has a proud history of work in the co-operative movement, makes an important point. I was not aware of the debate of 12 July 2006, but I can look forward to it as bedtime reading.
My hon. Friend makes an important point. The experience of Sizewell B in the 1980s is a very good reason for changing the planning system.
The Opposition Front Benchers are nodding, and I hope that their nods will be translated into support for our Infrastructure Planning Commission.
T10.  David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire) (Lab/Co-op): The Secretary of State has spoken today about the dual role of renewables in providing additional generating capacity and tackling climate change. How happy is he with the equity and effectiveness of the proposed new feed-in tariffs? It is envisaged that there will be payments of 31p per unit for new houses and 36.5p for retrofitted houses, but a miserly 9p for existing systems installed by community pioneers.
Edward Miliband: We are in the midst of a consultation on this question, but I say to my hon. Friend-this goes back to the question that the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir Nicholas Winterton) asked-that we always have to remember not just the people who want to have wind turbines and solar panels, important though that is, but those who pay the bills, who are the consumers. There is a balance to be struck, but we are in the middle of a consultation and will of course listen, as we always do.
Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge) (Lab):
Are Ministers aware of the reception held in the House yesterday by National Energy Action, which among other things drew attention to the health through warmth programme?
Will they congratulate npower and all those involved in the programme? How can the Department help that programme to continue and grow?
Mr. Kidney: I am delighted to congratulate my hon. Friend on raising this issue and the health through warmth programme, which also exists in my constituency. I have visited schemes in the past and I offer to draw attention to the successes of the programme soon, because it is one of the ways in which organisations such as local authorities, the health service and energy companies come together to identify people in need of help to insulate their homes, improve their health, save on their budgets and cut carbon emissions at the same time.
Edward Miliband: My hon. Friend asks a very important question. It is important that Europe speaks with one voice-we have seen that in relation to the finance proposals-but we should also be careful about the company we keep in relation to Europe and the issue of climate change. We should be in the mainstream, not on the fringes. Frankly, I think hanging around with climate change deniers is a very big mistake.
Tuesday 10 November-Consideration of Lords amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill, followed by consideration of Lords amendments to the Health Bill [ Lords], followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords amendments to the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill [ Lords].
Thursday 12 November-If necessary, consideration of Lords amendments, followed by consideration of Lords amendments to the Policing and Crime Bill, followed by, if necessary, consideration of Lords amendments.
Yesterday, the right hon. and learned Lady said that she would table the motion on Professor Sir Ian Kennedy's appointment as chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority within the next few days. Will she ensure that the House is given fair warning so that that does not just pop up on the Order Paper by surprise, as the appointment of the Speaker's Committee on IPSA did last week?
May I repeat the call for a debate on how Sir Christopher Kelly's report will be implemented? Despite what the right hon. and learned Lady said yesterday, of Kelly's 60 recommendations, I have counted at least 12 that are decisions that need to be taken by the House, and another 10 recommendations on strengthening IPSA will require primary legislation. That means that more than a third of Sir Christopher's report requires the attention of the House rather than that of the independent regulator. The right hon. and learned Lady said yesterday that she did not think that we should be addressing the question of legislating to change the IPSA structure, but is it not clear that that is exactly what we shall have to do if, as she said yesterday, we implement Kelly's proposals in full?
May we have a statement from the Prime Minister on his assertion on 10 June that Government action has saved 500,000 jobs? Both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have repeatedly used that figure in the House to justify Government decisions over the past 12 months,
but last night the Treasury published documents under the Freedom of Information Act showing that the advice given to Ministers before this year's Budget was that a figure of
"between 250,000 and 450,000"
"public statement should be worded carefully".
Moreover, the documents make it completely clear that it could be seen as spurious for the Government even to claim that number, because monetary policy, which we have consistently supported, is independent of Government. Will the Prime Minister and the Chancellor take an early opportunity to correct the record?
The Committee on Reform of the House of Commons is due to set out its findings by the end of next week. Will the right hon. and learned Lady confirm that when it is published she will make an oral statement to the House on how the Government plan to take forward that Committee's recommendations? When might we have an opportunity to debate that Committee's important report?
Next Monday, we were due to debate secondary legislation on the 2011 census. That debate has been unexpectedly postponed. Given that we have expressed real concerns about the intrusive nature of some of those questions, is that an indication, as we hope, that the Government have decided to reconsider the invasive format of the new census?
May I ask the Leader of the House yet again to provide us with the date of the pre-Budget report? The Chancellor had his opportunity at Treasury questions on Tuesday, but did not take it. There are reports that the Prime Minister is clashing with the Chancellor over the former's plans for a massive new spending spree before the election. Do the Government not owe it to the public to come clean on their spending plans?
Finally, on the economy, may we have a statement on the recent outburst from the Government's enterprise tsar, Lord Sugar-that the majority of small firms are just "moaners" who need not a bank but an insolvency practitioner? Is that not a rather unusual way to champion a sector that is normally referred to as the lifeblood of the economy? With the Federation of Small Businesses calling for Lord Sugar to go, does the Leader of the House think that he still has the confidence of the companies that he is meant to be representing? Or is it time to say, "You're fired"?
Ms Harman: I have undertaken to the House that we will bring forward the motion as soon as possible to endorse your choice, Mr. Speaker, of Professor Sir Ian Kennedy as the chair of the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Notification to the House will be made in the normal way.
On the issue of decisions that need to be taken by the House and those that would need legislative change, it is helpful to look at the Kelly report proposals for substantive changes in respect of a new allowance system. Effectively, Sir Christopher Kelly has proposed a new allowance framework, and that should be the priority, along with setting up the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. As far as the House is concerned, we need to help the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority get on with its work by endorsing the appointment of the chair. It will then be for the authority to take
forward the Kelly proposals and implement them. That is the central and important objective. The other issues can be looked at, but they are not germane to the aim of having a new allowance system, based on Kelly's proposals, in place and ready for the new Parliament.
The right hon. Gentleman asked about the half a million jobs that would have been lost had the Government not taken action. Perhaps I may identify for him the action that we have taken which, had the Conservatives been in government, would not have been taken, but which has made such a difference in protecting jobs. First, we brought forward capital projects, which not only ensures good capital investment in schools and health centres, but provides jobs. If we had not done that, it would have cost jobs. We also brought forward our time to pay proposals for businesses, so that they are not put out of business because they cannot pay their taxes as a consequence of the global financial crisis and the credit crunch-
Mr. Speaker: Order. May I say to the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Sir Nicholas Winterton) that I require no assistance from him- [ Interruption. ] Order. I am chairing the proceedings. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to participate, he should sit and listen.
Some 200,000 businesses have been able to defer payment of tax and stay in business through the difficult economic times, and that has saved jobs. If those firms had been put out of business because they had been made insolvent by HMRC, that would have cost jobs. Then there is the temporary 2.5 per cent. VAT cut, which helped the economy, and that has helped jobs.
We have also taken other fiscal stimulus measures, including the increase in child benefit and pensions. All those measures have preserved at least half a million jobs, and we therefore stand by that figure. There will be further discussion in the pre-Budget report about the economy, and our plans will be laid out. If hon. Members want to ask anything else, they can discuss the matter, no doubt, in the economic part of the debate on the Queen's Speech.
The right hon. Gentleman asked for an opportunity to debate the proposals from the Committee Reform of the House of Commons, and I will look for, and discuss with him, when is the best opportunity for the House to discuss those important proposals. He also asked about the census. I do not know the answer to that question. I will have to find out-or perhaps someone will tell me before the end of business questions. If they do, I will interpose it in an answer to somebody else's question.
Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome) (LD): First, I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and all the Officers of the House, for the conduct of the meeting of the Youth Parliament last Friday. I thought that it was a huge success, and we should mark it as such.
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