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The 2008 occupational pension schemes annual report published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) did not include information on scheme numbers because it considered that the survey design was not sufficient to produce robust estimates of scheme numbers. The survey continues to provide robust estimates of scheme memberships:
|Number of members of defined benefit occupational pension schemes by sector, 2004 to 2008
5) Changes to the part of the questionnaire used to estimate pensions in payment and preserved pension entitlements in 2008 mean that comparisons with 2007 and earlier years should be treated with caution
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): It is the Government's intention that the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will start to accept nationally significant infrastructure applications for energy from 1 March 2010.
Under the Planning Act 2008, the IPC has 28 days to decide whether or not to accept a submitted application. The applicant must give notice to a range of persons of the accepted application, allowing them at least 28 days to make representations. If the application is accepted, the IPC must hold a preliminary meeting. The Government have recently consulted on draft regulations which would require the IPC to give at least 21 days' notice of a preliminary meeting. The Planning Act sets a timetable for the IPC to complete its examination of the application within six months of the date of the preliminary meeting, and then a further three months for the IPC to issue a decision (or a recommendation to the Secretary of State when a national policy statement has not been designated). The exact time taken by the IPC to make decisions will reflect the nature and complexity of the application.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why advice given by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs stated that liability for the carbon reduction commitment fell to port tenants when subsequent advice from the Department of Energy and Climate Change states that port estate owners will be liable for the climate change levy. [HL6059]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Advice given to inquiries from Forth Ports about the carbon reduction commitment energy efficiency scheme from both Defra and DECC was based on information supplied by the inquirer. Liability under the CRC rests with the counterparty to the supply contract. Initially Forth Ports stated that it was a deemed electricity supplier in which case liability under the CRC would lie with its tenants. Further examination following the creation of DECC confirmed that the port was the subject of a utility direction by HMRC for the purposes of the climate change levy in respect of supplies of electricity that it made. The direction was given under the provisions of Finance Act 2000, Schedule 6, paragraph 151(1). So in this instance the port authority is liable under CRC. The utility direction has effect from the date it is issued and treats that person as a utility only for the purposes of the climate change levy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they have given to ports regarding any reputational
6 Nov 2009 : Column WA101
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government have provided no advice to port estate owners or any other potential participants to help them reduce the carbon emissions of their tenants or more generally on energy use. Such advice is readily available through the Carbon Trust and others. DECC has supported the British Property Federation in the production of the guidance Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC)-A Guide for Landlords and Tenants produced by the British Property Federation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of port tenants who would not have been included in the carbon reduction commitment had they not been based in port estates with electricity supplied through the infrastructure of the port estate. [HL6070]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of electricity usage by port tenants which are (a) flour mills, (b) cement batching plants, (c) pipe coating companies, and (d) other high electricity users in United Kingdom ports. [HL6062]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of electricity usage, excluding tenants, by the port estate owners (a) Tilbury, (b) Leith, (c) Southampton, (d) Liverpool, and (e) Belfast. [HL6063]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of electricity usage by port tenants, excluding that solely by the port owners, in (a) Tilbury, (b) Leith, (c) Southampton, (d) Liverpool, and (e) Belfast. [HL6069]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government have made no assessments of the electricity usage of any port tenants or by any port estate owners.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have given to education institutions, public bodies and the police about how to respond to the activities of the English Defence League and the
6 Nov 2009 : Column WA102
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Government condemn any group that seeks to create distrust and divisions between communities, and are determined to stamp out racism and extremism.
The policing of demonstrations and activities by the English Defence League and associated groups is an operational matter for chief officers of police. My honourable friend, the Minister for Community Cohesion, has been in contact on this matter with the police.
Through regional government offices, the Government are working closely with a range of local partners and community groups to encourage them to work constructively with the police to help to ensure local communities are protected and to minimise community tensions which would only serve the ends of those who want to sow the seeds of division and tension. The Government have also written to local MPs affected by these demonstrations to encourage them to work with the police in the same way.
We encourage local authorities to reach out to local partners, community groups and members of the community to call for calm and a measured response to any demonstrations. The leadership demonstrated by communities in urging people not to resort to violence is welcomed and we would urge that this continue.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The design of the franchising process is being considered in the run-up to the next two competitions, Essex Thameside and East Coast, and changes will be made where they can help to achieve the Department for Transport's overall objectives for transport.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are or will be the journey times between London and Edinburgh (calling at York and Newcastle) of (a) the proposed bi-mode super-express intercity train, (b) the existing high speed 125 mph diesel train, and (c) the existing C92 electric train with MK4 coaches. [HL6265]
Typical fastest journey times of current services (Intercity 125s and Intercity 225s) London to Edinburgh are between four hours 20 minutes and four hours 30 minutes, with one train at four hours 13 minutes. There are usually three intermediate stops (eg Peterborough, York and Newcastle, or York, Newcastle and Berwick).
The indicative fastest super-express timetabled journey times are envisaged to be the same for both bi-mode and electric train types. This is four hours six minutes for services that call at four intermediate stations and four hours 11 minutes for services that call at five intermediate stations. It is planned to run all London-Edinburgh trains on these improved timings, not just the occasional headline train as is the case today.
Super-express trains will improve the journey times as well as frequency and reliability of services. The introduction of super-express trains enables significant timetable optimisations which will also result in a reduction in journey times of services provided by existing rolling stock.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State at Communities and Local Government, Rosie Winterton, on 16 September (Official Report, House of Commons, cols. 2212-14W), what property attributes each of the single-character value significant codes of A, B, C, D, F, I, L, M, P, R, Q, S, T, U, and V represent; and how they differ from the two-character value significant codes with which they share the first alphanumeric character. [HL6076]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): On 20 January 2005 the Valuation Office Agency converted its value significant codes from one to two characters to allow it to increase the number of codes. The definition of the single character codes, together with the two character equivalents, are shown in the table below.
|Value Significant Code (VSC)
|Equivalent two character VSC
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are enough personal advisers in Jobcentre Plus offices to deal with the number of people unemployed; and, if not, how many personal adviser posts are vacant. [HL5467]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Jobcentre Plus monitors workloads very closely, both at local and national level, to enable it to plan for and deploy extra resources where these are needed to provide services to unemployed customers.
Since November 2008 the Government have invested nearly £5 billion to help people claiming out-of-work benefits get back to work. As part of this, funding to Jobcentre Plus has been increased by £3 billion to ensure Jobcentre Plus continues to provide personal help and advice to customers who need it, despite the current recession. This money will also help ensure that the Flexible New Deal-which is now providing tailored help for the long-term unemployed-can cater effectively for higher volumes of jobseekers.
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