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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the UK's energy she expects to be sourced from gas by 2020; and what by percentage the countries of origin of the gas will be. 
Mr. Wilson: Future estimates of the proportion of gas in UK primary energy demand in 2020 are naturally subject to considerable uncertainty. My Department's paper, 'Energy Projections for the UK' 1 , suggests that under a number of assumptions, including possible future economic growth and fossil fuel prices, gas will supply a little under 50 per cent. of primary energy demand in 2020.
It is anticipated that much of the UK's gas will, by then, be imported. With the commissioning of the Bacton-Zeebrugge interconnector in October 1998 and the opening of the Vesterled link with Norway in October 2001, the UK is an integral part of the European gas network. Further links are likely. Europe's indigenous production is expected to decline by 2020 but it is relatively well situated close to more than two thirds of the world's proven gas reserves. The UK's gas could come from a variety of sources with suppliers of pipeline gas likely to include Norway, Russia and countries in the Caspian Basin and North Africa. The share that comes from each in 2020 will be determined by commercial considerations and supply-demand pressures in Europe both before and at that time. It is also possible that the UK will again import Liquefied Natural Gas that could come from some of the above countries but also from more distant sources such as the Middle East, Nigeria and Trinidad and Tobago.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what plans he has to amend legislation to provide an incentive for (a) pipe laying and (b) gas supply companies to extend gas supplies to communities without a gas supply; 
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operating in their limited licence areas, with a view to stimulating competition between transporters, promoting extension of the network and reducing connection costs. In August 2001, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) consulted on a proposal to amend the Gas Connections Regulations to allow for a recovery period of twenty years rather than five. This would be expected to reduce the incentive for householders to hold back on connecting to the gas supply, and therefore to increase initial take-up.
The Government's draft Fuel Poverty Strategy included a commitment to working with Ofgem to ensure that, wherever possible, the gas network provides the widest viable coverage and fullest viable capacity. A working group, whose membership includes representatives of Government, Ofgem, the industry and consumers, is taking this work forward with a view to producing an interim report this month. The Government will take a view on what action is appropriate once the group has reported.
Further details are available at the committee's website http://www.intellectual-property.gov.uk/ipac and in the press release announcing the membership, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Alan Johnson: The Government have confirmed the permanent status of the Low Pay Commission (LPC) and will be providing it with full terms of reference for its next report in due course. In preparation for that, and as suggested by the LPC in its third report (Vol II), the
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Government wish the LPC to set up a programme of longer term, strategic and rigorous research to inform future work.
In particular, the Government wish the LPC to commission research which will investigate the impact of the minimum wage, over time, on employment and joblessness levels of various age groups. The Government also wish the LPC to find out more about the effect of the minimum wage on the supply of, and demand for, work-based training, and on the link between the minimum wage, education, training and skills development more generally.
The LPC has done a lot of useful work on the impact of the NMW on specific low paying sectors. The Government would like the LPC to use the longer timeframe now available to it to commission rolling research into the impact of the NMW, and the various increases to the rate, on business as a whole and on small businesses in particular, building on the work the LPC has already done on the various business strategies for coping with the minimum wage that have been adopted by such firms.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what emergency measures have been put in place in the last 12 months to deal with fuel shortages brought about by industrial action. 
Mr. Wilson: There have been no industrial disputes in the downstream oil sector in the past 12 months that have resulted in disruption to fuel supplies. The Energy Act 1976 confers powers which would allow the my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to ensure the continuity of essential fuel supplies in the event of a major disruption.
Mr. Wilson: Under legislation introduced after the oil crises of the 1970s, and the economic damage caused by the two oil price hikes, each European member state has an obligation to keep stocks of oil that can be made available in the event of any disruption to international oil supplies. As part of this obligation, the UK is required to hold stocks of oil products (including motor spirit) or crude oil equivalent equal to or above 67.5 days' worth of consumption at any one time. To ensure that the UK meets these obligations, my Department regularly monitors the levels of stocks of crude oil and oil products held in the UK. The latest data available are provisional data for stocks as at 31 August 2001, which show the UK as having 4.2 million tonnes of motor spirit (including a contribution from stocks of crude oil that will be refined into products), equal to 72 days' worth of consumption. This is considered to be more than adequate, especially given the level of our indigenous resources of crude oil, to meet the UK's needs or UK contribution to any international response to an oil supply shortage.
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authorities for information regarding UK fishing vessels that may be entitled to compensation as former Icelandic waters trawlermen; and if she will make a statement. 
Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many ex-miners in the Elmet constituency have been compensated for (a) respiratory diseases and (b) white finger vibration (i) in full and (ii) in part; and how many are waiting for compensation. 
Mr. Wilson: To date, IRISC, the Department's claims handlers, advise me that, with regard to compensation for respiratory disease, there have been 485 claims registered in the Elmet constituency. 97 interim payments have been made and 53 claims have been settled in full.
Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims for compensation have been made in respect of vibration white finger and chronic bronchitis and emphysema in (a) Nottinghamshire and (b) nationally; how many have been refused; how many have been settled; in how many cases interim payments have been made; and how many remain outstanding in each area since 1971. 
|Total number of claims||20,706||164,527|
|Number of interim payments||3,679||36,002|
|Number of denied claims||n/a||3,456|
|Total number of claims||22,377||128,041|
|Number of interim payments||6,642||37,417|
|Number of denied claims||n/a||5,917|
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Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much compensation has been paid to claimants in (a) Nottinghamshire and (b) nationally in respect of (i) chronic bronchitis and emphysema and (ii) vibration white finger since 1971. 
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