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Eaga Partnership Ltd

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the number of complaints he has received about the operations of Eaga. [28287]

Mr. Meacher: The Government's main programme for tackling fuel poverty in the private sector in England is the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES), now marketed as The Warm Front Team. The scheme is

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administered by two scheme managers, TXU Warm Front Ltd. (eastern, east midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber) and Eaga Partnership Ltd. (the rest of England).

Over 250,000 householders have been assisted since the launch of the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) on 1 June 2000. The number of complaints received by my Department since that date concerning Eaga Partnership's three regions is 330 or 0.1 per cent of work completed. A significant number of the complaints received relate to customer service issues and heating delays.

Industrial Action (IACS Payments)

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the industrial action being carried out by staff employed at her Department's regional offices; what assessment she has made of the impact of delays in IACS and ESA payments on individual farm cashflow; and if she will take measures to ensure that farm claimants receive interest on all payment amounts delayed by industrial action. [29088]

Mr. Morley: The RPA expects to be able to pay the vast majority of IACS and ESA claims within the regulatory timeframe. However, because of the processing time that has been lost due to industrial action (which was suspended on 11 January), it is likely that more claims than usual will be carried over into February. Every effort will be made to keep these to the absolute minimum. When she met the British Banking Association in November the Secretary of State sought their understanding for the effect which payment delays would have on the cash flow of their farming customers.

The extent to which any claimants might be entitled to compensation for delays in their payments will be considered in the light of the circumstances at the time.

Home Heating

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many applications for the installation of heating equipment have been made to the Eaga Partnership in each of the last three years; how many have been successful; what the average waiting time was; how many homes have had to wait more than nine months for such works to be undertaken; and if she will make a statement. [24956]

Mr. Meacher: The Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES), now marketed as The Warm Front Team, is administered in three of the four English regions by Eaga Partnership Ltd. (London and south-east; south-west and west midlands and north-west and north-east).

Heating was made available from the launch of the redesigned scheme on 1 June 2000. The previous scheme, which had run from 1991, provided one main insulation measure only. Hence the information provided in the table relates to the new scheme.

The package of heating and insulation measures to be installed is not known until a HEES surveyor has visited the client's home and an assessment has been made of the measures already in place.

Number
Applications received419,000
Eligible applications received(4)336,000
Applications where gas central heating has been recommended81,300
Successful applications for gas central heating(5)79,500
Current average waiting time to install a new gas central heating system (days)(6)180
Homes that have waited more than 9 months for a new gas central heating system6,600

(4) It is not possible to identify the package of the measures to be installed in a client's home until the HEES surveyor has visited the property. This assessment takes into account the measures already installed.

(5) It is not possible to identify why the client decided not to proceed with the HEES surveyor's recommendations.

(6) Days measured from date of call with respect of telephone applications, from date of receipt in case of postal applications or from date of e-mail. There is usually a period of 1–8 weeks between the date of actual installation and the receipt of the invoice from installers.


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Since the launch of the scheme on 1 June 2000 Eaga Partnership's contractors have installed 25,000 new gas-fired central heating systems. The majority of householders who have waited over nine months were those who applied to the scheme when it was first launched.

The national shortage of gas heating engineers has led to severe delays in some areas in the installation and repair of central heating systems. Over the last 12 months Eaga has increased its heating installer base from 30 to 130 companies. Already this is paying dividends with the number of installations rising to 1,000 in January 2001 compared to 3,500 in December 2001.

Special Advisers

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many complaints have been reported in her Department under paragraph 11 of the Civil Service Code since 13 May 1999, and how many of them related to special advisers. [25334]

Mr. Morley: The procedures for making complaints under the Civil Service Code are set in the Department's staff handbook. Civil servants are encouraged, in the first instance, to raise complaints made under paragraph 11 of the Civil Service Code with their line manager. If for any reason this is not felt to be possible, perhaps because the line manager is part of the complaint, individuals may take their complaint to a nominated official (or officials). It is not possible to provide a comprehensive figure for the number of complaints made within this Department under paragraph 11 of the code as there is no requirement for managers to report to the centre details of complaints made under the Civil Service Code which are resolved

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within the management line. However, no such complaints have been reported to the centre of the Department during the period in question.

Correspondence

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the letter of the hon. Member for West Derbyshire of 8 November concerning the actions of the Rural Payments Agency relating to a transfer of quota units. [30039]

Mr. Morley: A response to the hon. Member's letter of 8 November was sent on 9 January 2002.

Waste Disposal

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many waste incineration plants there were in the Buckingham constituency in each of the last five years; [30051]

Mr. Meacher: The information is as follows:

Landfill Sites

The following totals are for open and operational landfill sites in the Buckingham constituency.

Number
19976
19986
1999(7)6
20005
20015

(7) Five from May 1999 onwards


Waste Incineration

There were no waste incineration plants in the Buckingham constituency in each of the last five years.

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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Education

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent negotiations have taken place involving the World bank to increase the amount of aid going on education to help developing countries reach their "Education for All" goals; and if she will make a statement. [31145]

Clare Short: At its spring meeting in April the World bank will submit a paper on achieving the millennium development goal of universal primary education by 2015. This will analyse progress to date since the Dakar Forum and lessons learned, examine the costs of meeting this goal and make recommendations for obtaining the additional financing required. We are consulting the bank about the preparation of this paper.

The World bank has a critical role in supporting countries as they seek to give priority to education, and primary education in particular, within the overall context of their poverty reduction strategies. We have not yet seen increased bank funding in support of "Education for All" since Dakar. We hope that at the spring meeting, bank governors will deliver a strong message in support of greater bank effort in education. We believe the bank, together with other international development banks and development agencies, should increase the resources committed to helping reforming government deliver universal primary education.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action is being taken to encourage the provision of education in developing countries, and if she will make a statement. [31352]

Clare Short: The Government give priority to helping poor countries develop sustainable education systems to deliver high-quality primary education to all their children. DFID's education strategy paper, "The challenge of universal primary education", sets out our overall approach and three-fold strategy for delivering this goal. Our recent paper "Children out of School" identifies the different circumstances of children who are not in school and proposes an eight-point plan of international action for accelerating progress towards the target of universal primary education for all by 2015. Copies of both papers are available in the Library of the House.


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