Freedom of Information Act 2000

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 20 January 2014, Official Report, column 26W, on Freedom of Information Act 2000, if he will set a timetable for a decision on extending the scope of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to cover all examination boards. [184867]

Simon Hughes: We remain committed to the extension of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in line with the coalition agreement, and have extended it to more than 100 additional bodies since May 2010. Any further extension of FOIA will be complete by May 2015.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 17 December 2013, Official Report, column 612W, on HM Courts and Tribunals Service, when he plans to update Parliament on the future of HM Courts and Tribunals Service. [184973]

Mr Vara: As set out in his written ministerial statement on 26 March 2013, the Secretary of State for Justice has asked the Department to look at the way we deliver our court and tribunals services to ensure access to justice is quick and effective while providing value for money for the taxpayer. Officials are continuing to work to develop these proposals and we will of course update Parliament once the proposals have been developed.

Land

Emma Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which sites owned by his Department are currently earmarked for disposal; what the current

3 Feb 2014 : Column 117W

class use is of each site; what the expected planning use is for each site; whether each site already has planning permission for the expected planning use; what the market value of the site is; and whether the site will be sold for the full market value. [184987]

Mr Vara: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude), on 28 January 2014, Official Report, column 514W.

Legal Aid Scheme: Students

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many students in receipt of legal aid had their payments (a) reduced or (b) halted as a result of also receiving childcare grants since changes made under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. [185268]

Mr Vara: The Legal Aid Agency does not record whether recipients of legal aid are students. In the consideration of legal aid eligibility, the agency assesses a person’s overall financial circumstances. I am therefore unable to provide the figures requested.

At around £2 billion a year, we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world. We are reforming legal aid so it remains available to those that need it most while getting better value for the hard-working taxpayers that fund it.

Oakwood Prison

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what relevant prior experience each member of senior management working in HM Prison Oakwood possesses. [184032]

Jeremy Wright: All senior staff at HM Prison Oakwood have appropriate qualifications and experience relevant to their positions within the establishment.

Pornography

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he intends to implement a ban on pornography depicting rape. [185275]

Damian Green: Pornographic images depicting rape are unacceptable and we think they can lead to harmful attitudes towards women. That is why we intend to bring forward legislation criminalising the possession of such images shortly. This reform will be an important part of our wider range of initiatives to protect women from violence and make the internet safer for children.

Prisons: Drugs and Alcoholic Drinks

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will take steps to introduce the HM Prison Kirkham Drug and Rehabilitation programme nationally. [183992]

Jeremy Wright: Kirkham prison is helping to support our plans for developing through the gate resettlement services under transforming rehabilitation. It is part of

3 Feb 2014 : Column 118W

a test in partnership with health services that is being undertaken in nine resettlement prisons in the north-west to enhance drug and alcohol recovery services. The learning will be used to inform wider roll out of the new system and the delivery of substance misuse services to offenders more broadly.

Probation

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the inherent and pre-mitigation risk is to the Transforming Rehabilitation programme from insufficient attention and support from his Department owing to other demands; [184129]

(2) what the inherent and post-mitigation risk is to the Transforming Rehabilitation programme from insufficient or delayed guidance to probation trusts from his Department; [184130]

(3) what the inherent and post-mitigation risk is to the Transforming Rehabilitation programme from insufficient capacity in his Department to manage the process owing to their scale and lack of co-ordination between different work streams in his Department; [184131]

(4) what the inherent and post-mitigation risk is to the Transforming Rehabilitation programme from a failure of the programme to be delivered either in scope or within the time scale set by Ministers. [184132]

Jeremy Wright: The Rehabilitation programme adopts a rigorous governance approach to programme delivery. This provides a framework of decision-making and allows effective co-ordination across different work-streams within the Department.

We are committed to giving trusts all the information, resources and support they need to transition to the new system successfully. For example, comprehensive guidance has been given to trust HR managers on transitioning to the new structures, including the criteria to be used when allocating staff for posts in the new national probation service (NPS) or community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) and the grounds for appeal against assignment. In addition, from 1 April, we will begin to allocate cases according to the future structure of NPS and CRCs and will make the full transition to new IT support systems. More information will continue to be sent to trusts as the programme progresses.

We have developed and designed the new system through consultation and engagement and are working with operational staff from probation trusts to test the design of the future operational model. We will continue to work closely with trusts to test key aspects of the new system in the run-up to implementation. We are taking a phased approach to implementation and have plans in place to roll out further business readiness tests at key stages of implementation so that we can ensure we are managing the transition to the new system in a safe and measured way which maintains public protection.

This approach ensures that the Transforming Rehabilitation programme remains on track to deliver these essential reforms.

3 Feb 2014 : Column 119W

Unpaid Fines: West Midlands

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many unpaid fines there were in the West Midlands in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the monetary value was of those fines. [181496]

Mr Vara: The volume and value of financial impositions outstanding in the West Midlands area at the end of September 2013 is set out in the table.

 Volume of financial impositions outstandingValue of financial impositions outstanding (£)

End of September 2013

71,494

32,009,111

It is not possible to identify the volume and value outstanding for just the fine element. The amounts above therefore include all elements of financial penalties (excluding confiscation orders): fines, prosecutor costs, compensation and victim surcharge. The financial impositions outstanding include accounts which are being paid by instalments or are not yet due for payment.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) takes the issue of financial penalty enforcement very seriously and is working to ensure that clamping down on defaulters is a continued priority nationwide. At the end of September 2013 collection was higher than the same point in the previous year and the outstanding balance had reduced by the start of the financial year. On average over the last 12 month 69% of accounts have been either closed or are compliant with payment terms by 12 months after imposition.

HMCTS is taking action to improve performance and are actively seeking an external provider for the future delivery of compliance and enforcement services. This will bring the necessary investment and innovation to significantly improve the collection of criminal financial penalties and reduce the cost of the service to the taxpayer.

Victim Support Schemes

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the cost of support services for road crash victims was in each year between 2010 and 2013; and what the budget for such services is in 2014; [185090]

(2) what the cost for victims services in each year between 2010 and 2013 was; and what the budget for such services is in 2014. [185091]

Damian Green: The Ministry of Justice currently provides more than £50 million funding for services supporting victims of crime. Victim Support receives £38 million of this funding with the remainder distributed to support a range of specialist services including rape support centres, services for adult victims of human trafficking and homicide support.

From 2014-15 onwards more money than ever before will be available for victims’ services, with a current forecast spend of at least £75 million. From 1 October 2014 Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will start to commission the majority of services for victims and witnesses, including victim-led restorative justice, based

3 Feb 2014 : Column 120W

on local priorities and consistent with the requirements of the Victims’ Code. Under local commissioning PCCs will be able to commission support services for victims of road traffic crimes. In parallel we will also work to identify future opportunities for national funding of support for road traffic victims for 2014 onwards.

The following table shows spend on support services for victims of road crime together with each type of victims’ service by the Ministry of Justice since 2010-11. The column for 2013-14 is based on our current financial forecast which has increased as receipts from offenders have increased:

£ million
 2010-112011-122012-132013-14 (forecast)

Road Traffic

0.05

0.28

0.26

0.24

Victim Support—Core funding for the Witness Service, Community Service and Supportline and Victim Support Homicide Service (including the National Homicide Fund 2010-11 only)

144.25

38.22

38.03

38.25

Homicide Services

0.42

0.54

0.57

0.6

Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence

2.11

7.3

7.52

7.7

Trafficking

1.35

1.5

1.93

2.1

Hate Crime

0.25

0.76

0.76

0.78

Victim and Witness General Fund (Anti-social behaviour, robbery and non specified crime)

0.62

0.6

0.67

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to prepare for local commissioning and Restorative Justice

20.8

Restorative Justice (non PCCs)

1.15

Total

48.43

49.22

49.67

72.29

1 The increase in funding in 2010-11 relates to a one off homicide fund in that year for Victim Support.

We are yet to finalise our 2014-15 allocations with a current forecast spend of at least £75 million. We have however provided Police and Crime Commissioners with indicative budgets totalling £24 million for the commissioning of victims’ services for the final six months of 2014-15 and £6.25 million for Restorative Justice provision.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he intends to reply to question 181504, tabled by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North on 6 January 2014 for answer on 9 January 2014; and what the reasons are for the time taken to answer. [183366]

Mr Vara: I understand that the hon. Member has now received a response to her written parliamentary question and I apologise for the delay. The information requested in question 181504 requires interrogation of the employment tribunals' fees and remission database and development of additional management information reporting tools. Work is under way to develop the

3 Feb 2014 : Column 121W

necessary reporting tools. I have undertaken to write to the hon. Member as soon as I am able with the information requested.

Energy and Climate Change

Biofuels

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which power plants that were awarded a green subsidy will be able to commence biomass production as a result of that subsidy. [185542]

Michael Fallon: The list of power plants that are accredited under the RO is available from:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/renewables-obligation-ro

The Government has yet to award contracts under the Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables process. The award of Investment Contracts will take place following the receipt of binding applications from qualified projects in March 2014 and the final affordability assessment.

Boilers: Rural Areas

Mark Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward proposals to ring-fence funding as part of the boiler replacement scheme for rural pensioners who use oil boilers. [185479]

Gregory Barker: The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) has three sub-components: the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO), the Carbon Savings Community Obligation (CSCO) and Affordable Warmth. Affordable Warmth provides dedicated support for boiler replacements for certain eligible households, including some pensioners on low incomes. Under CSCO there is a ring-fence to ensure that at least 15% of activity takes place in rural areas.

The Government is concerned to ensure that rural and non gas-fuelled households are able to benefit from support under all aspects of ECO. This is an issue that we intend to consider as part of a forthcoming consultation on a number of proposed changes to ECO.

Eggborough Power Station

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what assessment he has made of the potential change in rail network investment as a result of the closure of the Eggborough plant; [184764]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential change in investment at Teesport docks as a result of the closure of the Eggborough plant; [184765]

(3) what assessment he has made of the potential change in investment at Immingham docks as a result of the closure of the Eggborough plant. [184766]

Michael Fallon: I refer the hon. Member to answer I gave her and the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) on 28 January 2014, Official Report, column 517W.

3 Feb 2014 : Column 122W

Mrs Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the effect on household bills of the closure of Eggborough power station. [185493]

Michael Fallon: Whether or not the closure of a power station would have any impact on household bills is dependent on a number of factors, including the response of the market. If a power station does leave the market, this should result in opportunities for other stations to sell electricity. This includes those stations currently outside of the market. It is therefore not certain that there would be any significant impact on consumer bills should any particular station leave the market.

Mrs Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether all direct employees of Eggborough Power Station are paid above the living wage. [185494]

Michael Fallon: The Department does not hold this information.

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the proportion of UK electricity needs that will be supplied by Eggborough power plant in each of the next five years. [185538]

Michael Fallon: The energy generating capacity of Eggborough power station is 1960MW1 which represents around 2%2 of total UK operational generating capacity.

DECC does not publish a breakdown of forecast generation by individual power stations due to commercial sensitivities. DECC's Updated Energy Projections provides forecasts for electricity generation from Major Power Producers (which include Eggborough) by source including coal (see following table).

 20142015201620172018

Coal (TWh)

127.2

104.3

57.7

47.4

44.7

Total Supplied (TWh)

318.4

313.6

310.4

308.0

307.8

Further information is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/updated-energy-and-emissions-projections-2013

1 DUKES Chapter 5.7 Plant Capacity in the United Kingdom

2 DUKES Chapter 5.11 Power stations in the United Kingdom (figure end 2012)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity-chapter-5-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

(figure for capacity end 2012).

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for what reasons his Department did not allocate a green subsidy to Eggborough power plant in the most recent round of subsidies. [185541]

Michael Fallon: Government is yet to finalise the award of contracts under the Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables process. Eggborough Power

3 Feb 2014 : Column 123W

Ltd biomass conversion applications were listed under the 16 projects which met the Phase 2 minimum threshold evaluation criteria of the Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables process, published on 4 December

1

. Although Eggborough was not on the list of the 10 projects that have been assessed as provisionally affordable (published on 19 December), their applications remain in the process. Project rankings may change if project circumstances change or if some projects do not submit binding applications. The final selection of projects and affordability assessment will be carried out following the receipt of binding applications from qualified projects in March 2014.

1 Further details of the FID Enabling for Renewables process can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/increasing-certainty-for-investors-in-renewable-electricity-final-investment-decision-enabling-for-renewables

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will estimate the number of jobs dependent on the operation of Eggborough power plant. [185544]

Michael Fallon: The Department does not estimate the number of jobs dependent on the operation of individual power plants, including Eggborough.

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will draw up a contingency plan for regeneration of the area around Eggborough power plant in the event that that plant closes. [185546]

Michael Fallon: In circumstances where there is an imminent risk of a business closure that has potential implications for direct and indirect employment, central and local government works together with those affected to ensure the impact on jobs, businesses and communities is mitigated as far as possible.

Energy

Mr McKenzie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent investment the Government has made into the UK energy infrastructure; and if he will make a statement. [185413]

Michael Fallon: Government is providing the policy framework to create an environment which is attractive to private investment in the UK's energy sector.

The scale of investment is significant, making up over half the total infrastructure investment pipeline in the UK. For electricity, DECC estimates suggest that there has been almost £40 billion investment in the sector since 2010 (to December 2013), covering both generation and networks.

In 2012, the upstream UK oil and gas industry spent £13 billion on exploration and new developments while operating costs were a further £8 billion. The industry currently supports around 350,000 jobs directly and indirectly, plus another 100,000 in exporting goods and services1.

1 http://www.oilandgasuk.co.uk/employment.cfm

3 Feb 2014 : Column 124W

Energy Companies Obligation

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the amount of payments made by domestic customers to energy companies via their energy bills as at 31 December 2013 as a result of the introduction of the Energy Company Obligation. [185365]

Michael Fallon: The Government impact assessment for the current phase of ECO, published in June 2012, estimated the costs of the obligation at around £1.3m pa on average, equating to around £50 per household per year on average. Government. proposes to make changes to ECO and an updated assessment of impacts will be published shortly alongside the consultation document setting out the proposed changes. This will detail the Government's latest view of the costs of the obligation, based on observed market data.

Energy: Competition

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 17 December 2013, Official Report, column 607W, on energy: competition, on what date he expects that the Annual Competition Assessment will be published. [185972]

Michael Fallon: The date of publication is a matter for the relevant competition authorities, Ofgem, the Office for Fair Trading and the Competition and Markets Authority. They have said their report will be published in March 2014.

Energy: Prices

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the oral answer of 16 January 2014, Official Report, column 983, by which process he calculated that gas bills rose by an average of 12 per cent a year between 2000 and 2010. [184545]

Michael Fallon: Gas bills increased by 12.0% a year on average between 2005 and 2010. Average bill changes are calculated as the compound growth over period quoted and take customers paying by standard credit as the typical consumer. Increases are calculated in cash terms.

Gas bill estimates are available in DECC's statistical publication, Quarterly Energy Prices. These estimates assume a fixed level of gas consumption of 18,000 kWh and are also available online in table 2.3.1:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-domestic-energy-price-statistics

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the oral answer of 16 January 2014, Official Report, column 984, on energy bills, by which process he calculated that electricity bills rose (a) by an average of nine per cent in the previous Parliament and (b) by an average of four per cent since May 2010. [184546]

Michael Fallon: Electricity bills increased by 8.8% a year on average between 2005 and 2010.

3 Feb 2014 : Column 125W

Average bill changes are calculated as the compound growth over period quoted and take customers paying by standard credit as the typical consumer. Increases are calculated in cash terms.

Electricity bill estimates are available in DECC's statistical publication, Quarterly Energy Prices. These estimates assume a fixed level of electricity consumption of 3,300 kWh and are also available online in table 2.2.1:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/annual-domestic-energy-price-statistics

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the oral answer of 16 January 2014, Official Report, column 983, what estimate his Department has made of (a) the average annual cost increase and (b) the average annual percentage increase in (i) gas and (ii) electricity bills between (A) 1997 and 2010, (B) 2000 and 2010 and (C) 2010 and 2013. [184549]

Michael Fallon: The following tables show annual gas and electricity bill estimates, split by method of payment:

Average annual gas bill
£
 Standard creditDirect DebitPrepayment

1997

328

307

349

2000

295

264

311

2005

386

353

401

2010

681

639

683

2013

896

823

890

Average annual electricity bill
£
 Standard creditDirect DebitPrepayment

1997

285

277

302

2000

257

245

274

2005

285

269

304

2010

435

398

446

2013

532

491

534

The following tables show the average annual cost increase to gas and electricity bills, over the periods 1997 to 2010, 2000 to 2010, 2005 to 2010 and 2010 to 2013, split by payment method.

Average year on year cost increase in gas bills across interval
£
IntervalStandard creditDirect DebitPrepayment

1997 to 2010

27.15

25.54

25.69

2000 to 2010

38.60

37.50

37.20

2005 to 2010

59.00

57.20

56.40

2010 to 2013

71.67

61.33

69.00

Average year on year cost increase in electricity bills across interval
£
IntervalStandard creditDirect DebitPrepayment

1997 to 2010

11.54

9.31

11.08

2000 to 2010

17.80

15.30

17.20

2005 to 2010

30.00

25.80

28.40

3 Feb 2014 : Column 126W

2010 to 2013

32.33

31.00

29.33

The following tables shows the average annual percentage increase in gas and electricity bills over the periods 1997 to 2010, 2000 to 2010, 2005 to 2010 and 2010 to 2013, split by payment method.

Average year on year percentage increase in gas bills across interval
Percentage
IntervalStandard creditDirect DebitPrepayment

1997 to 2010

5.8

5.8

5.3

2000 to 2010

8.7

9.2

8.2

2005 to 2010

12.0

12.6

11.2

2010 to 2013

9.6

8.8

9.2

Average year on year percentage increase in electricity bills across interval
Percentage
IntervalStandard creditDirect DebitPrepayment

1997 to 2010

3.3

2.8

3.0

2000 to 2010

5.4

5.0

5.0

2005 to 2010

8.8

8.1

8.0

2010 to 2013

6.9

7.3

6.2

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the potential of hydraulic fracturing to reduce energy bills in the United Kingdom. [185438]

Michael Fallon: Shale gas represents an exciting new potential energy resource for the UK, and could play an important part in our energy mix. It makes sense to explore the potential for shale gas production in the UK.

The impact of shale gas production on energy bills will be largely determined by production costs. Though it is important to note that the wholesale gas price is just one factor that influences retail gas prices. Little drilling or testing has taken place in Britain's shale deposits, so it is not yet possible to estimate how much shale gas or oil may be practically and commercially recoverable. It is therefore too early to make an assessment of the impact of UK shale development on prices. Globally, there are some scenarios in a report prepared by Navigant Consulting1 in which large volumes of shale gas production could exert downward pressure on gas wholesale gas prices.

Shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with wider benefits such as increased tax revenues, greater energy security, growth and jobs.

1 The full report is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/223492/navigant_consulting_report.pdf

3 Feb 2014 : Column 127W

European Commission

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will set out his Department's priorities for discussions with the European Commission over the 2014 Work Programme; and if he will make a statement. [185309]

Gregory Barker: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington) on 30 January 2014, Official Report, column 625W.

Fracking

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure that funds raised from the shale gas community benefit are distributed to residents closest to the drilling sites. [185070]

Michael Fallon: The UK Onshore Operators Group, the representative body for the shale gas industry, have committed to provide £100,000 for a fractured well site during exploration and 1% of the revenues once the site goes into commercial production. It is encouraging that UKOOG will be working with the UK Communities Foundation independently to manage and distribute the exploration funding in a new pilot scheme and that communities will have the lead role in identifying local priorities for the funds. The next step is for residents to feed into the consultation to be undertaken by UKOOG on how benefits during production phase are best distributed, which industry has estimated could amount to between £5 and £10 million.

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the level of total shale gas reserves in the United Kingdom. [185437]

Michael Fallon: We have published an estimate of the shale gas resources contained in the Bowland-Hodder formation in northern England, and similar studies are in hand for the Weald area of southern England and for the Midland Valley of Scotland. It is not possible at this early stage of UK exploration for shale gas to estimate the reserves, that is, the amount of the resource that might be technically or economically producible.

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to ensure that any proposals brought forward by the Government to change the law on trespassing to facilitate fracking will not affect local property rights. [185756]

Michael Fallon: Shale gas and oil operations involve hydraulic fracturing in wells drilled over a mile down, which at that depth are highly unlikely to have any discernible impacts closer to the surface.

Like any other industrial activity, oil and gas operations require access permission from landowners. At present, landowners do not have an absolute right to block underground drilling. If they refuse to grant consent, the operator can apply to the Secretary of State for a referral of the matter to the courts, which have the power to grant access rights to the operator.

3 Feb 2014 : Column 128W

The Government is currently considering whether this existing route is fit for purpose, and what impact this could have on the development of shale gas. We have not yet made a decision on what actions we may take, if any.

Fuel Oil

Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress he has made on ensuring that off-grid households have access to affordable heating fuels in winter. [185473]

Michael Fallon: The Government believes very strongly that domestic consumers living off the mains gas-grid should have access to secure and affordable fuel supplies to heat their homes.

DECC has worked with both the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers and UKLPG on developing their codes of practice, which set out guidelines for their members to raise standards and take all reasonable steps to ensure that vulnerable consumers are not left without fuel this winter.

DECC have also worked with the industry and consumer representative organisations to provide consumer guidance on setting up or joining oil buying clubs, in order for communities to save money through bulk buying.

The Buy Oil Early campaign, co-ordinated by DECC, was launched last September by industry and consumer groups, in order to encourage heating oil consumers to stock up before winter and to join oil-buying groups. I wrote to MPs in October to encourage them to support these initiatives in their constituencies.

I intend to hold a third Ministerial Roundtable meeting on heating oil and LPG in May, to assess how off-gas grid consumers fared over the winter and whether further action in this area is needed.

Fuel Poverty

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what assessment his Department has made of the total amount per year spent on households in fuel poverty for supplier-funded energy efficiency polices in (a) Great Britain, (b) England and (c) each of the other constituent parts of the UK from 2008-209 to date; [185410]

(2) what estimate his Department has made of the total number of fuel poor households (a) benefiting from and (b) taken out of fuel poverty as a result of energy efficiency measures installed under supplier-funded energy efficiency programmes in each year since 2008-09 in (i) Great Britain and (ii) each constituent part of the UK. [185476]

Gregory Barker: Fuel poverty, as a devolved matter, is defined differently across the constituent parts of Great Britain and the UK. Targeting fuel poor households through supplier-led energy efficiency policies necessarily requires a balance between pin-pointing only those households that are fuel poor with practical delivery challenges. As a result, energy supplier-led energy efficiency obligations since 2008-09 have used receipt of certain benefits as proxies for low income and vulnerable households at risk of fuel poverty.

3 Feb 2014 : Column 129W

Estimates of the total level of resources directed at fuel poor households using these proxies have already been provided in response to written questions, specifically on 1 July 2013, Official Report, column 422W and 17 December 2013, Official Report, column 610W. Supplier-led energy efficiency policies with a fuel poverty focus since 2008-09 have been specified in terms of target outcomes, for example a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, rather than expenditure targets. These targets have also been specified at Great Britain level without sub-national targets. As a result, it is not possible to produce accurate estimates of expenditure under supplier-led energy efficiency schemes below Great Britain level and therefore no estimate has been made.

Estimates of the number of fuel poor households eligible for support using benefits proxies; the number of eligible households supported and/or the number of measures estimated to be delivered to eligible households; and the change in the number of households in fuel poverty as a result of supplier-led energy efficiency policies are published in the relevant Impact Assessments for the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Super Priority Group)1, the Community Energy Saving Programme2, and the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (Affordable Warmth and Carbon Saving Communities)3.

1 Available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/48491/121-iacertextension.pdf

Fuel poverty impact estimates of CERT can be found at:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20121217150421/http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/consumers/saving_energy/analysis/analysis.aspx

2 Available at:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100404202125/http://man270109a.decc.gov.uk/Media/viewfile.ashx?FilePath=Consultations/CESP/1_20090710121840_e_@@_CESPIA.pdf&filetype=4

3 Available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/42984/5533-final-stage-impact-assessment-for-the-green-deal-a.pdf

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what support he plans to provide to (a) families, (b) businesses and (c) individuals who are struggling to pay their heating bills this winter; and what financial support he is providing to each local authority in England and Wales for this purpose. [185487]

Michael Fallon: The Government has put in place a range of measures to support families, businesses and individuals who are struggling to pay their heating bills this winter, including:

A £50 reduction in household energy bills on average by driving down the cost of the green levies on consumer bills.

£135 off electricity bills for 2 million vulnerable households under the warm home discount.

Making between £100 and £300 available tax-free to help pay heating bills for those born on or before 5 January 1952 under the winter fuel payment.

Providing £25 for every week of a cold spell through cold weather payments-last year 5.8 million payments were made.

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£900,000 this year for Big Energy Saving Network, which is helping the most vulnerable get the best deal for them and access to available help, with £1 million further funding committed for the coming financial year.

One or more ECO measures being installed in around 400,000 properties up to the end of November 2013.

In October 2012 DECC offered English local authorities the opportunity to bid for funding to reduce the extent of fuel poverty in their area, primarily through the provision of support for improvements to the thermal efficiency of dwellings. £31 million was awarded to 60 projects involving 169 local authorities across the country.

Housing: Insulation

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions his Department has had with Southampton City council on its plans to clad solid wall homes under the Energy Companies Obligation. [185701]

Gregory Barker: There have been no discussions held with Southampton City council on this matter.

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions his Department has had with Affinity Homes on its plans to clad solid wall homes under the Energy Companies Obligation. [185703]

Gregory Barker: There have been no discussions held with Affinity Homes on this matter.

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions his Department has had with Nottingham City Homes on its plans to clad solid wall homes under the Energy Companies Obligation. [185704]

Gregory Barker: Following an approach from Nottingham City council, I met them to discuss their project and how they are taking it forward, including options for financing.

National Grid

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will publish and place in the Library copies of all correpondence between his Department and National Grid concerning the proposed 400 kV connection from Cefn Coch to Lower Frankton. [185036]

Michael Fallon: National Grid met with DECC officials in July 2013 to present a factual update on the project. Copies of the correspondence associated with this meeting will be placed in the Libraries of the House. DECC officials did not offer any views on the project.

Natural Gas: Imports

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what percentage of the UK's natural gas consumption was imported in (a) 2000, (b) 2005 and (c) 2013. [185344]

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Michael Fallon: The following table shows key natural gas data for 2000, 2005 and 2013 to September (the latest available data) for the UK. The table shows the proportion of demand (demand includes consumption by industry, electricity generation, and domestic use) met through imports and the proportion met through net imports (the UK is a gas exporter as well as an importer).

GWh/percentage
 Natural gas
 200020052013 to September

Supply

   

Production

1,260,168

1,025,232

314,544

Imports

26,032

173,328

389,895

Exports

-146,342

-96,181

-86,777

Net imports

-120,310

77,147

303,118

Total demand

1,125,530

1,103,538

617,919

    

Percentage imports

2

16

63

Percentage net imports

1-

7

49

1 Net exporter

Radioactive Materials: Transport

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which Government departments, non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies hold electronic records of transports of (a) fissile and (b) other radioactive material (i) within the UK, (ii) imported into the UK, (iii) exported from the UK and (iv) moved in transit through the UK. [185029]

Michael Fallon: The Office for Nuclear Regulation, which regulates these transports in the UK, holds certain electronic records relating to the transports, where appropriate. DECC and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department for Transport, Department of Health, Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Revenue and Customs, or their relevant agencies, also hold records relating to transports, imports or exports, where appropriate. The Devolved Administrations have similar arrangements. The records may be separate or the same depending on their relevance to the organisation in question.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether (a) the Office for Nuclear Regulation, (b) the Department for Transport and (c) the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills compile separate electronic records of transports of (a) fissile and (b) other radioactive material (i) within the UK, (ii) imported into the UK, (iii) exported from the UK and (iv) moved in transit through the UK. [185030]

Michael Fallon: The Office for Nuclear Regulation, which regulates these transports in the UK, holds certain electronic records relating to the transports, where appropriate. DECC and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Department of the Environment,

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Food and Rural Affairs, Department for Transport, Department of Health, Ministry of Defence, Foreign, and Commonwealth Office, HM Revenue and Customs, or their relevant agencies, also hold records relating to transports, imports or exports, where appropriate. The Devolved Administrations have similar arrangements. The records may be separate or the same depending on their relevance to the organisation in question.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what transports of radioactive material (a) within the UK, (b) imported into the UK, (c) exported from the UK and (d) moved in transit through the UK there have been in each of the last 10 years; and if he will publish and place in the Library all non-confidential records his Department holds on each such transport. [185032]

Michael Fallon: Over 500,000 packages containing radioactive materials, some of which contain fissile material, are transported to, from and within the UK each year. General information on this can be found on the Office for Nuclear Regulation's website at:

www.hse.gov.uk/Nuclear/transport/

The Department is routinely informed of only the most significant transports and this information is not made publicly available for security reasons.

Re-employment

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many staff who have been made redundant or retired from his Department have subsequently been re-employed by his Department since May 2010. [185563]

Gregory Barker: Since May 2010 two people, who had retired from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), were subsequently rehired on short term contracts as contractors which are now completed.

No people have been made redundant from DECC.

Renewable Energy

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what criteria his Department uses for allocating green subsidies to power plants. [185539]

Gregory Barker: Financial support is currently provided by Government to incentivise the deployment of renewable energy in the UK under the Renewable Obligations (RO), the Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) scheme and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). These schemes are administered by Ofgem and further information on each scheme, including eligibility criteria, can be found on their website at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes

Plans for allocation of Contracts for Difference (CfDs), which will provide financial support in the future for the deployment of low carbon technologies, were set out in the Electricity Market Reform Delivery Plan, This can be viewed online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity-market-reform-delivery-plan

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Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which power plants in the UK applied for the most recent round of green subsidies. [185540]

Michael Fallon: Applications for an Investment Contract under Phase 2 of the Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables process is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fid-enabling-applications-for-investment-contracts

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make an assessment of the financial sustainability of power plants that did not receive green subsidies in the most recent round. [185545]

Michael Fallon: Government has yet to award Investment Contracts under Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables. This will take place following the receipt of binding applications in March 2014 from projects which qualified under phase 2 of the selection process and the final affordability assessment.

It is not for Government to determine the financial sustainability of power plants which did not qualify under phase 2; this is a commercial matter.

Renewable Energy: Heating

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what information his Department holds on the effect of heat pumps installed in domestic premises on electricity bills for those premises. [185058]

Michael Fallon: DECC is conducting a metering programme for heat pumps installed under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme.

We are currently completing an analysis of this metering data which considers the bill impacts of installing heat pumps on premises with different counterfactual heating systems. This preliminary analysis is currently going through quality assurance and will be published very shortly. We expect to be able to continue to improve this analysis over time as more data is available.

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Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the latest date is on which it is feasible for the Government to shut down usage of the national gas grid to decarbonise heat. [185094]

Michael Fallon: Decarbonising heat does not necessarily require the gas distribution grid to be shut down, especially if gas itself can be decarbonised through the use of biomethane, synthetic gases or hydrogen. The Government's Heat Strategy, published last year, envisages different sections of the housing stock being decarbonised using different technologies and at different times. In all cases, reducing demand for heating is the first thing to do. To meet the remaining demand, different solutions will apply depending on location.

Supply Estimates

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 3 June 2013, Official Report, column 952W, on supply estimates, what programmes, projects and policies are funded under the heading New Nuclear in the second table in 2013-14. [184550]

Michael Fallon: Expenditure on New Nuclear, under subhead B in the 2013-14 Main Estimate, relates solely to expenditure by the Office for Nuclear Development (OND).

Wind Power: Scotland

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will publish and place in the Library all correspondence between his Department and the Scottish Government on the recently decided Court of Session decision Sustainable Shetland v Scottish Ministers [2013] CSOH 158. [185038]

Gregory Barker: I am today placing in the Libraries of the House my letter of 7 November 2013, to Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, the Scottish Government.

Correspondence between officials has not been made public, due to its confidential and/or privileged nature.