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The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): As part of a Cabinet Office-wide budget review, the Office of the e-Envoy budget has been reduced on a level with the other Cabinet Office delivery and reform teams, returning the office to a similar level of budget and posts that it had before the specific increased amounts of the past two years.

The Office of the e-Envoy will continue to play a central role in driving our e-government programme, and is responsible for delivering the Cabinet Office Public Service Agreement target for electronic service delivery: 100 per cent capability by 2005, with key services achieving high levels of use.

The OeE will also continue to co-ordinate the UK's drive to maintain our position as one of the world's leading e-commerce environments.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: We agree with the IPPR that blanket e-enablement of services would not by itself deliver public value. That is why our target to make all central government services available electronically by 2005—which has successfully galvanised much activity across government to offer citizens and businesses online services—was enhanced in the 2002 spending review to include achieving high levels of use for key services.

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The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What methodology is in place to measure the levels of take-up of e-government services by the general public; what levels have been achieved to date; and what plans are in place to encourage further take-up.[HL2448]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Take up of e-government services is measured by the Office for National Statistics via the Internet access module of its Omnibus Survey. In October 2002, 16 per cent of adult internet users reported they had used e-government services.

To encourage further take-up, the Office of the e-Envoy is working with departments to develop strategies for driving take up of key online services.

Board of Transport Accident Investigators

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to create a Board of Transport Accident Investigators.[HL2647]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Secretary of State for Transport has recently announced the appointment of the chief inspector designate of Rail Accidents, and is now setting up a Board of Transport Accident Investigators. This will comprise the Chief Inspectors of the Air and Marine Accident Investigation Branches together with the Chief Inspector designate of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB). The board will initially support the chief inspector designate in her establishment of the RAIB and in the longer term will seek to identify areas where the accident investigation branches can co-operate and adopt best practice.

Nuclear Decommissioning Agency and Nuclear Liabilities Fund

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to a letter to the Lord Jenkin of Roding of 28 March from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, what are their plans for the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency and the Nuclear Liabilities Fund and related matters.[HL2461]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is being set up to deal with the civil nuclear

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liabilities that relate to the public sector—specifically in relation to UKAEA, BNFL and Magnox sites. As explained in the White Paper, Managing the Nuclear Legacy, published in July 2002, the NDA (formerly referred to as the Liabilities Management Authority (LMA)) will be responsible for ensuring that these "legacy" sites are cleaned up safely, securely, cost effectively and in ways which protect the environment. Its role will be to develop an overall strategy for clean up of the sites for which it is responsible and to drive work forward.

The NDA will be funded directly by government through a statutory segregated account. The energy Minister announced on 3 April that, following consideration of responses to the White Paper, the Government had concluded that this represented the best way of satisfying its funding objectives, which had received almost universal support. In particular, the Government are determined to establish funding arrangements that, subject to appropriate budgetary and public expenditure controls: underline the Government's commitment to clean up and help to build public confidence in the NDA; give the NDA the flexibility required to drive forward the clean-up process effectively; and encourage competition for clean-up contracts by giving the market confidence that funding will be available to support substantial work programmes over the long term.

Legislation to set up the new authority will be brought forward at the earliest opportunity. As announced in the Queen's Speech last November, the draft Bill will be published in the course of the current Session.

The term "Nuclear Liabilities Fund" (NLF) refers to a proposed new funding mechanism for the nuclear liabilities belonging to the private sector company, British Energy. This fund would be set up as part of the company's restructuring. The proposal to set up the NLF was first announced in BE's detailed statement on restructuring on 28 November 2002. The NLF and the statutory segregated account to be set up for the NDA will be quite separate—the former deals with BE's liabilities, and is paid into by the company; the latter is for public sector nuclear liabilities and will be funded by government.

British Energy (BE) already pass into a ring-fenced fund, the "Nuclear Decommissioning Fund" (NDF), which was set up specifically as a means of funding the decommissioning of BE's nuclear stations once they have ceased generating electricity. The idea behind the NLF is to take the ring-fenced fund approach a step further to cover more of BE's nuclear liabilities, including their uncontracted nuclear fuel liabilities (such as dealing with spent PWR fuel at Sizewell B). The full details of how the NLF will work are still being drawn up, and it has not yet been decided whether the NLF will, in effect, be an extended and enlarged version of the NDF, or whether there will be a separate NLF running alongside the NDF. Either way, BE will make financial contributions towards meeting the cost of its own nuclear liabilities. The

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arrangements for these financial contributions are set out in the 28 November statement and are summarised in the following table:

Financial Contributions
NDF value The existing value of the NDF(valued at £332 million in BE's September interim accounts) will remain available to the NDF or new merged NDF/ NLF.
New Bonds At the point of restructuring,BE will issue £275 million of bonds to the NDF/NLF.
Decommissioning Payments Each year BE will make apayment of £20 million towards decommissioning costs (but this payment will taper off as stations close).
PWR FuelBE will contribute £150,000 to the funds for every tonne of Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) fuel loaded into Sizewell B. This is in line with the principle that BE should pay its own way going forwards.
Cash Sweep BE will have to pay 65 per centof available cash into the fund, subject to conditions.

In return, government will agree to underwrite the cost of BE's nuclear liabilities, to the extent that the funding of the NLF/NDF is not sufficient to cover these. The Government have already made clear that they wish to protect taxpayers' interests and avoid handing BE a "blank cheque". As part of this, the Government propose to put in place a series of controls and incentives to ensure that British Energy runs its nuclear power stations as though it were exclusively responsible for the discharge of its nuclear liabilities.

As the centre of public sector expertise on nuclear decommissioning, we would expect the Government to seek the NDA's advice on issues relating to BE's nuclear liabilities—particularly in the context of the controls on BE mentioned above.

Transfusion-related Acute Lung Injury

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the light of the reported transfusion-related acute lung injury case settled out of court by the National Blood Service, whether they plan to provide alternative transfusion plasma which does not cause transfusion-related acute lung injury more widely to avoid further compensation claims by affected patients; and[HL2551]

    In the light of the reported transfusion-related acute lung injury case settled out of court by the

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    National Blood Service, whether they will now give the risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury from blood transfusion a higher priority and take action to protect patients against the risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury.[HL2552]

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