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Written Parliamentary Question: 15th November 2005

Ministers (Severance Payments)
Q: To ask the Prime Minister how many severance payments a resigning Minister is entitled to within any 12 month period. (John Hemming)

A: Severance pay is payable in accordance with section 4 of the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991.(Tony Blair, Prime Minister)

Predictive Diallers (Department for Education and Skills)
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many calls were made from call centres in her Department in 2004–05 using predictive diallers; how many such calls resulted in contact being made with the recipient without a Government agent available to talk to them; and what assessment she has made of the likely impact of Ofcom's policy on silent calls on the use of predictive diallers in departmental call centres.(John Hemming)

A: The Department for Education and Skills does not use predictive diallers within call centres. No calls were made using this facility in 2004–05. (Bill Rammell, Minister of State, Department for Education and Skills)

Gas Supplies
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what contingency plans the Department has to ensure the continued supply of gas in the event of a domestic gas supplier ceasing to trade.(John Hemming)

A: Since the implementation of the Utilities Act 2000 licensing schemes and standard licence conditions in October 2001, Ofgem has had the power to appoint a Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR) for all customers, domestic and non-domestic, in both the gas and electricity markets. This power is essential to ensure that all of a failed supplier's customers have continuity of supply.

Under the current licence conditions Ofgem can require any licensed gas supplier to become a SoLR and take the responsibility for supplying gas to customers of another supplier whose licence has been revoked. For customers whose annual consumption is reasonably expected to be less than 73,200 kWh the authority can direct a supplier to be a SoLR. For customers whose annual consumption is reasonably expected to be between 73,200 kWh and 2,196,000 kWh the authority can only direct a supplier to be a SoLR with that supplier's consent. There is no provision for appointing a SoLR (by consent or otherwise) for customers whose annual consumption is reasonably expected to be more than 2,196,000 kWh.

Once appointed, a SoLR will initially be supplying the customer on a deemed contract. This deemed contract will cover the period from appointment until customers have agreed a replacement contract with the SoLR or another supplier of their choice. There are licence obligations to ensure that the prices charged under a deemed contract are not excessive. A SoLR's deemed contract must also allow for its termination when the customer chooses to take a supply from another supplier. (Malcolm Wicks, Minister of State, Department for Trade and Industry)

Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the total quantity of carbon dioxide released by (a) overground and (b) underground trains in (i) 1984, (ii) 1994 and (ii) 2004.(John Hemming)

A: The table provides estimates of all carbon dioxide emissions from the rail sector for 1984, 1994 and 2003. Figures for 2004 are not yet available. It is not possible to disaggregate these data to provide separate estimates of overground and underground train emissions.

The estimates include direct carbon dioxide emissions from diesel trains and indirect emissions from all other sources and operations connected with the rail sector. Indirect emissions include emissions from the production of electricity allocated to the heavy and light rail sectors including London Underground and non-traction use of electricity for rail lighting, signalling, stations and offices.

Total direct and indirect CO 2 emissions from rail activity (million tonnes of CO 2 )
1984 5.2
1994 6.5
2003 5.3


(Derek Twigg, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport)


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