Previous Section Index Home Page


Golden Jubilee (Commemorative Coin)

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans Her Majesty's Government have to issue a coin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne. [104810]

Mr. Gordon Brown: Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve my recommendation that in 2002 a crown piece should be issued to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Her Majesty's accession to the throne. Further details will be announced in due course.

Economic and Monetary Union

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the objectives and purpose of each working group participating in the Outline National Changeover Plan. [105658]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Details of the working groups are outlined in pages 8 and 9 of HM Treasury's "Third Report on euro preparations" which was published in November 1999. Copies of the report were placed in the Library of the House.

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 391W

Beer Duty

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will reduce the duty on beer. [105357]

Mr. Timms: I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget Statement.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the effect of the strength of the pound on UK exports in the last 12 months. [105413]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Export volumes have grown strongly since early 1999, with the third quarter level up 6 per cent. on a year earlier, and CBI surveys show that exporters' optimism improved steadily throughout the year.


Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of the smuggling of petrol and diesel into the UK in each of the last three years. [105359]

Mr. Timms: HM Customs and Excise does not have sufficient reliable information on which to base published estimates of the revenue lost through road fuel smuggling into the UK.

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 392W

Information Technology Services Agency

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the outsourcing of the Information Technology Services Agency will be subject to pre- contract review by the Treasury PFI Taskforce. [105195]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Yes. The outsourcing of the Information Technology Services Agency is a part of the ACCORD PFI project with which the Treasury Taskforce is closely involved, and it will be subject to a pre-contract review which will be carried out by the Taskforce in association with the McCartney Committee which has been set up to examine the lessons that can be learnt from past Government IT projects and to give guidance on the conduct of future projects.

Interest Rates

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the annual cumulative savings to the Exchequer which would result from lower debt interest costs if United Kingdom interest rates were (a) 0.5 per cent., (b) 0.75 per cent., (c) 1 per cent., (d) 2 per cent. and (e) 3 per cent. lower across the yield curve for (i) 1999-2000, (ii) 2000-01, (iii) 2001-02, (iv) 2002-03, (v) 2003-04 and (vi) 2004-05. [105428]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The information is in the table.

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 391W

Cumulative savings in debt interest
£ billion

Percentage point change in interest rates1999-20002000-012001-022002-032003-042004-05


Figures shown are cumulative from the current year to date, i.e. the figures for 2004-05 represent the savings in debt interest over the whole five year period.

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 391W

Benefit Claimants (Tamworth)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Tamworth were unemployed and claiming benefit in (a) 1997 and (b) 1999. [105152]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Brian Jenkins, dated 18 January 2000:

    The ONS publish a monthly count of claimants of unemployment-related benefits. The claimant count consists of all people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or National Insurance credits at Employment Service local offices. They must declare that they are out of work, capable of, available for and actively seeking work during the week in which the claim is made.

    The average unadjusted claimant count level in the Tamworth constituency was 1,775 or 4.5% of the workforce in 1997 and 1,633 or 4.1% of the workforce in 1999*.

    * Average of 11 months: January to November 1999.

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 392W


Civil Service

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what criteria are used to determine the civil service grades classified as politically free groups. [105615]

Mr. Stringer: Operating within the scope of the Servants of the Crown (Parliamentary, European Parliamentary and Northern Ireland Assembly Candidature) Order 1987, departments and agencies must allow civil servants in industrial and non-office grades the freedom to take part in all political activities.


RAF Future Procurement

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons his Department ordered a review of the proposals for the RAF's airlifts requirement; and how long he expects this review to take. [104403]

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 393W

Mr. Spellar: We are continuing to assess the proposals for both our short term and longer term airlift requirements. We are seeking the best value for money solution to our airlift requirements and hope to be in a position to make a decision early this year.

Territorial Army

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps, and at what cost, he is taking (a) to increase recruitment into the Territorial Army and (b) to increase the retention of personnel. [103929]

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 394W

Mr. Spellar: Activity to attract recruits to the Territorial Army (TA) falls into two categories:

Over the last 12-18 months, recruit marketing work to maintain awareness of the TA and to engender a good recruiting environment for the future has comprised:

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 393W

Normal trickle recruit marketing culminating in a major Spring Awareness National and Regional Campaign and TA Open Day (13 March 1999). This included the making of a new TV commercial.£5.94 million
Corporate Communication strategy developed and delivered in conjunction with Consolidated Communications PR. This included News sheets, Bulletins, leaflet, wide-ranging PR and Video.£280k
By Spring 2000 the year's recruit marketing will have cost £5.3 million. Specific marketing includes a focused Army Medical Service TA Recruit Marketing Campaign (£500,000), an Autumn campaign mainly in cinemas, and a Spring campaign culminating in TA Day on 25 March 2000. The Campaign will include TV at National level, with support from radio and press at Regional level.£5.3 million

18 Jan 2000 : Column: 393W

It is not possible to identify separately the money spent by individual units on direct recruiting because these costs are inextricably linked to payments to individual soldiers.

As far as retention is concerned, the assurance given under the Strategic Defence Review that the TA would be fully resourced and that the TA is to be more usable, relevant and integrated, combined with realistic and exciting training on current equipment, will encourage volunteers to serve on. Over the last 18 months, a TA Retention Working Group has been producing a report which includes a Three Year Retention Action Plan. This contains a number of new ideas and initiatives. In advance of finalisation of the report, three relatively inexpensive but important measures have been achieved:

    Introduction of TA Record of Service and Achievement (TARSA) with a TA soldier can use to record both his military and civilian skills, thus allowing a direct read across from one to the other--£50,000. It is planned that this work on TARSA should migrate into the pan-Army development of Personal Development Records (PDR), which is part of the Adjutant Generals Human Resources Strategy and links with "Learning Force Measures".

    Setting of in-year targets for all units with a view to reducing the level of avoidable wastage from the TA. Overall wastage is currently about 30 per cent. and the target for 2000-01 will be set at 27 per cent.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice he has issued to the Territorial Army on compliance with the working time directive. [105624]

Mr. Spellar: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Next Section Index Home Page