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Outsourcing

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will make a statement on the saving from the ACCORD contract for strategic outsourcing of IS and IT services; [18989]

Mr. McCartney: The objectives of Strategic Outsourcing are:


Strategic Outsourcing therefore has not been undertaken solely on the basis of cash savings. However, estimates over the contract period have shown reduced costs for the outsourcing approach.

SchlumbergerSema

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made on formalising the extension of the medical services contract with SchlumbergerSema. [21863]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Department has finalised contractual amendments which set performance and delivery conditions for a contract extension to 31 August 2005. The agreement to extend the contract is subject to confirmation before 31 May 2002.

Equal Pay

Barbara Follett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of (a) the workforce and (b) the finance sector is employed in organisations that have carried out equal pay reviews. [18305]

Mrs. Roche: I have been asked to reply.

Many employers have stated publicly that they have carried out, or are planning to carry out a pay review while others prefer to keep this information confidential. The Government therefore do not hold information on what proportion of the workforce or the finance sector are employed in organisations that have carried out equal pay reviews.

TREASURY

Overseas Development Assistance

17. Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with Finance Ministers of other countries on the level of overseas development assistance. [18701]

Mr. Boateng: The Chancellor talks frequently with his counterparts in other countries on many topics, for example, the most recent meeting of ECOFIN on Tuesday 4 December where this issue was raised.

6 Dec 2001 : Column: 515W

Public-Private Partnerships

18. Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the expansion of public private partnerships; and if he will make a statement. [18703]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Public-private partnerships remain a key element of the Government's modernisation programme. We will continue to apply the PPP approach to a wide range of public sector activities where appropriate, drawing on business skills and experience of private sector partners to develop and implement policy and deliver better quality public services.

World Poverty

19. Mr. Pollard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the role of the United Kingdom in pressing for co-ordinated international action to tackle world poverty. [18704]

29. Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent action he has taken to press for co-ordinated international action to reduce world poverty. [18714]

Mr. Boateng: The UK is working with governments throughout the world, both in donor and developing countries, to ensure that co-ordinated action is taken. To this end we co-ordinate our efforts through the G7/8 process, through institutions such as the IMF, World bank, WTO, and UN system, and directly with developing countries themselves. The Chancellor has recently spoken in New York and at Yale university on the need to ensure that globalisation brings prosperity to all, and contributes to poverty reduction.

34. Mr. Khabra: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with Finance Ministers from other countries to press for co-ordinated international action to tackle world poverty. [18720]

Mr. Boateng: The Chancellor regularly uses international meetings of Finance Ministers to push for co-ordinated action to tackle world poverty, including efforts to achieve the 2015 goals. Discussions of Finance Ministers in Ottawa covered the need for increased development assistance in order to reach these goals, and efforts to maintain debt sustainability in HIPC countries given the current global downturn.

Manufacturing

20. Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Governor of the Bank of England to discuss the state of United Kingdom manufacturing. [18705]

Mr. Boateng: The Chancellor and the Governor meet regularly to discuss a wide range of issues.

22. Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received from business men in the United Kingdom on manufacturing productivity; and if he will make a statement. [18707]

Mr. Boateng: The Chancellor and other Treasury Ministers often receive representations from manufacturers and all areas of business on a wide range of economic issues, and value their insights.

6 Dec 2001 : Column: 516W

23. Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change in the tax burden on manufacturing industry since 1997. [18708]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The information requested is not available. This is because the difficulties involved in apportioning taxes between different sectors means that the estimates would not be robust.

24. Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking to create an economic environment that encourages investment in manufacturing industry. [18709]

Mr. Boateng: The Government are committed to creating and maintaining the right climate for business to flourish, invest and grow. Since 1997, the Government's central economic objective has been to achieve high and stable levels of growth and employment. This means pursuing macro-economic and enterprise policies which promote business activity, and which improve the productivity of firms in the UK. Because of the choices we have made we are now enjoying the longest period of sustained low inflation since the 1960s, we have the lowest long term interest rates for nearly 40 years, and the lowest unemployment since the 1970s. The fiscal policy framework which we have put in place has restored the public finances to a healthy and sustainable position.

Of course, no country can insulate itself from global economic events. But the UK is now much better placed than in the past to weather the global downturn. The Government will continue to steer a course of economic stability, with low inflation and sound public finances, coupled with microeconomic reforms to create the right conditions for investment and growth in the future.

Investment

21. Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of public sector net investment as a proportion of national income over the period of the first comprehensive spending review. [18706]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The information is as follows:

Percentage of GDP(24)
1999–20000.5
2000–010.7
2001–021.3

(24) The figures for 1999–2000 and 2000–01 are outturn figures, consistent with table B23 in the pre-Budget report. The figure for 2001–02 is the latest projection, consistent with table B6 in the pre-Budget report.


Development Assistance Target

25. Paul Goggins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the Government to reach the United Nations development assistance target of 0.7 per cent. of gross national product. [18710]

Mr. Boateng: We remain fully committed to the UN 0.7 per cent. oda/GNP target. We have set out our plans for the next three years to 2003–04 and as these show, development assistance as a proportion of GNP will rise to 0.33 per cent. in 2003–04, up from 0.26 per cent. in 1997.

6 Dec 2001 : Column: 517W

In his speech in New York, the Chancellor emphasised his commitment to ensuring further substantial increases in development assistance.

Monetary Policy

26. Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Governor of the Bank of England to discuss monetary policy. [18711]

Ruth Kelly: The Chancellor and the Governor meet regularly to discuss a wide range of issues. The conduct of monetary policy is a matter for the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England.


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