Previous Section Index Home Page


Human Reproductive Cloning Act

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Advocate-General, pursuant to her answer of 15 January 2002, Official Report, column 169W, under what powers the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 was extended to Scotland. [28798]

The Advocate-General: The Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 is an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament. This Parliament can legislate on any subject for the whole of the United Kingdom. A United Kingdom Act applies to Scotland unless stated otherwise. As this Act is not expressly restricted in its extent it applies to Scotland. The subject matter of the Act is in any case reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament by section J3 of schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998.


Church of England Children's Society

36. Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what representations the Church Commissioners have made to the Church of England Children's Society in respect of its decision to cease its activities in Wales. [26158]

Mr. Bell: The Church Commissioners' primary legal responsibility is to manage their assets for the financial support of the Church of England's serving and retired ministry. It would not fall to the Commissioners to make any such representations.

Clergy Pensions

37. Bob Spink: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, how much was paid by the Church Commissioners for clergy pensions in the last financial year; and what the estimate is for the current financial year. [26159]

Mr. Bell: In the year ended 31 December 2000, the Commissioners paid £90.6 million for clergy pensions and a further £11.3 million in transitional relief to offset

21 Jan 2002 : Column 593W

dioceses' costs under the new pensions scheme. The Commissioners also paid pension contributions for bishops and cathedral clergy totalling £1.0 million.

According to the latest estimate for the year ending 31 December 2001 the Commissioners expect to pay £94.1 million for past service clergy pensions and contribute £7.2 million to dioceses in transitional relief. Pension contributions for bishops and cathedral clergy are estimated to be £1.1 million.

Clergy Safety

38. Mr. Hoyle: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what financial provision is made for improving the personal safety of the clergy on working duty. [26160]

Mr. Bell: Financial provision for improving the personal security of the clergy is largely the responsibility of the dioceses. The Church Commissioners offer guidance on security aspects of parsonage house design.

The Archbishops' Council is currently making inquiries of dioceses about the measures they have in place. Early replies show that local police forces have provided training for clergy on how to recognise and deal with potentially difficult circumstances and that diocesan surveyors are giving renewed attention to the security of parsonage houses.

Clergy Pay

39. Mr. Drew: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will make a statement on clergy pay and pensions. [26162]

Mr. Bell: The National Stipend Benchmark for clergy of incumbent status with effect from 1 April 2002 is £17,420, an increase of 3 per cent. on the previous year. The full service pension from 1 April 2002 will be £10,693.

Consultations are currently taking place with dioceses about stipend levels and pensions arrangements. Proposals for change will be discussed by the General Synod in November. Further details can be found in the Central Stipends Authority's forthcoming report for 2001, a copy of which will be placed in the Library.

Churches (VAT)

Ms Walley: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what is the estimated take-up of VAT concessions by churches with listed building status; and what guidance has been issued to assist eligible churches to claim. [27373]

Mr. Bell: This scheme is a Government initiative and responsibility rests with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. I understand that the scheme contractor, reporting to the Department, has issued well over 1,000 application forms since the scheme was launched in December last year. The Department has publicised the scheme which includes information available on the internet. The Church of England has issued publicity to parishes and dioceses about the scheme, including contact details for the scheme contractor.

21 Jan 2002 : Column 594W



Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the President of the Council what estimate his Department has made of the cost to its budget since 1 May 1997 of fraud; and if he will make a statement. [27304]

Mr. Robin Cook: No fraud has been recorded in the Privy Council Office during this period.

Public Relations Consultants

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council how much was spent by (a) his Department and (b) bodies for which it is responsible on external public relations consultants in each of the last four years. [27393]

Mr. Robin Cook: None. My Department is not responsible for any other bodies.

Departmental Sickness Absence

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council if he will commission and publish an independent report on the reasons for the level of sickness absence in his Department. [26967]

Mr. Robin Cook: I have no plans to do so.


Register of Members' Interests

Lady Hermon: To ask the President of the Council if he will support an amendment to the rules governing the Register of Members' Interests to oblige all Members to make entries within three months of being elected. [25255]

Mr. Robin Cook: This is a matter for the House. We would consider carefully any views Members put forward.

Equitable Life

Mr. Letwin: To ask the President of the Council if the pension scheme for hon. Members will benefit from special arrangements vis-à-vis transferring out of Equitable Life. [28851]

Mr. Robin Cook: Equitable Life is one of the providers appointed to provide an Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) facility for members of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF). This appointment is made and overseen by the Trustees of the PCPF. I understand that the Trustees have sought clarification from Equitable Life of the terms that will apply if members wish to transfer their funds out of the with-profits fund. The Trustees expect shortly to advise members of the terms offered, so that they can decide whether or not to transfer their funds.

Office Costs Allowance

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the President of the Council how many staff paid from the office costs allowance have full time contracts and claim (a) below £15,000, (b) between £15,000 and £20,000, (c) between £20,000 and £25,000, (d) between £25,000 and £30,000 and (e) above £30,000 a year at the latest date for which

21 Jan 2002 : Column 595W

figures are available; if he will break down these figures to indicate whether the person holds (i) a secretarial personal assistant post and (ii) a research post; and how many people in each pay band are spouses or of the Member's immediate family. [24379]

Mr. Robin Cook: The information requested on pay levels and job titles, and whether staff are part-time or full-time is not at present readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The Fees Office do not record whether Members' employees are spouses or family members.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards


Peter Bottomley (Worthing, West): To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, which recent letters to the Commission from the Commissioner for Standards have not been published to hon. Members. [25062]

Mr. Kirkwood [pursuant to his reply, 15 January 2002, c. 152–53]: Following a request from the Committee on Standards and Privileges, the Commission has decided to release recent correspondence between Mr. Speaker and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. I will place copies in the Library.


Ministerial Properties

Mr. Collins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the properties used by Ministers for (a) residential and (b) business purposes that are owned by Government organisations. [28280]

The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: The official residential properties used by Ministers are as follows:

Accommodation in Hillsborough Castle is available for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and other Northern Ireland Ministers while on duty in Northern Ireland.

The Lord Chancellor has an official residence in the House of Lords which is provided in his capacity as Speaker of the House of Lords. The running costs are met by the House of Lords authorities and do not fall to the Government.

In addition, Chequers, Dorneywood, Chevening, none of which is owned by the Government, are also available to the Prime Minister, me, as Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Foreign Secretary at no cost to the public purse.

Properties used by Ministers for departmental purposes are set out in the List of Ministerial Responsibilities. A copy of the List is in the Library of the House and is available on-line on the Cabinet Office website.

21 Jan 2002 : Column 596W

Next Section Index Home Page