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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the total external spend by her Department was on private finance initiative consultants in each of the last four years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PFI consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by her Department over this period; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 17 January 2002, Official Report, column 437W, if he will list the Treasury management units which are involved in the preliminary technical work for evaluating the five economic tests for membership of the euro; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: Customs and Excise are to hold discussions with the optical industry about the implications of the recent legal rulings about the exemption from VAT of opticians' dispensing services provided at the same time as spectacles or contact lenses.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 17 January 2002, Official Report, column 439W, on eurozone, if he will list the interest rate forecasts prepared by the Treasury which are not for publication; and if he will make a statement. 
Ruth Kelly: The Treasury makes interest rate assumptions for the UK and an aggregate for the G7 for the purposes of constructing the pre-Budget and Budget forecasts. In line with the practice of previous Governments, we do not publish the interest rate paths underlying the economic forecasts.
Dawn Primarolo: The remit of the Adjudicator for the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise is shown in detail in the booklets AO1 for the Inland Revenue and AO2 for Customs and Excise. Those booklets show what the adjudicator can and cannot do, copies of which are
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available from the Adjudicator's Office and most Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise offices; and is also set out in the joint Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise Service Level Agreement with the Adjudicator's Office. Under the agreement the adjudicator provides an independent adjudication service into unresolved complaints about the way in which Inland Revenue or Customs and Excise have handled a person's tax etc. affairs but excludes matters arising out of a commercial or employment contract, or matters relating to their tax liability, valuation affairs, national insurance contributions or any issue to be determined by any court or tribunal.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome was of the ECOFIN Council held in Brussels on 22 January; what the Government's position was on each issue discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
The incoming Spanish presidency and the Commission introduced their work programmes. In the ensuing debate, I stressed the need for the EU to pursue vigorous structural reforms in product, labour and capital markets to stimulate growth and create jobs.
Ministers endorsed the Economic Policy Committee's report on Research and Development, and agreed that it should be sent to the March European Council in Barcelona. The Government support the report's proposals for boosting innovation in the EU.
Ministers discussed the state of ratification of the Own Resources Decision. This was due to take effect from 1 January 2002, but has still to be ratified by some member states. The UK completed the process of ratification on 4 December 2001.
The European Commission gave an oral update on negotiations with third countries regarding the draft directive on the taxation savings. ECOFIN agreed a statement on Argentina, in response to the economic crisis there.
Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employers in Glasgow, Cathcart constituency his Department identified in 2001 as paying less than the national minimum wage to their employees. 
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(3) what charges he will make for public access to micro-filmed records of births, marriages and deaths held by the General Records Office. 
Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 15 January 2002, Official Report, column 224W, on pension tax codes, whether the rate of increase in the basic state pension supplied by the DWP is applied to all state pension income for tax code purposes; and if this will result in an amount in excess of people's actual state pension income being included in tax codes in years where the basic state pension is indexed by more than any additional state pension in payment. 
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Dawn Primarolo: Most pensioner tax codes are adjusted individually according to information provided by DWP about the taxpayer's state pension entitlement. In a minority of cases where information on a pensioner's state pension has not been provided by DWP, the estimated amount of state pension already included in the tax code is increased by reference to the appropriate percentage increase in state pensions as announced in the pre-Budget report.
This estimate may be incorrect where an individual receives an additional state pension. However as soon as the pensioner or the DWP bring the correct pension to the Revenue's attention their tax code will be altered and from that point on the pensioner will be included in the DWP's yearly update.
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