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Working Time Directive

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the effect of the working time directive on his Department's employees; how many employees are working in excess of 48 hours per week; what steps he is taking to reduce this number; and if he will make a statement. [35883]

Ruth Kelly: Working hours are monitored in the Treasury. I am arranging to place in the Library of the House an update of the table which accompanied the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) on 14 November 2001, Official Report, columns 773–74W.

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Sufficient staff have been recruited to fill all complemented posts in the Treasury, and the Department has a number of alternative working policies in place such as flexible working hours, part-time working and compressed hours, as well as working at home. These are available to all staff by agreement with their line managers.

Departmental Assets

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the value of the outstanding leases on (a) Allington Towers SW1, (b) Cheapside House EC2V and (c) Fleetbank House EC4Y; and if he will make a statement. [35972]

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Ruth Kelly: The Treasury terminated its lease on Cheapside House earlier this year, and has leased Eastcheap Court since March 2001.

The Department occupies each of these premises under an operating lease, held under normal commercial terms with regular rent reviews which do not give rise to any significant value for the Department's interests.

Capita Group

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review computer security at Capita- administered Government schemes or projects. [36080]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Each Department is responsible for specifying security requirements when letting contracts and ensuring that suppliers comply. The Office of the e-Envoy recommends technical security standards such as use of smartcards or digital signatures.

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations the Government have received from the Capita Group since 24 October 2001. [36079]

Mr. Andrew Smith: This information is not held centrally.

Wanless Report

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he intends to publish the next stage of the Wanless report. [36112]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Terms of Reference for Derek Wanless' review ask him to report to the Chancellor of the Exchequer by April 2002.

Princess Diana Memorial Committee

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason there is no specific provision in the 2001 accounts of the Royal Mint for sums to be paid to projects recommended by the Princess Diana Memorial Committee. [36114]

Ruth Kelly: The Royal Mint accounts for 2000–01 included a provision for the royalties due in respect of Princess Diana collector coin sales. In accordance with generally accepted accounting practice in the UK this provision was included within trade creditors in the published accounts.

West Bank and Gaza Strip (Imports)

Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are being taken by HM Customs to identify and monitor imports from the illegal settlements of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and what action is taken where relevant authorities fail to co-operate in post- clearance verification inquiries. [36084]

Mr. Boateng: Customs are identifying imports declared to be of Israeli origin but which seem likely to have been produced in the settlements and are sending verification requests to Israel. As this is an EU wide issue, Customs intend to co-ordinate action with the European Commission and other member states in the event of failure to co-operate by the relevant authorities.

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Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how exporters of goods based in the illegal settlements of the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be alerted to the steps being taken by HM Customs in respect of the EC-wide exercise to ensure that origins of imports are properly declared. [36085]

Mr. Boateng: In their recent publicity HM Customs strongly advise importers that they should check with their Israeli suppliers that the products they are importing have not originated in the settlements. The Israeli authorities are also well aware of the position.

Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice is given by Customs and Excise to importers to ensure that origins of imports are properly declared on all goods which originated in the illegal settlements of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and in which trade magazines and on what website the advice will appear. [36083]

Mr. Boateng: Customs and Excise strongly advise importers to check with their Israeli suppliers that the products they are declaring as of Israeli origin have not originated in the settlements. This advice has been published as Joint Customs Consultative Committee Information Paper (01) 55, which has been placed on the Customs website, http://www.hmce.gov.uk (under Forms and publications, Information papers). Articles have been provided to International Trade Today and Croners.

Industrial Action

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many days have been lost owing to industrial action by staff in his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each of the last four years. [36186]

Ruth Kelly: No working days were lost as a result of industrial action by staff in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Department, agencies and non-governmental bodies in each of the last four years.

Ministerial Boxes

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what means ministerial boxes are conveyed from private offices in his Department to (a) himself and (b) his Ministers; how frequently and at what expense private courier firms are employed for such a task; and which courier firms have been used for such duties. [36283]

Ruth Kelly: Ministerial boxes originating from the Treasury are transported to Ministers' homes either by Government car or by a service provided by the Royal Mail.

Conference Sponsorship

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 11 February 2002, Official Report, column 116W, on the "Creating knowledge: Creating Wealth" conference, how many companies bid for the right to sponsor the conference; and if he will make a statement. [37050]

Ruth Kelly: This seminar was one of a series that followed publication of guidance on "Selling Government Services into Wider Markets", published by the Treasury

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in 1998. There were discussions with at least six different firms about whether they were interested in sponsoring one or more of these seminars.

Government Investment

(Research and Development)

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a breakdown, for each nation and region of the UK, of Government investment in research and development since 1995. [36412]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Alex Salmond, dated 25 February 2002:











Government research and development funding to UK businesses by Government Office Region: 1995 to 2000
£ million

199519961997199819992000
England8667658441,0041,081939
North East552352
North West7778618710294
Yorkshire and Humberside211811784
East Midlands68828514313165
West Midlands161518254138
Eastern174146214239256330
London5960859197111
South East273233237238266176
South West173129129170177119
Northern Ireland1266656
Scotland716658785859
Wales5577137
United Kingdom9538429151,0941,1571,011

Source:

Survey of UK Business Enterprise Research & Development, ONS


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