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Roger Casale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome was of the ECOFIN Council held in Barcelona on 14 March; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gordon Brown: I attended ECOFIN on 14 March.
Following previous discussions at the March ECOFIN and at the General Affairs Council, ECOFIN discussed further the draft EU position for the UN Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey. This was subsequently endorsed by heads of government at the Barcelona European Council. This position commits EU member states to increasing overseas development assistance as a proportion of Gross National Product to an EU average of 0.39 per cent. by 2006. This is a significant step forward for global social justice, that will provide around $7 billion a year in additional aid.
ECOFIN also considered proposals for strengthening EU development assistance to the Mediterranean region. It was agreed that a European Investment Bank Facility should be set up, and that this would be evaluated after a year and a decision then taken on whether it should be developed into a subsidiary involving other shareholders. This agreement was endorsed by the Barcelona European Council.
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The implications of the Enron affair for corporate governance were discussed. It was agreed that ECOFIN would look again at this issue in light of work being undertaken by the Finance Stability Forum.
ECOFIN discussed whether Government-backed airline insurance schemes for covering third party war and terrorism risks should be extended beyond the end of March. It was agreed that further analysis should be provided before the discussion at the Transport Council on 26 March.
No votes were taken at the meeting.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost has been of criminal damage to his Department's buildings in each of the last four years. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people employed by his Department under the New Deal for Young People in each of the last four years have subsequently (a) found unsubsidised employment for more than 13 weeks and (b) returned to jobseekers' allowance or other benefits. 
Ruth Kelly: We do not have this information.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have been employed by his Department in each of the last three years under (a) the New Deal for Young People, (b) the New Deal for the Over 50s and (c) the New Deal for Lone Parents; and at what cost, listed by category, to public funds. 
Ruth Kelly: The latest complete years for which we have figures for people specially recruited under the New Deal arrangements are as follows:
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|Office for National Statistics||0||0||4||0||1||1|
(43) Including Valuation Office Agency
HM Treasury specially recruited three people under the New Deal in 1999, four in 2000 and four in 2001, but does not differentiate between individual New Deal schemes. (None of these recruits was subsidised).
Customs and Excise have employed a total of 129 people under the New Deal for Young People since its inception, but by year figures are not available. They have employed no-one under the New Deal for Over 50s or Lone Parents.
No further classification of New Deal recruits is available.These recruits took up existing vacancies so extra costs are limited to the subsidy, where appropriate, and any additional training and development which may have been needed.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Buckingham of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 808W, if he will provide a full breakdown of the main items comprising the increase in the running cost between April 1997 and April 2001 of (a) his private office and (b) his Department; and if he will break down the increase in the cost of staff in his private office over the same period. 
Ruth Kelly: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of (a) how many
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insurance companies offer fleet insurance for bus fleets in the UK and (b) what level of competition this represents; and whether buses will be able to operate without fleet insurance in the event of the remaining insurance for bus fleets being withdrawn. 
Ruth Kelly: Further to my answer on 25 February 2002, Official Report, columns 83031W, we have a long standing agreement with the insurance industry that cover will always be provided for anyone legally entitled to drive.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a disaggregated analysis of how Her Majesty's Customs and Excise plans to spend its supplementary estimate for the purposes listed on page 54 of HC 636. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 20 March 2002]: The purpose of the HM Customs and Excise spring supplementary is set out on page 1 of Cm 5380. The additional net cash requirement is required to pay for the provision of serviced accommodation under an estates PFI contract. These charges replace non-cash charges for the opportunity cost of utilising civil estate freehold assets. There is no increase to departmental expenditure limits as a result of the supplementary. The estates costs will cover all activities and purposes listed in HC636.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons the annual report of HM Customs and Excise for 200001 has not yet been published. 
Mr. Boateng: Publication has been delayed because finalisation of the Trust Statement for Customs and Excise, which must be included in the report, took longer than expected. The Trust Statement now has an audit certificate, and the annual report for Customs and Excise has been laid before Parliament today.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what incentives are in place for small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises to invest in plant and machinery. 
Dawn Primarolo: The tax system gives incentives for investment through capital allowances. Small and medium-sized enterprises qualify for 40 per cent. first year capital allowances for all investment in plant and machinery, in place of the usual 25 per cent. The rate is increased to 100 per cent. for businesses of all sizes if the plant or machinery is energy efficient, or is used for research and development purposes.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many members of staff were employed by the Treasury on secondment from non-governmental organisations in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. 
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Ruth Kelly: The numbers of people seconded to the Treasury from non-governmental organisations were as follows:
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many members of staff were employed by the Treasury on secondment from the private sector in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. 
Ruth Kelly: The numbers of Treasury staff on secondment from the private sector in 1999 was two, in 2000 was four and in 2001 was eight.
Details of current secondees from all sectors outside central Government can be found on the Treasury website.
Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many BP employees are on secondment to his Department; for what purposes; on what terms; and how many BP employees have been on secondment to his Department since January 2000. 
Ruth Kelly: There are no BP employees currently on secondment to HM Treasury. There have been no BP employees on secondment to HM Treasury since January 2000.
Details of current secondees from outside central Government can be found on the Treasury's website.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the extent of false self-employment in the construction industry; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The tax and national insurance rules, which distinguish the employed from the self-employed, are intended to apply to all workers. The Inland Revenue policies compliance with those rules in all industries, including the construction industry, to ensure that people are paying their tax and national insurance contributions on the correct basis.
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