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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much and what proportion of the departmental expenditure limit for 200203 will be accounted for by staff costs; what the figures were for 200102; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: The Cabinet Office departmental expenditure limit (DEL) for 200102 was £402.8 million. Approximately 40 per cent. of the DEL was for budgeted staff costs. The 200102 Resource account is undergoing final adjustments and awaiting audit. As a result, the percentage figure quoted may change.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what has been the (a) cost and (b) saving from the pursuit of the Department's Public Service Agreement targets in each year since they were introduced. 
Mr. Alexander: The Department's Public Service Agreement sets out the key outcomes it is committed to deliver with the resources provided, and its Service Delivery Agreement sets out the key steps towards delivery of those targets. Every year the Department publishes performance against its targetsincluding on value for moneyand the resources it has used, in its departmental report.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which Ministers and officials had meetings with representatives of (a) the Confederation of British Industry, (b) the Engineering Employees Federation, and (c) the Engineering Marine Training Authority during the last year; who they met; and what the subjects and outcomes of their discussions were. 
As with previous Administrations it is not this Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code and Guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the (a) cost and (b) saving has been from the Department's pursuit of Service Delivery Agreement targets in each year since they were introduced. 
Mr. Alexander: The Department's Public Service Agreement sets out the key outcomes it is committed to deliver with the resources provided, and its Service Delivery Agreement sets out the key steps towards deliver of those targets. Every year the Department publishes performance against its targetsincluding on value for moneyand the resources it has used, in its departmental report.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister whether civil servants involved in providing preparatory material for him in advance of Prime Minister's Question Time supply information relating to (a) the previous Conservative Government and (b) alternative policies held by opposition parties. 
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 27 February 2002, Official Report, columns 12681269W. Briefing is provided in accordance with the Ministerial and Civil Service Code.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate how many (a) income tax payers and (b) corporation tax payers have negotiated forward tax payment contracts with the Inland Revenue. 
Dawn Primarolo: Following a review by the Inland Revenue, 15 such cases were identified. The majority of these cases are no longer current, and the remainder are under review in the light of a recent court judgment. All the agreements primarily concerned individuals but in five cases provision was made for companies considered to be under their control.
Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue has two specialist teams, one based in Aberdeen, the other in East Kilbride who are responsible for enforcing the national minimum wage in Scotland. Since April 1999 the two teams have completed over 1,700 investigations in Scotland, recovering over £627,000 in wage arrears.
Ms Drown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contribution the UK Government plan to make to the estimated shortfall in funding for the HIPC initiative; from which departmental budget contributions will come; and whether contributions will be made (a) directly and (b) through the EU, IDA or other institutions. 
John Healey: Total bilateral pledges to the HIPC trust fund currently total more than US$2.5 billion. However, current estimates of the funding requirements for countries expected to be eligible for HIPC relief in the
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near term suggest a possible shortfall of $700 million. In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session the Chancellor called for a $1 billion contribution from richer countries to support the HIPC initiative. At present the UK is the second largest contributor to the trust fund and has pledged a total of $306 million. Of that total $221 million was paid directly by the Department for International Development (DfID) to the World bank with the remaining $85 million representing the UK share of a European Union contribution of $661 million in total.
John Healey: As highly indebted poor countries (HIPCs) both Guinea-Bissau and Guinea are eligible for debt relief under the enhanced HIPC initiative. In December 2000 both countries reached Decision Point under the initiative and qualified for interim debt relief on any payments due. For its part the UK goes further than is required under the HIPC initiative and provides 100 per cent. debt relief. The UK Government are working with other donors, the World bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help both countries reach Completion Point under the HIPC initiative, at which point their debts will be irrevocably cancelled. To reach this point these countries will need to have demonstrated a clear commitment to poverty reduction and how their country-owned poverty reduction strategies will be able to use the resources released by debt relief to reduce poverty. The IMF and World bank estimate that Guinea-Bissau and Guinea could reach Completion Point as early as October 2003 and December 2002 respectively.
Dawn Primarolo: Portsmouth Contact Centre was opened on 6 November 2001, therefore the 200102 budget allocated to the site was for the period November 2001 to March 2002. The budgets for the two years to date are as follows:
|Other running costs||0.15||0.3|
Dawn Primarolo: The IRCC target to have no more than 5 per cent. of calls engaged and no more than 5 per cent. abandoned, with 90 per cent. of the balance answered in 20 seconds. Some of the new taxpayer sites have faced call volumes well above those predicted.
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6 per cent. abandoned
59 per cent. answered within 20 seconds.
working with service offices to see if other changes can be made to reduce call volumes and sharing best practice from larger established sites where service level targets are being met.
The experimental call centre, which opened in East Kilbride, suffered similar variable service levels. The centre has since demonstrated that the processes are sound, achieving for example, a service level for the year ended March 2002 of:
2 per cent. abandoned
91 per cent. answered within 20 seconds.
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