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Inland Revenue Buildings
Mr. Austin Mitchell:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any of the Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue buildings sold to Mapeley or Mapeley Steps were liable for stamp duty; whether stamp duty was paid; and on how many of the buildings. 
I have nothing to add to the reply I gave the hon. Gentleman on 7 November 2002, Official Report, column 747W.
Instruments of Torture
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what attempts illegally to export instruments of torture from the UK have been discovered by HM Customs and Excise; and what prosecutions have resulted from such discoveries in each year since 1997. 
No evidence of attempts to export instruments of torture from the UK illegally has been discovered by HM Customs since 1997.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance has been given to HM Customs and Excise on the identification and prevention of the illegal export of instruments of torture under the current legislation in each year since 1997. 
Since 1997 Customs have been immediately informed by the Department of Trade and Industry of changes to the UK's export control list and relevant European regulations. Torture equipment and items that could be used for internal repression are included in the control list and in applicable European regulations. Customs ensure that this information is passed to all relevant staff and officers at ports and airports.
Insurance Industry (Terrorism)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on the insurance industry, with particular reference to the cost of providing public liability and employers' liability cover to business; and if he will make a statement. 
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[holding answer 25 November 2002]: The terms, conditions and price of insurance products adapt in response to the many factors that affect market conditions. These factors include the impact of claims arising from the appalling attacks of 11 September 2001, and the willingness in the insurance industry to take on terrorism risk.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the guarantees and stand-by loan facilities extended to Network Rail represent contingent liabilities in the resource accounts of the Department of Transport. 
I have been asked to reply.
The contingent and non-contingent liabilities in connection with Network Rail were set out in the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport to the House on 27 June 2002, Official Report, column 971W, and in the minutes mentioned in the statement, which were laid before Parliament. The situation in relation to the facilities extended to Network Rail will be reported in the resource accounts of the Department for Transport in accordance with HM Treasury's Resource Accounting Manual.
PFI Prisons (Accounting)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the accounting treatment of PFI prisons. 
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Mr. Flight) on 21 November 2002, Official Report, column 280W.
Sir Sydney Chapman:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will institute an inquiry into the accuracy of (a) the census 2001 population figures and (b) the 2001 mid-year population figures. 
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
Letter from Len Cook to Sir Sydney Chapman, dated 26 November 2002:
As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking if he will institute an inquiry into the accuracy of (a) the 2001 Census population figures and (b) the 2001 mid-year estimate population figures. (82946)
I am confident that the 2001 Census figures provide the most accurate estimate of the 2001 population, both nationally and locally. The 2001 Census results are the first to represent the entire population. This was achieved through a new strategy known as the 'One Number Census'. One of the key elements was an independent follow-up surveythe Census Coverage Survey (CCS), which involved an intensive face-to-face survey of a sample of over 16,000 postcodes containing 320,000 households covering every local authority in England and Wales. By combining the results of the Census and the CCS, it was possible to estimate the total resident population in 2001 the 'one number'to a high
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level of precision, plus or minus 0.2 per cent, and to provide information on the characteristics of those persons missed by the Census.
Thus in 2001, the Census results represent 100 per cent of the population. Census response, that is the proportion of people returning a form in England and Wales, was 94 per cent. The 6 per cent of people estimated to have been missed by the Census have been added to the counts using a statistical process that was subject to extensive consultation, and based on the results of the CCS.
In addition, the 2001 Census has undergone rigorous testing and quality checking throughout both the fieldwork and processing. Census tests were carried out in 1997 and 1999 and a survey designed to measure the accuracy of response to each question has been completed. Furthermore, a comprehensive set of verification and validation checks were built in to the processing of the data, and data quality played a key role in all aspects of processing the forms. All information on accuracy will be contained in a Census Quality report to be published in 2003.
The population base for the 2001 Census was defined so as to be entirely consistent with that used in the calculation of the mid-year estimates, and the 2001 Census figures will form the basis of the mid-year population estimates throughout the next decade. Thus, the 2001 mid-year estimate was calculated by adjusting the census figures to take account of births and deaths and an estimate of the net migration in the interval between Census day (29 April) and the 30 June.
However, in the light of the evidence, shown by the 2001 Census figures, that the previous (pre-2001) mid-year estimate series had been over-estimating the size of the population and growth in the population over the last few years, the Office for National Statistics will be conducting an assessment of accuracy of the mid-year population estimates that is aimed at learning lessons from the 2001 Census results and making improvements to the method and data sources used to produce mid-year estimates in the future. The results of this assessment are due to be published on the National Statistics website in February 2003. A National Statistics Quality Review on international migration is also currently underway.
Some local authorities have experienced an unexpectedly large shift between their population estimates for mid 2001, and the Census values. We are working with several of these to examine our explanation of the differences.
For the above reasons, I therefore do not feel it necessary to instigate any further inquiry into the accuracy of the 2001 Census and 2001 mid-year estimate figures.
Private Nursing Homes (VAT)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the impact of the charging of VAT on the material costs and fees associated with the development of private nursing homes. 
There is no VAT on the construction of a new nursing home because it is zero-rated. In contrast, extensions and other works to existing homes are subject to the standard rate of VAT, other than approved alterations to nursing homes in listed buildings which are zero-rated.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) women and (b) men were made redundant between the ages of 50 and 65 in each year since 1996. 
[holding answer 25 November 2002]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
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Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Brazier, dated 26 November 2002:
As the National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about redundancy levels. (82542)
The attached table gives estimates of redundancy levels for (a) men and (b) women between the ages of 50 and 65 in each twelve month period ending August, from 1996 to 2002. These estimates are from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
Number of people aged 50 to 65 made redundant: United Kingdom 19962002, not seasonally adjusted
|September to August||All persons||Men||Women
ONS Labour Force Survey.
These Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates are not seasonally adjusted (NSA) and have not been adjusted to take account of the recent Census 2001 results. ONS are working toward producing re-weighted LFS estimates based on the findings of the 2001 Census, which will be available from summer 2003.