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7 Jan 2003 : Column 160W—continued

Departmental Sickness Absence

Norman Lamb: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures have been taken to reduce sickness absence in his Department in line with Spending Review 2000 SDA Target E2.1, as described on page 33 of the HM Treasury Departmental Report 2002. [89268]

Ruth Kelly: The Treasury has taken a number of steps to manage the level of sick absence including publishing clear guidance of the responsibilities for staff and line

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managers, revising procedures for recording sick absence, an increased role for the Welfare Officer, closer involvement of Human Resources, and running a flu vaccination and health screening programmes for Treasury staff.

Departmental Targets

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what formula is being used to measure (a) annual efficiency gains and (b) savings of running costs within his Department in order to meet the targets outlined on page 75 of the HM Treasury departmental report 2002; [89258]

Ruth Kelly: The Treasury monitors those outputs which can be measured, such as replies to parliamentary questions, letters or other communications with the public, payment performance, and so on. However the Treasury's primary output is policy advice. Such outputs are difficult to measure—and without a measure of overall output it is not possible to measure efficiency.

Departmental Working Hours

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the percentages of excessive hours worked within his Department were in (a) 1999, (b) 2000 and (c) 2001. [89256]

Ruth Kelly: This information is available in the Library of the House and was referred to in the answer I gave on 25 February 2002 to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr Cable), Official Report, columns 1045–46.


Norman Lamb: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer if his Department has purchased an e-procurement system. [89273]

Ruth Kelly: H M Treasury is in the process of introducing such a system.

Earnings Statistics

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the ratio was of female to male full-time equivalent earnings for (a) non-manual, (b) manual and (c) all workers in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [88589]

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Peter Bottomley, dated 7 January 2003:

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Enterprise Areas

Mr. Willetts: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what the new enterprise areas announced in the Pre-Budget Report are; how they were chosen; and if he will make a statement,. [88201]

John Healey: Enterprise Areas are designed to improve access to and take-up of a number of Government policy measures focused on tackling the barriers to small business in disadvantaged areas. They are intended to ensure that these policies form a coherent package from the perspective of existing and potential new businesses, so that take-up by businesses in disadvantaged areas is easier, and effectiveness in improving outcomes is increased. In addition to stamp duty exemption on property transfers up to #150,000, and policies designed to tackle market failures and provide better business support, the Government is looking at ways to make the planning regime in Enterprise Areas more flexible.

The Enterprise Areas are the 2,000 most deprived areas across the UK. They are the same as the areas which benefit from the stamp duty exemption on property transfers up to #150,000. A list can be found at A list was also placed in the House of Commons Library on 27 November 2001.

The areas were selected using the best available data on multiple deprivation in each of the countries of the UK. These were: in England, the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000; in Wales, the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000; in Scotland, the Scottish Area Deprivation Index 1998; and in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Measures of Deprivation 2001.

External Suppliers

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the external suppliers used by his Department for training purposes, as stated on page 37 of the HM Treasury departmental report 2002; and if he will make a statement on the assessment he has made of the value for money delivered by these suppliers and the programmes. [89260]

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Ruth Kelly: The Treasury has contracts with various external training providers to deliver the Treasury's Development Programme. The companies used are as follows:

    Accountancy Tuition Centre

    Angel Scott Associates

    Birkbeck College


    London School of Economics

    Parity Training

    Sunley Management Centre

    Trainers at Work

All contracts with external suppliers are procured on a competitive basis, initially for two years but with the option to extend the contract to a maximum of five years. The provision of centrally managed training means that training is delivered on cost effective terms and can be regularly monitored to ensure that it continues to meet the Treasury's needs.

Film Production (Tax Relief)

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the income tax receipts forgone, since 1997, as a result of Her Majesty's Government's policy of making tax relief available for investment in film production; and if he will make a statement. [88677]

John Healey: Film production benefits from a number of tax reliefs that accelerate the deduction of expenditure on British qualifying films. The estimated tax cost of relief provided under Section 48 of the Finance (No.2) Act 1997 is #440 million for the period 1997–98 to 2001–02, over double the amount that would have been available under the previous arrangements. The tax cost of the other reliefs is estimated to be an additional #70 million a year.

Government Borrowing

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 12 December, Official Report, column 472W on government borrowing, what the evidence is of the effect of government borrowing on wholesale commercial rates. [88510]

Ruth Kelly: As the right hon. gentleman will note from the Chief Secretary's previous answer of 12 December, there is no clear-cut evidence regarding the impact of government borrowing on commercial borrowing rates. In particular, the statistical evidence in the economic literature from both time series and cross-sectional studies is inconclusive on this question.

Honours and Dignities

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will break down by main spending heads HM Treasury's payments towards (a) the Civil List and (b) honours and dignities, as listed in the table on page 35 of the HM Treasury departmental report 2002. [89259]

Ruth Kelly: The Queen's Civil List is the funding provided by Parliament to enable the Queen to undertake her duties as Head of State; it meets the

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central staff costs and running expenses of Her Majesty's official Household. The figure of #8,902,000 for 2001–02 in table 4.4 of the Treasury's departmental report also includes annuities granted by Parliament for HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It comprises:

Queen's Civil List7,900,000
Parliamentary annuities
HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother643,000
HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh359,000

Parliamentary annuities for other members of the royal family are reimbursed by Her Majesty and are therefore not included in the net payments shown in the departmental report.

On the breakdown of costs associated with honours and dignities, I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer to his question 89263.

House Price Inflation

Mr. Love: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the estimates he used of house price inflation from (a) major mortgage providers and (b) the Land Registry; and if he will make a statement. [89394]

Ruth Kelly: There are significant concerns about whether currently available measures give adequate estimates of house price inflation. The Land Registry produces the most comprehensive measure, covering all transactions in England and Wales. However, price changes as measured by the Land Registry are affected by changes in the composition (mix) of transactions, as well as pure price changes. Mix- adjustment is desirable as there is significant variation from one period to the next in the characteristics of properties sold size, type eg flat or house, location and other factors that affect price. Figures from the Halifax and Nationwide are mix-adjusted, and also more timely, but only cover properties purchased with mortgages from these providers. These two indicators can show significant differences, highlighting concerns as to how representative they are. The Government is concerned about such discrepancies, and is therefore planning to launch a new official house price measure in the Summer 2003, though it will not cover non-mortgage financed house purchases.

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