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As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the United Kingdom's deficit on trade in goods. (186211)
The following table shows the latest estimates for the UK balance of trade in goods. The figures shown are consistent with the published Balance of Payment "Pink Book". The balance of trade in goods is the value of goods exported less the value of goods imported.
|Balance of trade in goods (£ million)|
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning the percentage change in the level of business investment in each of the last seven years. (186209)
The information requested is shown in the table below, consistent with the Business Investment First Release published on 1 July. The table uses the Chained volume measure series, which exclude the effects of price changes.
(annual percentage change)
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many childcare tax credit payments have been made in respect of children aged (a) under one, two, three and four years, (b) five, six, seven and eight years and (c) who are eight years old in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Dawn Primarolo: The following table shows the number of families benefiting from the childcare element of Working Tax Credit at 5 April 2004, with an estimated analysis by the ages of the children for whom eligible childcare costs were incurred:
|Age combination of children for|
whom eligible childcare costs
|Number of families benefiting from the childcare element of Working Tax Credit 1 (Thousand)|
|All aged under five||170|
|Aged under five, and five to eight||20|
|Other with aged under five||10|
|Aged five to eight only||50|
|Aged five to eight, and older||20|
|Aged over eight only||50|
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the total expenditure on the childcare tax credit in 200304; how many recipients there were of childcare tax credit in that year; what the average payment was; and in respect of how many children payments were made. 
Dawn Primarolo: For the level of child care support provided through the child care element of working tax credit, I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Mid Dorset and North Poole (Mrs. Brooke) on 27 April 2004, Official Report, column 866W.
The number of families benefiting from this element, and the average help with child care costs, appear in the various issues of "Child and Working Tax Credits. Quarterly Statistics", which can be found on the Inland Revenue website, at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/menu.htm.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer based on the 2004 Spending Review, how many civil service jobs he estimates will be lost in the area of Coventry, South; from which Departments and agencies; and what assessment he has made of the likely effect on services to the public. 
Mr. Boateng: There will be an overall gross reduction in posts of 84,150 by 2008 and Departments will pursue these reductions in line with business need. It is not yet possible to say where reductions will happen on a geographic or departmental basis as Departments are still developing these plans.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what controls he is proposing to ensure that Civil Service job cuts as a result of his announcements in Budget 2004 and Spending Review 2004 are not replaced by consultants hired by departments but not on departmental payrolls. 
Mr. Boateng: The civil service job cuts are being made because new technology enables us to reduce the number of personnel required to deliver services. The 2004 Spending Review also announced that every department is required to consider and agree with the Office of Government Commerce by December 2004 how to pursue improvements in the value for money of all procurement of external professional services.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his announcement on 12 July, how many Civil Service posts he expects to be (a) abolished and (b) re-assigned to front line services in each Government Department and agency. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 20 July 2004]: With the detailed plans Departments are publishing for the years to 2008, the Chancellor announced at the Spending Review a gross reduction in civil service posts of 84,150of which 13,550 posts will be reassigned to frontline services to release resourced from administration to invest in the front line.
The Devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales and the Northern Ireland Office have also announced that they are engaged in Spending Review efficiency and evaluation exercises as ambitious as those in Englandwith reductions also in back office and
22 Jul 2004 : Column 477W
related areas; and with the 2.5 per cent. annual efficiency savings applied to the settlement for local government in England, this allows for a reduction of a further 20,000.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what definition he uses of frontline for the purposes of his announcement on12 July about reductions in civil service staff; and which posts in each Department and agency fall within that definition. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 20 July 2004]: The 2004 Spending Review announced reductions of 84,150 posts by 2008. Of this, 13,550 posts will be redeployed to key frontline areas in HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Transport or the Department for Work and Pensions. These redeployments from back office functions will enable increases in key frontline roles, for example personal advisors in Job Centre Plus.
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