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Departmental Mobile Phones

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many departmental mobile telephones were used by Ministers, special advisers and officials in his Department in each year since 1997; at what cost; how many such telephones were lost or stolen in each year since 1997; and what the replacement costs were in each case. [202174]

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Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 November 2004, Official Report, columns 1739–40W, to the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Prisk). The replacement cost of the one lost mobile phone was £144.


John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans his Department has to fund the establishment and maintenance of the Central Point of Expertise on Timber. [201143]

Mrs. McGuire: The funding of the Central Point of Expertise for Timber Procurement is a matter for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The Scotland Office is not involved in the funding arrangements.


IT Contracts

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesborough, representing the Church Commissioners, what the (a) projected cost at the time of tender and (b) actual cost at the time of completion was for each IT contract commissioned by the Commission over the last five years. [201615]

Sir Stuart Bell: The Church Commissioners do not generally tender for IT services; these are provided under a common service agreement by the Archbishops' Council.

The exception is a project to register the Commissioners' rural property interests in compliance with the Land Registration Act 2002, whose IT element is projected to cost £163,000 plus VAT. This will not be completed until December 2007 but we expect actual cost to match this projection.


Voter Participation

29. Kevin Brennan: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what action the Electoral Commission has taken to increase the percentage of those from less well-off households who vote. [201755]

Mr. Viggers: The Electoral Commission aims to be inclusive of the entire electorate in its provision of public awareness information. It produces materials in a variety of formats and uses a wide selection of media outlets. In addition, the Commission has a programme targeting hard to reach groups, including 16 to 24-year-olds outside formal education, and a grants programme.

Overseas Voter Registration

30. Mr. Evans: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what discussions the Electoral Commission
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has had with British embassies and high commissions on assisting them to encourage overseas voters to register for general elections. [201756]

Mr. Viggers: Electoral Commission staff have had discussions with officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the provision of information to overseas posts about electoral registration and voting. The Commission informs me that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has offered to circulate publicity material produced by the Electoral Commission (such as leaflets and posters) through its network of overseas posts and via its website.


ATM Machines

Mr. Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what research he has commissioned on the incidence of use of ATM machines by (a) pensioners and (b) benefit recipients in areas in the immediate vicinity of closed former sub-post offices; [202547]

(2) what research he has commissioned on the number of ATM machines in the vicinity of closed former sub-post offices which make charge for use. [202546]

Mr. Timms: None. The Government are committed to tackling financial exclusion and have announced a Financial Inclusion Fund of £120 million to support measures to address financial exclusion as well as establishing a financial inclusion taskforce to monitor progress in three key areas: access to banking services, access to affordable credit and access to face to face money advice. In addition, Postwatch works closely with the Post Office to assess the implications of each proposed post office closure.

Average Earnings

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the level of national average earnings has been in each year since 1974 at (a) current prices and (b) today's prices; and what the real terms increase was each year. [199553]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Michael Meacher, dated 6 December 2004:

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Average gross weekly earnings for full time employees on adult rates whose pay for pay period was not affected by absence

Average gross weekly earnings at current pricesAverage gross weekly earnings at today's(25) prices

(25) Earnings data at today's prices has been calculated with reference to the all items Retail Prices Index (RPI). The RPI is an average measure of the change in prices of goods and services bought for the purposes of consumption by the majority of UK households. For the purposes of this calculation, it is assumed that RPI is an adequate measure of changes in retail prices faced by those particular groups covered by the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.
(26) 1974 to 1983 compiled on basis of men aged 21+ and women aged 18+.
(27) 1983 and 1984 onwards compiled on basis of employees on adult rates.
(28) 1998 to 2003 are figures from the NES survey with ASHE methodology applied.
(29) 2004 ASHE data including supplementary surveys to improve coverage.
1974 to 1997 New Earnings Survey, Office for National Statistics 1998 to 2004 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Office for National Statistics.

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