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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. 
Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 November 2004, Official Report, columns 173940W, to the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Prisk). The replacement cost of the one lost mobile phone was £144.
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
30. Mr. Evans:
To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what discussions the Electoral Commission
6 Dec 2004 : Column 313W
has had with British embassies and high commissions on assisting them to encourage overseas voters to register for general elections. 
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.
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; 
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.
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. 
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking 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)
Currently average earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE). Prior to 1998 average earnings were estimated from the New Earnings Survey (NES), and are provided for full time employees on adult rates of pay whose pay was unaffected by absence during the pay period. This is the standard definition used for ASHE and NES tables. The ASHE does not collect data on the self employed and people who do unpaid work.
I attach a table showing the Average Gross Weekly Earnings of full time employees for 1974 to 2004 based on current and today's prices. Earnings data at today's prices has been calculated with reference to the all items Retail Prices Index (RPI). The RPI is an
The ASHE, carried out in April of each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. It is a one per cent sample of all employees who are members of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) schemes, but because of its sampling frame, it has difficulty capturing data on people with very low pay. It is therefore likely to under-represent relatively low paid staff earning below the tax threshold.
|Average gross weekly earnings at current prices||Average gross weekly earnings at today's(25) prices|
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