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Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with (a) Ministers in other Departments, (b) representatives of other member states and (c) the European Commission regarding the quality of accounting practices in the EU institutions. 
Mr. Timms: The Chancellor and other Treasury Ministers have had a number of discussions about the Commission's accounting practices and need for reform with other member states and the European Commission, most recently at the Budget ECOFIN on 25 November on the occasion of the presentation of the European Court of Auditors' annual report. Other UK Government Departments contribute to the briefing for these meetings.
Mr. Timms: The Chancellor and other Treasury Ministers have already met several of the new Commissioners including Charlie McCreevy, Dalia Grybauskaite and Danuta Hubner; meetings with other members of the new Commission will follow in due course as part of normal Treasury business.
Mr. Timms: Data concerning Civil Service numbers between 1997 and 2004 has been published annually in Civil Service Statistics. Current information for 2004 can also be found online at: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/index.asp.
Mr. Timms: The UK's proposal is that the IFF will be a temporary financing framework specifically designed to raise and allocate money needed to meet the millennium development goals by 2015. It will be subject to a set of overarching principles, which will govern disbursement and will be agreed at the establishment of the IFF, and which could include, for example, conditions that funds must be used for poverty reduction and not tied to contracts using suppliers from the donor country. Participating donors will therefore control the IFF's mandate on poverty reduction and its accountability. Reflecting the partnership between donor countries and developing countries, recipient countries would have a significant role within the facility.
Figures for vacancies in total are only available from the Office for National Statistics Vacancy Survey, which provides information at national level only. For local areas, figures for vacancies held by the Jobcentre Plus administrative system are available for periods up to April 2001. However, due to changes to that system, more recent figures are only available on a reliable basis for newly notified vacancies.
The Office for National Statistics calculates estimates of the number of jobs paid less than the minimum wage, and below various other earnings thresholds, for the United Kingdom and Government Office Regions. A guide to measuring low pay and associated articles and data can be found on the National Statistics website at:
Ross Cranston: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many customers benefited following the ruling by the Financial Ombudsman Service in the lead cases involving dual interest rates by mortgage lenders; what the total amount involved was; and whether this is the largest sum awarded to customers following a ruling on a particular issue. 
Mr. Timms: The Financial Ombudsman Service tell me that they first started to receive complaints about dual variable interest rates, in 2001. The Financial Ombudsman Service continued to receive these types of complaints until early 2004. In total, the Financial Ombudsman Service has received 7,256 such complaints. Of the 7,256 complaints received, the Financial Ombudsman Service upheld approximately half of them in favour of the consumer. Where the Financial Ombudsman Service upheld cases, the remedy was to require the lenders concerned to recalculate borrowers' mortgage rates, based on the lower standard rate. In some cases, the remedy also took into account any early repayment charge that a borrower may have paid. The Financial Ombudsman Service does not have a record of the monetary value of these awards.
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many times the cause of death at the Medway Maritime Hospital has been recorded as being due to the MRSA bacterium. I am replying in his absence. (201533)
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many written questions for his Department were unanswered when Parliament Prorogued; and how many of the unanswered questions were tabled in each of the previous months of the 200304 Session. 
John Healey: One written question, which first appeared on the day before Prorogation, did not receive a substantive answer in the 200304 session. The hon. Member concerned retabled the question on 23 November and it was answered substantively by the Financial Secretary on 30 November.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what target his Department sets for the maximum acceptable time to respond in full to a parliamentary question; and what percentage of answers given by his Department failed to meet this target in each parliamentary session from 199798 to 200304. 
John Healey: Treasury Ministers are committed to answering parliamentary questions promptly: that is to say, on the day nominated by the questioner, in the case of named day questions; and, for ordinary written questions, within a working week of tabling. No target exists for the maximum acceptable response time.
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