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Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will make a decision on whether or not to legislate against upward only rent review clauses when we have studied the final report from Reading university on the impact of the property industry's voluntary Code of Practice for Commercial Leases. This report is due at the end of this month, alongside the responses to the consultation paper.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will make an announcement of our conclusions in due course, but there are complex issues at stake and it is important that we consider all the evidence fully before making a
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decision. It would not be appropriate at present to indicate a specific timetable, but we would hope to reach conclusions in the first half of 2005.
Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many video conferencing units are installed in (a) his Office and (b) each agency of his Office; what percentage of offices have these facilities; and what plans there are to increase the number. 
(c) The Government Offices have 19 video conferencing units in 12 of its 13 buildings. 93 per cent. of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's occupancies have access to video conferencing facilities.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and its agencies regularly review the requirement for video conferencing equipment, with each proposal being considered on a value for money basis. The Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh has plans in place for the installation of a second video conferencing unit, which will be operational in February 2005.
Ruth Kelly: The Cabinet Office, Central Office of Information and the Government Car and Despatch Agency all have a commitment not to discriminate unfairly on the grounds of age and this is set out clearly in the relevant equal opportunities policies. It is each organisation's policy that everyone should have equality of opportunity on the basis of their ability and suitability for the work.
Dr. Julian Lewis:
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will make it her policy to disclose prior to
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the first week of May 2005 her Department's estimate of the overall cost within its existing budget of the creation and maintenance of a separate Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. 
Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, by what mechanisms land belonging to the Civil Service was transferred to the freehold ownership of the Civil Service Sports Council. 
Ruth Kelly: Available records show that the freeholds of those lands and buildings belonging to various civil service departments which have been purchased by the Civil Service Sports Council were on the basis of open market value.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what her estimate is of the (a) annual cost and (b) total value of the empty properties owned by (i) the Office, (ii) agencies and (iii) other public bodies for which she has responsibility in each of the last two years. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what his estimate is of the (a) annual cost and (b) total value of the empty properties owned by the Duchy in each of the last two years; 
Mr. Milburn: The Duchy of Lancaster owns a wide portfolio of investment properties which have voids due to periods for re-letting, repairs or refurbishment. The Duchy Office at 1 Lancaster Place is the only building occupied for administrative purposes. This building is currently being refurbished from Duchy funds with a view to rationalising the space occupied and sub-letting surplus areas, as part of the investment activities of the Duchy. To provide figures at present would be inappropriate as they are commercially sensitive.
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the (a) conferences,
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(b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and (e) press conferences which have been sponsored by the Duchy and which took place on non-Duchy premises in each of the last two years giving the (i) title, (ii) purpose, (iii) date and (iv) cost of each. 
Ruth Kelly: Since April 2002, canteen facilities at the Cabinet Office's core London buildings have been provided on a nil subsidy basis by the Department's total facilities management provider. To identify separately the cost of running the canteen service from other hospitality services also provided would incur disproportionate costs.
For 200203 and 200304, the Government Car and Despatch Agency, an Executive Agency of the Cabinet Office, incurred expenditure of £35,000 per annum for the running of a canteen facility at its London Headquarters site.
|Cost of Criminal Damage (£000)|
Ruth Kelly: The Cabinet Office has a nursery at the Civil Service College in Sunningdale which is run in partnership with the Edith Rose Day Nursery. The cost is subsidised for staff. Eligible staff in all locations can apply for childcare vouchers.
Staff in Central London working for the Cabinet Office and the Central Office of Information have access during the school holidays to the Westminster Holiday Playscheme. The cost is subsidised for staff.
Type of childcare provision
|Cost to the Department (£000)|
|Cabinet Office||Nursery, Sunningdale||(28)13,779|
|Westminster Holiday Playscheme||(29)1,638|
|Central Office of Information||Westminster Holiday Playscheme||(31)360|
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what the cost of (a) in-house canteen and (b) other catering services provided by his Department for staff in each of the last two years. 
Mr. Milburn: The Duchy of Lancaster has no in-house catering facilities but does have access to catering facilities at the adjoining Institution of Electrical Engineers. Senior staff (five) are subsidised at £2 per meal while support staff (12) are subsidised at £3 per meal. This facility is only used in a very limited manner and the cost is minimal.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what the total external spending by the Duchy on private finance initiative consultants was in each of the last two years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PFI consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by the Duchy over this period; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what the total external spending by the Duchy was on public-private partnership consultants in each of the last two years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PPP consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by the Duchy over this period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Milburn: The Duchy of Lancaster has no crèche facilities and within the staff no-one has requested such facilities or support to be made available. Such childcare needs are regularly monitored by the Chief Executive. The Duchy of Lancaster adopts a flexible approach to any requests for variations to standard working hours to enable parents to organise childcare support.
Ruth Kelly: Expenditure on accountancy services is not separately identifiable on the Department's accounting system and therefore the information requested cannot be readily retrieved without incurring disproportionate cost.
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