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Mr. Miliband: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs. Cabinet Office Communication Group, have responsibility for co-ordinating and ordering all departmental Christmas cards, but individuals are responsible for completing and despatching them.
David Davis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what percentage of the Department's official Christmas cards included a contribution to charity in their cost; and which charities benefited from such a contribution. 
Mr. Miliband: The Cabinet Office has one official Christmas card, which has included in the cost a contribution to the charity WaterAid. WaterAid receives between 15p and 25p for every Christmas card sold.
Mr. Miliband: The costs for postage for the Departmental Christmas card are not held centrally. Items posted by the Department normally go by 2nd Class Post. The Department also makes use of other cost effective distribution options such as the Internal Distribution Service (IDS).
Mr. Miliband: The cost of purchasing the official departmental Christmas card in 2003 was £3,599.03 for 4,100 cards. The cost of purchasing the official departmental Christmas card in 2004 was £5,505.00 for 5,200 cards. Both prices included VAT at 17.5 per cent. The expenditure incurred in the purchase and postage of official Christmas cards is made in accordance with the departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in Government Accounting.
Mr. Miliband: The Civil Contingencies Secretariat (CCS) was set up in 2001 to improve the UK's resilience against disruptive challenges, working in partnership with others at the national, regional and local levels to enhance arrangements for anticipating, assessing, preventing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from all types of disruptive challenge.
The CCS drives the delivery of improved resilience across the Government and the public sector by making sure that the Government can continue to function and deliver public services during a crisis. It achieves this through risk assessment and horizon-scanning activity to identify and assess potential and imminent disruptive challenges to the domestic UK, and by working with others to improve the capability of all levels of Government, the wider public sector and the private and voluntary sectors to manage potential challenges.
A key focus of the CCS's work in 2004 has been the Civil Contingencies Act. This, along with its non-statutory measures, delivers a single statutory framework for civil protection in the UK by enhancing arrangements at the local and regional level, and providing an up to date Emergency Powers framework. protection in the UK by enhancing arrangements at the local and regional level, and providing an up to date Emergency Powers framework.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what percentage of contributions to the Civil Service Premium Scheme went towards pension entitlement in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Miliband: Employees who are members of the Premium Scheme make contributions of 3.5 per cent. of pensionable pay. Employers meet the balance of the cost. Employers' contributions currently average 13.3 per cent. Following a quadrennial review by the Scheme Actuary, employers' contributions are being increased and in 200506 will average 18.5 per cent. of pensionable pay.
The Premium Scheme was introduced in October 2002 and is part of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. Some 18 per cent. of members are in Premium, 79 per cent. in Classic and 3 per cent. in Classic Plus. Employer contributions are the same for all three schemes. Employee contributions are 1.5 per cent. for Classic and 3.5 per cent. for the other schemes.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many retired civil servants are in receipt of a pension; and what the total cost was in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Miliband: There were 418,000 retired civil servants in receipt of a pension at 31 March 2004. Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme payments to retired civil servants totalled £2,338 million in 200304.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many civil service (a) widows and (b) widowers are in receipt of a civil service pension of less than (i) £1,000 and (ii) £2,000 per annum. 
|31 March 2004||Widows||Widowers|
|Number receiving under £1,000 a year||34,200||3,600|
|Number receiving £1,000 to £1,999.99 a year||30,100||1,400|
|As at March 2004||Retired employees|
|Number receiving under £1,000 a year||45,600|
|Number receiving £1,000 to £1,999.99 a year||66,400|
Lady Hermon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many civil service (a) widows and (b) widowers are in receipt of a civil service pension; and what the cost was in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Miliband: There were 121,000 widows and 6,000 widowers in receipt of a civil service pension at 31 March 2004. Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme payments to widows and widowers totalled £328.7 million in 200304.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many conferences were (a) attended by officials from the Cabinet Office, (b) cancelled by and (c) facilitated by the Cabinet Office in each year since 1997; and what the (i) cost to the Cabinet Office and (ii) location was in each case. 
The Cabinet Office use two types of credit card for official expenditure. The Government Procurement Card (GPC), which has been in use within the Department since May 2002, and the Corporate
10 Jan 2005 : Column 85W
Card, which has been in use since September 2000. Currently there are 16 active GPC card holders and nine Corporate card holders.
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