27 Jan 2005 : Column 443W

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 27 January 2005


Civil Service Property

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many items of civil service property within his Department are unaccounted for, broken down by type; [205567]

(2) if he will list the property belonging to his Department that has (a) been stolen and (b) been reported lost in each year since 1997, broken down by type of article. [206367]

Mr. Timms: Items recorded by the Treasury as lost or stolen are listed in the Following table.
1997Desktop computers3
Laptop computers2
Telephone answering machines2
Foreign currency£150
1998Laptop computer1
1999Desktop computer1
Laptop computers2
2000Laptop computer1
Disk drives2
2001Laptop computers2
Personal organiser1
2002Desktop computers2
Laptop computers22
Safedial cards5
Personal organisers11
CD writer1
Mobile phone1
2003Desktop computer1
Laptop computers9
Safedial cards2
Personal organisers2
Mobile phones3
2004Laptop computers4
Safedial cards6
Personal organiser1
Mobile phones3

Departmental Entertainment

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will list businesses and individuals entertained by him and his Department at public expense in the last 12 months; [209422]
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(2) how much money his Department has spent on corporate entertainment in each of the last seven years. [209423]

Mr. Timms: In respect of the Treasury's spending on corporate entertainment, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Tatton (Mr.Osborne) on 15 December 2004, Official Report, column 1084W. The details of the businesses and individuals entertained by the Department could be provided only at disproportionate cost, because this information is not recorded centrally in electronic form. All expenditure on official entertainment is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on the principles set out in Government Accounting".

Economic Statistics

Mr. Allen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in which years since 1975 (a) interest rates and (b) mortgage rates have been lower than the current levels. [211010]

Mr. Timms: The Bank of England repo rate and the average mortgage interest rate reached their lowest points in 2004 and have remained below 1970s levels ever since.

EU Funding

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 9 December 2004, Official Report, column 653W, on EU funding, what the sum total is to date in real terms that has not been signed off by the Court of Auditors, broken down by year; and what the UK percentage share of the total EU budget was for each year. [207112]

Mr. Timms [pursuant to his reply, 11 January 2005, Official Report, c. 440W]: My earlier answer inadvertently contained some incorrect figures, for which I apologise. It should have read as follows:

The figures for the years 1994 onwards (when the annual Statement of Assurance was introduced), showing the total for each year and the sum total to date, and the UK's percentage share, are as follows:
Total budget not signed off
(£ million)(1)
Percentage UK contribution(2) (Post-abatement)
Total budget not signed off (1992 to 2003)511,841

(1)Taken from data published in Table 1A of respective European Community Finances White Papers, less administrative expenditure (also less pre-accession aid expenditure in 2002). Latest White Paper (Cm 6134) (ISBN 0–10–161342–3) was published on 22 April 2004 and the figures for the period 1999 to 2003 have been taken from this.
2Calculated from data published in European Commission Reports on the Allocation of EU Operating Expenditure.

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It is important to note that the failure of any part of the Community Budget to gain a positive Statement of Assurance does not mean that the whole of that part of the budget was misspent. Rather, it means that the European Court of Auditors found a number of errors in the small sample audited in any particular year.

EU Structural Funding

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on the net UK contribution to the EU of returning structural fund expenditure to national control for the 2007–13 funding period. [209604]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 18 January 2005]: The UK's proposals for reform of structural and cohesion funds for the period 2007–13 would not return structural fund expenditure to national control", but rather would focus EC funding on the poorest member states where it would have greatest effect, under an overarching EU framework.

Financial Services Industry

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on Government support for the financial services industry in the last financial year. [210902]

Mr. Timms: The financial services industry is a vital sector for the UK economy, contributing over 5 per cent. of total output and generating a trade surplus of £15.6 billion in 2003. The Government recognise the importance of this sector and take steps to maintain their competitiveness, both domestically and internationally, through a number of different routes; including principally by building and maintaining an effective regulatory model, especially in view of initiatives under the EU's Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP); encouraging a skilled work force; and, by delivering a strong, stable macroeconomic environment. In this context, the Government are committed to a dialogue with the financial services industry to ensure that FSAP and other measures are implemented in an effective, proportionate and consistent way.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2005, Official Report, column 986W, on parliamentary questions, if he will break down the estimated cost of answering a parliamentary question into its component elements; and which costs relate to staff time. [211449]

Mr. Timms: Staff salaries (excluding the costs of Ministers and their private offices) account for 85 per cent. of the estimated cost and other overheads the remaining 15 per cent.

Psychiatric Patient Deaths

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many patients have died in psychiatric hostels in the west midlands in each of the last three years. [210798]

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Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 27 January 2005:

Deaths in psychiatric institutions(2), West Midlands(3), 2001–03(4)

Number of deaths

(2) Psychiatric institutions were defined as NHS and non-NHS psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric units and psychiatric security hospitals.
(3) Deaths to residents of West Midlands Government office region.
(4) Figures are for deaths occurring in 2001 to 2003.

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