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Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of UK households were headed by (a) couples and (b) married couples, in each year from 197980 to 200405; what the estimated figures are for 200506; and if he will make a statement. 
The attached table gives the proportion of households in the UK who were headed by couples and married couples for the three months ending May of each year from 1992 to 2004, the latest period for which information is available. Comparable information is not available for earlier years. These figures are taken from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
As with any statistical sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to sampling variability. Comparable projections for 200506 for the UK are not available. However, projected figures for 2006 for England are available from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. These show projections for 2006, based on 1996 data, of 54.2 per cent. of households headed by couples and 50.5 per cent. of households headed by married couples.
|All couples(13)||Married couples(14)|
Kate Hoey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what communication activities are planned in relation to the policy areas covered by his Department during the UK Presidency of the EU; and what budget has been allocated for these activities. 
John Healey: The external communications activity for the Presidency is being co-ordinated centrally by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Any EU Presidency media activities will be covered within the Treasury's existing budget and no additional funding will be allocated.
To ask the hon. Member representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission (1) whether the Commission has reported to the Government on the conduct of the referendum on the north-east regional assembly; 
6 Jun 2005 : Column 304W
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission informs me that the Commission intends to publish the reports required by section 5 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 in relation to the administration of the referendum on the north-east regional assembly by autumn 2005. It will then be for the Government to respond as they consider appropriate.
Mr. Hutton: There have been no major works on any of these buildings since 1963. Officials are considering options to bring services and accommodation within the Cabinet Office estate to a modern standard. Any proposals considered will be in line with the listed status of the buildings. No final decisions have been made.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list EU directives and regulations that the British Government is seeking (a) to repeal and (b) to amend in the pursuit of its policy of deregulation. 
Mr. Hutton: As part of the '6-Presidency' initiative on better regulation in Europe, the UK Government have been working closely with other member states to bring forward proposals for simplification of EU law. A priority list of 15 measures was submitted to the Commission by the Competitiveness Council in November 2004. I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library today.
Regulatory reform will also be high priority for the UK Presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. The Government will be working closely with the Commission and other member states to ensure that the Commission delivers an effective package of further proposals for simplification of existing legislationincluding repeal or amendment of legislation which is disproportionately burdensome for citizens and businesslater in the year. As a first step, following its Communication Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs" adopted on 16 March 2005, the Commission has asked member states for suggestions of which specific legislation would benefit most from simplification. Cabinet Office officials are currently consulting Government Departments, as well as external stakeholders, to identify suitable candidates which the UK will propose.
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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance his Department is giving to research bodies to encourage them to use scientific research techniques which do not involve animals for risk assessments on chemicals; and if he will make a statement. 
Risk assessments on chemicals are carried out according to EU and UK regulatory requirements to provide the necessary data for the protection of human health and the environment. There is currently a legal requirement to use animals for some testing where there is no other method for producing the data. The Government are keen to keep animal testing to a minimum and supports the development of alternative methods which, once properly validated, may be accepted as part of the regulatory system. My Department is supporting the development of alternative methods and strategies that will lead to the reduced use of animals in chemical assessment programmes and is hosting a workshop on this topic in June.
The Government through the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) fund the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). The Centre provides a UK focus for the development, promotion and implementation of the 3 Rs in biological and biomedical research in academia and industry.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) personal and (b) company bankruptcies in (i) Greater London and (ii) each London borough there were in each of the last three years for which figures are available; what assessment he has made of recent trends; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The following table records the numbers of individual bankruptcy orders and company compulsory liquidations in the London region classified according to Official Receivers' Office from 2002 to 2004.
|Company Compulsory Liquidations||1,147||864||1,114|
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