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24 Oct 2005 : Column 56W—continued

VAT (Sun Beds)

Mrs. James: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether VAT is levied on charges by sun bed tanning retail outlets. [20815]

Dawn Primarolo: The supply of the use of sun beds and tanning equipment by sun bed tanning retail outlets is VAT standard-rated. Businesses whose taxable turnover exceeds the current VAT registration threshold of £60,000 per annum must therefore account for VAT on their supplies of such services.


Mr. Gibb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many volunteering positions his Department has offered in each of the last five years. [17884]

John Healey: HM Treasury has operated a range of employee volunteering initiatives and schemes for a number of years, and many teams and directorates volunteer on a regular basis. Mechanisms are being introduced to monitor the overall level of volunteering in the Treasury but information on the exact number of volunteering positions could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

One example of volunteering this year is the Department's participation in the National Mentoring Consortium Scheme that provides mentors for ethnic minority undergraduate students. To date eight Treasury employees have volunteered to become mentors in this scheme.

The Government announced additional investment for volunteering in Budget 2004, for 2005 as the Year of the Volunteer. In this context this year, the Treasury has developed its volunteering strategy. In particular, in addition to one day's volunteering leave, staff can now trade unused days with colleagues up to a maximum of five days per staff member per year.

Working Hours

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were working (a) fewer than 16 hours per week, (b) more than 16 hours per week and (c) more than 30 hours per week in each year since 1996–97; and if he will make a statement. [20022]

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John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Laws, dated 24 October 2005:

All persons in employment by usual weekly hours of work(15);United Kingdom, seasonally adjusted

Three months
ending August
All in employmentLess than
16 hours
16 up to
30 hours
31 hours and over

(15) Main job only.
Due to rounding, some figures may not add up.
ONS—Labour Force Survey


Child Poverty

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the percentage of children living in households with income at or below £13,910 in (a) Waltham Forest, (b) Redbridge, (c) London and (d) England. [18958]

Mr. Plaskitt: I have been asked to reply.

Information on income is not available below regional level. The available information is in the table.
Households with children by total annual household income

Percentage of households
Total annual household incomeLondonEngland
At or below £13,9102116
Above £13,9107984

Percentages are rounded to the nearest percent.
DWP, Family Resources Survey 2003–04

Compulsory Redundancies

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) voluntary and (b) compulsory redundancies there have been in his Department (i) in 2005 and (ii) in each of the last five years. [17101]

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Alan Johnson: The number of staff who left DTI headquarters directorates (including SBS and UKTI) on the grounds of redundancy on either voluntary early retirement or early severance terms in the years 2000 to 2005 are as follows:
(a) Voluntary redundancy


(b) Compulsory redundancy


Departmental Underspend

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the latest estimate is of underspend by his Department (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of departmental budget for financial year 2004–05. [18461]

Alan Johnson: As published in the Public Expenditure Provisional Outturn White Paper for 2004–05, my Department's underspend against the budget within departmental expenditure limits (DEL) amounted to a total of £457 million. The variance was mainly due to a lower than expected funding requirement in respect of the regional development agencies.

The underspend as a percentage of the departmental DEL budget amounted to 7 per cent.


Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made by Energywatch in giving advice to smaller companies and public sector organisations on using flexible purchasing policies; and if he will make a statement. [19495]

Malcolm Wicks: Energywatch's Business Team provides advice to small and medium enterprise [SME] customers to enable them to get the most out of the energy market. The team has identified a number of problems faced by these customers, and additional information on the issues will be available from Energywatch's website in November. Among other things, the additional information would include advice on how SMEs can access offers from energy suppliers, and understand the contract environment.
24 Oct 2005 : Column 59W

Energywatch is, in conjunction with DTI, sponsoring an event on 30 November to help SME and public sector consumers develop effective energy procurement strategies in the present climate of rising gas and electricity prices.

Export Controls

Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies in the UK have an export licence for the export of arms to Israel. [19542]

Mr. Sutcliffe: 72 companies in the UK currently hold individual export licences authorising the export of Military List items to Israel.

Films (Conditional Bookings)

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received concerning the effect of repeal of the Films (Alignments) Order 1989 on conditional bookings; and if he will make a statement. [20323]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have received representations from ministerial colleagues at DCMS, the UK Film Council and the Cinema Exhibitors' Association regarding the proposed revocation of the Films (Exclusivity Agreements) Order 1989.

Some concerns have been raised that the revocation of the order will see a return to the practice of film bundling. However, the order does not and was never intended to prohibit this particular practice. Such agreements between film distributors and cinema chains may fall within the remit of the Chapter I prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 and/or Article 81 of the EC Treaty. It would be for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to decide whether any action was appropriate.

Therefore I intend to accept the advice of the chairman of the OFT and proceed with the revocation.

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