Previous Section Index Home Page

25 Oct 2005 : Column 287W—continued

Special Advisers

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list (a) the special advisers in his Department, (b) their specific areas of expertise and (c) the total cost of employing them in the latest year for which figures are available. [8822]

Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 162WS.

Winter Fuel Payment

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received winter fuel payments in (a) the Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK since their inception. [21054]

Mr. Timms: Information relating to the 1997–98 and 1998–99 winters is not available. The information from winter 1999–2000 is in the table. These figures are also available in the Library. Information on payments made in Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Constituency/regionPayments made
South Tyneside
North East
Great Britain

1. Data is taken at the specified dates.
2. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3. Figures are rounded to the nearest five.
4. Local authorities and parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.
Information Directorate, 100 per cent. Sample.

25 Oct 2005 : Column 288W

Public Sector Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the estimated total annual cost of all public sector pension schemes is for each year from 1988–89 to 2008–09; and if he will make a statement. [20684]

Mr. Des Browne: I have been asked to reply.

Figures for Government spending on unfunded public service pensions that are included within Annually Managed Expenditure are published in table B.1 of the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2005 (PESA). That table covers 1999–00 to 2007–08; a comparable table for earlier years is not available. The PESA table includes payments in respect of transfers of liabilities within central Government as well as payments to pensioners. It does not include unfunded police and firefighter pensions paid by local authorities, which are included within line D.623 of Table 5.3.4S of the United Kingdom National Accounts—the Blue Book"—2005. Figures for spending on Local Government Pension Scheme benefits in England and Wales are available at:

Real terms figures can be calculated using GDP deflators found on HM Treasury's website:


ACP Countries

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps the Government are taking to enable African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to have the option of signing either an Economic Partnership Agreement or a pro-development alternative. [21146]

Ian Pearson: The European Union is negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with six regional groups of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, with negotiations due to finish by the end of 2007. The UK published a position paper on EPAs in March.

In the Cotonou Agreement, the European Union made a commitment to provide an alternative to an Economic Partnership Agreement at the request of any ACP country. The deadline to request an alternative has been extended to the end of 2006, at the request of the ACP themselves. To date no ACP countries have requested an alternative or have disengaged from the ongoing EPA negotiations. Should any ACP request an alternative to an EPA, the Government will encourage the Commission to consider all the possible alternative options available. The Government have already commissioned research on the amendments that would be required to existing trade arrangements to offer a sufficient alternative.
25 Oct 2005 : Column 289W

Auditor Liability

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the provisions relating to auditor liability in the European Commission's Eighth Directive. [19628]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government support the provisions set out in Article 30a of the Audit Directive, which received political agreement under the UK Presidency on 11 October. Article 30a commits the European Commission to undertake research to assess the impact of the different national regimes for auditor liability across the EU.

Bain Report

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects Sir George Bain's report on his findings on the Royal Mail will be published. [21675]

Barry Gardiner: Sir George Bain has been appointed to provide advice to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on Royal Mail issues. There are no plans to publish Sir George's advice.

Developing Countries

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to encourage companies based in England to act responsibly in respect of (a) human rights and (b) the environment in their operations in developing countries. [19825]

Ian Pearson: We actively encourage UK-based international companies which operate in other countries, to apply high standards of corporate behaviour, including adhering to relevant internationally agreed standards which respect human rights and the environment.

In April 2005 the UN High Commission on Human Rights requested the UN Secretary-General to appoint a special representative to take forward work on the area of business and human rights. The two year mandate of the special representative includes identification and clarification of standards of corporate responsibility and accountability for business with regard to human rights.

The UK plays a leading role in ensuring that the international framework to promote and to tackle abuses of workers rights throughout the world is in place, particularly through its work with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). We play an active role in the ILO Committee on Multinational Enterprises and support the promotion and follow-up of the ILO Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy which seeks
25 Oct 2005 : Column 290W
to enhance the positive social and labour effects of multinational corporations' operations throughout the world.

We actively support the UN Global Compact, launched by Kofi Anann in July 2000. The Compact is an agreement between the UN and business to uphold and promulgate 10 principles covering human rights, labour, the environment and corruption. We also promote the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises which recommend standards of responsible business conduct for businesses operating in or from the 37 adhering countries and we have written to the FTSE 100 companies to raise awareness of these expectations.

We have set out our approach to encouraging environmentally and socially responsible practice internationally in our International Strategic Framework on Corporate Social Responsibility published in March this year.

The Government are building Sustainable Development Dialogues with China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies. These dialogues seek to engage companies and civil society in both countries in the move towards sustainable development. The UK-India Dialogue was launched on 11 October.

Next Section Index Home Page