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John Healey: Skills are vital to the stability and growth of the economy. Increases in an economy's trend rate of growth depend on how many people are in employment and how productive they are. Skills are one of the drivers of productivity.
It is also why the Chancellor commissioned the Leitch Review of Skills, this independent review of the UK's skills needs, which published its interim report on Monday, set out the extent of current evidence on the relationship between work force skills and employment.
Since 1997, there are 2.2 million more jobs in the UK. Over the last eight years, job numbers have grown by 330,000 a year; an average growth rate of 1 per cent. and, the number of jobs in the UK is now at a record high.
8 Dec 2005 : Column 1446W
John Hemming: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value of air passenger duty has been in each year since 1997 (a) in real terms, allowing for inflation and compared to the increase in gross domestic product, and (b) expressed as average amount per UK passenger. 
John Healey: Reliable estimates of the value of each of the four APD rates for each scenario requested from 1997 are not available due to the restructuring of APD in 2001. However, estimates since 2001 are shown in the following table.
|EEAReduced rate||EEAStandard rate||Non-EEAReduced rate||Non-EEAStandard rate||Average per passenger|
|EEAReduced Rate||EEAStandard rate||Non-EEAReduced rate||Non-EEAStandard rate||Average per passenger|
John Hemming: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of (a) the increase in air passenger duty which would be required to maintain air fares at a constant level in real terms up to 2010 and (b) what increase in price this would contribute to average air fares. 
John Healey: No estimate has been made of what APD would be necessary to maintain air fares constant in real terms until 2010. Likewise no estimate has been made into what proportion this would contribute to average air fares.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has drafted new regulations to replace the Companies Act 1985 (Operating and Financial Review and Directors' Report etc.) Regulations 2005; 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department of Trade and Industry is drafting regulations to amend the relevant sections of the Companies Act 1985, as originally amended by the Companies Act 1985 (Operating and Financial Review and Directors' Report etc.) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/1011). These will remove the statutory requirement for an OFR, leaving in place a requirement for all companies to prepare an enhanced business review in their directors' reports. The new regulations will reinforce the Government's commitment to improving strategic, forward-looking narrative reporting.
John Healey: The funding arrangements for the devolved Administrations are set out in the Statement of Funding Policy published in July 2004. The Government have no plans to replace the Barnett formula.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on introducing a requirement for all public sector contractors to establish project bank accounts for all construction projects coming on-stream; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Government support fair payment practice within the construction industry. Clients within Government Departments must consider the most suitable approach to use on a case-by-case basis from the range of options open to themincluding making use of project bank accounts.
It is important that clients are able to judge each case on its merits, as it is not at present considered appropriate to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to the use of project bank accounts, or for that matter any other single payment mechanism, for all construction procurement activity.
Ed Balls: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many households in (a) West Yorkshire, (b) Wakefield district and (c) Normanton constituency have a level of debt above (i) £10,000, (ii) £20,000, (iii)£50,000 and (iv) £100,000; 
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Questions on the number of households and the number of women in West Yorkshire, Wakefield district and Normanton constituency that were more than £10,000 in debt (35407, 35408).
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs generally respond to inquiries from the parliamentary ombudsman promptly within the time limit set by her office, usually three weeks. Where there are difficulties in meeting the time limit, it is normal practice that arrangements are made with the ombudsman's office to agree an extension.
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