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13 Dec 2005 : Column 1825W—continued

City Academies (VAT)

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of extending the provisions of section 33 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 to city academies. [37330]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: No estimate has been made.

Citygate Public Affairs Ltd.

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what meetings the Department has held with Citygate Public Affairs Ltd. since July. [36752]

John Healey: The Department does not maintain a central list of such contacts. Ministers and civil servants, including special advisers meet many people as part of the process of policy development and business delivery. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, Civil Service Code, Code of Conduct for Special Advisers and Guidance for civil servants on contacts with lobbyists and people outside Government.

Company Regulations

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the meetings held between hisDepartment and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister at which the decision to remove the obligation on businesses to publish operating and financial reviews was discussed. [36722]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: In line with the Government's commitment to simplifying company law and reducing the regulatory burden on business, the Government have decided to replace the requirement for quoted companies to produce a statutory Operating and Financial Review with a requirement to produce an enhanced Business Review. This aligns the reporting requirements of quoted companies with the requirements of the European Accounts Modernisation Directive and demonstrates the Government's ongoing commitment to strategic forward-looking narrative reporting.

The Chancellor consulted with ministerial colleagues prior to making this decision. There were no meetings between the Treasury and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on this issue.

Consumer Debt

Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average level of consumer debt was in (a) Essex, (b) England and (c) Wales in the last period for which figures are available; what assessment he has made of the level of debt in other parts of the UK; and if he will make a statement. [37555]

John Healey: Figures from the Bank of England showed that the level of unsecured consumer debt in the UK in October 2005 was £191,406 million, of which £56,334 million is credit card debt and £135,072 million other. Official regional and average data are not available. The growth in unsecured lending is now at its lowest in over 10 years.

Death Rate (Lancashire)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the death rate was for (a) cancer and (b) heart disease in (i) Lancashire, (ii) the North West and (iii)Chorley in the last period for which figures are available. [36772]

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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 Colin Mowl, dated 13 December 2005:

Death rates(8) from cancer and coronary heart disease(9) in the county of Lancashire,3,4 North West government office region and the local authority of Chorley,(11) 2004
Age standardised death rates per 100,000 population(8)

CancerCoronary heart disease
North West195131

(8)Rates per 100,000 population standardised to the European Standard Population.
(9)The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). The codes used are listed as follows:
Cancer (malignant neoplasms)—ICD-10 C00-C97;
Coronary Heart Disease—ICD-10 120–125.
Deaths were selected from those registered in 2004 using the original underlying cause.
(10)The figures provided relate to the current county of Lancashire. This excludes the unitary authorities of Blackburn and Darwen, and Blackpool, created in 1998, which were part of the former county.
(11)Usual residents of these areas.

Defined Benefit Schemes

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the factors affecting achange in tax relief on pension contributions going into defined benefit schemes; and if he will make a statement. [37147]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Following extensive consultation the Government are introducing a single regime for the taxation of pensions with a single set of rules for all pensions schemes, including defined benefit schemes, from 6 April 2006 There will be two key controls within the new system—a lifetime allowance—initially set at £1.5 million and an annual allowance, initially set at £215,000.

The impact of any further change for defined benefit schemes would depend on a number of factors such as the specific funding, demographic and accruals of any individual scheme.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) higher rate tax relief and (b) basic rate tax relief was applied to (i) defined benefit private sector schemes, (ii) defined benefit public sector schemes and (iii) approved pension schemes in the last year for which figures are available. [37148]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne) on 24 October 2005, Official Report, column 52W.
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It is not possible to provide such a breakdown for defined benefit private sector schemes or defined benefit public sector schemes.

Departmental Guidance (Evidence/Documentary Access)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is with regard to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department giving evidence to the (i) Scottish Parliament, (ii) National Assembly for Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland Assembly committees; and to what categories of document he gives (A) full access, (B) restricted access and (C) no access to the (1) Scottish Parliament, (2) National Assembly for Wales, (3) Northern Ireland Assembly and (4) House of Commons select committees. [37402]

John Healey: Requests for Treasury Ministers or officials to give oral or written evidence to the devolved legislatures are considered on a case by case basis. Account is taken of the principles set out in the Cabinet Office guidance Departmental Evidence and Response to Select Committees" (July 2005), the policy outlined in the Department for Constitutional Affairs' Devolution Guidance Note No.12 Attendance of UK Ministers and Officials at Committees of the Devolved Legislatures" and the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The principles governing the provision of information to select committees of the House of Commons are contained in Departmental Evidence and Response to Select Committees", particularly sections 4B and 4C.

Departmental Relocation

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many departmental civil service jobs have been relocated to Scotland in each year since 2001. [32262]

Mr. Des Browne: Details of the number of departmental civil service jobs relocated to Scotland by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) prior to April 2004 are not available.

In delivering against its commitment to relocate jobs following the report by Sir Michael Lyons, HMRC have moved 44 posts from London and the South East to Scotland since April 2004.

HM Treasury has not relocated any posts to Scotland in the years in question.

Departmental Skills Development Plan

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's Skills Development Plan. [23859]

John Healey: A copy of the Department's Skills Development Plan has been deposited in the House of Commons Library.

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