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Tender Specification Documents

Tim Farron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department has conducted into the quality of tender specification documents issued by public bodies to private organisations bidding for public contracts; and if he will (a) conduct a sampled investigation into (i) the quality of these documents and (ii) what additional costs and inefficiencies are created in the bidding process due to poorly written documents and (b) produce guidance to assist public bodies in drafting clearly comprehensible tender specification documents. [37579]

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John Healey: No such research has been conducted by the Departments and agencies responsible to Treasury Ministers, neither is any planned. Guidance on best practice in procurement, and project and programme management (including model terms and conditions for the purchase of goods and services) is available for public authorities on the Office of Government Commerce's website

Trust Schools (VAT Status)

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value added tax status will be of the trust schools proposed in the White Paper, Higher Standards, Better Standards for All. [37331]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Trust schools, as with any other school, will be subject to the VAT rules set out in the VAT Act 1994.

Unclaimed Assets

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the funds that will be recovered in unclaimed assets from bank accounts held by (a) account holders whose last known residence was in Scotland and (b) banks in Scotland. [36710]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: As announced in the pre-Budget report 2005, based on the definition that unclaimed assets should generally cover accounts where there has been no customer activity for a period of 15 years, initial record searches by the industry suggest that several hundred million pounds may currently lie unclaimed.

This figure is for the UK as a whole.

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how unclaimed assets from dormant bank accounts of account holders last known to be resident in Scotland will be used. [36711]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: As announced in the pre-Budget report 2005, the Government believes that where owners and their assets cannot be reunited, the money should be reinvested in the community, particularly in deprived communities, in a sustainable way, through a co-ordinated delivery mechanism, with a focus on youth services that are responsive to the needs of young people, and also on financial education and exclusion. There would be an option for small locally-based financial institutions to focus on these needs in their local communities.

The Government and the industry will continue to work together, to develop the best structure to deliver this approach, and will consult with stakeholders such as organisations representing the interests of young people and the Commission on Unclaimed Assets.

VAT (Charities)

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Government will implement the European Sixth VAT Directive Article 13A(1)(f) to enable charities to claim tax relief when they work collaboratively. [37290]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have considered a number of cases where it was claimed that Article 13A(1)(f) of the Sixth VAT Directive
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applied. In each case VAT exemption was already available under UK law, or the transactions in question did not meet all the conditions of Article 13A(1)(f).

However, the Government keep all taxes under review and HMRC are in discussion with the charitable sector about a range of VAT issues.

Working Tax Credits

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people (a) are eligible for and (b) have received the working tax credits in the Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency. [36987]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the numbers of those entitled to working families' tax credit are not available at constituency level.

Estimates of the number of recipient families of working families' tax credit from 2001–02 broken down by constituency appear in the quarterly WFTC and DPTC geographical analyses. These publications can be found on the HMRC website at:

Figures for the child and working tax credits can also be found at this address.


Air Passengers (Financial Protection)

8. Mr. Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Department for Transport about the financial protection of air passengers on flights to and from Scotland. [35564]

Mr. Darling: Financial protection for air passengers is dealt with through UK and EU legislation.

Reserved Matters

9. David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with chief constables in Scotland on reserved matters. [35565]

David Cairns: My right hon. Friend has had no such discussions other than in June this year when he met the chief constables of two Scottish police forces to receive oral briefings on security preparations for the G8 summit at Gleneagles.

Energy Needs

10. Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the FirstMinister on Scotland's energy needs for winter 2005–06. [35566]

Mr. Darling: I have regular discussions with the First Minister on a range of issues.


11. Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent steps the Government have taken to help the shipbuilding industry in Scotland. [35567]

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David Cairns: Scottish shipbuilders compete on a commercial basis and I congratulate the two yards who won orders for civilian ships in recent weeks. The Government itself is a significant customer for Scottish shipyards engaged in military shipbuilding. The Ministry of Defence and members of the shipbuilding industry are working closely together to develop a comprehensive maritime industrial strategy to sustain maritime capability in the long-term.

Asylum and Immigration

13. Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues and the First Minister on asylum and immigration issues in Scotland. [35569]

David Cairns: My right hon. Friend meets Cabinet colleagues and the First Minister regularly to discuss a wide range of issues.

Electoral Arrangements

14. John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when the report from the Arbuthnott Commission on electoral arrangements in Scotland will be published; and if he will make a statement. [35570]

Mr. Darling: I expect to receive the Arbuthnott Commission report in the course of January.


Parliamentary Questions

34. Ben Chapman: To ask the Leader of the House what recent representations he has received from hon. Members regarding tabling of parliamentary questions during the summer recess. [36661]

Nigel Griffiths: This issue has been raised in business questions and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House remains open to other representations.

Ministers remain accountable for the work of their Department in recesses, and Members can and do correspond with them during recesses.

Constituency Office Staff

Sarah Teather: To ask the Leader of the House how many cases of violence towards hon. Members' staff in constituency offices have been made known to House authorities in each year since 1997. [35579]

Nigel Griffiths: This information is not recorded centrally. Members should report cases of violence towards them, to the House authorities.

A central House of Commons budget may contribute to the costs of security measures taken in the constituency to safeguard Members' staff, their equipment and themselves.

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