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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2794W—continued

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent on external consultants and advisers by (a) his Department, (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which his Department is responsible and (c) each
 
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independent statutory body, organisation and body financially sponsored by his Department in each year since May 1997. [39080]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) and Cheltenham (Martin Horwood) on 21 November 2005, Official Report, column 1571W. The equivalent information in relation to each of the other bodies could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent on advertising by (a) his Department, (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which his Department is responsible and (c) each independent statutory body, organisation and body financially sponsored by his Department in each year since May 1997. [39082]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr.Burstow) and the hon. Member for Monmouth (David T.C. Davies) on 6 July 2005, Official Report, column 433W. The equivalent information in relation to each of the other bodies could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many widescreen televisions have been purchased by his Department for use in London headquarters in each of the last five years; and what the cost was in each year. [39141]

John Healey: None.

Departmental Staff (Chronic Back Pain)

Mr. Pelling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what initiatives are being taken in his Department to help civil servants with chronic back pain. [34979]

John Healey: The Treasury follows the recommendations of the Health and Safety Executive on seating and back problems.

Staff are encouraged to seek medical advice from their general practitioner and those with persistent problems are advised by our occupational health provider.

The Treasury also encourages staff to adopt a healthy work/life balance through the promotion of on site exercise.

Employment Rates

Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the percentage employment rate for the working age population was in (a) June to August 1999 and (b) June to August 2004 in each local authority area, listed in descending order according to the difference between the two figures. [38270]

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

Letter from Jil Matheson, dated 20 December 2005:


 
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EU Budget

Mr. McFall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the UK's contribution to the EU budget will be in each year from 2007 to 2013 under the recently agreed budget. [39618]

Mr. Gordon Brown: The estimated extra costs will be £500 million (0.09 per cent. of public spending) in 2007–08, zero (0 per cent.) in 2008–09, £1.0 billion (0.16 per cent. in 2009–10, and between £1.6 billion and £1.9 billion (0.23 per cent. and 0.26 per cent.) each year between 2010–11 and 2012–13.

The fiscal forecast will be updated as usual at the Budget.

EU Committees

Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many meetings of the EU (a) Contact Committee on combating money laundering and (b) Insurance Committee have taken place during the UK Presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; what other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. [38778]

John Healey: The Money Laundering Contact Committee met three times during the UK Presidency of the EU. The European Commission is the chair of the committee. At the first two meetings (on 5 July 2005 and 27 September 2005) UK Government officials from HM Treasury represented and led for the UK. For the final meeting of the year on 23 November 2005 officials from both HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority attended for the UK.

The European Commission has established a new organisational structure for financial services committees. As a result the Insurance Committee has been replaced by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Committee (EIOPC). The committee is chaired by the European Commission.

Treasury officials usually represent the UK at EIOPC meetings although HM Treasury may ask the Financial Services Authority to attend alongside its officials to provide technical assistance. There has been one EIOPC meeting during the UK Presidency of the EU, on 2 December 2005. On this occasion, one official from HM Treasury and one official from the Financial Services Authority attended the meeting.

In preparation for the meetings of these European committees, the Government consults as necessary with all interested parties. Devolved Administrations are also consulted before the UK agrees to any major European policy decisions.
 
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many meetings of the EU (a) Advisory Committee on state aid for the application of Articles 92 and 93 of the EC treaty to certain categories of horizontal state aid (exemption), (b) Advisory Committee on state aid on the arrangements for applying Article 93 of the EC treaty (procedure) and (c) Banking Advisory Committee have taken place during the UK presidency of the EU; who presided over each meeting; what other UK representatives were present; what provision was made for representation of the devolved Governments; and if he will make a statement. [38811]

Ian Pearson: I have been asked to reply.

There have been three European Commission convened multilateral meetings on state aid with member states over the course of the UK presidency: to discuss the draft regional aid guidelines 2007–13; to discuss the Commission's innovation and state aid communication; and the follow up to the council conclusions on state aid.

These were chaired by the Commission, and the UK delegation was led by DTI, and in the case of the latter multilateral, HMT also attended as part of the UK delegation. Representatives of OFT attended the meeting as guests of the Commission (they presented at the meeting) but were not part of the official UK delegation.

While the Commission has exclusive competence in the area of state aid, and it is a reserved matter for the UK Government, we do consult extensively with colleagues in the devolved administrations, and for these meetings the UK line was agreed prior to the meetings, the outcomes of which were reported back to the devolved administrations.

With respect to the third part of the question, the Commission has established a new organisational structure for financial services committees. As a result the Banking Advisory Committee has now become a Lamfalussy Committee. It has been renamed as the European Banking Committee (EEC). EBC is chaired by a senior official from the Commission.

There have been two EEC's during the period of the UK presidency of the EU. The UK was represented by two officials from HM Treasury.

Financial services is a reserved matter for the UK Government and Treasury officials represent the UK at EBC meetings. HM Treasury has regular contacts with significant financial services centres throughout the UK to inform the position of the UK at these meetings.


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