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Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many meetings of the EU (a) Contact Committee on certain schemes for collective investment in securities, (b) Contact Committee: European economic interest grouping and (c) Accounting Directives Contact 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 representations of the devolved governments; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: The Contact Committee on certain schemes for collective investment in securities has been wound up and its work taken over by the European Securities Committee. Financial services is a reserved matter for the UK Government and Treasury officials represent the UK at ESC meetings. HM Treasury has regular contacts with significant financial services centres throughout the UK to inform the position of the UK at these meetings.
The Contact Committee on the Accounting Directives has now been amalgamated with the Accounting Regulatory Committee. The Committee met three times during the UK Presidency. Meetings were chaired by the European Commission. The UK is represented by officials from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list EU meetings of (a) heads of state and (b) government that he has attended in the company of the Prime Minister since June 1997. 
John Healey: In normal circumstances the Prime Minister represents the UK at European Councils, accompanied by the Foreign Secretary. The Chancellor of the Exchequer represents the UK at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a break down by (a) Department and
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(b) activity of the £4.7 billion efficiency savings as a result of the Gershon Review announced in the pre-Budget report. 
Mr. Des Browne: This information is available in departmental Autumn Performance Reports that have been published and in forthcoming Departmental Reports which all departments are required to publish by April.
|Workstream||Total gains reported (£ million)|
|Policy, Funding and Regulation||520|
Mr. Des Browne: Departments and agencies have authority to determine pay and conditions for their staff below the Senior Civil Service, which are appropriate to their business needs and which take account of Government policies on public sector pay. Under these arrangements Departments and agencies are required to submit a Pay Remit to Treasury outlining its proposals for increases in pay.
Departments and agencies are expected to ensure that their pay systems reflect the local labour markets in which they operate. However as a consequence of delegated pay no centrally collected list exists of the number of Government Departments that operate local pay arrangements excluding London Weighting.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what calculations are performed to compare
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the costs of a private finance initiative scheme with traditional funding schemes from public sector borrowing. 
John Healey: The required analysis for comparing whether a given project would be value for money using PFI compared with conventional funding is laid out in the Value for Money Guidance and the accompanying Quantitative User Guide, published in August 2004. These can be found on the HM Treasury website at:
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) working men's clubs and (b) other private members' clubs there were in England in the most recent year for which figures are available, broken down by local authority. 
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many (a)working men's clubs and (b) other private members' clubs there were in England in the most recent year for which figures are available, broken down by local authority. (43532)
Working men's clubs are included within the standard industrial classification (SIC) for licensed clubs. Private members' clubs are included within activities of other membership organisations not elsewhere classified. I am placing a table in the House of Commons Library showing the figures for licensed clubs (SIC 55401) and for activities of other membership organisations (SIC 91330).
These figures are based on the criteria used in the National Statistics publication UK Business: Activity, Size and Location for 2005", published on the National Statistics website: www.statistics.gov.uk/ukbusiness, and relate to the number of local units operated by businesses registered for VAT as at March 2005.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) charges interest on tax arrears determined following reviews of tax accounts, from a date prior to that on which HMRC (a) determined and (b) informed the liable person that such arrears existed; if he will amend this practice so that interest on tax arrears is only charged from the point that the liable person could reasonably first have made payment; and if he will make a statement. 
Interest is not a penalty, and is charged in order to recompense the Exchequer where tax is paid later than the due date. In that, it is like any commercial interest. Interest applies whatever the reason for the delayed payment, and I cannot accept the case for different dates applying depending on the reason payment was not made on time.
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Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2006, Official Report, column 556W, on tax credit, whether an estimate was made by his Department in advance of the pre-Budget report of the prospective cost of the increase in the disregard from £2,500 to £25,000. 
Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) and the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 13 December 2005, Official Report, column 1836W.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in his Department have administered each tax credit in each year since their introduction; and what the cost of administering each tax credit in each year has been. 
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