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14 Feb 2006 : Column 1860W—continued

Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his plans for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. [48171]

Barry Gardiner: NERC's science budget allocation has doubled since 1997 to £334 million for this year, demonstrating our commitment to maintaining the quality of environmental research in the UK. NERC is currently consulting widely with stakeholders and staff on a proposed restructuring of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). The aim of the proposal is to ensure the long-term sustainability of CEH and its continued capacity to contribute to environmental research in the UK into the future. These consultations close on 15 February 2006. I am sure that NERC Council will consider carefully all evidence and views on the potential impact of the proposals.

If, following consultation, NERC decides to proceed with the restructuring, the costs would be met from NERC's science budget allocation, and the Department has indicated that it would be willing to increase NERC's allocation by up to £14.2 million over 2006–08 so as to support the delivery of its core programmes in these circumstances.

Civil Servants

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the cost of the enhanced early retirement scheme for civil servants in his Department and its agencies was in each year from 1997–98 to 2004–05; what the estimated cost is for each year from 2005–06 to 2007–08; and if he will make a statement. [44769]

Alan Johnson: The Department records total annual liabilities for all early departure schemes, including continuing costs of compensation payments and early severance payments that are not retirements. It does not keep separate records of the costs that relate specifically to enhanced early retirement schemes. This information for eight financial years could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The estimated cost of enhanced early retirement schemes in 2005–06 including flexible and compulsory early retirements and approved early retirement schemes (including the Insolvency Service) is £8.1 million. It is expected that the reduction of DTI staff by 1,010 civil servants will lead to cumulative
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savings of £37.20 million by 2007–08. This should offset the initial expenditure on the enhanced early retirement schemes.

My Department may run early retirement schemes during future years to deal with areas where staff cannot be re-deployed by alternative means but currently has no firm plans to do so.

DTPs agencies will be replying to the hon. Member directly.

Letter from Dr. Jeff Llewellyn, dated 14 February 2006:

Letter from Claire Clancy, dated 14 February 2006:

Letter from Ron Marchant, dated 14 February 2006:

Amount (£)
2007–08est 0
2006–07est 0
2005–06est 39,000

Letter from Jeanne Spinks, dated 14 February 2006:

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Civil Service

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress his Department has made towards achieving targets to reduce the number of civil service posts set by the Independent Review of Public Sector Efficiency; and if he will make a statement. [51618]

Alan Johnson: As set out in the 2004 Independent Review of Public Sector Efficiency, DTI plans, by 2007–08, to achieve a total reduction of 1010 posts in core DTI and Regional Government Offices.

Since 1 April 2004 core DTI numbers have decreased from 4179.7 'full-time equivalent' people to 3401.9 'full-time equivalent' people, a reduction of 777.8 as of 1 February 2006. The regional Government Offices have also reduced by 80 posts giving a total reduction of 857.8 against our target of 1010.

DTI is confident that the 1010 target will be met early.

Companies House Register

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment the Government have made of the cost of removing home addresses from the Companies House register. [51174]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 13 February 2006]: The estimated cost of removing each instance of an individual home address from the register of companies by Companies House is £40.00.

Information held by Companies House is already in the public domain. For example, it is held by the large business information providing companies who take daily downloads of the information held by Companies House. This means that even if the records at Companies House could be expunged the information would still be available from other sources.

Company Law

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek to introduce legislation to require companies to publish details of their transfer pricing policies. [50021]

Alun Michael: Transfer pricing describes the charge or cost that is made when one company transfers or sells" a product to another company within the same group of companies (often in different countries). There are no Companies Act disclosure requirements; there are tax implications that are governed by guidelines and requirements.

We have no plans to introduce legislation to require companies to publish details of their transfer pricing policies.

Departmental Contracts

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the value was of (a) public opinion research and (b) public relations contracts awarded by his Department in 2004–05 in (i) each (A) nation and (B) region of the UK and (ii) London. [35960]

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Alan Johnson: (a) The Department does not centrally collect the information sought at the required level of detail and to provide it would entail disproportionate cost.

(b) A comprehensive list of all projects is not held centrally. Information from the Central Office of Information shows that the following amounts were spent in 2004–05. These relate to contracts where the major element of work was for public relations.
Amount (£)
Dispute resolution68,405.05
Renewable energy516,490.60
Best business practice338,443.29
Best practice151,827.51

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