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Mr. Marsden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent discussions he and his officials have had with (a) other EU countries and (b) heritage, amenities and conservation groups on the proposal for a reduced rate of VAT on domestic building work; 
Dawn Primarolo: EU Finance Ministers have discussed reduced rates of VAT many times at ECOFIN meetings, most recently on 24 January 2006. A written statement recorded the outcome of this meeting on 31 January 2006, Official Report, column 7WS.
The Government are aware of the views of heritage and conservation bodies and meets with many interest groups on tax issues including VAT. The issue of VAT on domestic building work has been raised with officials as part of an ongoing dialogue.
However the Government have only introduced reduced rates where they are convinced they offer the best-targeted and most efficient support for our key social objectives. We continue to keep this under review.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what aspects of the Financial Ombudsman Service are covered in the two-year review process under the Financial Services and Market Act 2000 started in November 2003; and when the report of the review will be published. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: As part of the two-year review of the Financial Services and Market Act 2000, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury asked the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to review:
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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is operationally independent of Government. The steps taken by the Financial Ombudsman Service to deal with the demands it faces are detailed in its Corporate Plan and budget 200607 published in January 2006.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures are in place to ensure the independence of the Financial Ombudsman Service from its private financial sector funders; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Financial Ombudsman Service has a board of non-executive, public interest directors who are appointed by the Financial Services Authority under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The chairman of the board is appointed by the Financial Services Authority with the approval of HM Treasury.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Where users of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) are dissatisfied the matter is initially passed to the internal service review team for investigation. Where users remain dissatisfied the case is passed to the Independent Assessor whose role is to carry out a final review of the service provided by the FOS.
The Independent Assessor is authorised to make findings and recommendations for redress relating to the service standards of the FOS in cases where he believes it is justified. The Independent Assessor submits his annual report to the Board of the FOS. This report is published in full each year in the Annual Review of the FOS.
The Annual Review of the FOS includes operational as well as financial information. An independent assessment of the processes and outputs of the FOS was carried out in 2004 and a further such review is planned for 2007.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: An initial assessment of a complaint is made by an adjudicator. If this assessment is disputed, either the complainant or the authorised person can ask an Ombudsman to review the decision. An Ombudsman's final decision is the end of the process and there is no scope for appeal on the merits of the case within the procedures of the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of whether staffing levels at the Financial Ombudsman Service are adequate to meet demand; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what gross domestic product per capita was in (a) the UK, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Scotland and (e) Northern Ireland in (i) 1979, (ii) 1997 and (iii) 2005. 
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in UK, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for the years 1979, 1997 and 2005. I am replying in her absence. (58464).
Estimates of GDP per capita for 1979 are shown in Table A attached. For 1997 and 2004, estimates of Gross Value Added (GVA) per capita are shown in table B. GVA is similar in concept to GDP but the estimates are not directly comparable.
The figures in table A are based on data published in 1998 whilst those in table B are based on regional GVA published in December 2005. Estimates for 2005 are expected to be published in December of this year.
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