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24 July 2006 : Column 1049W—continued

Databases

Anne Main: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice he has given the Home Secretary on managing complex computer databases. [82812]

Mr. Timms: The Office of Government Commerce, through its Gateway Review process, advises all Departments on acquisition and procurement projects.

Defence

Mr. Harper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what public spending on defence was in each year since 1997 in (a) cash terms, (b) at 2006 prices and (c) as a percentage of gross domestic product. [86990]

Mr. Timms: Final outturn figures for defence spending in financial years 1997-98 to 2004-05, expressed in terms of 2004-05 prices, and as a percentage of GDP, can be found in Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 2006, tables 3.2 and 3.4 respectively. GDP deflators to adjust this data to 2005-06 prices are available on the Treasury website at:

In addition, defence final outturn figures for 2005-06 can be found in the MOD’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2005-06.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent on hotels (a) in the UK and (b) abroad by his Department’s employees in the last 12 months. [83498]


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John Healey: I refer to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Upper Bann (David Simpson) on 24 May 2006, Official Report, column 1850W.

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent on heating his Department’s buildings in London in each year since 1997. [83505]

John Healey: The Treasury’s heating is provided by the Whitehall District Heating System operated by OGCbuying solutions. The Whitehall District Heating System also supplies the Treasury’s hot water except in the summer months. The total cost of the Treasury’s use of the system since 2002-03 is set out in the following table. Figures for years prior to 2002-03 could be provided only at disproportionate cost due to a change in accounting system in that year.

£000

2002-03

492

2003-04

381

2004-05

336

2005-06

310


Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on artwork in each year since 1997. [83507]

John Healey: There was no spending by the Treasury on works of art in 2005-06. In relation to previous years, I refer to the answers given to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 333W, and to the hon. Member for Monmouth (David T.C. Davies) on 1 November 2005, Official Report, column 984W.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the total amount spent in a year on lighting his Department’s buildings in London. [83587]

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on electricity use in each year since 2003-04. [83776]

John Healey: I refer to the answer given to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 10 October 2005, Official Report, column 332W. Spending by the Treasury on electricity in 2005-06 was £431,000.

Disaggregated figures for lighting, separate from other electricity use, are not available.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) his Department and (b) agencies of his Department spent on water and sewage services in each year since 2003-04. [83664]

John Healey: I refer to the answer given to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 10 October 2005, Official Report, column 332W. Spending by the Treasury and its agencies in 2005-06 was as follows.


24 July 2006 : Column 1051W
2005-06 Spending (£)

HMRC and VOA

3,339,547

HMT

21,575

OGC and OGC Buying Solutions

25,595

ONS

(1)

GAD

2,246

DMO

(2)

NS&I

(3)

Royal Mint

371,384

(1) Information not yet available. (2) DMO costs are included in the service charge and disaggregated data for water and sewerage services is unavailable. (3) NS&I occupy a MOTO agreement with HMRC. Costs are included in the facilities charge and disaggregated data for water and sewerage services is unavailable.

Departmental Guidance

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance he has issued to employees in his Department on (a) saving water, (b) conserving heat and (c) reducing electricity consumption. [83573]

John Healey: Treasury employees are encouraged to reduce utility consumption and wastage of resources routinely. The department works closely with contractors and staff to improve the efficient use of the building and workplace.

Departmental Staff (Sickness Absence)

David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 28 June 2006, Official Report, column 414W, on sickness absence, to what he attributes the rise in the number of staff with (a) two, (b) three, (c) four and (d) five or more periods of sickness absence of less than five days in each of the last three years. [84075]

John Healey: Staff absenteeism recorded as sickness absence in each year since 1997 is contained in Cabinet Office publication of an annual report “Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service”. This report gives a detailed analysis of the civil service data, including patterns, frequency and reasons for absence.

This is available in the Library and on the civil service website at:

Departmental Water Use

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) sprinklers and (b) irrigation systems are used by (i) his Department and (ii) other departments for which he is responsible in London. [83499]

John Healey: There are no sprinklers and one irrigation system in the Treasury building at 1 Horse Guards Road. Information on other London based Departments is not held centrally and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.


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Doha Round

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he plans to take over the next month to encourage revival of the Doha round of trade talks. [86766]

John Healey: As the Chancellor set out in his Mansion House speech on 21 June, the most powerful pro-globalisation signal we can send is to make possible the increase in world trade that an ambitious WTO settlement would bring.

The need for an ambitious and pro-development outcome to the Doha round of trade talks was a key message of the UK presidencies in 2005. This was reiterated by G8 heads of government at their St. Petersburg summit on 15-17 July 2006, where they noted their commitment to the development dimension of Doha, and urged all parties to work with the utmost urgency for the conclusion of the round by the end of 2006. As the G8 concluded, all countries should commit to the concerted leadership and action needed to reach a successful conclusion to the Doha round.

To this end Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings, conversations and discussions with a wide range of organisations and individuals as part of the process of policy development, analysis and delivery, including WTO and ED member states.

Dual Flush Toilets

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many dual flush toilets there are in his Department. [83578]

John Healey: All of the 144 toilets in the Treasury building at 1 Horse Guards Road have a dual flush facility.

ECOFIN

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which of the proposals tabled by the UK presidency at the December ECOFIN meeting regarding the next steps towards better European regulation have been implemented by (a) the UK and (b) other member states. [88098]

Ed Balls: At the December 2005 ECOFIN, the UK, Austria and Finland issued a joint-presidency discussion paper setting out areas for future work by the Commission working together with member states to improve the regulatory framework in Europe. Since December progress has been made in a number of areas. The Commission has been piloting administrative burden measurement and plans to identify priority areas for action and options for setting targets to reduce administrative costs by the end of the year, enabling concrete proposals to be made next year. The Commission is also reviewing its Impact Assessment procedures and its processes for consulting with stakeholders and is due to report on progress on its simplification plan in the autumn.

The UK continues to take the lead in pushing for Better Regulation in Europe while in the UK we are
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pressing ahead with implementation of the Hampton review recommendations on risk-based enforcement and the assessment of administrative burdens.

Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the reference to the high-level group in paragraph 3.103 of HC 968, the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report and Financial Statement and Budget Report, March 2006, who the members of the group are; on what dates it has met; when it will announce a strategy; and if he will place in the Library the minutes of its meetings. [87532]

Ed Balls: The Treasury will announce publicly the composition of the high-level group when it meets for the first time in the autumn, following a series of meetings at official level which have been under way since the spring. The Treasury will make an announcement on the strategy before the end of the year.

Financial Consumer Education

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether (a) his Department and (b) the Financial Services Authority has assessed the merits of setting up a stand-alone financial consumer education initiative. [87386]

Ed Balls: The Financial Services Authority (FSA), in partnership with the Government, the financial services industry and voluntary organisations, leads the national strategy for financial capability.

In March 2006 the FSA published “Delivering Change”, which sets out how it plans to improve financial capability in partnership with others. (http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/other/fincap_delivering.pdf). The programme includes promoting financial education in schools and in the workplace. The FSA also publishes information for consumers on its website including tools and resources for schools, young adults, workplace, new parents and two online consumer tools (the debt test and the financial healthcheck).

The Government have given strong support to the strategy and I announced last week that we would publish a 10-year strategy on financial capability and inclusion in the autumn.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for changes in spending on financial consumer education in connection with his target to educate all children in financial matters. [87387]

Ed Balls: The Financial Services Authority (FSA), in partnership with the Government, the financial services industry and voluntary organisations leads the national strategy for financial capability. One of the strands of the national strategy—“Learning Money Matters”—will provide schools with a comprehensive one-stop shop for help, support and advice to help them deliver effective personal finance education to their pupils. Learning Money Matters will be delivered by pfeg (the Personal Finance Education Group), an independent charity that works with schools to
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promote personal finance education for young people. The target is to reach 1.8 million children in 4,000 schools by 2010-11 to improve their financial knowledge, understanding and confidence.

While total costs incurred by all partners are not available, the FSA’s contributions to financial capability (for all aspects not just schools) were £2.5 million in 2003-04, £4 million in 2004-05 and £8 million in 2005-06 and up to £10 million for 2006-07.

What is clear is that improving financial capability is a long-term initiative. The 10-year strategy that I announced last week will take an in-depth look at how the Government can best contribute.

Financial Services Authority

Mr. Walker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress the Financial Services Authority has made in enforcing testable business continuity planning among its members; and if he will make a statement. [87906]

Ed Balls: The UK financial authorities (HM Treasury, Bank of England and FSA) work together closely to ensure that the financial sector is prepared for and able to respond to disruptive events. The FSA has responsibility for ensuring that the firms it regulates have business continuity plans in place, and provides the lead for the authorities in the areas of benchmarking and testing.

The FSA launched the Resilience Benchmarking Project in 2005 to assess the overall resilience of the financial sector. Findings were published in a Discussion Paper on 14 December and a draft Business Continuity Management Guide was recently issued for consultation.

The FSA also organises an annual market-wide exercise to test the contingency arrangements of the financial authorities with market participants.

Fundamental Savings Review

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Members for Bosworth (David Tredinnick) and for Livingston (Jim Devine) of 13 July 2006, Official Report, column 1470, on the Fundamental Savings review, whether trading enterprises owned by the public sector will be sold off in the planned sale of assets. [86755]

Mr. Timms: The 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) will take forward the Government’s objective of realising £30 billion of asset disposals by 2010, and will examine options for disposing of other public assets, including public corporations and trading funds.


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