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I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on a range of matters including the location
of the Energy Technologies Institute. I understand that there are plans to establish the institute at various locations in the UK rather that at any one particular location. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Board is currently giving the matter careful consideration and will reach a decision on locations in due course.
The institutes remit is to accelerate the development of secure, reliable and cost-effective low-carbon energy technologies towards commercial deployment. The institute will play a major role in technology developments internationally in support of the UKs climate change goals.
On 14 September 2006, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry published a prospectus setting out the aims of the institute to attract additional private sector investors. An open information event was held on 11 October 2006, to attract wide participation not only by possible private sector investors, but also by those interested in collaborating in the work of the institute or hosting it.
The DTI has announced that it is prepared to provide .£500 million, creating the potential for a £1 billion institute over 10 years. The Energy Research Partnership, under the joint chairmanship of Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, and Sir David King, has committed itself to raising substantial sums of private investment. EDF Energy, Shell, BP and E.ON UK have already announced their intention to be involved.
Mr. Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly on pre-legislative scrutiny of the provisions of the Further Education and Training Bill [ Lords] as they relate to Wales. 
Mr. Hain: The Bill has already received its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 13 December 2006. Members of both Houses will be able to scrutinise and suggest amendments to the Bill during its remaining parliamentary passage, including in relation to the provisions for Wales.
To assist parliamentary scrutiny, all framework powers granting wider and more permissive powers to the Assembly will be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum setting out the policy context underlying the proposals. Copies will be sent to all Welsh MPs and will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many parliamentary questions were tabled to his Office in 2006, broken down by (a) ordinary written and (b) named day; what percentage of ordinary written questions were answered within 10 working days; and what percentage of named day questions were answered by the specified date. 
(a) 515 ordinary written question85.63 per cent.
(b) 19 named day questions94.73 per cent.
Mr. Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Minister for Wales on the pre-Budget report insofar as it affects the block grant for Wales. 
On 13 December 2006 the Assembly Governments budget plans were approved. These set out increased spending for 2007-08 of £836 million more than 2006-07. This included £9.3 million announced in the pre-Budget report. The extra resources will support the delivery of public services across Wales.
£9.6 million special grant to schools
£2 million to help schools meet the increased cost of energy
£2 million to provide core funding to hospices
£6 million to help higher education institutions meet the overhead costs of charitable research and equal pay agreements
£1.5 million to provide extra womens refuges, childrens services and sexual abuse counselling
£1 million to support more play facilities for disabled children
£0.5 million to provide extra support for foster carers
£1.4 million to meet the cost of pensions for fire fighters
£1.7 million extra into the revenue support grant for local authorities to support children with special educational needs and autism
The proposals relating to the Welsh and Scottish Consumer Councils are intended to avoid fragmentation in consumer advocacy. However, the Government are aware of concerns that the Welsh and Scottish Consumer Councils should keep functions of policy development and advocacy, rather than depending on the National Consumer Council to delegate to them.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the findings of the survey of employers commissioned by his Department from the National Centre for Social Research on estimated take-up of tax free child care vouchers among employers and their employees. 
Dawn Primarolo: The taxation of personnel employed by the EU institutions, including the Commission, is governed by the Protocol on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Communities. The UK Government are a party to the Protocol as it forms part of the treaty on the European Union and the treaty establishing the European Community and there are no current plans to amend it.
Dawn Primarolo: In reply to the question regarding expenditure of working tax credits in the Tamworth constituency I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington, North (Helen Jones) on 30 November 2006, Official Report, column 844W.
However, the average annualised entitlement for in-work families receiving working tax credit in the Tamworth constituency in 2004-05, is (a) £1,830 for families receiving working tax credit only and (b) £6,217 for families receiving both working tax credit and child tax credit.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many items of (a) external and (b) internal correspondence at the large processing offices of HM Revenue and Customs remain (i) unopened and (ii) unprocessed. 
Dawn Primarolo: Correspondence received in the large processing offices at HMRC is opened on the day of receipt. HMRC have calculated that as at close of business on 5 January there were 356,429 items of external correspondence and 100,610 items of internal correspondence to be processed.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many days were lost through staff sickness at the offices of HM Revenue and Customs and the Inland Revenue in each of the last three years. 
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1747W, on visits, if he will list each
such visit in the last 18 months, broken down by (a) Minister and (b) tax credit facility; and when each minister last visited (i) tax credit, (ii) contact centre and (iii) IT development offices in each of the last 18 months. 
Dawn Primarolo: Treasury Ministers pay visits to the departments and agencies for which we are responsible and discuss a wide range of issues with the officials concerned. This is an integral part of our day-to-day routine. It is not our usual practice to provide details of all Ministers' meetings with staff.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the relationship is between the interest rates provided on the National Saving and Investments' (a) Easy Access and (b) investment savings account and the Bank of England base rate; and if he will make a statement. 
Ed Balls: Movement in the Bank of England base rate is one of a number of factors taken into account when setting interest rates on the NS&I Easy Access Savings Account and Investment Account. The other factors include the administration costs of running the product, the rates offered by competitors on similar products, and the interest rates offered on other NS&I products.
Mr. Pelling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue has been raised from (a) pensioners and (b) pensioners over the age of 75 arising from taxation of private medical insurance provided by their previous employers since April 2006. 
Ed Balls: As part of a radical simplification of the taxation of registered pension schemes the Finance Act 2004 made changes to the taxation of benefits, such as private medical insurance, provided after retirement outside of a registered pension scheme. A regulatory impact assessment (Regulatory Impact Assessment for Simplifying the taxation of pensionsUpdate) was published on 22 March 2006 setting out the Government's assessment of the impact of pensions simplification. This is available at:
Dawn Primarolo: Following a review of self assessment forms within HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), work has been undertaken to make the self assessment return easier for customers to complete. This includes:
The introduction of a four-page short tax return, with shorter simpler guidance, for 1.5 million people within self assessment with relatively straight forward tax affairs;
From April 2008 a redesigned main tax return will be introduced. This new version of the tax return will be shorter for most people, and will be simpler and easier to complete because it asks for less information, has clearer explanations and makes greater use of plain English;
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