Previous Section Index Home Page

16 Jan 2007 : Column 1005W—continued

16 Jan 2007 : Column 1006W

Royal Mail

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent using Royal Mail in each of the last five years. [115242]

Derek Twigg: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Service Accommodation

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the annual (a) capital and (b) resource cost has been for the building and maintenance of (i) single living accommodation and (ii) service families accommodation in each financial year since 1997. [115144]

Derek Twigg: Financial information on expenditure on Service families accommodation and elements of the single living accommodation programme since 2001-02 are held by Defence Estates and is currently being collated. Information about earlier years was not collected centrally or consistently and would not be reliable. I will write to the hon. Member when the information available has been collated and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Service Personnel

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision there is for (a) free and (b) subsidised access to (i) television, (ii) satellite television, (iii) internet and (iv) telephones for personnel in each of the services when (A) on operations abroad and (B) in their home base; and if he will make a statement. [115145]

Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence does not usually subsidise telephone, television or internet for Service personnel while serving in Great Britain. Televisions in communal areas on bases are free but these are usually provided by non-public funds. Televisions in private and Service-provided accommodation have to be licensed and provided by the individuals (except in substitute single service accommodation). New single accommodation facilities are wired for satellite and internet but individuals pays their own subscriptions. Telephones in all accommodation are privately funded except in substitute single service accommodation where the line rental and any telephone equipment rental costs are reimbursed to the occupant.

Service personnel overseas, either permanently based abroad or on operations, are entitled, where practical, to receive at no cost British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) radio and television. Internet and telephones are privately funded.

While deployed on operations overseas the provision of welfare facilities is dependent on location. The MOD operational welfare package includes the provision of welfare telephones and 30 minutes of free calls per person per week to anywhere in the world. In addition free e-mail and internet access as well as British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) television and radio broadcasts may be provided. Furthermore, televisions, radios, DVD players, DVDs and video games may be available at no cost to the individual.

16 Jan 2007 : Column 1007W

Free internet and e-mail access during working hours is available at family centres to keep families in contact with their spouses when serving away from home. Some units also have funded an internet cafe where PCs, or access to WiFi, are non-publicly funded but usage has to be paid for by the individual.


Asset Recovery

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are being taken to ensure that the Assets Recovery Agency recovers enough assets to cover its annual budget in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. [115095]

Mr. Coaker: I have been asked to reply.

The 2006-07 budget for the Assets Recovery Agency is £15.5 million. The Agency’s receipts for the period 1 April to 31 December total £14.4 million. The Agency has also been awarded final orders and settlements in a number of cases, and will be endeavouring to convert these into receipts before the end of the financial year. In addition, to date during this financial year the Agency has disrupted 65 criminal enterprises involving assets of £33.2 million. The Agency remains committed to all the targets listed in its Business Plan.

These figures illustrate how the Agency’s impact on the proceeds of crime has grown since it was set up in 2003, with an increasing number of its cases reaching conclusion.

Child Benefit

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the annual cost of ensuring that from April 2008 mothers-to-be will become eligible for child benefit from week 29 of their pregnancy. [114384]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 11 January 2007]: The estimated cost of the extension of child benefit to mothers-to-be from week 29 of their pregnancy from April 2009 is £120 million per year.

Child Trust Funds

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost in pence of each pound paid out from (a) the Child Trust Fund and (b) child benefit; and if he will make a statement. [115454]

Dawn Primarolo: The figures published in Annex C of the HM Revenue and Customs Annual Report show the cost in pence of each pound of child benefit and Child Trust Fund. These figures are produced by commissioning analysis of costs across the Department, under the tax and benefit categories that have been reported in the Annex. It is not possible to analyse any of these costs further without commissioning additional work across the Department. As a result a detailed answer to this question can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

16 Jan 2007 : Column 1008W

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of fraud and error in the delivery of (a) the child trust fund and (b) child benefit; and if he will make a statement. [115456]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 25 July 2006 to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws), Official Report, column 1344W.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the range of annual charges was for (a) stakeholder and (b) non-stakeholder approved child trust fund providers in 2005-06; and if he will make a statement. [114772]

Ed Balls: Annual charges on stakeholder accounts are limited to 1.5 per cent. of the value of the account. Charges on non-stakeholder share accounts are not capped, and will vary. HMRC do not keep records of the different charges levied by providers, but do urge parents to ask about such charges when choosing an account.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of child trust fund accounts opened by the Government where the account may contravene the religious beliefs of the parents of the child; what steps he has taken to avoid such action; what alternative provision he has considered; and if he will make a statement. [114773]

Ed Balls: Up to the end of September 2006, HMRC had opened a total of just over 0.5 million accounts for children. These are stakeholder accounts allocated on a rotational basis among 14 providers. HMRC does not have access to information on the religious beliefs of parents. Parents have 12 months from the receipt of their voucher to open an account of their choice and Sharia and ethical accounts are available. They may also move any Government allocated account at any time. The CTF information booklet and website detail Shari’a compliant and ethical CTF accounts available.

Civil Servants

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost of advertising civil servant positions in his Department was in each year since 1997. [115097]

John Healey: I refer to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry) on 19 December, Official Report, column 1739W.

Clostridium Difficile

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many death certificates mentioning clostridium difficile as an (a) primary and (b) secondary cause of death there have been in each year since 1997. [115026]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

16 Jan 2007 : Column 1009W

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 16 January 2007:

Number of death certificates in England and Wales which (i) mentioned clostridium difficile( 1) and (ii) listed Clostridium difficile as the underlying cause of death( 2) in 1999 and 2001-04( 3)
(i) Certificates mentioning C. difficile (ii) Certificates where C. difficile was the underlying cause of death
















(1) Identified using the methodology described in Office for National Statistics (2005) Report: Deaths involving Clostridium difficile: England and Wales, 1999-2004. “Health Statistics Quarterly” 30, 56-60.
(2) Excludes neonatal deaths.
(3) Deaths registered in 1999, deaths occurring in 2001-04.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters to his Department sent from hon. Members during Session 2005-06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) over six months old. [114604]

John Healey: The Treasury has four letters remaining unanswered from the 2005-06 session. They were received in November 2006.


Ann McKechin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much debt is owed by (a) low and (b) lower middle income country Governments to the UK
16 Jan 2007 : Column 1010W
through (i) the Export Credits Guarantee Department, including debts that have been rescheduled after Paris Club agreements and (ii) HM Treasury, broken down by country. [114485]

Ed Balls: The following table sets out ECGD claims balances, including debts that have been rescheduled in the Paris Club for low and lower middle income countries as at end November 2006. These debts arose from defaulted exported contracts that were insured or guaranteed by ECGD. There are no debts outstanding specifically to the Treasury.

Income category/market Total (£ million)

Low income



Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of


Cote D’Ivoire






Korea, Democratic Peoples Republic of






Sierra Leone












Lower middle income



Bosnia and Herzegovina












Iran (Islamic Republic of)














Serbia and Montenegro


Next Section Index Home Page