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Iran: Export Credit Guarantees

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1816W, on Iran: Export Credits Guarantee, in what way the Export Credits Guarantee Department has restricted the availability of cover for Iran; for what reasons; and for how long. [138554]

Malcolm Wicks: ECGD undertook a review of its cover policy for Iran in December 2005. Taking account of the prevailing risk outlook, cover capacity was reduced in order to contain growth in exposure. Cover is decided on a case-by-case basis and priority is given to UK goods and services. More recently, an
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arrangement has been made whereby Ministers will be consulted before cover is committed for any particular transaction.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1816W, on Iran: Export Credits Guarantee, what steps are being taken to seek clarification of the applicability of the UN Security Council Resolution 1747 to the provision of export credits to Iran. [138555]

Malcolm Wicks: Representatives of HM Government have been consulting European Union member states in the light of the Council Common Position (2007/246/CFSP) dated 23 April to clarify the applicability of UN Security Resolution 1747 to the provision of export credits to Iran.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1816W, on Iran: Export Credits Guarantee, how many applications for export credits to Iran were made in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [138556]

Malcolm Wicks: ECGD has received 153 applications for export credits to Iran in the last five years. The following table details how many applications were received in each of the financial years.

Financial year Number of applications

2002-03

26

2003-04

50

2004-05

33

2005-06

24

2006-07

20

Total

153


Nuclear Power: International Cooperation

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with the United States Administration on participation by the UK in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. [142805]

Malcolm Wicks: There have been no recent discussions between UK Ministers and the US Administration on UK participation in Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).

Radioactive Wastes: Waste Management

Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish a timetable for the removal from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority of responsibility for the setting of packaging standards for radioactive waste. [141795]

Malcolm Wicks: Currently, advice is provided to nuclear operators on packaging of radioactive waste via a system known as the “Letter of Compliance” system. This is administered by the Radioactive Waste Management Division of the NDA (RWMD). This packaging advice is used by operators in developing
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safety cases which must be approved by the independent safety regulators. The work of the RWMD in administering the Letter of Compliance system is also overseen by the independent regulators.

In due course we anticipate that the future operator of a geological waste disposal facility will take on the responsibility for setting and administering formal acceptance criteria for all waste to be disposed of in the facility. This will continue to be done under the scrutiny of the independent statutory regulators.

Working Hours

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans he has to improve the balance of working and non-working hours for people in full-time employment. [142684]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In April we extended the right to request flexible working to carers of adults. Over six million employees are now eligible to work flexibly. Latest data (summer 2006) show that 80 per cent. of all requests are agreed and that 87 per cent. of all employees are satisfied with their current working pattern.

Last week we laid regulations before the House to increase the holiday entitlement to give time off for bank holidays. These regulations will benefit six million workers who currently get less than 28 days' holiday a year, pro rata for part-time staff.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2007, to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth), Official Report, column 1132W, on Air Passenger Duty, if he will publish the econometric analysis used to assess the impact of changes in air passenger duty rates on passenger and flight numbers. [112555]

John Healey: The HMRC econometric analysis suggests that the annual suppression of air passengers as a result of the air passenger duty decision announced at pre-Budget report will be around 5 million out of a total 140 million passengers by 2010-11. Translating this figure into flights and emissions reductions suggests that the emissions saving as a result of the decision will be in the range of 0.2-0.5 million tonnes of carbon (MtC) per year. Taking into account the effect of the other, non-carbon dioxide emissions of aviation suggests that there will be an annual climate change impact equivalent to saving 0.75 million tonnes of carbon by 2010-11 from the change to air passenger duty.

Child Benefit: Armed Forces

Steve Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to which partner child benefit is payable in circumstances where a member of the armed forces and his wife are posted overseas while in receipt of child benefit. [143139]


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Mr. Timms: Child benefit continues to be payable to the same member of the couple who was receiving payment prior to the posting.

Council Tax: Valuation

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what powers are available to representatives of the Valuation Office Agency in conducting investigation for valuation purposes. [142355]

Dawn Primarolo: Valuation Officers and Listing Officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), and those members of their staff authorised by them, have powers, under Section 26 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, and powers to request the supply of information about property under Section 27 of the same Act.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 4 December 2006, Official Report, column 196W, on departmental expenditure, what payments have been made by his Department to (a) Opinion Leader Research and (b) other opinion research companies since December 2006. [136309]

John Healey: In December 2006, the Economic Secretary commissioned Brian Pomeroy, chairman of the Financial Inclusion Taskforce, to undertake a review of commercially run hamper schemes and savings clubs to consider whether the savings needs of consumers of such products might be better met by mainstream financial providers. As part of the review, HM Treasury commissioned Opinion Leader to carry out two half-day workshops with consumers of these types of products to gain first hand evidence to support the review at a cost of £50,955 including VAT. A response to (b) could be provided only at disproportionate cost as the nature of a supplier’s business is not recorded in the Treasury’s accounting system and may not be self evident from the supplier’s name.

Departments: Advertising

Mr. Heath: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue his Department received from advertisements on his Department’s (a) public information leaflets and (b) public websites in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [142726]

John Healey: The Treasury has not received any advertising revenue from its public information leaflets or public websites in the last five years. Information on advertising revenue, if any, in the earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost due to a change in accounting system in 2002-03.

Departments: Aviation

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent by HM Revenue and Customs on flights within England in 2005. [125783]


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Dawn Primarolo: HMRC promotes sustainable transport policies and the use of video conferencing as transport alternatives.

However, where travel is essential, the Department encourages staff to use the most cost-effective and efficient means of travel.

Total expenditure on flights during 2005 by HMRC was £860,810.

Departments: Carbon Emissions

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what methodology is used by his Department to account for its carbon emissions. [140783]

John Healey: The Treasury calculates carbon emissions by using carbon emission conversion factors provided by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This can be can be found at:

Departments: Consultants

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) purpose and (b) value was of each payment made by his Department to Professor Iain Maclean of Oxford university since 1997. [141297]

John Healey: The Treasury has made no payments to Professor MacLean. Professor MacLean gave an unpaid seminar on regional issues for which he was reimbursed £51.20 for Travel expenses in February 2006.

Departments: Credit Cards

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in his Department have corporate charge cards. [133314]

John Healey: HM Treasury does not generally issue staff with corporate charge cards (e.g. American Express cards). However, 201 staff—generally frequent travellers—are currently issued with corporate credit cards to pay for expenses, generally for transport and accommodation. They are required to submit travel expense claims on their return and produce receipts for all transactions.

Departments: Legal Costs

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent by his Department on legal fees in each of the last five years. [139389]

John Healey: The Treasury’s spending on external legal advice in 2006-07 was £698,000. For the earlier years, I refer to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Monmouth (David T.C. Davies) on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1738W.

Departments: Recruitment

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which recruitment agencies (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have employed to provide services since 1997. [141909]

John Healey: The information requested is as follows:


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Department Agencies

HMT

Accountancy Additions, Badenoch and Clark, Brook Street, Campion Willcocks and Associates Ltd., Hudson Global Resources Ltd., Huntress Search Ltd., Josephine Sammons Ltd., Macdonald and Company, Methods Consulting Ltd., Michael Page International, Office Angels

DMO

Veredus, BMI, Hays City Response Advertising International Ltd., ComputAppoint, Practicus, Hays Accountancy and Finance, Computer People, Morgan Hunt, Orgtel Communications, The Whitehall and Industry Group, Mission Testing Europe Ltd., Barclay Simpson Associates Ltd., Odgers Ray and Berndtson, Hudson Shribman, KPMG LLP, RDF Resources Ltd., Marks Sattin

OGC

Adecco UK Ltd., élan Computing Ltd., Reed Personnel Services, Computer People Ltd., Spring Technology Staffing Solutions


Departments: Sign Language

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of providing British Sign Language (BSL) videos on his departmental website for the benefit of those whose first language is BSL. [142501]

John Healey: The departmental website is compliant with accessibility guidelines set out the Cabinet Office's Guidelines for government websites:

and provides transcripts for any audio content.

Members: Correspondence

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to the letter of 2 May 2007 from the hon. Member for North-East Milton Keynes on MKSnap, a charity based in Milton Keynes. [143196]

Dawn Primarolo: Receipt of the correspondence referred to could not be traced. A copy has been supplied by the hon. Member and a reply will be sent shortly.

Pension Funds

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total value is of assets held in (a) self-administered private sector occupational defined benefit schemes, (b) self-administered private sector occupational defined contribution schemes, (c) self-administered public sector defined benefit schemes, (d) insured occupational defined benefit schemes, (e) insured occupational defined contribution schemes, (f) group personal pensions, (g) group stakeholder pensions, (h) individual personal pensions and (i) individual stakeholder pensions. [141552]

James Purnell: I have been asked to reply.

Information on the total value of assets held in each category of pension scheme is not available. The market value of self-administered pension funds in total is collected by ONS as part of the annual balance sheet survey to self-administered pension funds and published as part of the Business Monitor Investment by insurance companies, pension funds and trusts on the National Statistics website. The market value is the difference between their asset holdings and short-term liabilities such as borrowing and other creditors. The latest published figure is £970 billion for end 2005.

The value of other private pension funds is included in aggregates collected by ONS in the annual balance sheet survey to long-term insurance companies. However, the aggregates cover all long-term business, including life assurance, pensions and other business, written by the companies. A split of the insurance companies’ funds between pensions and other business is not available. Consultation with insurance companies has indicated that this split would be too difficult for them to produce on a company basis and that the respondents would not be confident of any data provided on this basis.


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