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4 July 2007 : Column 1071W—continued


Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) 16, (b) 17, (c) 18, (d) 19, (e) 20 (f) 21, (g) 22, (h) 23 and (i) 24 year olds were (i) economically inactive and not in full-time education and (ii) unemployed in each year since 1997, broken down by (A) parliamentary constituency, (B) local education authority area and (C) region. [147035]

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

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 4 July 2007:

Valuation Office: Contracts

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 26 April 2007, Official Report, column 1323W, on Valuation Office: contracts, if he will place in the Library a copy of the ASPIRE terms and conditions which relate to confidentiality. [145343]

Jane Kennedy: As my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury stated in his answer of 26 April 2007, Official Report, column 1323W, the ASPIRE terms and conditions prohibit the publicising of details of this agreement. However, in respect of the specific information requested, the Government have obtained the agreement of both parties to the contract to place a copy of the clauses relating to confidentiality in the Library of the House. These include the statutory safeguards provided for by Section 182 of the Finance Act 1989, Section 18 of the Commissioners for
4 July 2007 : Column 1072W
Revenue and Customs Act 2005, Section 6 of the Taxes Management Act 1970 or Section 123 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. A copy of the ASPIRE terms and conditions relating to confidentiality have been placed in the Library.

VAT: Disability Aids

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on value added tax and the purchase of aids and equipment for the elderly. [146561]

Jane Kennedy: As announced at Budget 2007, from 1 July the VAT chargeable on certain home adaptations that are designed to support the needs of elderly people will be reduced to 5 per cent. the lowest rate available under our European VAT agreements. The precise scope of this new relief was outlined in HMRC Brief 47/07 which is available on the HMRC website at:

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimates he has made of the proportion of tax credit overpayments which are caused by official error; and if he will make a statement. [145403]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 416W.

Welfare Tax Credits: Telephone Services

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many calls to the tax credits helpline were dealt with by private sector companies in each month from January 2003 to June 2007; how many of these were not recorded; and what steps are taken to notify claimants of this fact, where relevant, when they appeal against overpaid tax credits. [144702]

Jane Kennedy: HMRC supplemented its internal Contact Centre capacity with the use of private sector companies to deliver tax credit services during 2003-04. The table lists the monthly calls handled by these suppliers for the period requested. During any months in the period in question, where a value is not shown for calls handled, HMRC did not need to use private sector companies to supplement its services, and all calls were handled by HMRC.

The number of calls handled by private sector suppliers, which were not recorded, is not available in the format requested.

Calls handled by private sector companies were generic and did not require access to HMRC Computer systems or individual customer records.


4 July 2007 : Column 1073W
( 1) Calls handled

2003

January

239

February

310

March

618

April

660

May

728

June

32

July

0

August

0

September

0

October

0

November

0

December

0

2004

January

0

February

57

March

181

April

133

May

138

June

138

July

124

August

178

September

294

October

167

(1) volumes shown in thousands, rounded to the nearest thousand

International Development

Africa: HIV Infection

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to assist (a) Uganda and (b) Senegal in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS. [147145]

Mr. Thomas: DFID acknowledge the seriousness of the epidemic in Uganda and are working closely with the Government of Uganda, other donors and civil society organisations to support the Government’s own national strategic plan for universal access to treatment, care and prevention. DFID are providing £9 million over three years to enhance national institutional capacity to achieve universal access. Our support is especially helping address potential gaps in the Government’s prevention strategy.

The UK is the second largest donor of AIDS-related assistance in developing countries, spending £385 million in 2005-06. This includes supporting multilateral institutions like the World Bank, the UN agencies and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria whose combined operations span all developing countries.

DFID have committed £359 million to the Global Fund for 2002-08, including £100 million in 2006 and the same for 2007. The fund is supporting substantial HIV and AIDS programmes in both Senegal and Uganda, with commitments of $41 million and $166 million respectively.

Bangladesh: Poverty

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department in conjunction with the Asian Development Bank to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh. [147146]

Mr. Malik: DFID works closely with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Bangladesh as part of a Joint Strategy partnership (which also includes the
4 July 2007 : Column 1074W
World Bank and Japan). Together, these four donors account for 80 per cent. of all development assistance to Bangladesh.

The Joint Strategy partnership group was formed in 2005 as a response the Government of Bangladesh’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Joint Strategy approach has allowed more effective allocation of lead sector responsibilities among donors, and it is hoped that it will eventually lead to the development of a common donor strategy for Bangladesh.

DFID works directly with the ADB through the following programmes:

Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP) II:

DFID is providing £100 million through a pooled funded arrangement managed by the ADB, to provide 17 million primary aged children in over 78,000 schools with quality primary education.

Urban Primary Health Care Project:

DFID is contributing £15 million over six years to provide improved primary health care services in urban areas. The project, co-funded by the ADB, has a particular focus on providing health care services to poor women and girls.

Rural Infrastructure Improvement Project II (RIIP II):

DFID is providing £35 million over five years to RIIP II, which is also funded by ADB and the German Government, to reduce physical, social and economic exclusion among 28 million people in 23 of Bangladesh’s poorest districts. This recently approved project will develop rural infrastructure and improve access to services and markets, provide opportunities for employment and strengthen the capacity of local government to deliver infrastructure services to the poor.

Departments: Pay

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working at his Department and its agencies in each year between 1997 and 2006; and what the total cost of those bonuses was. [146425]

Mr. Malik: From 2002, individual departments and agencies have been responsible for their own reward arrangements for senior civil servants (including the award of non-pensionable performance bonuses) within a framework set by the Cabinet Office.

The following table gives the number of bonuses awarded to DFID’s senior civil servants since 2002, together with the total costs for each of those years. All bonus payments are non-pensionable. No bonus payments were made by DFID to members of the senior civil service prior to 2002.

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Number of awards

27

51

57

68

65

Total cost (£)

85,051

153,170

189,500

266,750

377,100

% of SCS paybill (1)

2.3

3.8

4.0

5.0

6.5

(1 )The percentage of the senior civil service (SCS) paybill allocated to performance related bonuses has increased year-on-year. This is in line with the Government’s stated objective of building the bonus pot annually so that it reaches 10 per cent. of the SCS paybill by 2008.


4 July 2007 : Column 1075W

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of staff in his Department in the last three years; and at what total cost. [146984]

Mr. Malik: The following two tables give the number of non-pensionable bonuses awarded to DFID staff over the last three years, together with the total costs for each of those years.

Non-pensionable bonuses awarded to DFID senior civil servants (SCS)
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07( 1)

Number of awards

68

65

n/a

Total cost (£)

266,750

377,100

n/a

Percentage of SCS paybill(2)

5.0

6.5

n/a = not applicable.
(1) Non-pensionable bonuses for the SCS in relation to the 2006-07 reporting year are not payable until November 2007.
(2) The percentage of the SCS paybill allocated to performance related bonuses is increasing year on year. This is in line with the Government’s stated objective of building the bonus pot annually so that it reaches 10 per cent. of the SCS paybill by 2008.

Non-pensionable bonuses awarded to DFID staff in grades below the SCS
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

Number of awards

508

1,106

1,020

Total cost (£)

230,600

515,865

558,233

Percentage of paybill for grades below the SCS(1)

0.4

0.8

0.9

(1) For DFID staff below the SCS, the amount of money allocated for all forms of bonus payment is limited to a maximum of 1.2 per cent. of the paybill costs.

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