Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he read the report, Independent Review of Government Information Assurance; and what steps he has taken in response to the report. 
Edward Miliband [holding answer 27 November 2007]: The discussion document on the Independent Review of Government Information Assurance, published for the Information Assurance Conference on 27 June 2007, helped to inform development of the Governments Information Assurance Strategy, published on the same day. Information Assurance procedures within departments and agencies are being reviewed by the Cabinet Secretary, 21 November 2007, Official Report, column 1179.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the Cabinet Office requires its employees to retire at the latest at 65 years of age; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: The Cabinet Office has a retirement age of 65 for its employees. Employees who wish to remain beyond that age may exercise their statutory right to request to remain under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. Requests to remain beyond the age of 65 are considered against clearly defined criteria that meet business needs as well as ensuring fair and equal treatment for all employees.
The Departments retirement policy recognises the wealth of valuable experience that all employees can bring to the organisation and supports its business by providing a skilled and professional work force with opportunities for development and advancement, irrespective of age.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Prime Minister what appointments to the House of Lords arising from (a) nominations from political parties, (b) non-party political nominations and (c) by other means, indicating in each case whether nominations were made by (i) the Prime Minister, (ii) the Leader of the Opposition, (iii) the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, (iv) leaders of other parties and (v) others. 
The Prime Minister: Appointments to the House of Lords are announced in The London Gazette and affiliation is a matter of public record.
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission if he will make a statement on the timetable for the investigation by the Electoral Commission into whether there has been any failure to comply with the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 in connection with a number of donations made to the Labour party announced on 26 November. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it opened its inquiry on 27 November and formally referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police Service on 30 November.
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission if he will place in the Library copies of the minutes of meetings held between the Political Parties Panel and the Electoral Commission held since June 2001. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it has done so.
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission whether restrictions apply to the staff of the Electoral Commission (a) joining political parties, (b) donating to political parties, (c) donating to registered third parties and (d) contributing to trade union political funds. 
Peter Viggers: Under the terms of schedule 1 to the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 any member of staff, except the chief executive, may be a member of a political party.
Under the Act, Electoral Commission staff are not permitted to make recordable donations to registered political parties or to recognised third parties.
The Electoral Commission informs me that there are no restrictions on its staff contributing to trade union political funds.
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what the Electoral Commissions policy is on the (a) publication and (b) other uses of lists of impermissible donors. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it is statutorily required under section 69 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 to maintain a publicly available register of recordable donations. That register includes information on impermissible donations. The register is available on the Commissions website and at its offices.
The Commission uses the registered information on impermissible donations to inform periodic updates of its guidance.
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has produced on the procedure and obligations applying to individuals making donations to political parties on behalf of third parties. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs that it publishes on its website at:
Donations and loans; guidance for political parties in Great Britain which details the reporting requirements on donations to political parties, including those made on behalf of others.
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has provided on reporting aggregated trade union affiliation fees paid to a political party as a donation where each individual affiliation fee is below the £200 reporting threshold. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs that it publishes Donations and loans; guidance for political parties in Great Britain which includes the reporting requirements on aggregated donations. The guidance is available on the Commissions website at www.electoralcommission.org.uk
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what research the Electoral Commission has undertaken into trade union funding of the (a) Labour, (b) Conservative and Unionist and (c) Liberal Democrat Party. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it published a report in 2004 entitled The Funding of Political Parties, which included information on funding provided by trade unions. Copies of this report are available in the House of Commons Library. The Commission publishes on its website, www.electoralcommission.org.uk, details of donations and loans to all political parties, including those reported from trade unions.
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what estimate the Electoral Commission has made of the amount donated by trade union organisations to political parties, in (a) cash and (b) non-cash donations in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that the information requested is as set out in the following table.
Mr. Maude: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission what guidance the Electoral Commission has given on declaration and registration of trade union sponsorship of (a) hon. Members and (b) parliamentary candidates. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it produces guidance for Members of Parliament on their reporting requirements under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. A copy of the most recent version of the guidance, Donations and loans: guidance for Members of Parliament, published in November 2006, has now been placed in the House of Commons Library. The guidance covers the types of donations, including sponsorship, that must be reported to the Commission.
Guidance for parties, candidates and agents is provided to those involved in elections to Westminster, the European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly, National Assembly for Wales and for all local government elections.
David Simpson: To ask the Minister for the Olympics on how many occasions she has accepted corporate hospitality in the last 12 months. 
Tessa Jowell: Chapter 7 of the Ministerial Code sets out the rules on the registration of hospitality.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether the Wales Office pays any proportion of his Ministerial salary. 
Mr. Hain: Ministerial salaries are paid in accordance with the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 1975. Details of ministerial salaries are available at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/m06.pdf and in the Library of the House.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Leader of the House whether the standard terms and conditions of purchase used by her Office in the procurement of goods and services from the private sector prohibit the assignment of debt. 
Helen Goodman: The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons is part of the Cabinet Office for these purposes. The information requested will be contained in the response given by that Department.
Mrs. May: To ask the Leader of the House what declarations she has made under the Ministerial Code in relation to donations received in relation to her deputy leadership of the Labour Party campaign; and to whom, and in respect of what donations, such declarations were made. 
Ms Harman: Information was provided to the permanent secretary at the Department of Constitutional Affairs at the appropriate time and in line with the Ministerial Code.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Leader of the House what assessment she has made of the effect of public bill committees on the legislative process. 
Helen Goodman: The changes in procedure relating to the committee stage of Bills taken off the Floor of the House, including the renaming of standing committees on Bills by the more descriptive title of Public Bill Committees, which were agreed by the House on 1 November 2006, have been generally welcomed.
Oral evidence taking in Public Bill Committees began in January 2007. Four Bills which began their passage in session 2006-07 took such evidence, and in the current session it will now be standard practice for all programmed Government Bills starting in the Commons to hold sessions of oral evidence. The ability of such committees to take oral evidence before proceeding to clause by clause scrutiny has brought benefits to the consideration of Bills. Good
co-operation between the Government and other representatives on the committee, and the House authorities, can maximise the effectiveness of the process. The power for such committees to receive written evidence is increasingly made use of by a range of organisations and individuals. The initial view is that these processes have helped to improve the opportunities for those outside Parliament to engage with the legislative process.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether the legal advisers working alongside the Government Equalities Office, as referred to in the answer of 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 609W, on Departments: manpower work exclusively for the Government Equalities Office. 
Barbara Follett: The legal advisers identified as working alongside the Government Equalities Office in the answer of the 29 October 2007, were those working solely for the Government Equalities Office.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people (a) under 16 years of age and (b) 16 years and over died from rheumatoid arthritis in each year since 1997, broken down by Government Office Region. 
Angela Eagle: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked top reply.
Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 11 December 2007:
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many people (a) under 16 years of age and (b) 16 years and over died from rheumatoid arthritis in each year since 1997, broken down by Government Office Region. I am replying in her absence. (172912)
The attached table provides (a) the number of deaths from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children under 16 and (b) rheumatoid arthritis in persons aged 16 and over, broken down by English Government Office Region from 1997 to 2006 (the latest year available).
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