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Mr. Lansley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the evidential basis is for a restriction of public sector pay increases to 2 per cent. or less to contribute to an inflation rate below 2 per cent. 
Andy Burnham: The Government are committed to continuing to support public sector workers in their efforts to deliver the best possible public services. Over the last 10 years, the Government have therefore sought to increase the number of frontline workers as well as their pay. In particular, the period January 2000 to January 2006 saw an increase of 29.4 per cent. in public sector average earnings, which compares to 23.8 per cent. in the private sector over the same period.
The Governments objectives for public sector pay settlements are that they should be consistent with maintaining the necessary levels of recruitment, retention and staff engagement needed to support service delivery; ensuring that total pay bills represent value for money and are affordable within Departments overall expenditure plans; and consistent with the Governments achievement of the inflation target of 2 per cent.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 605W, on Pensioners: Inflation, what the components are of the retail price index basket of goods and services; and how they are weighted. 
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your parliamentary question asking (i) what the components of the retail price index basket of goods and services are; and (ii) how they are weighted. I am replying in her absence. (180287)
The CPI and the RPI measure changes from month to month in the cost of a representative basket of goods and services bought by consumers. Each year the ONS reviews the RPI and CPI basket of goods and services and updates the weights used to aggregate price changes, to ensure the selection of products in the basket and their weights remain representative of the overall pattern of expenditure of the average household covered by the published indices.
There are some goods and services where household expenditure is sufficiently large that they merit inclusion in the basket in their own right: examples include petrol and telephone charges. More commonly, it is necessary to select a sample of specific goods and services that can give a reliable measure of price movements for a broader range of similar items. For example, price changes for garden spades might be considered representative of price changes for other garden tools.
The components of the 2007 RPI and CPI basket of goods and services are shown in this article, available on the National Statistics website. Please see Annex B of:
Damon Wingfield (2007) CPI and RPI: The 2007 Basket of Goods and Services
Each item in the index is weighted to reflect the proportion of household expenditure spent on them. Changes in the weights of components over time reflect changes in the expenditure pattern of households. The underlying data source for the weights for both the RPI and CPI is ONSs Expenditure and Food Survey (EPS). The EPS is a continuous household survey which monitors the spending patterns of around 6,000 households across the country each year.
For further information on how the items are weighted you may wish to reference the publication by David Baran Consumer Prices Index and Retail Prices Index: Updating Weights for 2007.
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the average household income was in each London Borough in each year since 1997. I am replying in her absence. (179726).
Estimates of household income (which include income from all sources such as earnings, benefits, pensions, and investment income), are generally based on household surveys. The largest of these is the Family Resources Survey which has an annual sample in the UK of around 28,000 households. This is sufficient to produce estimates of household income at national and regional level, but not for smaller areas. Statistics on earnings by employees are available for local authorities from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) which is an employer-based survey.
The ONS has published estimates of household income for what are known as the medium layer super output areas, for 2004/05 only. These estimates are based on a statistical model and are classed as experimental statisticsthis means they have been developed in accordance with the principles set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice but have yet to be fully accredited as National Statistics. They are available through the Neighbourhood Statistics section of the ONS website. Super Output Areas (SOAs) are a new geographic hierarchy designed to improve the reporting of small area statistics. Unlike electoral wards, these SOAs are of consistent size across the country and are not subject to regular boundary change.
The table provided shows household income for each London borough for 2004/05, before and after housing costs. These estimates have been calculated using the estimates of income and also estimates of population for each SOA to calculate a weighted average income for each London Borough. The population estimates themselves are also experimental statistics. Figures on the number of households in each SOA are not available.
The average household income figures for the UK are taken from the Households Below Average Income series produced using the Family Resources Survey. These are National Statistics. The Household Below Average Income series usually presents results based on median incomes, however mean incomes are presented here to be more comparable with the small area statistics.
|Average weekly household income( 1,2) London boroughs, 2004-05|
|£ (per week)|
|Net weekly equivalised( 3) household income|
|Before housing costs( 4)||After housing costs( 4)|
|(1) Figures rounded to the nearest 10.|
(2) Based on a population weighted average of medium layer super output areas.
(3) Equivalised incomes are adjusted for different household sizes and compositions. An equivalised income indicates a standard of living that could be achieved by a two adult household with no children, with that actual income.
(4) Housing costs include rent (gross of housing benefit), water charges, mortgage interest payments, structural insurance and ground rent and service charges.
ONS, Department for Work and Pensions
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes to its administrative procedures on transfer of confidential data HM Revenue and Customs has instituted since the beginning of November 2007. 
Angela Eagle: The requirements for a home to qualify for the stamp duty land tax zero-carbon homes relief are set out in The Stamp Duty Land Tax (Zero-Carbon Homes Relief) Regulations 2007. These regulations were made on 6 December 2007 and came into force on 7 December 2007 but the tax relief applies to acquisitions of qualifying properties on or after 1 October 2007. The following is a link to the regulations:
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to increase the 40p per mile tax free allowance which employees using their own cars may claim if undertaking legitimate business activities. 
Angela Eagle: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such meetings.
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