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The figure for 2006-07 tax returns (due date 31 January 2008) is not yet available.

Unemployment: Wirral

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the working-age population in Wirral borough were unemployed in the last period for which figures are available. [184963]

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 7 February 2008:

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Table 1: Number of claimants of jobseeker’s allowance and proportions of working age population for residents of Wirral unitary authority
Number of claimants Proportion( 1) (%)

June 2007



December 2007



(1) Number of claimants expressed as a percentage of the resident working-age population.

Wines: Imports

Mr. Ellwood: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what restrictions there are on the importation of low alcohol wine from EU Member States; and what plans he has to review such arrangements. [185382]

Angela Eagle: Wine with an alcoholic strength of less than 1.2 per cent is not subject to excise duty and consequently there are no restrictions concerning its importation. Wine exceeding this strength is subject to UK excise duty and, although there are no restrictions concerning its importation, there are rules to ensure that the correct amount of excise duty is paid.

In order to import wine into the UK for commercial purposes, a trader must be an authorised warehousekeeper, a registered excise dealer or shipper (REDS) or follow the rules for occasional importers. In all cases, UK excise duty is due on receipt of the goods, unless they are consigned to an excise warehouse authorised to receive that type of product, in which case they can be stored in duty suspension until they are released for consumption in the UK.

Wine imported by private individuals is not subject to UK excise duty, provided it is for their own personal use and they personally travel with the goods.

The European Commission is in the process of reviewing the EU legislation governing the intra-EU movement of excise goods.

Duchy of Lancaster

Departmental Telephone Services

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether it is the Government’s policy to publish geographic telephone numbers of Government Departments and agencies that use non-geographic numbers for call centres. [177945]

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Mr. Watson: The Central Office of Information (COI) has issued guidance which is available at:

I have placed a copy in the Library of the House.


Charter of Fundamental Rights

15. Andrew Selous: To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment the Law Officers’ Departments have made of the enforceability of the charter of fundamental rights in the UK under the terms of the Treaty of Lisbon. [185157]

The Solicitor-General: In accordance with the usual convention I cannot comment on whether the Law Officers have been asked to assess the enforceability of the Charter under the Lisbon Treaty but it may be of assistance if I set out the Government’s position. Article 1(8)(1) of the Lisbon Treaty gives the Charter of Fundamental Rights “the same legal value as the Treaties”. The Charter records existing rights, freedoms and principles by which EU member states, including the UK, are already bound when they implement EU law and makes sure that the EU institutions are bound to respect the same rights, freedoms and principles. It does not, and was not intended to, create new rights.

Crown Prosecution Service

16. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Solicitor-General what discussions the Crown Prosecution Service has had on possible prosecutions for loss of data by the Government in the last six months. [185158]

The Solicitor-General: Should the police investigate the incidents of loss of data and require advice of a general nature or charging advice then the Crown Prosecution Service stand ready to provide it.

17. John Robertson: To ask the Solicitor-General what policy the Crown Prosecution Service has on seeking community sentences. [185159]

The Solicitor-General: Crown prosecutors have a duty to assist the court when sentence is being considered. This may include advising the court about the appropriate sentencing range, having regard to sentencing guidelines. However, Crown prosecutors do not recommend or seek particular sentences, as that is a matter for the court.

Cannabis Factories

18. Mr. Steen: To ask the Solicitor-General how many (a) children and (b) adults found in cannabis factories were prosecuted for drug-related offences in each of the last three years. [185160]

The Solicitor-General: Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) records do not hold information about the location in which an offence was committed. The information may be held on individual case files, but could be retrieved only by locating and examining every relevant file in each CPS office and would incur disproportionate cost (Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, part 2, clause 9).

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The CPS does however hold some information. Tables, which have been placed in the Library show the volume and the proportion of cases falling into the drugs offences category for each of the last three years broken down by defendant type; adult offender and young offender. The tables also show the volume and the proportion of cases resulting in a conviction, and in an unsuccessful outcome.


19. Lynda Waltho: To ask the Solicitor-General what steps the Government are taking to improve investigations and prosecutions of cases involving rape. [185161]

The Solicitor-General: Following the consultation, “Convicting Rapists and Protecting Victims—Justice for Victims of Rape”, the Government propose to allow all victims of rape to rely on their visually-recorded evidence in court, and to look at how general psychological expert evidence could be presented at trial. The Government also propose to legislate to ensure that all complaints of rape made by victims to third parties are admissible as evidence. A cross-government Rape Performance Group monitors the performance of police forces and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) areas in rape cases, intervening to provide guidance where appropriate and reporting to an Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Sexual Offending.



Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was paid by his Department to Capita Group plc and its subsidiaries in each financial year since 2000; which contracts were awarded by his Department to Capita Group plc in each year from 2000-01 to the most recent available date; what the cost was of each contract; what penalties for default were imposed in contract provisions; what the length was of each contract; whether the contract was advertised; how many companies applied for the contract; how many were short-listed; what criteria were used for choosing a company; what provision was made for renewal without re-tender in each case; and if he will make a statement. [180693]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office incurred expenditure of £10,044 with Capita Group plc for a senior civil service assessment centre run on the office's behalf by the Scottish Executive under a pre-existing contract they have with Capita Group plc. The Scotland Office holds no information on the process by which that contract was awarded by the Scottish Executive.

Civil Servants

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many civil service jobs based in the Dundee Westminster parliamentary constituencies related to functions of government reserved under Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act have been (a) lost and (b) created since 1997. [184484]

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Angela Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 7 February 2008:

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the (a) objective and (b) value was of each contract placed with (i) Deloitte and Touche, (ii) Ernst and Young, (iii) KPMG, (iv) PricewaterhouseCoopers and (v) PA Consulting by his Department in each year since 2004-05. [179026]

David Cairns: Since 2004-05, the Scotland Office has only incurred expenditure of £4,230.23 with KPMG in relation to a management review and assessment centre for the Head of Office.

Electoral Register

Mr. Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many electors there are in each Westminster parliamentary constituency in Scotland based upon the new register of electors as at December 2007. [184709]

David Cairns: The statistics on electorate for UK parliamentary elections by constituency is co-ordinated by the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), who receive information from electoral registration officers based on the registers published in December each year. GROS are due to publish the statistics on electorate based on the December 2007 publication of registers later in February. Electoral registration officers are not required to supply the Government with this information.

Fair Trade Initiative

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his Department's policy is on the use of fair trade goods (a) in staff catering facilities and (b) at official departmental functions and meetings; and if he will make a statement. [183878]

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David Cairns: The Scotland Office does not operate staff catering facilities but when purchasing opportunities arise will look to use fair trade products wherever possible.

Scotland Office

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what functions in his Department are carried out in Scotland; and what the administration costs of these functions were in the last year for which figures are available. [185481]

David Cairns: The Scotland Office publishes information on its main activities in its annual report, a copy of which is in the House Library. As some of these activities take place in both Scotland and London, a record separating costs between Scotland and London is not maintained.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Departmental Written Questions

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many and what percentage of questions tabled to his Department in the last Session were unanswered at Prorogation; [166879]

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(2) how many and what percentage of questions tabled to his Department for answer on a named day have received a substantive reply on the day named since establishment of his Department. [166880]

Mr. Lammy: The Department’s PQ tracking system is currently unable to break down the data requested and to do so would incur disproportionate cost. This Department aims to ensure that Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day, and endeavours to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. Unfortunately, this is not always possible but this Department makes every effort to achieve these time scales.

Higher Education: Student Numbers

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time (i) students and (ii) mature students enrolled on higher education courses in each year since 2001; [164207]

(2) when he will respond to question 164207 from the hon. Member for Brent East, tabled on 9 November 2007. [184407]

Bill Rammell: The latest available information is shown in the table. Figures for 2006/07 will be available in January 2008.

UK domiciled enrolments by mode of study, level of study and age, English higher education institutions, academic years 2001/02 to 2005/06
Postgraduates Undergraduates
Academic year Mode of study Total Of which: mature( 1) Total Of which: mature( 2)

















































































(1) Mature postgraduates are 25 and over.
(2) Mature undergraduates are 21 and over.
The figures are on a HESA standard registration population basis and are rounded to the nearest 5.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

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