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21 Apr 2008 : Column 1666Wcontinued
The following table shows the establishment of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force by unit as at 1 January 2008.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many medical reservists there were in (a) 1997 and (b) 2008. 
Derek Twigg: Figures are not available for 1997 due to electronic records not being retained beyond 12 months from discharge. In 2008 there were 3,585 medical reservists.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the Home Service Royal Irish Regiment part-time (a) soldiers and (b) officers serving on 1 September 2006 had (i) 0 to five years service, (ii) six to 10 years service, (iii) 11 to 15 years service, (iv) 16 to 20 years service, (v) 21 to 26 years service and (vi) over 26 years service on that date. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 3 April 2008]: The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of pirate activity in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Ministry of Defence keeps the piracy situation globally under review in support of maritime operations, UK economic and security interests and those of its partners and allies. This includes monitoring pirate activity off the coast of Somalia.
Policy lead for piracy across Government lies with the Department for Transport.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of (a) the security situation in Somalia and (b) the required (i) size and (ii) makeup of a military deployment to stabilize the country; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The security situation in Somalia as a whole remains unstable and volatile. Without the beginnings of a definable peace process and a willingness of Somalis to engage in such a process, a military deployment to stabilize the country is unlikely. Notwithstanding this, the continued efforts of Uganda and Burundi to supply troops to African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) should be commended for bringing an element of security and humanitarian assistance to critical areas of Mogadishu.
The UK has not carried out a detailed assessment of the force structure required for a military deployment to stabilize the country as this is a task for the UN. If the UN decides that conditions are right for the introduction of such a force, then UK will treat any requests for assistance on their individual merits after considering our available capacity to assist.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 27 March 2008, Official Report, columns 350-51W, when the decision not to accept the recommendation of his Department's 1998 operational analysis was taken; what the evidential basis for the decision was; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
The Ministry of Defence never committed to build a fifth Landing Ship Dock
(Auxiliary). The four Landing Ships Dock (Auxiliary) now in service provide a significantly greater sealift capacity than the five Landing Ships Logistic that they have replaced.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many UK banks are being investigated by the US authorities in relation to US unilateral sanctions on Iran; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: The United States Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated a number of Iranian state-controlled banks and their overseas branches and subsidiaries under its domestic sanctions. Three of these banks have subsidiaries in the UK (Bank Melli Plc, Bank Saderat Plc and Persia International Bank Plc). Another Iranian state-owned bank, Bank Sepah, and its UK subsidiary, has been designated by the United Nations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747 as well as by the United States domestically.
The UK Government do not comment on individual investigations by the United States authorities, which are a matter for those authorities.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change in receipts to the Exchequer in each of the next three years from the removal of enterprise zone allowances in (a) real and (b) cash terms. 
Jane Kennedy: As announced on 17 December 2007, enterprise zone allowances will be withdrawn from April 2011 as a consequence of the withdrawal of industrial buildings allowances. There is therefore no increase in receipts to the Exchequer in the next three years. Table A.2 (Item b) of the 2008 Financial Statement and Budget report shows the impact on government revenues estimated for those years. A link to the report can be found at:
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department and its agencies have spent on Christmas (a) cards, (b) parties and (c) decorations in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on (a) Christmas cards and (b) postage of Christmas cards in 2007. 
Anne Milton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department's agencies spent on (a) Christmas cards and (b) postage of Christmas cards in each year since 1997. 
Angela Eagle: The cost to the Treasury of purchasing Christmas cards in 2007 was £8,345. The figure for the Debt Management Office was £593. Information relating to postage costs is not available.
The Treasury's cards were purchased from Card Aid, who made a donation to charity on behalf of the Department.
Christmas parties are funded by staff themselves and not the Department. Christmas decorations are also purchased either by staff or by facilities management companies without recourse to public funds.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) estimated cost, (b) completion date and (c) function is of the Valuation Office Agency's council tax list maintenance - banding support tool database. 
Jane Kennedy: As part of its investment in modern technology to deliver a more efficient and cost-effective service to the public, the Valuation Office Agency has recently introduced its banding support tool to support current council tax list maintenance. This has been delivered on time (delivery date 27 March 2008) and within budget (at £995,000). Simply stated, it assists decision making by VOA staff in relation to new or altered bandings by automatically identifying the most relevant comparable properties. This aids speed and consistency.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 14 March 2008, Official Report, column 725W, on Valuation Office: Wales, how many of the appeals resulted in a (a) move up and (b) move down the council tax banding. 
Jane Kennedy: Of the 12,458 appeals and/or formal proposals resulting in a council tax band amendment, 11,525 resulted in a band reduction and 933 resulted in a band increase. They represent 0.84 per cent. and 0.07 per cent. respectively of the total number of dwellings in the council tax valuation lists.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date he expects the Valuation Office Agency to commence work on council tax revaluation in Wales. 
Jane Kennedy: No decision has been made on any future Council Tax Revaluation in Wales.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what timetable has been set for the Valuation Office Agency to extend the use of the Automated Valuation Model to Wales. 
Jane Kennedy: No timetable has been set.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations his Department has made to banks on restructuring the level of individual credit, with particular reference to home buyers, since May 1997. 
Angela Eagle: The Treasury regularly meets with representatives of the banking sector to discuss a wide range of issues including individual credit.
In 2004, the Government put in place Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulation of mortgages. The FSAs regime offers appropriate consumer protection and access to means of redress where consumers experience problems.
The OFT regulates other consumer credit business. Regulation of consumer credit is being further strengthened with the implementation of the 2006 Consumer Credit Act, due by October 2008.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government have taken in the last 12 months to assist those with very high levels of personal debt. 
Angela Eagle: The Government's assessment of personal debt and details of the steps the Government have taken to address debt problems over the last year can be found in the Government's Tackling Over-indebtedness: annual report 2007, available at:
The Government set up the £130 million Financial Inclusion Fund for 2008-11 to support the continued provision of free face-to-face debt advice for those who are financially excluded, and to widen access to affordable credit.
On 3 March 2008, the Government announced a two-year, £12 million Money Guidance pathfinder. This pilot service offers people impartial, personalised information and support on a range of money issues to help people find ways to avoid getting into personal debt. The forthcoming financial capability action plan will set out measures to improve financial capability in the UK, including plans for taking forward the Money Guidance pathfinder.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department and its agencies has spent on (a) locating, (b) recovering and (c) identifying the information held on lost or stolen (i) electronic equipment, (ii) documents and (iii) other data storage means in each of the last 12 months. 
Jane Kennedy: The associated costs are not separable from the overall running costs and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 25 March 2008, Official Report, column 37W, on data protection, what estimate he has made of the (a) type and (b) volume of data processed in (i) Tyne and Wear, (ii) London, (iii) Manchester, (iv) Nottingham, (v) Worthing, (vi) Telford and (vii) Preston. 
Jane Kennedy: The location of HMRC's Data Guardians is incidental to the work they do. For this reason information is not held in the form requested and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 25 March 2008, Official Report, column 37W, on data protection, what extra (a) pay, (b) support and (c) other resources each of the data guardians receives to carry out their duties. 
Jane Kennedy: Data guardians are appointed from within HMRC's existing pay grades. All data guardians are provided with required training and support. HMRC will continue to monitor the data guardians' roles and responsibilities and future training needs, as part of its wider departmental data security responsibilities.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 25 March 2008, Official Report, column 37W, on data protection, whether he plans the role of data guardians as a permanent measure. 
Jane Kennedy: The data guardian posts are permanent posts. HMRC will continue to monitor their roles and responsibilities as part of its wider departmental data security responsibilities.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 25 March 2008, Official Report, column 37W, on data protection, what the (a) amount of data processed, (b) type of data processed and (c) business unit is for which each data guardian is responsible. 
Jane Kennedy: The work of each data guardian varies according to the size of their respective business unit and the amount and type of data that it processes. The information is not available in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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