23 Apr 2008 : Column 2041W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Prime Minister

Downing Street Political Office

Mr. Maude: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 3 December 2007, Official Report, columns 848-9W, on the Downing Street Political Office, when the post of Administrator of the Downing Street Political Office was established. [198094]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 3 December 2007, Official Report, columns 848-9W.

History: Publications

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Prime Minister how many Government-sponsored, official histories are in preparation; when each was commissioned; who the authors are; what the estimated date of completion is in each case; what the estimated cost in each case is; and which official histories commissioned have not been published. [199532]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 21 April 2008]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my predecessor (the right hon. Tony Blair) on 28 February 2005, Official Report, columns 918-19W.

Additional information is set out as follows:

The following official histories have been published:

The following official histories have been commissioned:

In the financial year 2006-07, the latest year for which accounts have been published, the net cost was £176,000. This includes fees and expenses of historian and research assistants and costs associated with publication, but excludes staff costs of Cabinet Office administrative support and accommodation-related overheads. This cost is borne on the Cabinet Office vote.

Mobile Phones

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Prime Minister how many mobile telephones he has been provided with since becoming Prime Minister. [200805]

The Prime Minister: None.


23 Apr 2008 : Column 2042W

Scotland

Barnett Formula

7. Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the use to which the Barnett formula paper will be put. [199796]

Des Browne: I meet my right hon. Friend regularly to discuss a range of issues. The aim of the Treasury's forthcoming factual Barnett Formula paper is to better inform the debate.

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the use of the Barnett formula paper. [199793]

David Cairns: I meet my right hon. Friend regularly to discuss a range of issues. The aim of the Treasury’s forthcoming factual Barnett formula paper is to better inform the debate.

Gas Production

8. Sir Robert Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on policy to encourage new gas production in the West of Shetland area. [199797]

David Cairns: The Government are committed to providing regulatory and fiscal regimes that will deliver the best future for the UKCS including the area west of Shetland. This includes a joint Government/industry task force to determine whether there is a collective solution to the development of the resource base west of Shetland.

Nuclear Power

9. John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the First Minister on the contribution made by nuclear power to Scotland's energy needs. [199798]

David Cairns: I have had no such discussions with the First Minister. The Government firmly believe that nuclear energy will be an essential component in a low carbon energy future and should have an important role in Scotland's future electricity mix.

Gross Domestic Product

10. Mr. Hood To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the most recent gross domestic product growth figures for Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [199799]

Des Browne: The most recent Scottish GDP figures, covering the year to 2007 Quarter 4, show annual economic growth of 2.2 per cent. This is above the long-run trend rate of growth, which is 1.9 per cent.


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International Development

11. James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the First Minister on the co-ordination of international development work by the Scottish Executive and the Department for International Development. [199800]

Des Browne: No such discussion have taken place. Department for International Development officials maintain contact with their Scottish Executive counterparts, to ensure international development policies remain complementary to the UK Government's overall objectives.

We are aware that the Scottish Executive has recently consulted on the focus of their policies in this area, and we will consider the future outcome of this exercise.

Subsea Oil and Gas

12. Mr. Doran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the value of the sub-sea oil and gas sector in the North Sea to the Scottish economy. [199801]

David Cairns: In 2007, 42,000 people were employed in the subsea sector across the UK, generating revenues in excess of $8.5 billion—up nearly 30 per cent. from 2006. Estimates for the value of the subsea sector to the Scottish Economy are not available, but Scottish subsea companies are already world leaders in technology supply and operations and are well placed to capitalise on the massive global growth in this sector expected over the next three years.

Executive Grant

13. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the likely change to the grant to the Scottish Executive in the next Comprehensive Spending Review period. [199802]

Des Browne: In each successive year of the current spending review period the Scottish Executive will receive a record amount of money, and by 2011 will be in receipt of double the amount available to Donald Dewar in the first years of devolution. This level of public spending across the UK has been made possible by a decade of economic growth and stability delivered by this Government.

National Minimum Wage

14. Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on the effects on people in Scotland of the national minimum wage. [199803]

David Cairns: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has regular meetings with ministerial colleagues where a number of issues are discussed.

87,000 people in Scotland will benefit from the annual increase to the national minimum wage that will come into force in October. We are very proud of the national minimum wage, and that it is a vital employment right that continues to make a tangible difference to the lives of many working Scots.


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International Development

Departmental Publications

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the Answer of 1 April 2008, Official Report, column 737W, on departmental publications, if he will place in the Library a copy of section 1(c) on allowances and section 1(g) on working overseas of his Department’s web-based human resources information system. [199681]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: I have arranged to place in the Library copies of section 1(c) on allowances and section 1(g) on working overseas of the Department for International Development’s web-based human resources information system, Peoplesight.

Developing Countries: Economic Growth

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Government have taken in the last year to assist developing countries to (a) manage economic growth and (b) deal with changes as a result of growth. [199407]

Gillian Merron: The information requested is as follows:

Northern Ireland

Departmental Pay

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 1 April 2008, Official Report, columns 734-35W, in what capacity each of the temporary staff referred to in the table was employed, broken down by hourly rate of pay. [199665]

Mr. Woodward: The following tables set out the equivalent grade of each of the temporary staff. The grades shown are NIO grades, with the equivalent civil service grades shown in brackets.


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March 2007
Hourly rate of pay Capacity

17.26

Grade A (Grade 7)

15.82

Grade Bl (SEO)

13.72

Grade B2 (HEO)

11.48

Grade B2 (HEO)

11.32

Grade C (EO)

9.38

Grade C (EO)

7.88

Grade C (EO)

5.51

Grade D2 (AA)


February 2008
Hourly rate of pay Capacity

18.25

Grade A (Grade 7)

17.79

Grade A (Grade 7)

16.25

Grade Bl (SEO)

14.02

Grade B2 (HEO)

11.87

Grade B2 (HEO)

11.75

Grade C (EO)

11.60

Grade B2 (HEO)

8.23

Grade C (EO)

5.78

Grade D2 (AA)


Disabled

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what targets his Department has set in relation to its employment of people with disabilities over the next five years. [199050]

Mr. Woodward: The 10-Point Plan for a Diverse Civil Service, published in November 2005, by the Cabinet Office set a target that 3.2 per cent. of senior civil service (SCS) posts are to be filled by people with disabilities by April 2008. Progress against these targets is available on the civil service website at:

Final measurements of achievement will be available by October 2008.

Departments were encouraged to set their own targets and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) Diversity Delivery Plan for 2007-08 and 2008-09 sets out the following challenging targets in this respect:

Target (percentage)

Within the senior civil service grades

7.0

Within senior civil service feeder grades

3.2


The NIO is currently working with Cabinet Office colleagues in preparing a future diversity strategy to build on the achievements and lessons learned from the 10-Point Plan.


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