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On the detailed questions you raised, I can confirm that discussions between MOD officials and the local authority first took place on 27 June 2007, between Lieutenant Colonel Housley and Major Di Waddington from Colchester Garrison staff and Mr Peter Wright and Mr Graham Ranby from Essex County Council. The purpose of the meeting was for the local authority representatives to inform the Colchester Garrison
representatives of the circumstances of Alderman Blaxill and Thomas Lord Audley Schools and that a recommendation had been made to consider their replacement with an Academy. The local authority wanted to ensure that Service families affected could be made aware of any subsequent proposals and involved in any consultation. A second meeting was held on 17 October 2007 between Lieutenant Colonel Housley and Mr Wright. The aim of the meeting was for the consultation process to be explained and the consultation documentation described. There was also some discussion of the best way to encourage engagement with Service families. Finally, I can confirm that there were no Ministers or Essex County Councillors at either of the meetings.
At our meeting Colonel Phillips emphasised to you his confidence that Garrison staff had ensured that all Service families affected had been made aware of the proposals and had had an opportunity to comment. I should add that the Garrison staff worked to make this happen, although this did not involve further meetings with the local authority. Since our meeting we have been waiting for the results of the consultation but at this time I have little to pass on. There has been telephone contact between Colchester Garrison and local authority staff which has confirmed that the consultation had drawn 236 responses. It is not possible to state how many of those were from Service families but the local authority have noted strong interest from Service families at meetings held during the consultation period. Like you, we look forward to hearing the outcome of the consultation in due course.
This letter to you on the subject of the future of Alderman Blaxill School follows responses I have given to your Parliamentary Question on 9 July 2007 (Official Report, column 1281W), to your letter of 10 July 2007, to points you made in intervention during the Armed Forces Personnel Debate on 10 January 2008 and at our meeting on 5 February 2008. I hope that you are reassured that the MOD has played a proper part in ensuring that Service families have a free and open opportunity to make their views known on the future of the school, although the responsibility for deciding on that future does not lie with the MOD.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: As recorded in the Major Projects Report 2007 (MPR07), expenditure to 31 March 2007 on the Eurofighter Typhoon is £11.8 billion. I am withholding the estimated total cost of the programme as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) financial and (b) in kind contributions the Atomic Weapons Establishment has made to the (i) International Atomic Energy Agency and (ii) Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the field of verification techniques in the last five years. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: AWE is a member of the IAEA's Network of Analytical Laboratories that analyse environmental samples collected by the IAEA's Department of Safeguards. Over the past five years, analytical work to the value of £417,000 has been carried out at AWE. This work is performed under the UK Support Programme for IAEA safeguards, funded by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contribution Atomic Weapons Establishment verification researchers made to the Royal Society's report on Detecting Nuclear and Radiological Materials; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Personnel from the Atomic Weapons Establishment participated in a two-day workshop run by the Royal Society in December 2007. The findings from this workshop formed the basis for the Royal Society's report on Detecting Nuclear and Radiological Materials.
Derek Twigg: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Expenditure on plasma televisions must comply with the principles of propriety set out in Managing Public Money and in the Treasurys handbook on Regularity, Propriety and Value for Money.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total cost was of (a) salaries for permanent civil service posts, (b) salaries for permanent non-civil service posts and (c) payments to temporary or agency workers in his Department in each month since May 2005. 
David Cairns: The staff in the Scotland Office are seconded from other Departments who submit invoices to the Office on a regular basis. The Office does not maintain financial records in the form requested; the total cost for each year was:
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many public consultations were held by his Department in each of the last three years; and how many respondents took part in each consultation. 
David Cairns: The Scotland Office undertook two targeted and time-limited public consultations; one entitled Scottish Parliament Elections May 2007: Ballot Paper Design; there were 32 responses, and a further 100 people took part in focus groups. The other, Sorting the Ballot, received 39 responses. Responses to both consultations were received from councils, political parties and a range of other organisations presenting the opinions of all their members.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Leader of the House (1) what forecasts she has made of spending on the parliamentary contributory Pension Fund in each year between 2008-09 and 2050-51; and how many members of the scheme there are; 
(3) what estimate she has made of the unfunded liability in present value terms of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund; and what assumptions for (a) discount rate and (b) longevity the estimate is based on. 
Helen Goodman: The Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) is a fully-funded pension scheme whose costs are met from Members' contributions, investment returns and an Exchequer contribution. The Government Actuary undertakes a triennial valuation in which he makes recommendations as to the necessary Exchequer contribution to the PCPF. This can rise or fall depending on factors such as predicted investment returns and longevity assumptions.
In the triennial valuation report laid before the House in March 2006, the Government Actuarys Department (GAD) calculated that the Exchequer contribution should be 26.8 per cent. of pensionable pay from 2006-07 until 2020-21 and then 18.1 per cent. of pensionable pay thereafter. The estimated cost of contributions payable by the Exchequer for the financial year 2008-09 and the next triennial valuation is £12.1 million.
|Financial year||PCP F exchequer contribution rate (percentage of salaries)||PCPF exchequer contribution (£ million)|
The deficit (unfunded liability) calculated as at 1 April 2005 (the date of the last valuation) was £49.5 million. This is the approximate value of the Exchequer contribution holiday between 1989 and 2003.
The liabilities were valued by discounting back to the valuation date the expected future expenditure on pension benefits, using the discount rates given in this table. The investments were brought into account in the assessment by discounting back to the valuation date the expected income from them, using the discount rates given in this table.
John Healey: On 27 March I announced that eight authorities had been designated for exceeding the principles set for 2008-09. The authorities have the right to challenge their designation and all eight have done so.
Caroline Flint: Community cohesion and empowerment is one of the seven criteria that eco-towns must address and will be vital to the success of an eco-town, which should provide a vibrant and sustainable community. The outcomes that we want to see are set out in Eco-townsLiving a greener future and supported through the work that the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) are doing with us on the practical application of the criteria. This includes the recent publication of a community worksheet to provide practical help to all those involved with taking forward eco-town proposals, which is available on the TCPA website.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account is being taken of the provision of employment opportunities in each of the locations shortlisted to become eco-towns. 
Caroline Flint: One of the criteria that we have assessed eco-town proposals against relates to jobs and the outcomes we expect to see. This includes developing a clear strategy to maximise employment opportunities and enabling links to existing clusters of employment. In the consultation document Eco-townsLiving a greener future we have set out some of the potential employment opportunities and issues for the shortlisted locations. We are currently consulting on these locations and final decisions on the locations are still to be determined. Copies of the consultation document are available in the Library of the House.
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