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Zimbabwe: Elections

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Government has had with other governments on the non-publication of the results of the recent presidential election in Zimbabwe. [201658]


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Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend Lord Malloch-Brown have held regular substantive and frank discussions with African and other leaders about the non-publication of the recent presidential election results and the unacceptable level of political violence in Zimbabwe. In addition our embassies and high commissions are engaging in dialogue with key interlocutors in the region and beyond. We have and will continue to seek out opportunities to raise the issue of the urgent situation in Zimbabwe through and in the margins of multilateral fora including the EU and the UN.

Zimbabwe: Human Rights

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government has taken to establish the extent of human rights violations in Zimbabwe. [201655]

Meg Munn: Government officials are carefully monitoring the current situation in Zimbabwe, paying close attention to the extent of human rights violations. Our facts are cross checked and ascertained through direct contact with victims and non-governmental organisations who corroborate statements and facts. As a consequence we can confirm there have been at least 456 victims of post election violence reported to date and we are also aware of hundreds of displaced civilians. We have repeatedly raised our condemnation of these abuses with the Government of Zimbabwe and states in the region.

Treasury

Adjudicator’s Office

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases the Adjudicators Office dealt with in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [202664]

Jane Kennedy: The number of complaints accepted by the Adjudicator’s Office for investigation, and the number finalised each year are published in the adjudicator’s annual report. Reports for each of the last five years are available on the adjudicator’s website:

Adjudicator’s Office: Complaints

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints have been received about the Adjudicators Office in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [202662]

Jane Kennedy: Figures for the number of complaints made against the Adjudicator's Office are not available.

Where a complaint is made against the handling of a complaint by the Adjudicator's Office, the adjudicator will attempt to resolve the complaint directly with the complainant. Where agreement cannot be reached, the complainant may refer the matter to the parliamentary and health services ombudsman.


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Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how long on average the Adjudicators Office took to (a) respond to a complaint and (b) successfully deal with a complaint in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [202663]

Jane Kennedy: During 2007-08 the adjudicator took on average 8.98 working days to make their initial response to a complainant. The average time taken to finalise an investigation during the same period was 23.44 weeks.

Adjudicator's Office: Finance

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the annual budget of the Adjudicators Office is; and if he will make a statement. [202665]

Jane Kennedy: In 2006-07 the cost of the Adjudicator’s Office was £2.48 million. This figure was given in written evidence to the Treasury Committee on 15 January 2008 by Mr. Simon Oakes, the head of the Adjudicator’s Office. The figure includes an apportionment for accommodation and other services provided directly by HMRC, and is therefore higher than the £1.99 million quoted in the annual report for 2006-07.

Adjudicator's Office: Manpower

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time workers are employed by the Adjudicators Office; and if he will make a statement. [202666]

Jane Kennedy: The Adjudicator’s Office currently has 47 members of staff. The breakdown of staff years is given in the following table:

Department Full-time Part-time

HM Revenue and Customs

42

2

Valuation Office Agency

1

0

Insolvency Service

1

0

Office of the Public Guardian

1

0


Bird and Bird

Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contracts were awarded by his Department to Bird and Bird solicitors in each year since 2005; and what the (a) value and (b) duration of each such contract was. [201642]

Angela Eagle: The Treasury have awarded no contracts to Bird and Bird since 2005.

Car Allowances

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether HM Revenue and Customs plans to review the authorised mileage allowances for tax purposes to take account of rising fuel costs. [202376]


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Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) on 13 March 2008, Official Report, column 535W. I also refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) on 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 306W. The Chancellor announced in Budget 2008 that the Government would maintain the tax-free mileage allowance (AMAPs) rates and thresholds at current levels.

Crown Estate: Weber Shandwick Public Affairs

Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what payments the Crown Estate made to Weber Shandwick Public Affairs in each of the last five years; and on what date and for what purpose the payments were made in each case. [202260]

Angela Eagle: The Crown Estate employed Weber Shandwick for corporate PR advice as well as general communications support on a number of property development projects for their central London urban portfolio. The primary focus of Weber Shandwick's work here was community consultation.

The figures are given in the table:

£000

2002-03

129

2003-04

170

2004-05

178

2005-06

255

2006-07

126


Departmental Energy

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department has taken to reduce its energy consumption in the last 12 months; and what his Department's expenditure on energy was in (a) the most recent 12 month period for which figures are available and (b) the immediately preceding 12 months. [201748]

Angela Eagle: HMT has been working with Exchequer Partnership, HMT's PFI partner, to implement recommendations from the Carbon Trust and is currently developing further initiatives with both parties.

The energy consumption figures for the Department are:

£

2006-07

427,472

2005-06

371,854


Departmental Pensions

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what his most recent estimate is of the unfunded liability in present value terms of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible; and on what assumptions for (a) discount and (b) longevity the estimate is based; [200686]


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(2) what the unfunded liability in present value terms was of each public sector pension scheme for which his Department is responsible in each year since 1990-91; [200687]

(3) what the (a) rate and (b) cost was of employer contributions for each public sector pension scheme for which his Department has responsibility in each year since 1990-91; and if he will make a statement; [200688]

(4) what the effect on his Department's expenditure would be of increasing the employee contribution to each pension scheme for which his Department is responsible by one per cent.; and if he will make a statement. [200689]

Angela Eagle: HM Treasury is not responsible for any public sector pension schemes.

Equitable Life

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent producing the report of the Equitable Life inquiry. [200428]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to HM Treasury's Resource Accounts 2003-04 for the total cost of Lord Penrose's inquiry into Equitable Life.

Fuels: Excise Duties

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) the Assets Recovery Agency and (b) HM Revenue and Customs recovered from those involved in fuel laundering in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. [200616]

Angela Eagle: The nature of civil recovery proceedings is such that it is not possible to quantify the exact value of assets recovered in relation to specific forms of criminality, although the Assets Recovery Agency has recovered assets from individuals whose criminality is believed to include fuel smuggling.

In the last three years in Northern Ireland, HMRC has made two cash seizures under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 from persons involved in oil laundering:

£

2005

(1)8,510.00

2007

(2)3,599.54

(1) Proceeds of fuel laundering.
(2) Proceeds of fuel laundering, with prosecution for laundering plant pending.

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many prosecutions for offences relating to fuel laundering there were in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years; [200617]

(2) how many people have been convicted of and received prison sentences for offences relating to fuel laundering in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. [200615]

Angela Eagle: In Northern Ireland, in each of the last three years, there have been two prosecutions commenced for offences relating to oils laundering.


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Within the same period, there have been three persons who have been convicted of offences relating to oils laundering of which:

Criminal investigation and prosecution for hydrocarbon oils offences form only one part of HMRC's overall approach to tackling oils fraud, together with the investigation/prosecution of wider oils excise offences, combined with a strong regulatory control system and the civil penalties regime.

Government Departments: Carbon Emissions

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what price his Department requires Government Departments to use for one tonne of carbon dioxide when calculating their budgets. [202537]

Angela Eagle: The shadow price of carbon (SPC) is used to value the expected increase or decrease in emissions of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from a proposed policy. The SPC reflects the damage costs of climate change caused by each additional tonne of greenhouse gas emitted—converted into carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for ease of comparison. Supplementary guidance to the Green Book has been published, and the SPC should be used in all policy and project appraisals across government with significant effects on carbon emissions.

The value of the SPC is dependent upon the year the carbon is abated/emitted and rises over time to account for observed (and assumed) inflation, and at 2 per cent. a year to account for rising damage costs from higher greenhouse gas concentrations. The SPC in 2008 is £26.50 per tonne of CO2e.

Health Services

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department provides health or social care services out of public funds, with reference to the Statement by the Minister of State, Department of Health, in the Health and Social Care Bill Committee, of 17th January 2008, Official Report, column 327. [200226]

Angela Eagle: The Treasury provides no such services.

Income Tax: Tax Evasion

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) cases of and (b) prosecutions for income tax evasion there have been since 2001. [201616]

Jane Kennedy: Since the creation of the RCPO and HMRC in 2005, 863 cases of direct tax and VAT evasion have been successfully prosecuted and a further 1361 settled under Civil Investigation of Fraud proceedings. Separate figures for income tax evasion are not available. Cases of less serious income tax evasion are resolved through inquiries, but HMRC does not keep records of this.


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Prosecutions for income tax evasion prior to April 2005 were carried out by the former Inland Revenue. In total, there were 76 successful direct tax prosecutions between 2001 and 2005.

Details of these are published in the IR annual reports.


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