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24 Nov 2008 : Column 948W—continued


Table (b): VOA IT projects as at November 2008
IT Project Implementation date Estimated costs (£ million)

BlackBerries

December 2008

under 1

Geographical Information System

January 2010

1-5

Hardcopy Records—Strategic

October 2009

1-5

Tech Refresh

June 2009

1-5


Departmental Marketing

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in his Department are responsible for branding activity; and what the cost of employing such staff was in 2007-08. [237465]

Angela Eagle: HM Treasury's Publishing Unit which comprises of 14 staff are responsible for various aspects of the publishing process including branding, web publishing, design and print production. Branding activity accounts for a small percentage of the unit's role.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 949W

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost of provision of Government cars to special advisers in his Department has been in the last 12 months. [238177]

Angela Eagle: Special advisers in the Treasury are not provided with Government cars.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what external speakers his Department and its agencies have paid since January 2005; how much each was paid; and on what date each spoke. [237606]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 20 November 2008]: The information requested in respect of the Treasury and its agencies is not available.

Departmental Procurement

James Duddridge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the names and addresses of each organisation that supplied goods and services to his Department in 2007-08, based on the purchase order data held in the Department's financial database. [222036]

Angela Eagle: A copy of the list of active suppliers, including postcodes, held on the Treasury's accounting system at 28 October 2008 has been deposited in the Library.

Departmental Recruitment

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria are used to assess candidates for non-executive directorships at his Department. [237762]

Angela Eagle: Treasury’s most recent recruitment for independent non-executive directors was in summer 2008. Three non-executive directors were appointed following an open competition involving the independent Office of the Civil Service Commissioners.

Candidates were assessed against criteria set out on Treasury’s website:


24 Nov 2008 : Column 950W

Departmental Secondment

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many secondees have worked in his Department since 1 January 2005; from which organisation each was seconded; in which section of his Department each was employed while at the Department; and for what periods each worked at the Department. [237566]

Angela Eagle: The information is as follows:

1. The number of secondees from outside the civil service who have worked in HMT Treasury in the period 1 January 2005 to 31 July 2008 is 79.

2. The employment sectors they were seconded from are as follows:

Employment sector Number

Private

41

Public

37

Voluntary

1


3. The section that each secondee worked in are listed as follows:

Directorate Total

Finance Regulation industry

11

Budget, Tax and Welfare

14

Government Financial Management

7

Ministerial Corporate Services

4

Macro-economic policy and International Finance

14

Public Services and Growth

29

Grand total

79


4. The precise length of each secondment could be answered only at disproportionate cost. However, most secondments last between one and two years.

David Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were seconded from the private sector to (a) HM Revenue and Customs, (b) the Office of Government Commerce and (c) OGC Buying Solutions in (i) 2005, (ii) 2006, (iii) 2007 and (iv) 2008. [238397]

Angela Eagle: There have been seven secondments from the private sector to HMRC in 2008 and two to OGC. Information for earlier years is not available. There was one such secondment to OGCbuying.solutions in 2005, two in 2006, none in 2007 and one in 2008.

Driving Offences

Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how fines incurred by businesses for minor driving offences are treated for tax purposes. [238056]

Mr. Timms: Fines incurred by businesses for minor driving offences are not allowable deductions for tax purposes.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 951W

Excise Duties: Motor Vehicles

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) for what reason light goods vehicles with lower emissions ratings do not fall into a lower vehicle excise duty band than similar vehicles with higher emissions; [237781]

(2) if he will assess the merits of vehicle excise duty gradation according to emissions levels in the case of light goods vehicles. [237782]

Angela Eagle: Comprehensive data on the carbon dioxide emissions of light goods vehicles are unavailable, and therefore vehicle excise duty for these vehicles cannot be differentiated by carbon dioxide emission levels at this time.

Financial Institutions: Iran

Mr. Hague: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the implications for UK financial institutions of the decision by the United States Administration to ban Iran from undertaking U-turn financial transactions involving US financial institutions. [237360]

Ian Pearson: The U-turn licence enabled Iranian entities to have indirect access to the US financial system—including through UK financial institutions. Revocation of that licence will mean financial institutions worldwide can no longer route payments for the benefit of Iran through the US.

We are not aware that UK financial institutions made any significant use of the U-turn licence, and therefore we expect the US decision to close the U-turn licence will have limited implications for UK financial institutions.

Financial Services Authority: Departmental Responsibilities

Ann Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Department has ministerial responsibility for the Financial Services Authority. [230844]

Ian Pearson: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent non-governmental body, given statutory powers by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. It is a company limited by guarantee, operationally independent of Government and funded entirely by the firms it regulates.

This statutory independence means that the Government do not have any control over the day-to-day running of the organisation, but it falls within the policy field for which the Treasury is responsible. The FSA is accountable to Parliament, the Treasury, the public and industry in a number of ways including the requirement for the FSA to publish an annual report on the discharge of its functions and the extent to which its regulatory objectives have been met.

Intellectual Property

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment the Treasury has made of the contribution which industries dependent on intellectual property make to the UK economy. [238359]


24 Nov 2008 : Column 952W

Angela Eagle: The Treasury has made no such assessment.

However, a number of recent reports have examined the importance of innovative and knowledge-based sectors to the UK economy, including the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property (December 2006), the Sainsbury Review (October 2007), the Treasury’s Economics Paper No. 1, “Intangible Investment and Britain’s Productivity (October 2007)”, the “Creative Britain” strategy document (February 2008), and the DIUS White Paper “Innovation Nation” (March 2008).

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the effect of intellectual property crime on revenues received by the Exchequer. [238360]

Angela Eagle: The Treasury has made no such assessment.

Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects funds to be released from the Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander Bank. [236227]

Ian Pearson: On 8 October, the Treasury used powers under the Banking (Special Provisions) Act 2008 to transfer Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander’s Kaupthing Edge deposit business to ING Direct. These depositors are now customers of ING Direct.

The remainder of KSF was placed into administration following due legal process. Creditors will be paid out in accordance with UK insolvency procedures.

Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander: Isle of Man

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Isle of Man authorities and (b) Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander Bank (Isle of Man) on the bank releasing the funds held within it. [236228]

Ian Pearson: Arrangements for depositors in banks in the Isle of Man are a matter for the Government of the Isle of Man.

Deposits with Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander, Isle of Man will be subject to the Isle of Man Deposit Compensation Scheme.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings and discussions.

Non-domestic Rates: Empty Property

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the timetable is for the Valuation Office Agency’s review of the effects of the increases in empty property business rates. [235102]

Mr. Timms: The Valuation Office Agency keeps the Department for Communities and Local Government regularly informed on empty property rates, from its perspective of keeping rating lists up to date, but is not itself undertaking a review.


24 Nov 2008 : Column 953W

Office of Government Commerce: Finance

David Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the budget for (a) the Office of Government Commerce and (b) OGC Buying Solutions is for each of the next three financial years. [238395]

Angela Eagle: Details on the Office of Government Commerce’s DEL budget for the next three financial years are set out in “HM Treasury Annual Report 2007-08” (CM 7408). Approval for changes to the 2008-09 provision will be sought through the supply process.

OGCbuying.solutions is a trading fund set up under the Government Trading Funds Act 1973 and is therefore dependant on the funds it earns, and consequently receives no central budget for its operations. This means that Buying Solutions must cover its expenditure completely through sales to its customers. While Buying Solutions undertakes rigorous financial planning, its expenditure is off-set by its income earned.

Public Sector: Procurement

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of using British Standards Institution standard PAS 2050 in public procurement. [237744]

Angela Eagle: PAS 2050 is a voluntary standard to assess the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, GHG, in products (i.e. goods and services). Its development was co-sponsored by DEFRA and the Carbon Trust in response to demand from business. PAS 2050 is a method designed to enable businesses to carbon footprint their goods or services, to know where in their supply chain their greenhouse gas emissions occur, and then work to reduce them.

The Government are fully committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in public procurement. “Quick wins” product standards have been mandated for many categories of goods and services. Government Departments are currently working with the Carbon Disclosure Project, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to understanding the carbon emissions associated with supply chains, on pilots that will provide information to Departments about the overall carbon emissions of suppliers to Government.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance he has given the Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Procurement regarding the use of whole-life costing in public sector procurement. [237746]

Angela Eagle: The Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Procurement uses the guidance published in HM Treasury ‘The Green Book: Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government’, which states that whole life costing (WLC) must be applied in all public sector procurement as part of ensuring value for money solutions.


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