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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether there has been any nugatory cost to his Department relating to tendered procurement where the tender process has been cancelled prior to the award of the contract in the last three years. 
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department has spent on (a) focus groups and (b) opinion polls in each year since 1997-98; how much he estimates will be spent on each category in 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, column 284W, on the electoral register, what assessment the Commission made of the level of over-registration in Great Britain. 
The Commission carried out a pilot study in London in 2007 to test various methodologies for measuring over-registration and under-registration. This work has informed the Commission's planned review of local electoral registers, which will include an assessment of over-registration in a small sample of local authority registers. This review is due to begin in early 2009.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission with reference to the evidence of the Electoral Commission to the Public Bill Committee on the Political Parties and Elections Bill, 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 56, whether the Commission plans to publish an estimate of the administrative costs of implementing (a) the existing legislation and (b) the proposed new procedures. 
Sir Peter Viggers:
The Electoral Commission informs me that, as outlined in its memorandum to the public bill committee (PPE 04), which is available on the committee's webpage, the existing legislation on the regulated period for candidate expenses is relatively
simple to administer, and as this work forms only a small part of the Commission's advice, guidance and compliance work, the cost of implementing it is not significant.
The Commission further informs me that, in its consideration of the overall costs of the Political Parties and Elections (PPE) Bill, it took into account the likely costs of administering the proposed amendments to the regulated period for candidates and considers that it should be able to re-prioritise work from within its existing resources to develop, consult on and publish any guidance relevant to this provision, at no additional cost.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the proportion of (a) lamb, (b) beef, (c) chicken, (d) pork, (e) turkey, (f) other meats, (g) vegetables and (h) fruit to be served by her Department at Christmas functions which will be sourced from British producers. 
The Government will shortly be publishing a report on the proportion of domestically produced food used by Government Departments and also supplied to hospitals and prisons under contracts negotiated by NHS Supply Chain and National Offender Management Service (previously HM Prison Service) between 1 April 2007 and 31( )March 2008.
Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the annual change in the level of council tax in each district council in the East Midlands was in each year since 1997-98; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Khan: The Government are currently consulting on proposals for a Legislative Reform Order to amend credit union legislation. One of the proposals, on allowing credit unions to admit corporate bodies or unincorporated bodies into their membership if adopted will enable community groups to become part of credit unions.
Communities and Local Government does not provide direct support specifically for credit unions. Some New Deal for Communities partnerships, which are directly funded by the Department, do support and work with credit unions in their areas.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the rate of staff (a) absence and (b) sickness absence was in (i) her Department and (ii) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each year since her Department's inception; what the target rates set for her Department are in each case; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Khan: Information on absence for 2004, 2005, 2006-07 for the Department for Communities and Local Government, its agencies and non departmental public bodies can be found on the civil service website:
The Department does not have a specific target rate of absence to achieve. However, through its health and wellbeing programme the Department is aiming to reduce its current rate of sickness absence to an average of 5.4 working days lost per annum.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many civil servants have been employed by each of her Department's agencies and non-departmental bodies in each year since 1997-98; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Khan: For information on the number of civil servants employed by the Department and its predecessor bodies, I refer the hon. Member to the annual reports. These are published as Command Papers and held by the House of Commons Library. Each of the reports will have a Command Paper number as detailed in the following table.
The Department's executive NDPBs are not civil servantsalthough civil servants can be seconded or loaned to NDPBs. Information on the number of employees in executive NDPBs is published in the annual Cabinet Office Public Bodies publication. Copies are available from the Libraries of the House.
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