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26 Nov 2008 : Column 1891Wcontinued
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many full-time equivalent staff in his Department assist special advisers; and what the cost of employing such staff was in each of the last three years. 
Angela Eagle: The special advisers' office is currently staffed by four full-time equivalent staff. They provide support of a non-political nature to both the special advisers and the Council of Economic Advisers in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers. Cost details are not disclosed in order to protect the privacy of the individuals concerned. Office costs are shown in the Treasury's Resource Account, HC 539, available from
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department and its agencies spent on entertainment in each of the last five years. 
Angela Eagle: The following table provides details of spending on official entertainment in each of the last five years.
All expenditure is incurred in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of staff in his Department in the last 12 months; and at what total cost. 
Angela Eagle: Performance and special bonuses paid to Treasury staff are all non-pensionable. For details of the number of bonuses paid in 2007-08 I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 17 November 2008, Official Report, column 164W, to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable).
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what bonuses were paid by his Department in 2007-08; to which members of staff; and for what purposes. 
Angela Eagle: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 17 November 2008, Official Report, column 164W.
HM Treasury staff at all grades are eligible for bonus payments. Bonuses are paid in two circumstances: performance bonuses are those linked to the annual staff appraisal system; special bonuses are those paid to recognise exceptional performance for specific contributions or pieces of work during the year or situations outside the normal expectations of the post.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many press releases have been issued by his Department in each year since 1997-98; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: All Treasury press releases since 1997 can be found on the HM Treasury website at:
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there has been any nugatory cost to his Department and its agencies relating to tendered procurement where the tender process has been cancelled prior to the award of the contract in the last three years. 
Angela Eagle: Since April 2007 HM Treasury and the Debt Management Office have no procurement exercises where the competitive tendering process has been cancelled and abortive costs incurred.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer from the Minister of State, Home Office, to the hon. Member for Angus (Mr. Weir) of 12 June 2008, Official Report, columns 471-72W, on departmental property, if he will place in the Library a copy of the new Treasury reporting procedures; and for what reasons the details of stolen assets are not required to be specified under the procedures. 
Yvette Cooper: I am placing in the Library the Treasury's current fraud reporting requirements, which are contained in a letter to Finance Directors (MS FD (08) 11) dated 21 April 2008. These were first introduced on 5 May 2006 in order to simplify the reporting process. Up to that date Departments were asked to provide details of each individual theft or fraud regardless of their value. Departments now provide, for each fraud category, the number of cases and their total value. The changes were introduced in order to reduce the burden on Departments and to speed up the process of producing the Fraud Report.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer 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. 
Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 6 June 2008, Official Report, column 1227W, to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Stewart Hosie).
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of (a) entertainment, (b) advertising and promotion and (c) public relations consultancy to his Department in 2007-08. 
Angela Eagle: The Treasury does not record public relations expenditure as a separate category but a check of supplier records for the financial year 2007-08 has revealed no payments to suppliers that are known to be public relations companies. A more comprehensive answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the television licence fee in his official ministerial residence is paid for from public funds. 
Angela Eagle: The licence in respect of the Chancellor's private flat is the personal responsibility of the Chancellor.
Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge), of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 174W, on Dorneywood, (1) on what dates Treasury Ministers used Dorneywood for official engagements in the last 12 months; 
(2) on how many occasions he has made use of the official Ministerial residence of Dorneywood since he became Chancellor. 
Angela Eagle: Ministers and civil servants have used Dorneywood for official events over the past 12 months. Dorneywood is held in trust for use as an official residence, as has been the case under successive Administrations. It is the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and is also available to Ministers and their civil servants for official engagements. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such engagements.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures the Government plan to introduce to protect the (a) pensions, (b) homes and (c) savings of UK citizens with reference to the recent uncertainty in the international banking sector. 
Ian Pearson: The Banking Bill, now before Parliament, makes a number of changes to strengthen the framework for depositor protection and to provide new arrangements for resolving the position of banks in distress. The Financial Services Authority is considering further reforms to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
The Government launched the Pensions Protection Fund (PPF) in 2005. The PPF pays compensation to members of defined benefit pension scheme where the sponsoring employer becomes insolvent leaving insufficient assets in the scheme. At the same time, the Government created the Pensions Regulator (replacing the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority) to protect the benefits of members of work-based pension schemes.
As part of the £1 billion housing package announced on 2 September, the Government have already provided support for thousands of vulnerable homeowners facing
repossession to remain in their homes through a new mortgage rescue scheme. The Government have also increased support available under the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme for the next two years to increase help for some of the most vulnerable homeowners on very low, or no, incomes.
Building on the September package, at PBR the Chancellor announced further measures to help vulnerable homeowners to stay in their homes, including an extension to the mortgage rescue scheme to cover second charge mortgages. Support for Mortgage Interest was also strengthened through raising the capital limit to £200,000 and maintaining interest payments at 6 per cent. for the next six months, despite the fall in base rate. The PBR announced the formation of a new Lending Panel, which will encourage the highest standards of industry best practice in supporting borrowers with mortgage repayment problems. The major lenders are also committed not to initiate repossession proceedings within at least three months of the account going into arrears. In addition, Government are investing a further £15 million in debt advice services, to ensure all householders facing financial difficulties have access to free and impartial advice when they need it.
The Government are committed to doing whatever it takes to stabilise the banking system, protect savers and taxpayers and support the wider economy.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what regulatory changes the Government plan to introduce to ensure better regulation of banks operating in the UK. 
Ian Pearson: As the Chancellor made clear in his statement on financial markets to the House of Commons on 6 October 2008, he has asked Adair Turner, the Chairman of the FSA, to make recommendations for regulatory reforms.
On the basis of recent events in financial markets, which have shown the importance to banks of liquidity as well as capital, the FSA is already considering changes to liquidity requirements. In addition, the Government announced a comprehensive financial support package announced on 8 October and the specific details announced on 13 October detail the steps taken to ensure financial stability. This package of measures has subsequently been replicated throughout the world.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which recruitment agencies (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have used in the last three years; and how much was paid to each of these recruitment agencies in each year. 
Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 18 June 2007, Official Report, columns 1495-96W. Information on payments to recruitment agencies is commercially sensitive and cannot be released.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of residents of (a) the City of Sunderland, (b) Houghton and
Washington East constituency and (c) England and Wales who were mis-sold a home equity release product in each year since 1997. 
Ian Pearson: The Government do not hold data on the number of equity release products sold each year or data on mis-selling.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the net additional funding the United Kingdom will receive from the European Union Solidarity Fund to assist in the aftermath of the floods in 2007. 
Yvette Cooper: Based on the exchange rates at the time of application, the net benefit of the €162.4 million in EU Solidarity Fund assistance paid by the EU in relation to the summer 2007 flooding is around £31 million. This takes account of the increase to the EC budget and the impact on the size of the UK abatement. The exact size of the net benefit will depend on exchange rates on 31 December 2008, which are used to calculate the size of the UK's contribution for next year. The Government announced that £31 million would be made available to English local authorities through the Restoration Fund and to the devolved administrations of Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 375W, on excise duties: motor vehicles, what the effect of (a) each of these factors and (b) others has been in each of the last 10 years; and what forecast he has made for the next three years as a result of the vehicle excise duty changes introduced in the 2008 Budget. 
Mr. Timms: The Treasury does not hold figures on the effect of factors such as brand, mileage, reliability, comfort or tax on the purchase price of used vehicles. These factors will all affect the purchase price to some degree. However, of equal or greater concern to consumers may be the difference in price between their previous vehicle and new purchase.
Given that there are three times as many transactions involving used cars as new ones each year, it is important that the incentive to purchase lower carbon vehicles extends to the used car market as well as the new car market.
Future forecasts for vehicle excise duty revenues are set out in Annex B of the pre-Budget report.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the multiplies effect of a fiscal boost to the economy through (a) greater public spending and (b) tax reductions. 
The 2008 pre-Budget report announced a discretionary fiscal action of £20 billion, which will deliver a fiscal stimulus of around 1 per cent. of GDP.
The use of fiscal measures to stimulate demand is discussed in the HM Treasury document. The case for a concerted international fiscal response available at:
and a range of evidence on the size and sign of fiscal multipliers is examined in the discussion paper Fiscal Stabilisation and EMU available at:
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