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26 Nov 2008 : Column 1950W—continued


York u nitary authority: VAT registrations and de-registrations

Registrations De-registrations

1994

370

370

1995

410

390

1996

395

375

1997

435

340

1998

415

325

1999

430

340

2000

460

335

2001

440

345

2002

490

380

2003

520

365

2004

465

345

2005

525

410

2006

475

390

Source:
BERR National Statistics publication ‘Business start-ups and closures: VAT registrations and de-registrations 2006’ available at:
httD://stats.berr.gov.uk/ed/vat/index.htm

The number of new VAT registrations exceeded the number of de-registrations in every year since 1997 in both the City of York constituency and in York Unitary Authority.

VAT registrations do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which was £60,000 at the start of 2006. Only 1.9 million out of 4.5 million UK enterprises (43 per cent.) were registered for VAT at the start of 2006.

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he will respond to the letter to the Secretary of State dated 8th September from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms H. Mooney. [231192]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.

I apologise for the delay in responding. A reply was sent on 28 October 2008.

Women and Equality

Rape Crisis Centres

5. Laura Moffatt: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what progress she has made on providing emergency funding support for rape crisis centres. [238586]

Maria Eagle: Nineteen rape crisis centres have been awarded grants from the second and final round of this special fund, to a total of nearly £706,000, ensuring that they have been able to remain open.

The Government continue to step up on action to tackle the menace of rape and bring offenders to justice. The latest figures show that in 2006 there were nearly 800 convictions for rape, compared to just over 500 in 1997, an increase of over 45 per cent.

Domestic Violence

9. John Robertson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps she plans to take to encourage individuals who are victims of domestic violence to seek assistance to prevent continued abuse. [238590]

Maria Eagle: Providing support services for victims of domestic violence is central to the Government’s National Domestic Violence Plan. Services include provision of Government funding for a network of national telephone helplines as well as ensuring that multi-agency risk assessment conferences are established across England and Wales by 2011.

Children

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether the plans outlined in section seven of the Government’s Draft Legislative Programme in relation to improved data collection on
26 Nov 2008 : Column 1952W
equality include collecting data on discrimination based on age, with particular reference to children and young people under 18; and if she will make a statement. [221127]

Maria Eagle: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation. I will write when the information is available.

Departmental Absenteeism

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality 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 its inception; what the target rates set for her Department are in each case; and if she will make a statement. [238928]

Maria Eagle: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) was established on 12 October 2007. Since its inception the GEO has a sick absence rate of 6.6 average working days lost per year. This figure also includes staff working in the Women’s National Commission. As a new Department we do not yet have sufficient data or trends to set a realistic target for our sick absence rate but as an interim measure we are working towards the cabinet office guideline of 6.5 average working days lost per year. The Department does not keep any central records which record the rates of other, non-sickness-related absences. Absence on holidays and any special leave are managed between individuals and their line managers, against individually contracted allowances.

The rate of sickness absence for the Equality and Human Rights Commission since 1 October 2007 is an average of 7.71 working days lost per employee per year. This is against a target rate for the Commission of seven working days per employee. The Commission is introducing a number of attendance management initiatives to reduce its sickness absence level in line with the target. The EHRC is undergoing a period of change and transition. In such circumstances absences may be higher than expected.

As context for these figures, the 2008 survey of absence from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows a Public Sector absence average of 9.8 working days lost.

Departmental Civil Servants

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many civil servants have been employed by each of the Government Equalities Office and non-departmental bodies in each year since its inception; and if she will make a statement. [239097]

Maria Eagle: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) sponsors the Equality and Human Rights Commission, an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB). Executive NDPBs are non-Crown bodies and employees are not civil servants—although 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.


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1953W

The GEO also sponsors the Women’s National Commission, an advisory NDPB. Advisory NDPBs do not usually employ staff. They are typically supported by civil servants from the sponsoring Department.

Departmental Consultants

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how much (a) the Government Equalities Office and (b) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on external consultancy in each year since its inception; and if she will make a statement. [239055]

Maria Eagle: Since its inception on 12 October 2007, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has spent £31,991 on external consultancy costs, the details of which are tabled below:

Date Consultancy Cost (£)

April to May 2008

Single Equality Scheme

10,389

May 2008

Research Strategy and Seminars

(1)19,847

September 2008

Women’s National Commission Memorandum of Understanding

1,755

Total

31,991

(1) Costs to date.

The GEO also sponsors the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Commission has spent a total of £213,650 on external consultancy since 1 October 2007.

Departmental Information Officers

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many full-time equivalent press officers (a) work and (b) provide assistance for the Government Equalities Office. [237572]

Maria Eagle: The Government Equalities Office currently has one permanent, full-time press officer, and one temporary press officer.

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality (1) how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers have been employed by the Government Equalities Office in each year since its inception; and at what cost in each year; [239077]

(2) how many press officers were employed in the Government Equalities Office in each year since its inception; what the total cost was in each year; and if she will make a statement. [239111]

Maria Eagle: The hon. Member for Taunton has tabled two similar questions and I will answer for both 239077 and 239111.

Since its establishment on 12 October 2007 the Government Equalities Office established two press office posts and has employed one special adviser. The costs for the special adviser in 2007-08 were £58,597 and to date in 2008-09 the costs are £35,735.

The GEOs press office posts have been staffed by four individual employees, the cost of these staff are detailed as follows:


26 Nov 2008 : Column 1954W

Number of press office posts Total cost (£)

2007-08

2

36,267

2008-09

2

84,311


Departmental Marketing

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how much (a) the Government Equalities Office and (b) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on (i) publicity and (ii) advertising in each year since its inception; and if she will make a statement. [238945]

Maria Eagle: The Government Equalities Office was established on 12 October 2007. No expenditure was incurred on publicity and advertising in the financial year 2007-08. In 2008-09 the costs to date, have been as follows:

Description Supplier Description Cost (£)

Publicity

Sugar Media plc

Guide to International Women’s Month

822.50

Advertising

Guardian News and Media Ltd

Recruitment of Commissioners to the Women’s National Commission

4,382.75

Advertising

Guardian News and Media Ltd

GEO Job Advertisements

10,634.93


The Government Equalities Office sponsors an executive non-departmental public body, the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In 2007-08 the Commission spent £72,864 on publicity, and £237,963 on advertising. These figures incorporate spending from the legacy Commissions in the financial year leading to the creation of the Commission. They also take into account the additional costs connected to the establishment of the new Commission and should therefore be treated as exceptional rather than the norm. In 2008-09 to date, the Commission has spent £6,312 on publicity and £77,812 on advertising.

Equality

Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality if she will place in the Library the responses to the discrimination law review consultation. [220202]

Maria Eagle: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation. I will write when the information is available.

Hotels

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how much was spent on hotel bills by the Government Equalities Office in 2007-08. [237574]

Maria Eagle: The Government Equalities Office was established on 12 October 2007. In 2007-08 a total of £1,514 was spent on hotel bills by staff who record their expenses against the GEO’s travel and subsistence IT systems. Of GEO’s 91 staff, 19 are on loan to GEO from the Department for Work and Pensions and their travel and subsistence costs are logged against DWP’s IT
26 Nov 2008 : Column 1955W
systems. DWP then invoice GEO for these costs, but do not separate out the element relating to hotel bills. Based on the pattern of costs incurred elsewhere in the GEO, these hotel bills can be estimated at a further £350.

Revenue and Customs: Disabled

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality if she will hold discussions with HM Treasury over allegations of discrimination concerning the relocation of disabled staff from the Kettering Tax Office to the tax office in Northampton. [225988]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 13 October 2008]: I have been asked to reply.

While I cannot intervene in operational decisions taken by another Government Department, I will ensure that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury fully understands that employees of Her Majesty’s Treasury are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.


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