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|York u nitary authority: VAT registrations and de-registrations|
BERR National Statistics publication Business start-ups and closures: VAT registrations and de-registrations 2006 available at:
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
Maria Eagle: Providing support services for victims of domestic violence is central to the Governments 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.
To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether the plans outlined in section seven of the Governments Draft Legislative Programme in relation to improved data collection on
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. 
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. 
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 Womens 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.
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. 
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 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.
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. 
|(1) Costs to date.|
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; 
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.
|Number of press office posts||Total cost (£)|
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. 
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:
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.
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 GEOs travel and subsistence IT systems. Of GEOs 91 staff, 19 are on loan to GEO from the Department for Work and Pensions and their travel and subsistence costs are logged against DWPs IT
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.
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. 
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 Majestys Treasury are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
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