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Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contracts his Department has awarded to Clemmow Hornby Inge Partners since 1 January 2007; and on what dates (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have met representatives of Clemmow Hornby Inge Partners since that date. 
[holding answer 30 March 2009]: The Treasury has had no contracts with Clemmow Hornby Inge Partners since 1 January 2007. Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings 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 Governments practice to provide details of all such meetings.
Kitty Ussher: All Departments are actively involved in the cross-Government Adapting to Climate Change Programme, which aims to help society adapt to climate change. The role of the programme is to develop and provide a comprehensive evidence base including adaptation tools, to raise awareness of the need to adapt, to measure success and to work across Government at all levels to embed adaptation. Further details about the programmes work can be found at:
As well as working together to tackle issues that affect all Departments and their work, each Government Department is adapting to climate change in its own operations and policies. Reflecting evidence that climate change in the UK is likely to increase the severity and frequency of flooding events, the 2007 comprehensive spending review announced that total government expenditure on flood and coastal erosion risk management will rise from £600 million in 2007-08 to £800 million in 2010-11.
In addition, Treasury officials have also been working with DEFRA and other Departments to develop supplementary Green Book guidance to enable adaptation to climate change to be taken into account in appraisal and decision-making. It is planned that this will be issued during the summer and made available to all Departments through the Green Book website.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of his Departments potential gross (a) costs and (b) savings arising from its climate change adaptation measures in the next three years. 
Kitty Ussher: It is not currently possible to provide estimates of the potential costs and savings over the next three years. It has, however, been shown in the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change that timely and well-targeted climate adaptation measures will yield benefits in excess of their costs. Some of these benefits will accrue to Departments as cost-savings over the next three years, with further more significant gains to be made in future years. The main rationale for investment to address climate risk will be to reduce the UKs vulnerability to longer-term climate change impacts.
The Government are undertaking a Climate Change Risk Assessment and Economic Analysis, which will provide estimates of the costs and benefits of adaptation to the UK. This analysis will be presented to Parliament in 2011.
James Brokenshire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have been (i) disciplined and (ii) dismissed for (A) breaches of data protection requirements and (B) inappropriate use of personal or sensitive data in the last 12 months. 
Kitty Ussher: Under the Treasurys staff conduct and disciplinary policies, a range of informal and formal disciplinary actions can be taken when staff have been found to have breached departmental policies, including those relating to the handling of protected data. It is the Treasurys policy not to release statistics relating to numbers of staff fewer than five whereto do so might lead to the identification of individual cases.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost of (a) legal, (b) taxation, (c) financial and (d) other consultancy advice to (i) his Department and (ii) the Bank of England was in 2008-09. 
Kitty Ussher: For details of the Treasurys spending on consultants I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 24 April 2009, Official Report, column 982W.
Legal advice: £8,300,000
Taxation advice: £200,000
Financial advice: £4,200,000
Other consultancy advice: £1,800,000
Of the total, costs amounting to £11,000,000 were covered by income from or charges to customers and counterparties, of which £9,400,000 were in relation to exceptional financial stability measures (mostly recoveries of legal and financial costs). This left a net cost to the Bank of £3,900,000.
The costs of maintaining the departmental website www.hm-treasury.gov.uk are as follows:
|Financial year||Maintenance costs (£)||Unique visits|
Kitty Ussher: For information on the cost (including the cost of refreshments where provided) of conferences attended by 100 people or more in 2006-07 and 2007-08, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 21 July 2008, Official Report, columns 715-16W. Information on conferences prior to 2006-07 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Conference costs in 2008-09 are not currently available as they form part of the Treasurys Resource Account, due for publication in the summer, which is subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on event management services in each of the last three years; and whether any such services were supplied by external providers. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent by his Department on staff surveys in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; and which companies were contracted to carry out the surveys. 
Kitty Ussher: In 2007, the Treasury employed Towers Perrin-ISR to conduct its annual staff survey. The cost of this survey was £50,581 (inc. VAT). In 2008, the Treasury employed Tribal to conduct its annual staff survey. Information on expenditure in 2008-09 will be available following publication of the Treasurys resource account, in the summer.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent discussions the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has had with Ministerial colleagues regarding Equitable Life and compensation for Equitable Life shareholders; 
Ian Pearson: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such discussions.
Kitty Ussher: Fuel duty is lower in real terms than in 1999. In taking taxation decisions as part of the Budget process, the Government take a range of factors, such as relevant environmental, social and economic factorsincluding where appropriate those relating to specific sectorsinto consideration.
However, assessments of the cost of fuel duty increases to the haulage industry are subject to significant amounts of variation, as they depend on assumptions made about average mileage and fuel consumption. In addition many hauliers have contracts that allow them to pass these costs on. Furthermore, considering fuel duty in isolation is misleading: overall operating costs in the UK have been found to be broadly similar to those in Italy, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands.
the temporary increase of capital allowances in 2009-10. A first-year allowance of 40 per cent. will be introduced for new capital investment (such as lorries);
the freezing of lorry VED rates in 2009;
the inclusion of vans up to 3.5 tonnes in the scrappage scheme; and
the commitment to incentivise the choice of Euro VI HGVs once the full details of the standard have been established;
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) on what date the Financial Services Authority (a) granted and (b) withdrew authorisation for GFX Capital Markets under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000; 
Ian Pearson: The matters raised in these questions are the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority, whose day to day operations are independent from Government control and influence. The FSA will respond to the hon. Member directly.
Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what target has been set in respect of the time taken by HM Revenue and Customs to process a claim for an income tax refund; and what the (a) average and (b) maximum time taken to process such a claim was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Timms: Refunds made from online self assessment returns are normally made within seven days. For paper returns HM Revenue and Customs identify returns on receipt marked repayment and process these as priority. Sampling of self assessment repayments from October 2008 to April 2009 indicates that 90 per cent. of repayments were made within 30 days.
99.3 per cent. of repayment claims arising from tax on investment income deducted at source in 2008-09 were processed within 15 working days of receipt against a target of 97 per cent. Figures for the maximum time taken are not available.
Kitty Ussher [holding answer 2 June 2009]: The Operational Efficiency Programme has taken a tailored approach to each of the studies in its remit, and carries out a rolling programme of work that reports at six-monthly intervals. Work is now under way on the next steps set out for the Met Office review in the OEP Final Report published April 2009, with the findings of this work dictating the timing of the studys recommendations. Progress will next be reported at the pre-Budget report 2009.
Justine Greening: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assumptions about the take-up rate of those eligible to defer business rates under the business rates deferral scheme announced on 31 March 2009 were made in preparing the estimates contained in the Budget 2009 Red Book; 
(2) what assumption his Department made about the cash receipts impact of the business rates deferral scheme in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12 in preparation for the announcement of the scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Kitty Ussher: The Treasurys approach to calculating the costings of Budget decisions is set out in appendix A2 of the Budget document. DCLG will shortly be publishing an impact assessment for the deferral of business rates, which will set out further details of the cost to the Exchequer.
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