|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent meetings Ministers in his Department have had with the Director-General of the BBC; and whether the matter of pensions was discussed at those meetings. 
Justine Greening: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions 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 Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 12 July 2010, Official Report, column 536W, on the climate change levy, whether the implementation of his proposals to reform the climate change levy will be compatible with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. 
Justine Greening: The Government will shortly publish a proposal to reform the climate change levy in order to provide greater support and certainty to the carbon price in UK power generation. Once the consultation has been published the Government would welcome detailed discussion on any technical aspects of the proposal.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 12 July 2010, Official Report, column 536W, on the climate change levy, whether the implementation of his proposals to reform the climate change levy will be revenue-neutral. 
Conor Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many business people he has appointed to advise his Department who own or operate companies with annual turnovers of less than (a) £100 million, (b) £50 million, (c) £25 million and (d) £5 million. 
|HMT( 1)||DMO( 1)||APA( 2)|
|(1) Data for HM Treasury and DMO are only available from 2002-03 due to the introduction of a new accounting system in that year.|
(2) APA was formed in December 2009.
Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions his Department has had with other EU member states on an EU agreement on minimum requirements for the budgetary frameworks of Member States since the publication of the final report of the EU Task Force on Economic Governance; and whether he expects any such agreed requirements to be obligatory for the UK. 
The Government fully support ongoing work to improve economic governance across the EU. Robust fiscal frameworks underpinned by accurate, transparent statistics and data are an important part of this and the Government therefore support agreed EU standards for domestic frameworks. However, fiscal sovereignty must be protected and the Government therefore favour political agreement on these standards.
The Commission has proposed having a directive on budgetary frameworks. Such a directive would have its legal base in article 126(14) of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union and would be agreed by Qualified Majority Voting: according to the current Commission
proposal member states would have three years to comply with its provisions. The UK has a high quality and robust national framework, with independent fiscal and statistical authorities and a multiannual budgetary framework. This means that the UK would already comply with many of the proposed minimum standards.
David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely effect on the Exchequer revenue of the financial assistance package agreed for the Republic of Ireland. 
Mr Hoban: Details of a financial package for the Republic of Ireland have not yet been finalised. It will be informed by a technical mission led by the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 24 November 2010, Official Report, column 363W, on energy: subsidies, if he will take steps through bilateral contacts to encourage his G20 counterparts to implement national commitments to reduce fossil fuel subsidies. 
Justine Greening: The United Kingdom supports the G20 commitment to phase out and rationalise over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies while providing targeted support for the poorest, and will continue to encourage its implementation as part of appropriate bilateral and multilateral engagement. At the G20 summit in Seoul on 11-12 November, G20 leaders directed their Finance and Energy Ministers to report back on the progress made in implementing country-specific strategies at the 2011 summit in France.
Justine Greening: Treasury Ministers and officials received representations from a wide variety of organisations and individuals regarding equality impact assessments in relation to both the June 2010 Emergency Budget and the spending review. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.
The Treasury takes its statutory equality duties very seriously. I work closely with my colleagues, especially the Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, to ensure that HM Treasury complies with its statutory obligations.
Mr Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on the gross average wage on a purchasing power parity basis in each other OECD country. 
Justine Greening [holding answer 15 November]: The Treasury draws on data from a wide range of international data sources including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund, Eurostat, European Commission, and International Labour Organisation. Gross average wage public statistics can be found on the OECD's statistics website at:
Mr Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on the marginal rate at average earnings in (a) the United States, (b) France, (c) Germany, (d) Italy, (e) Spain, (f) the Netherlands, (g) Austria, (h) Belgium, (i) Sweden and (j) Norway. 
Justine Greening [holding answer 15 November 2010]: The Treasury draws on data from a wide range of international data sources including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund, Eurostat, European Commission, and International Labour Organisation. Marginal rate at average earnings data for the countries listed can be found on the OECD's public statistics website at:
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has (a) sought and (b) received advice from the Office for National Statistics on the proposed use of the consumer price index for the indexation of pensions. 
Albert Owen: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on the location of manufacturing facilities at port sites in Wales to support offshore wind power; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what discussions she has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on (a) facilities at port sites in Wales and (b) technological innovation to support development of offshore wind power; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr David Jones: The Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues and with Welsh Assembly Government Ministers on Energy related issues including the potential benefits that offshore wind power offers to Wales.
On 25 October the Department for Energy and Climate Change announced investment of £60 million to establish a world-class ports infrastructure in England. I very much welcome the fact that Wales received a Barnett Consequential in the spending review in the normal way as a result of this additional coalition Government investment.
Funding provided for ports in Wales is ultimately for the Welsh Assembly Government to determine, but I am sure it would complement their plans for Anglesey to become an Energy Island which the hon. Gentleman has advocated for some time.
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the answer of 22 November 2010, Official Report, columns 81-2W, on ethnic minorities, which (a) Taskforce members and (b) strategic partners attended each event; and what costs were incurred for each in respect of each event. 
Lynne Featherstone: Expenses incurred by members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women Councillors' Taskforce who attended and/or facilitated taskforce events were reimbursed by the Government Equalities Office. Not all taskforce members who led or attended an event incurred or claimed expenses.
|Taskforce member||Event||Expenses||Amount claimed (£)|
|(1) In addition, the GEO paid chair fees of £9,591.50 to Baroness Uddin for the period April 2008 to March 2009 at a daily rate of £500.|
Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the answer of 22 November 2010, Official Report, columns 81-2W, on ethnic minorities, how many people attended each of the 16 events; and how many people of each (a) sex, (b) age group and (c) ethnicity attended each such event. 
Lynne Featherstone: Information on the number of people who attended each of the 16 taskforce events was published in the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Women Councillors Taskforce Report. I have placed a copy of the full report in the Library and it is also available at:
Statistics broken down by gender were not collected. Given that the events were targeted at ethnic minority women the overwhelming majority of delegates were female. Information on the ethnic and age break down of delegates for each of the 16 events is as follows:
|Ethnicity||Percentage ethnicity||Age||Percentage age|
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how much the Government Equalities Office spent on attendance at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York in February to March 2010; and how many civil servants attended the event. 
Lynne Featherstone: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) spent £17,726 on attendance at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in February to March 2010. This figure represents the costs for the delegation which accompanied the former Minister for Women and Equalities, who represented the United Kingdom at the CSW. In addition to attending CSW the former Minister held a series of bilateral meetings with United Nations representatives and country delegations to promote the early establishment of the United Nations Body on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women ('UN Women').
The former Minister for Women and Equalities.
One senior civil servant from the Government Equalities Office (GEO) for the first week only.
One Private Secretary for part of the first week to support the Minister.
One senior policy adviser from the GEO for the second week only.
One senior policy advisor from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) official for the whole duration of the event. FCO funded his attendance.
Lynne Featherstone: During the period 1 October 2009 to 30 September 2010 the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has spent £8,583 on the provision of services for press cuttings. The breakdown of the expenditure for each month is as follows:
|Invoice date||Expenditure (£)|
|Financial year||Expenditure (£)|
|(1 )From 12 October 2007 GEO's press service was provided by Department for Work and Pensions. (2) Current expenditure as at 30 September 2010.|
Mr Bain: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities whether she has made an assessment of the effects on economic growth and employment levels in each of the next four financial years of her decision not to implement section 1 of the Equality Act 2010. 
Lynne Featherstone: The decision not to implement section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 will lift a bureaucratic burden from a small number of public authorities. The wider assessment referred to was not considered necessary-there is no reason why the duty would have had any effect on growth or employment levels.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what the monetary value was of grants awarded by the Government Equalities Office in 2009-10; and how much she expects to award in grants in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. 
Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to (a) introduce a cap on housing benefit and (b) reduce housing benefit rates from average local rents to the value of the lowest third of rents. 
Steve Webb: The measures to apply a cap on local housing allowance rates and to set rates at the 30th percentile of rents in the local area will come into force for new claims in April 2011. Existing customers will be protected against these changes for nine months following the date their claim is reviewed by the local authority, providing there is no relevant change in their circumstances.
Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what distinction will be made between jobseeker's allowance (JSA) claimants who are unwilling to find work and those unable to do so under his Department's proposals to withdraw housing benefit from those with JSA claims of over 12 months duration. 
Chris Grayling: There are no plans to withdraw housing benefit from jobseekers as a sanction for not taking employment or actively seeking work. The measure announced in the June Budget means that a person's housing benefit entitlement will be reduced by 10% after 12 months entitlement to both jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department's calculations of the maximum marginal deduction rate under universal credit take account of council tax benefit payments. 
Steve Webb: The maximum marginal deduction rate presented in the White Paper is calculated using the assumption that help with council tax for low-income households is included within the universal credit and subject to the single overall taper of 65%.
The Government's recent announcement that they would give local authorities more say on the administration of council tax benefit means that the Department will work closely with local government and the devolved Administrations to develop the details of the proposal and to ensure that this reform does not undermine the positive impact of universal credit on work incentives.
The housing benefit and council tax benefit taper rates are additive, so the marginal deduction rate faced by a claimant in receipt of both housing benefit and
council tax benefit is 85%. This 85% is applied to net earnings, so the overall marginal deduction rate faced by the individual would depend on what rate of tax they pay and any tax credit tapers they may be subject to.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what account he took of the housing costs of pensioners when developing his proposals for the indexation of pensions by the consumer price index. 
Steve Webb: The housing cost component of price inflation indices was one feature considered when making the decision to use the consumer prices index (CPI) for the indexation of pensions. The retail prices index (RPI) includes mortgage interest payments, which caused it to fall in 2009, leading to some elements of the state pension-principally additional pensions (i.e. SERPS and S2P)-being frozen.
Only 7% of pensioners have a mortgage(1). The CPI excludes mortgage interest, which is not a relevant housing cost for the majority of pensioners. We acknowledge that many pensioners face housing costs that are excluded from the CPI, for example council tax, but on balance take the view that overall the CPI better reflects the living costs of pensioners.
(1) Households Below Average Income 2008-09