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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Sir Peter Gershon remains head of the efficiency review. The Budget announced that John Oughton, the new chief executive of the Office of Government Commerce, will be responsible for overall implementation of agreed efficiency programmes.
What is the basis, including the immigration assumption and the method of its calculation, for the Treasury assessment referred to by the Prime Minister in his speech to the Confederation of British Industry on 27 April, that the United Kingdom's economic growth rate would be some 0.5 per cent lower for the next two years if net immigration were to cease. [HL2951]
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The basis of the Prime Minister's statement that "economic growth would be almost ½ per cent lower over the next two years if net migration were to cease" lies in the Treasury's trend growth assessment, as explained in recent Pre-Budget and Budget Reports and the paper Trend Growth: Recent Developments and Prospects, HM Treasury, April 2002, published alongside Budget 2002. Net inward migration contributes to economic growth by adding to the population of working age and hence labour supply. Treasury assumptions about growth in the population of working age are informed by recent data and Government Actuary's Department projections. Latest data for net inward migration show that it contributed 0.4 percentage points to growth in the population of working age betwen 2001 and 2002.
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question concerning the flow of personal remittances to and from the United Kingdom in each of the past five years, and the countries which were the main sources or recipients (HL2952).
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|Other Receipts of|
|Other Payments by|
How many job vacancies were recorded in the United Kingdom in April for each of the past seven years; and what, for the last month available, is the breakdown of vacancies by region and skill. [HL2954]
The following table shows the numbers of vacancies in April of each year since 2001 according the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Vacancy Survey. There are no earlier comparable figures, because the survey did not start until April 2001.
|Year||Number of vacancies|
Earlier figures from April 1997, shown below, are available in respect of vacancies notified to Jobcentres in Great Britain but these represent only a proportion
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of all the vacancies available. Corresponding figures are not available for Northern Ireland to provide United Kingdom totals for these dates.
|Year||Number of unfilled vacancies|
Jobcentre vacancy statistics were withdrawn from National Statistics in September 2001 as a result of distortions to the data, which occurred following the introduction of new administrative procedures by Jobcentre Plus. Comparable figures for later than April 2001 are therefore unavailable.
Results from the ONS Vacancy Survey were released as National Statistics from July 2003, but are not available by region or skill. The attached table shows the number of unfilled vacancies at Jobcentres by broad occupational group and Government Office Region in Great Britain for October 2000, the latest date for which such analysis is published. However, please note that unfilled Jobcentre vacancies may not be representative of all job vacancies across the labour market.
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|Government Office Region||Managers/|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||1,254||565||1,506||6,464||3,727||7,593||8,141||4,730||6,814||40,794
What has been the impact of the four dedicated national strike teams for illegal meat announced in March 2003; what is their size; and what strategy is in place to facilitate communication between them, other customs staff and port health authorities; and [HL2986]
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: All HM Customs and Excise detection staff include products of animal origin in their frontier responsibilities. Their strike force detection teams are part of Customs' wider strategy to deter and detect illegal products of animal origin from entering the UK. These four new teams have increased Customs' ability to deploy in larger numbers, less predictably and with greater impact. This means that the numbers tackling a particular threat are not static but are regularly reviewed against the latest assessments of risk.
There are national communication systems in place to enable strike force teams to give and receive
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briefings and share information with local Customs staff, who are primarily responsible for communications with port health staff in each location.
The total number of seizures of products of animal origin from air travellers arriving in the UK by all agencies in 2003 was 11,360. In addition Customs made a number of seizures in freight and postal traffic that had originally entered the UK by air. In their spring report (Cm 6224) Customs reported 9,571 seizures in total in the period 1 April31 December 2003.
Customs did not identify any cases suitable for prosecution during 2003, although two smugglers have been convicted in 2004. Information regarding prosecutions by other agencies is not held centrally.
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