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Census Returns

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of forms from the (a) 2001 and (b) 1991 Census were returned. [11678]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, dated October 2001:


Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent measures he has put in place to help charities. [11583]

Mr. Boateng: In April 2000 the Government introduced a number of measures to help charities and to encourage greater charitable giving. The Getting Britain Giving package of measures included improvements to the Gift Aid and Payroll Giving schemes and a new income tax relief for giving shares to charities. The Government are supporting The Giving Campaign, led by the charitable sector, to promote the new reliefs and encourage a culture of giving.

Interest Rates

Mr. Skinner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent meetings he has had with the Governor of the Bank of England regarding interest rates; and if he will make a statement. [11356]

Ruth Kelly: The Chancellor and the Governor meet regularly to discuss a wide range of issues. The level of interest rates is a matter for the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England.

VAT Fraud

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evaluation he has made of HM Customs and Excise's strategy to tackle trader-based intra-EU VAT fraud. [9185]

8 Nov 2001 : Column: 403W

Mr. Boateng: Full details of Customs' strategy to tackle missing trader-based intra-EU VAT fraud will be published at the time of the Pre-Budget report.

Individual Pension Accounts

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 5 November 2001, Official Report, column 71W, on individual pension accounts, how many individual pension accounts have been taken out to date. [13294]

Ruth Kelly: This information is not collected by the Government.

Customs and Excise

Mr. Syms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on HM Customs and Excise proposals to employ staff in mobile anti-smuggling squads; and what assessment he has made of the impact this proposal will have on the port of Poole. [12546]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 5 November 2001]: HM Customs and Excise keeps under constant review its resource deployment in the light of risk analysis and results. It has for some time used flexible mobile teams to tackle smuggling around the coast and at ports and airports. Deployment changes are intelligence-led and so designed to achieve the greatest possible impact on smuggling.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff were (a) employed in Customs and Excise investigation and fraud teams and (b) engaged in counter-smuggling activities in each year since 1996; and what his estimate is for 2001 and plans for 2002. [12653]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 5 November 2001]: For the financial years 1996–97 to 1999–2000 the number of Customs' staff employed in Investigation and Anti-smuggling teams were as follows:


(28) This includes non-core activity (corporate and support services)

For 2000–01 and 2001–02 Customs were complemented for 3,315 and 3,445 detection staff and 1,864 and 2,101 investigation staff respectively. From 2000–01 the figures for Investigation no longer include the non-core support services activity.

8 Nov 2001 : Column: 404W

Broadband Tax Incentives

Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on the introduction of regional tax incentives for broadband communications in the Objective 1 areas. [12395]

Mr. Boateng: The Government keep all areas of the tax system under review. The 100 per cent. capital allowances for information and communications technology expenditure by small firms, announced in Budget 2000, include capital expenditure on broadband. These are available in Objective 1 areas as in the rest of the UK.


Parliamentary Questions

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister for what reason guidance to officials in his Department on drafting replies to parliamentary questions requires them to offer commentary on the motivation of the hon. Member asking the question; and if he will make a statement. [10971]

Mr. Leslie: Civil servants are required to draft answers to parliamentary questions in accordance with the requirements of the "Guidance to Officials on Drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions". A copy of the Guidance is in the Library of the House. In addition, more detailed internal guidance is issued to officials in my Department advising them of Minsters' requirements on layout and style. Officials are asked to set out the background to the parliamentary question and, if known, the reason why the question has been asked. Similar guidance has been issued under successive Administrations. Such information can help to ensure that answers provided to hon. Members are relevant to their concerns.

Cabinet Office Properties

Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the number, value and location of properties newly leased in each of the last five years by the Cabinet Office, including and distinguishing between the Department itself, its next step agencies and its non-departmental public bodies, differentiating between purchases made as a result of the creation of new bodies and those purchases made by established bodies. [7809]

Mr. Leslie: Information requested, covering 1996–97 to 2000–01 (inclusive) is as follows:

Year/number/locationStatusValue (£)
Number of acquisitions made: 0
Number of acquisitions made: 2
BasingstokeCore department. Established body355
BirminghamExecutive agency. Established body3
Number of acquisitions made: 0
Number of acquisitions made: 5
London x 2Core department. Established body1,648
ManchesterNDPB. Established body341
EdinburghExecutive agency. Established body18
GlasgowNDPB. Established body54
Number of acquisitions made: 2
LondonCore department. Established body x 1. New body x 12,527


Unless otherwise stated, the figures shown in the 'value' column comprise rent, service charges and all other accommodation related running costs incurred in 2000–01.

Figures exclude VAT.

Figures in respect of the Government Offices for the Regions and the Regional Co-ordination Unit have been excluded, as these have been included in the Answer already provided by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.

8 Nov 2001 : Column: 405W


Failing LEAs

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list, for each local education authority found to be failing by Ofsted, (a) the date of inspection, of report, and of receipt of action plan by her Department, (b) the date of second inspection, of report, and of receipt of action plan by her Department, (c) the date of subsequent milestone events such as decisions to involve private partners in the management of local education authority services, to award, implement or terminate contracts with private partners, and to assist in or restructure the local education authority and (d) the names of partners to whom contracts have been awarded. [9909]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 24 October 2001]: There have been 21 authorities in which the Secretary of State has intervened following a critical Ofsted report. The information requested is contained in tables, which have been placed in the Library.

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