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4 Feb 2002 : Column 698W
prepared by Arthur Andersen accountants on the private finance initiative will not be considered by the Government until the completion of the US Senate Committee investigation into Enron. 
|200102 year to date||89,800|
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer under which section of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information he withholds information on consultations on draft legislation prepared by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions to put Railtrack into administration. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: A railway administration order was made in respect of Railtrack plc under the provisions of the Railways Act 1993. No extra legislation was necessary to put the company into administration.
There is no obligation to disclose confidential communications between Departments, in accordance with Exemption 2 (internal discussion and advice) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total external spend by his Department was on Private Finance Initiative consultants in each of the last four years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PFI consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by his Department over this period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: There are currently two Treasury PFI projects: the Treasury Building project and the Metropolitan Telephone Service (MTS) project, which is the responsibility of the Office of Government Commerce.
4 Feb 2002 : Column 699W
Fees paid to eight firms of professional advisers to the Treasury on the refurbishment between the start of the project in 1995 and financial close of the deal in May 2000 amounted to £2.637 million. Details on numbers of consultants employed and the number of days billed for each one could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
It is important that Departments develop their own internal sources of professional advice to reduce reliance on expensive external consultants. Where external advice is required Departments should take account of the guidance in Treasury Taskforce Technical Note No. 3 on How to Appoint and Manage Advisers, a copy of which is available on the Office of Government Commerce website www.ogc.gsi.gov.uk.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 6 December 2002, Official Report, column 522W, on private finance initiative projects, when the revised guidance from the Office of Government Commerce on the standardisation of PFI contracts will be published. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: The private sector has been asked to comment on the draft revised general guidance on Standardisation of PFI Contracts, which has been placed on the websites of the Office of Government Commerce and Partnerships UK. Responses have been requested by 15 February. These will be considered by the Office of Government Commerce drawing on the advice of Partnerships UK, and there will then be a period of consultation with interested parties in the public and private sectors. Publication of the revised guidance is expected in the spring.
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(13) 30 days after seven years service.
4 Feb 2002 : Column 700W
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 773W, on community amateur sports clubs, how many such clubs (a) in the UK and (b) in the Buckingham constituency have applied for charitable status since the Charity Commission's announcement. 
|£ million||Quantity: kg|
4 Feb 2002 : Column 701W
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 765W, on productivity, what steps he is taking to raise productivity growth to the level of the (a) G7 and the (b) OECD average. 
Ruth Kelly: The Government's strategy for improving the UK's long-term productivity performance was set out in "Productivity in the UK: The Evidence and the Government's Approach" (November 2000). Further steps to raise productivity growth were announced in Budget 2001, "Productivity in the UK: Enterprise and the Productivity Challenge" (June 2001) and the 2001 pre-Budget report.
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