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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 1 March 2002

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Ministerial Boxes

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister by what means ministerial boxes are conveyed from private offices in his Department to (a) himself and (b) his Ministers; how frequently and at what expense private courier firms are employed for such a task; and which courier firms have been used for such duties. [36271]

Mr. Leslie: Ministerial boxes originating from this Department are transported to Ministers' homes either by Government car or by a service provided by the Royal Mail.

Central Office of Information

Mr. Collins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many advertising contracts are out to tender through the Central Office of Information; and what the value is of such contracts. [37959]

Mr. Leslie: There are currently two advertising contracts out to tender through the COI: XSexual Health Awareness", for the Department of Health, and the Million Visitor Campaign, for the British Tourist Authority. The respective values of the initial contracts period are 1.5 million and 24 million.

Civil Servants

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister on what basis civil servants are entitled to one year's salary severance payments. [38448]

Mr. Leslie: Staff can retire or be retired early under several categories of early retirement or severance as set out in sections 11.5 to 11.10 of the Civil Service Management Code (CSMC). The financial terms for early retirement and severance are provided by the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS). Benefits on medical retirement are provided by the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). Early retirement and severance payments vary between individuals depending on the category of departure, the person's age, length of service, and pay on exit. Early retirement with payment of pension is limited to those over age 50 with at least five years' service; early severance with immediate payment of a lump sum and accrued pension benefits preserved for payment at age 60 applies to those below age 50 or with less than five years' service.

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The CSMC is available at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/civilservice/managementcode/index.htm and the rules of the CSCS and the PCSPS at www.civilservice-pensions.gov.uk.

Job No: 713438 Folios: 2002

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

LNM Holdings

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the policy of the Government is towards an application to the EBRD for support for the takeover of the Nova Hut steelworks in the Czech Republic by LNM Holdings. [39666]

Clare Short: The EBRD exists to help restructure the economies of former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe. We support all responsible projects that serve this purpose.

The EBRD board has not been approached with a proposal for a loan to the Nova Hut steelworks. If a proposal is put to the board we will consider it on its merits.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Northern Ireland Court Service

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will undertake to retain court services in North Downs/Ards follow the consultation on the future of accommodation for the Northern Ireland Court Service. [38324]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Northern Ireland Court Service published its Court Accommodation Strategy for public consultation on 7 December 2001. The consultation document indicates that consideration will be given to the closure of courthouses at Bangor and Newtownards and that this would allow for the provision of a new courthouse in the North Downs and Ards area. Decisions on the proposals in the consultation document will be taken following the expiry of the period of public consultation on 29 March 2002.

TREASURY

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how revenue from the climate change levy is (a) classified and (b) allocated to spending programmes. [38394]

Dawn Primarolo: Receipts from the climate change levy are classified as general taxation revenue. The levy package is revenue-neutral for business on account of measures introduced alongside the levy which reduce other business taxes or direct additional spending towards energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, from which business can benefit.

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First, employers' national insurance contributions have been reduced by 0.3 percentage points. Secondly, a fund worth 50 million per annum to support energy efficiency and renewables has been allocated to Departments as follows (approximate figures):

Amount paDepartmentPurpose
26.5 million approxDEFRAEnergy efficiency—allocated to Carbon Trust
6 million approxDevolved administrationsEnergy efficiency—allocated to Carbon Trust
13 millionDTIRenewables
4 millionDEFRAEnergy crops

Thirdly, the levy package includes a scheme of enhanced capital allowances to provide further support to businesses investing in designated energy saving technologies. As this is a tax allowance scheme it does not involve the allocation of revenue to a spending programme and the cost of the scheme depends on take up.

Job No: 713438 Folios: 2004


Large Corporates Forum

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those firms which attended the large corporates forum on 28 September. [38398]

Dawn Primarolo: Representatives of the following companies attended the large corporates forum on 28 September 2001: General Motors UK, Friends Provident, ICI, British American Tobacco, Dixons, AMP (UK), Orange, HSBC, Rolls Royce, Schroders, Unilever.

Public Services Productivity

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 11 December 2001, Official Report, column 769W, on public services productivity, what process has been undertaken in preparing the paper; and if he will make a statement. [38310]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Work is proceeding on the paper.

Professional Services

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment (a) his Department and (b) the Office of Government Commerce has made of which companies are the leading suppliers of professional services to Government Departments by (i) value and (ii) number; and if he will make a statement. [38112]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The National Audit Office report Purchasing Professional Services published in April 2001 identified the leading 25 suppliers of professional services to Government Departments and the level of spend with those companies. A copy of the report is in the Library.

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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library the minutes of the large corporates forum on 28 September 2001; and for what reason they were (a) first published on and (b) then removed from the Inland Revenue website. [38396]

Dawn Primarolo: The minutes of the 28 September 2001 meeting of the large corporates forum are available on the Inland Revenue website. I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the House of Commons Library. A draft version was released for publication in error before it had been finalised. This was removed and later replaced by the final version.

Inland Revenue Secondments

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Inland Revenue personnel were (a) seconded to private businesses in the last 12 months and (b) vice versa; and what the purpose of these secondments was. [38397]

Dawn Primarolo: In the 12 months from 1 March 2001 the Inland Revenue has (a) made 11 secondments to the private sector and

(b) taken 13 secondments from the private sector.

The purpose of these secondments was to promote the exchange of ideas and experience. Both inward and outward secondments help develop Inland Revenue staff by enabling them to work with different skills—leading to a better understanding of the business environment and a broadening of their experience.

VAT (Domestic Fuel)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will make a statement on the legislative barriers which prevent domestic energy being zero rated; [38811]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government publish details of VAT receipts each year in their Financial Statement and Budget Report but do not disaggregate receipts by type of good or service.

Under long-standing agreements with the European Union, no member state is permitted to introduce new zero rates or restore a zero rate once it has been withdrawn.

The way in which revenue is raised does not in general determine how it is spent. The Government are committed to energy efficiency for its significant environmental, business and social impacts and have allocated significant resources to fund programmes designed to promote energy efficiency in the domestic sector.

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