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Consultation Exercises

Lynne Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues about the conduct of consultation exercises; and if he will make a statement about conformity with Criterion 6 Cabinet Office Guidelines. [55707]

Mr. Leslie: No formal discussions have taken place with ministerial colleagues on the general conduct of consultation exercises. The conduct of such exercises is the responsibility of each Government Department and its agencies. Compliance with the Code of Practice on Written Consultation, including conformity with criterion 6 of the Code, also rests with each Department.

Parliamentary Branch

Mr. Beith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will list the responsibilities of the Cabinet Office Parliamentary Branch; [56271]

The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: The Cabinet Office Parliamentary Branch supports all Ministers within the Cabinet Office, as well as the Lord Privy Seal, in all their dealings with Parliament.

A total of £9,613.85 including VAT was spent on a database for Cabinet Office parliamentary questions in December 2000. The branch is also supported by the Cabinet Office in its usual contract for IT equipment. There are no plans for any further expenditure on IT hardware.

Expenditure for the Parliamentary Branch is as follows:

YearExpenditure (£000)Post Numbers
1997–981064
1998–991425
1999–20001475
2000–01(11)1625
2001–02(11)1716

(11) From 2000 the budget for Parliamentary Branch was incorporated into the Parliamentary and Ministerial Support Services therefore the specific information requested on the Parliamentary Branch could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Therefore the costs listed above are for Parliamentary Branch staffing only.


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Internet Access

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many households, broken down by (a) class, (b) age and (c) region, have a PC; and what figures he has collated on other major European countries in terms of rates of household and work place access to the internet. [55873]

Ruth Kelly: I have been asked to reply.

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

Letter from Len Cook to Dr. Ashok Kumar, dated 15 May 2002:



Table 1: Percentage of households in Great Britain with a home computer by social class of head of household; April 2000 to March 2001

Social class of head of householdPercentage
Professional etc.80
Managerial and technical70
Skilled non-manual55
Skilled manual47
Partly skilled occupations39
Unskilled occupations24
All households45

Source:

Family Expenditure Survey, 2000–01


Table 2: Percentage of households in Great Britain with a home computer by age of head of household; April 2000 to March 2001

Age of head of household (years)Percentage
Under 3044
30 and under 5061
50 and under 6548
65 and under 7523
75 or over7
All households45

Source:

Family Expenditure Survey, 2000–01


Table 3: Percentage of households with a home computer by Government Office regions and countries of GB; April 2000 to March 2001

Government Office region and country of GBPercentage
North East37
North West42
Yorkshire and the Humber41
East Midlands43
West Midlands44
East47
London50
South East50
South West51
England46
Wales38
Scotland37
Great Britain45

Source:

Family Expenditure Survey, 2000–01


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Table 4 below shows the percentage of households and enterprises with Internet access for major European countries for 2000, the latest available consistent estimates.

Table 4: Percentage of households and enterprises with Internet access for major European countries; 2000
Percentage

CountryHouseholds with Internet access(12)Enterprises with Internet access(13)
United Kingdom3263
Sweden5490
Germany2767
France12(14)
Italy1566

(12) Source: UK—Family Expenditure Survey (April 2000 to March 2001); Sweden and Germany—Eurobarometer; France and Italy—National Statistics Institutes.

(13) Source: Eurostat co-ordinated e-Commerce surveys 2000. Enterprises with 10 or more employees. Richard Deiss (2002): "e-Commerce in Europe, Statistics in Focus".

(14) Not available



Like all estimates from sample surveys the figures presented are subject to sampling variability. This is greater for sub-groups of the population than for national estimates.

Sponsorship

Mr. Beith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will list the occasions when departments have sought his Department's guidance in accordance with paragraph 8 of his Department's guidance on the sponsorship of Government events in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001, stating in each case the (i) department and (ii) event concerned; [56249]

Mr. Leslie: The 1999 guidelines, "Sponsorship of Government Events", were superseded in July 2000 by the current guidelines, "Guidance to Departments on Sponsorship of Government Activities".

Individual Departments are responsible for ensuring that the central guidance is appropriately applied when they are seeking sponsorship for their events and activities. My officials provide advice to departments on a case-by-case basis when requested to do so. Not all requests will be recorded as some will be no more than a passing request for advice in the margins of other discussions.

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TREASURY

Higher Rate Tax

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is his policy to freeze the level of the threshold for the higher rate of income tax in 2003–04. [52951]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 26 April 2002]: No, the Government's plans, as set out in the Budget, assume the indexation of the basic rate limit (£29,900 in 2002–03).

National Insurance Records

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many records of individuals were stored in the national insurance record system as at 31 December 2001; how many of these records concerned individuals who are known to be deceased; and in how many of these records there has been no contributions activity since 1 January 2001. [54723]

Dawn Primarolo: On the basis of information held, the position is that 69,852,367 individual records were stored in the national insurance record system at 31 December 2001.

5,987,933 of those concerned individuals who are known to be deceased. Records are retained beyond death because of potential and ongoing claims by dependent spouse.

There has been no contributions activity on 5,784,733 of these records since 1 January 2001.


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