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Pensioners

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from the National Statistician, Len Cook, to Lord Oakenshott of Seagrove Bay, dated 6 October 2003.

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking about how pension figures from the 2001 Census compare with the corresponding

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pensions data, as referred to in paragraph 44 of the 9th Report of the House of Commons Committee on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (HL4529).

There are four Local Authorities in England and Wales for which the 2001 Census figure for pensioners exceeds the corresponding figure from pensions data by more than 10 per cent. These are:


    Kensington & Chelsea


    Rushmoor


    Tameside


    Wear Valley

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) used pensions data in the quality assurance part of the One Number Census (ONC) process. The populations of each local authority by age and sex were compared against the diagnostic ranges derived from rolled-forward population estimates and aggregated administrative sources (such as pensions data). These ranges gave a plausible set of values with which we would, prior to the Census, expect the ONC estimates to be comparable. Where the ONC estimates fell outside of the diagnostic ranges, extensive checks of the ONC results were undertaken with respect to sample sizes, outliers, etc. and action was taken if any issues were identified. Further information on the ONC quality assurance, and the data used to create the diagnostic ranges, can be found on the National Statistics website at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/onc quality info.asp.

It is important to note that the pensions data used for comparison was adjusted pensions data because the unadjusted pensions data had a number of problems, for example, many of the postcodes were missing, contained errors, or were out of date; there was a lag between people moving house and the records being updated; and there were several different forms of state pension, which lead to some duplication of records.

ONS liaised with the Department for Work and Pensions and Oxford University to obtain 'clean' pensions data relating to May 2000, but some inaccuracies will undoubtedly remain. There is also a difference of almost a year between the date of the pensions information and Census day. These points should be borne in mind when making any comparisons.

Biofuels and Road Fuel Gases: Duty

Lord Palmer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the present disparity between the fuel duty rebate for biofuels and road fuel gases is in the national interest.[HL4563]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government offer lower duty rates for less environmentally-damaging fuels by offering duty differentials relative to the main road fuels. These differentials are intended primarily to reflect the relative environmental benefits of the fuels in question, but they also take account of other factors, such as costs of production and supply, and

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wider social and economic benefits, including fuel security and the potential to encourage the recycling of waste products. The primary environmental aim of the incentive for biofuels is to reduce greenhouse emissions, and for road fuel gases, to improve local air quality. The incentives also take account of the fact that, unlike biofuels, road fuel gases require a separate refuelling infrastructure and specially designed or converted vehicles.

World War Debts to US

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 16 September (WA 170) on war debt owed to the United States since 1945:


    (a) when the repayments were made;


    (b) how much they were;


    (c) in what form they were made; and


    (d) on what dates repayments were deferred, and why.[HL4591]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The UK has made annual repayments of principal and interest of around 138 million US dollars to the United States in respect of its Second World War loans. The payments were made in US dollars at the end of each calendar year except on six occasions. Payments were deferred, in accordance with the terms of the agreement, due to prevailing international exchange rate conditions and the level of the United Kingdom's foreign currency and gold reserves in 1956, 1957, 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1976. Consequently, repayment of the war loans to the United States Government should be completed in 2006.

BBC: Chairman of Board of Governors

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What procedure is used to appoint the chairman of the Board of Governors of the BBC; and whether they have any plans to review that mechanism.[HL4593]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Chair of the BBC Governors is appointed by the Queen on recommendation of the Prime Minister following advice from my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Candidates are identified through an open and transparent process that is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. This includes advertising in the national press, consideration against a published range of criteria and interview by a panel including an independent assessor.

There are no current plans to change the appointments mechanism, although the commissioner regularly reviews her code. The forthcoming review of the BBC's Royal Charter will provide an opportunity to examine all aspects of the corporation's role and function, including appointments provision for the chairman of the board.

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Employment

Lord Oakshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the percentage employment rates for working age people in each of the standard regions and nations of the United Kingdom for each spring since 1992. [HL4598]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from the National Statistician, Len Cook, to Lord Oakshott of Seagrove Bay, dated 6 October 2003.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question concerning employment rates in each of the standard regions and nations of the United Kingdom for each spring since 1992. (HL4598)

The attached table gives the information requested for three month periods ending in May of each year from 1997 to 2003. These estimates are from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Information about employment rates by region is not currently available on a consistent basis for earlier years.

The LFS estimates provided have been interim adjusted to take account of the recent 2001 Census results.These estimates are seasonally adjusted and they are for the three month period ending May of each year from 1997 to 2003. However, interim census-adjusted LFS estimates are not available in a format suitable for publication for the LFS years 1992 to 1996.

Working age(8) employment rates(9) by region

Per cent, seasonally adjusted
March to May each year1997199819992000200120022003
North East67.267.265.567.968.968.768.3
North West70.369.571.072.672.671.873.3
Yorkshire & the Humber70.872.172.673.873.573.074.1
East Midlands75.476.276.076.875.676.476.1
West Midlands73.074.173.873.274.274.274.0
East75.977.876.078.279.679.278.4
London70.369.771.471.271.070.969.9
South East77.978.979.780.580.280.079.3
South West77.277.876.276.679.079.076.6
England73.474.974.676.276.376.174.9
Wales68.567.768.769.668.366.773.0
Scotland70.471.771.172.373.873.374.6
Great Britain72.973.573.974.674.874.674.8
N Ireland66.667.467.065.467.767.969.7
United Kingdom72.773.373.774.474.674.474.7

Labour Force Survey (ONS)

(8) Men aged 16-64 and women aged 16-59 yers.

(9) Working age people in employment as a percentage of the working age population.

These estimates have been interim adjusted to account of the 2001 Census results.


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Public Sector Relocation: Independent Review

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With regard to paragraph 1.7 of the interim report by Sir Michael Lyons' Independent Review of Public Sector Relocation, which department has recently had its rental cost reviewed to £53 per square foot; at what address; in respect of how much space; and for how much longer it is committed to that lease.[HL4599]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Sir Michael Lyons's review is being conducted independently of the Treasury and the review's working papers are not available to Treasury Ministers. Information gathered by the review team relating to departments' rental costs is covered by Exemption 7 (b) (Effective management and operations of the public service) and Exemption 13 (Third party's commercial confidences) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.


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