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Sandra Gidley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps her Department has taken to provide an audit trail when marked registers are sent from the returning officers to her Department; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Representation of the People Act 1983 requires the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery to ensure that a record is kept of the electoral documentation received from returning officers in respect of both general and by-elections in England and Wales.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what costs have been incurred by the Lord Chancellor's Department in connection with the Saville inquiry; and what her estimate is of the final cost. 
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Departments; and what percentage of civil service staff the number on loan represents per the total number of civil servants for each devolved Administration. 
Mr. Leslie: The information for the Scottish Executive is given in the table. The National Assembly for Wales has five staff currently on loan, all to the Cabinet Office; this is 0.1 per cent. of the total of 3,500 staff. Comparable figures for the Northern Ireland civil service are not available except at disproportionate cost.
|Department||Staff on loan at 21 January 2002||Percentage|
|Department of Health (Food Standards Agency)||59||0.5|
|Department of Trade and Industry||1||0.0|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office||6||0.1|
|Office of Fair Trading||1||0.0|
|Prime Minister's Office||1||0.0|
|Total staff on loan||557||4.9|
|Total staff in post||11,430||100.0|
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the progress which has been made in delivering the strategy to increase the numbers of (a) women and (b) ethnic minorities in Whitehall's senior civil service grades. 
Progress is being made in other areas. For example the number of successful candidates from minority ethnic backgrounds in the fast stream scheme has doubled from 3.4 per cent. in 1998 to 6.8 per cent. in 2000.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what costs have been incurred by his Department to date in connection with the Saville inquiry; and what his estimate is of the final cost to his Department. 
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State: The Cabinet Office does not employ staff full-time on Bloody Sunday inquiry work. Expenditure to date on staff time is estimated at £45,000. It is not possible to estimate the final cost to the Cabinet Office because of the number of uncertainties.
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Mr. Leslie: While information on the political affiliation of candidates is not collected, the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice requires information on political activity to be collected. In a small minority of cases there may be a need to create a political balance. This can usually be achieved by asking political parties to nominate candidates.
The Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State [pursuant to his reply, 21 January 2002, c. 599W]: I regret that my answer was incorrect since there are some costs to the public purse in the Government's use of Chequers, Dorneywood and Chevening.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will publish the latest figures for working days lost through industrial action within her Department and its agencies since June 2001. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 16 January 2002]: Between the launch of the Department and 14 January, a total of 16,201 working days has been lost due to strike action by departmental staff who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the progress FTSE 350 companies had made by the end of 2001 towards reporting on their environmental impacts; and what assessment she has made of the progress that would have been made if there was a mandatory requirement for such reports. 
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Mr. Meacher [holding answer 22 January 2002]: About 79 of the FTSE 350 report while a further 24 had plans to do so. A further 10 per cent. of other companies in the FTSE 350 mentioned environmental issues, but did not report substantively on environmental performance. These figures are now being reviewed to improve the estimates and to distinguish between companies that produce quantified performance data and those that do not, since some reports contain little or no quantified information.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many instances there were in each English region in each month since June 2000 of (a) HEES and (b) HEES Plus grant being topped-up by the recipient to pay for the full costs of the improvements; what was the average amount of the top-up; and what was the average administration cost to Eaga Partnerships and Eastern Warm Front to process each top-up. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 29 November 2001]: The Eaga Partnership Ltd. and TXU Warm Front Ltd. manage the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme, marketed as the Warm Front Team, under contract. The scheme provides packages of energy efficiency measures tailored to the circumstances of the householder and the property. Where the total cost of these cannot be met from the available grant, the scheme managers seek support from other programmes. If this is not possible, then the scheme manager advises the householder of the amount of money required to complete the work and asks them to contribute towards the excess cost if the full programme of recommended energy efficiency is to go ahead. Should they do so, the sum is paid directly to the installer concerned. If the client is unable to make the required contribution then those measures requiring additional funding are not installed.
The majority of requests for a client contribution occur at the £1,000 grant level, when it is not possible to repair a gas central heating boiler and a replacement is required. A decision on grant levels will be made shortly and will take into account the level of client contributions and advice from the scheme managers on the expected rates of labour and materials for the forthcoming year.
The table sets out the available information on the number of letters sent to HEES clients and the average contribution requested, month by month, since June 2000. Unfortunately, data are not available in the format requested by the hon. Member.
|Number of letters||Average value of top-ups (£)|
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The higher number of top-up requests over the last six months reflects the increasing number of householders receiving assistance through HEES. Currently, 98,000 householders are having work carried out on their properties. Since the launch of the scheme on 1 June 2000, 234,000 households have received assistance. Some 10,000 have been invited to make a contribution.
The cost incurred in seeking contributions is incorporated within the scheme managers' fees for administering the scheme. These fees are included in their contracts with my Department. It is not possible to identify their costs separately.
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