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I have assumed that your question refers to the estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth during the second quarter of 2003, which was revised from 0.3% to 0.6% in September 2003. This revision represents economic activity of approximately £800 million.
It is standard statistical procedure to revise previously published figures once new evidence becomes available. Revisions mainly arise from the availability of more rich and detailed information, as in this case, where results from a full survey of the construction industry gave a markedly different estimate of activity in this sector than had been provided by earlier model-based calculations, and early returns from the survey.
The magnitude of the revision to GDP was outside the range that is usually expected at this time, and arose from an unusually large revision to the estimate of activity in a single sector of the economy. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is investigating whether this revision reflects ongoing difficulties in measuring a sector which is known to be volatile, and whether the sector measure itself meets our current expectations. We are also continually updating methods and adapting to shifts in the economic base of the United Kingdom.
Further information regarding this revision to GDP appears in the Quarterly National Accounts Briefing Note which is available on the National Statistics website at: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/qnabrief0903.pdf.
Whenever revisions are made, we publish them in an honest and transparent manner, under the terms of the National Statistics Code of Practice. Furthermore, we periodically publish analyses of the revisions made to the GDP figures, so that users can assess the nature and magnitude of the changes that have been made.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Pay As You Earn collects tax on a provisional basis. If the Inland Revenue becomes aware during the year that the code is incorrect, and too much tax is being deducted as a result, the code can be changed. When this happens the Pay As You Earn system should ensure that the taxpayer is repaid any overpaid tax in their wages. If the Inland Revenue become aware after the end of the year that too much tax has been collected through PAYE, it will arrange for a repayment.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: TV Licensing carries out the administration of the television licensing system under contract to the BBC, which has statutory responsibility for licence fee collection, and the Government have no power to intervene in operational decisions. However, I understand that TV Licensing's e-mail address is published on its websitewww.tvlicensing.co.ukand it receives approximately 8,000 e-mails a month from members of the public.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) already has responsibility for regulating the advice and selling of immediate care annuities and long-term care insurance investment bonds. These are investments used to finance long-term care.
On 1 July 2003, Parliament approved the Government's proposals to give the Financial Services Authority (FSA) responsibility for regulating mortgage business and general insurance mediation. That legislation included proposals to give the FSA responsibility for regulating the selling and marketing of long-term care insurance pure protection contracts.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government are today announcing the scope of the two-year review of the Financial Services and Markets Act, details of which are set out in a paper which is available in the Printed Paper Office and the Library of the House.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Following the power cuts in London and the Midlands the Department of Trade and Industry, with the industry regulator, Ofgem, have launched investigations into the cause of the failures. The Government believe it would be inappropriate to comment further whilst these investigations are still under way.
More generally government is working with Ofgem, through the Joint Energy Security of Supply working group (JESS) to monitor energy security, specifically taking a forward look and making the conclusions publicly availableallowing market participants to react in good time.
What was the total value of renewables obligation certificates traded in the first compliance period; and [HL4955]
What is their estimate of the state of the market in renewables obligation certificates on the forward programme of investment in the generation of electricity from renewable source.[HL4957]
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The prices paid by electricity suppliers for renewables obligation certificates are a matter for the industry, although we recognise that the renewables obligation certificate market is important in terms of providing investor confidence for longer term renewables projects. In view of this, the Government have been working closely with the industry to see if any further steps need to be taken to avoid a recurrence of the sort of problems cause by TXU UK going into administration.
While we do not have information as to the value of ROCs traded in the first obligation period, I can confirm that over 5.5 million ROCs were issued from 1 April 2002 until 31 March 2003, representing over 5.5 TWh of renewables electricity eligible under the obligation.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The National Probation Service (NPS) consists of 42 local probation boards which experience a range of staff vacancies. Typically for the last period of available figures (1 April 2003 to 30 June 2003), vacancies for the National Probation Service as a whole were 5.9 per cent, but rising to 9.9 per cent in the south-east of England. The leaving rate for the same period is 11.6 per cent.
The National Probation Directorate (NPD) and the NPS, as part of the delivery plan for the service's people management strategy, are working on a wide range of initiatives to aid recruitment and retention of staff in the service.
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