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Printing and Publications

Dr. John Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how much her Department has spent on printing and publications in each of the last five financial years. [20848]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 19 March 1997]: The amounts spent on producing and printing the Department's publications since its creation in 1992 are as follows:

1992-93 (actual)Nil
1993-94 (actual)25,000
1994-95 (actual)57,000
1995-96 (actual348,000
1996-97 (spend to date)532,000



Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list all ministerial visits to Ethiopia, indicating the purpose of the visit, in the last five years. [21369]

The Prime Minister: Visits made by Ministers to Ethiopia in the last five years were as follows:

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Advisory Groups (London)

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the non-elected bodies responsible to his Department which are responsible for providing advice or services in London, indicating in each case the (i) overall budget and (ii) estimated running costs for each year from 1996-97 to 1999-2000. [21376]

The Prime Minister: For these purposes my office is part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him today by my hon. Friend the Paymaster General.


Government Borrowing (Scotland)

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the Scottish share of the United Kingdom general government borrowing requirement for each year since 1979 adopting the same methodology as that set out in the Government expenditure and revenue in Scotland 1994-95. [15669]

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 13 February 1997]: The table shows the figures requested. As Scotland accounts for roughly 9 per cent. of the UK population, this implies that the Scottish fiscal deficit per capita has normally exceeded that of the UK as a whole.

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Estimates of the Scottish share of the UK GGBR, excluding North Sea taxes and privatisation proceeds

Ratio of Scottish GGBR to UK GGBR (per cent.)

Estimates of the Scottish ratio prior to 1990-91 are very approximate. The ratios of Scottish GGBR to UK GGBR are calculated using rounded data (to the nearest billion pounds).

The ratios in 1888-89 and 1989-90 cannot be calculated, as the UK GGBR was zero or negative.

Uniform Business Rate

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of (a) the total proceeds from the uniform business rate for each local authority area in Britain in each of the last three years and (b) the amounts of such moneys paid back to each local authority in each year. [20102]

Mr. Waldegrave: The available information has been collated, and copies have been placed in the Library of the House. The tables show (a) the contribution to the English, Welsh and Scottish non-domestic rates pools by each billing authority, and (b) the amounts redistributed from each rates pool by local authority recipient.

Basic Pension Plus

Ms Harman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what revenue he expects to raise in each year from the taxation of pension fund contributions under the basic pension plus proposal; and what assumptions this estimate is based on; [20437]

Mr. Jack [holding answer 17 March 1997]: It is broadly estimated that the annual savings to the Exchequer from the tax change on contributions would build up gradually from some £170 million in the first year after the change to about £8 billion by around 2040. Thereafter, these savings would continue, but would be offset by a decline in income tax on pensions in payment--from an annual yield of some £7 billion--as the population under the current pension regime reduces. This decline will coincide with a rapid fall in expenditure on state retirement pension which will reach some £40 billion a year in the longer term.

These estimates are very tentative and assume the current tax regime and levels of contributions and pensions in payment. It would not be appropriate to give

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precise figures for each year, since the exact costs will depend on when the scheme is introduced, what the initial age limit is, and other details to be considered during the consultation.

Departmental Legislation

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Bills his Department has sponsored in each of the past 15 years; and how many have been passed by Parliament. [19778]

Mrs. Angela Knight [holding answer 18 March 1997]: The number of Bills sponsored by the Chancellor's Departments in each of the last 15 years is given in the table. All have been passed by both Houses of Parliament.


National Lottery

Mr. Pearson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update his answer to the hon. Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) of 12 December 1994, Official Report, columns 443-44 on the national lottery, by providing equivalent figures for the years 1996-97 to 1999-2000. [20557]

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 18 March 1997]: The table provides the Budget projections of payments into and out of the national lottery distribution fund.

National lottery distribution fund--forecast income and expenditure (all figures £ million)



Mr. Matthew Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the recent Council meeting of the Economic and Finance Ministers of the European Union. [21422]

Mr. Oppenheim: I represented the UK at the Economic and Finance Council--ECOFIN--of the European Union in Brussels on 17 March.

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The Council carried out an examination of the revised convergence programmes of Germany and France for the period 1997-2001. The German strategy of pursuing budgetary consolidation while promoting growth and employment through structural reforms was welcomed. The Council also welcomed the objective in the French programme of reducing the Government deficit in the medium term and the measures they have proposed to achieve this.

The Council agreed to the reactivation of previously agreed balance of payments lending to Romainia. Lending to Bulgaria was discussed, but no conclusion reached and the matter will be considered again at a future meeting.

The Council recommended that the European Parliament should grant the Commission discharge for the 1995 budget. However, the Council noted that standards of financial management of the EC budget remained low, and looked forward to the effect of measures in the Commission's sound and efficient management 2000 initiative to improve resource management. A progress report on this initiative is due in June.

The Commission presented proposals for an energy products directive. I made it clear that any proposals which would require the UK to introduce new taxes on gas, electricity or coal would be unacceptable.

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The Council discussed technical specifications of euro coins, but no final decisions were reached on this issue. The Council will need to return to this issue at some point in the future.

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