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Government Debt

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total value of debt issued by the Government each day between 25 September and 18 October. [13380]

Mrs. Liddell: The Government issued £1.5 billion of 8 per cent. 2,021 stock on Thursday 25 September, and £150 million of index-linked stock on Thursday 2 October.

Government Bonds

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what changes took place in the price of Government bonds between noon and the closing of the financial markets on Thursday 25 September; [13402]

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Mrs. Liddell: The movement in the price of gilts (UK Government bonds) on Thursday 25 September are shown in the following table:

Price of benchmark gilts

7 per cent. 20027.25 per cent. 20078 per cent. 2021
Opening price101-06104-21117-13
Closing price101-06104-22117-10
Change from previous day's close+0-01+0-02-0-01
Day's high101-11104-30117-25
Day's low101-00104-10116-23

Prices quoted in 32nds.


Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes took place in the price of Goverrment bonds between the opening and closing of the financial markets on Friday 17 October. [13403]

Mrs. Liddell: The movement in the price of gilts (UK government bonds) on Friday 17 October are shown in the following table:

Price of benchmark gilts

7 per cent. 20027.25 per cent. 20078 per cent. 2021
Opening price101-15105-09117-17
Closing price101-19105-18118-07
Change from previous day's close-0-010-00+0-05
Day's high101-21105-22118-14
Day's low101-08104-29117-05

Prices quoted in 32nds.


Special Advisers

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what disciplinary action has been taken against his special adviser Mr. Charlie Whelan for discussing market sensitive information in a public place; [13406]

Mr. Gordon Brown: The terms under which special advisers work are set out in their contracts, a model copy of which is available in the Library. These build upon the rules in force under previous Administrations.

Economic and Monetary Union

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has (a) received and (b) requested advice on the subject of EMU from Mr. Gavyn Davies, chief economist of Goldman Sachs. [13410]

Mr. Gordon Brown: Since 1 May, and following the publication of the Lord Currie reports on EMU, Treasury Ministers and officials have received representations and information from a wide range of people, including Mr. Gavyn Davies.

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Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what legal actions his Department is pursuing against newspapers regarding reports relating to trading in the period before the publication of Government briefing on EMU. [13408]

Mrs. Liddell: None.

Mr. Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Government have notified their European partners that the United Kingdom will not move to the third stage of economic and monetary union on 1 January 1999. [14898]

Mr. Gordon Brown: Following my statement to the House on 27 October, Official Report, columns 583-88, and in accordance with paragraph 1 of Protocol (No. 11) of the Maastricht Treaty, the Government formally notified the Council of the European Union on 30 October 1997 that the United Kingdom does not intend to move to the third stage of economic and monetary union on 1 January 1999. The Treaty enables the United Kingdom to reverse this notification after the beginning of the third stage.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is the Government's intention to rejoin the European exchange rate mechanism two years prior to entering the third stage of EMU. [13775]

Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 3 November 1997]: The Government have no intention of joining the ERM.

Gilts Futures

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will investigate the trading in gilts futures in the period before the Financial Times story of 26 September. [13409]

Mrs. Liddell: This is a matter for the regulatory authorities and their supervisors.

Registry of Friendly Societies

Ms Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes are proposed to the cash limit of the Registry of Friendly Societies in 1997-98. [14753]

Mrs. Liddell: Subject to approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the cash limit for the Registry of Friendly Societies Class XVI, Vote 9 will be increased by £775,000 from £3,767,000 to £4,542,000. The additional provision is required for capital expenditure arising out of the late completion of the Department's relocation project. The increase is partially funded by the take up of £189,000 carried forward under the end year flexibility scheme for capital, as announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 17 July, Official Report, cols 245-50. The increase will be charged to the Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

Cash Limits and Running Costs

Ms Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes are proposed to the cash and running costs limit of Her Majesty's Treasury in 1997-98. [14754]

Mrs. Liddell: Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the running costs limit for Class XVI, Vote 1 will be increased by £1,051,000

5 Nov 1997 : Column: 224

from £55,509,000 to £56,560,000 and the cash limit will be increased by £1,901,000 from £61,286,000 to £63,187,000. The increases are necessary to provide for the partial take up of running costs end year flexibility as announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 17 July, Official Report, columns 245-50, to meet various new commitments (net of offsetting savings and changes in receipts); to provide for a grant in aid to the Private Finance Taskforce which succeeds the Private Finance Panel; and to give effect to the Chancellor's commitment to pay over to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund a sum equivalent to VAT paid on "Candle in the Wind".

The increase will be charged to the Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

Reserve

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the size of the current reserve for (a) 1997-98 and (b) 1998-99. [13188]

Mr. Darling [holding answer 30 October 1997]: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) on 30 July 1997, Official Report, column 347.

Departmental Expenditure Ceilings

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes he has made to departmental expenditure ceilings within the controlled total for (a) 1997-98 and (b) 1998-99 since the budget. [13186]

Mr. Darling [holding answer 30 October 1997]: The 1997-98 Summer Supplementary Estimates reallocated £65 million within the public expenditure control total. Of this £13 million was met from within existing departmental programmes and £52 million charged to the Reserve. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 14 October that £300 million would be reallocated to the NHS for patient services in 1997-98; £30 million of this would be offset by administrative savings in the health budget, £102 million from reductions in the external financing limit for BNFL and £168 million from a reduction in the MOD cash limit.

For 1998-99 the departmental expenditure ceilings within the control total remain as at the July Budget.

Government Expenditure

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of general Government expenditure for (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98 and (c) 1998-99 taking account of recent changes to the gross domestic product deflator and other factors. [13185]

Mr. Darling [holding answer 30 October 1997]: The Government's estimates for general Government expenditure were set out in the FSBR in July. They were £309.0 billion for 1996-97, £319.4 billion for 1997-98 and £331.3 billion for 1998-99. These reflect the Government's plans for the cash control totals and the latest forecasts for other spending.

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