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Air Passenger Duty

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of exempting Aberdeen from air passenger duty. [115073]

Mr. Timms: Based on existing passenger numbers and duty rates, exempting flights departing from Aberdeen from air passenger duty would cost approximately £10 million in a full year. Also exempting flights from other UK airports to Aberdeen would approximately cost a further £5 million.

Aviation Fuel Duty

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of a tax on aviation fuel on air passengers; and if he will make a statement. [115300]

Mr. Timms: I have made no such assessment. The Government support removal of the international ban on taxation of aviation fuel, but only in the context of a world-wide agreement.

Mr. Moore: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact on revenue of introducing duty on aviation kerosene in line with the amount of fuel in aircraft leaving the United Kingdom. [114805]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 16 March 2000]: No such assessment has been made.

Drug Searches

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many citizens of the United Kingdom, or their relatives, have been stopped and their belongings searched for drugs at air or sea entry points equipped with separate entry arrangements for these persons. [115281]

Dawn Primarolo: Information is not available in the form requested. In 1998-99 Customs conducted a total of 19,018 personal searches of travellers from all parts of the world including British citizens.

Bank Branch Closures

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has made to Barclays Bank plc over its branch closure policy; and if he will make a statement; [114910]

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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received concerning the closure of bank branches in rural areas; and if he will make a statement; [114946]

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what plans he has to encourage banks to install ATM machines that both dispense cash and accept cash deposits; [115255]

Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has made to Barclays Bank plc over their branch closure policy in rural areas; what reply he has received; and if he will make a statement. [115243]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Treasury have received such representations from time to time. The Treasury Policy Action Team (PAT 14) report "Access to Financial Services" said that the way forward lies in developing new and alternative means to deliver and provide banking services, including through the Post Office network. A number of banks already have agreements with the Post Office to provide banking services through post offices.

National Pay Awards

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what support he has provided to local government under the Comprehensive Spending Review to take account of pay pressures arising from national pay awards. [115140]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Comprehensive Spending Review provided a generous settlement for local government. The details are set out in "Modern Public Services for Britain: Investing in Reform" (Cm 4011). The Government have made it clear that all pay awards will need to be paid from within the spending limits set in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Government Debt

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answers of 19 January 2000, Official Report, column 516W, and 8 March 2000, Official Report, column 774W, if he will estimate the interest which would have been saved in the 1998-99 financial year if Government debt in the period 1990-91

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to 1998-99 had been issued in the form of (a) Treasury bills and (b) floating rate notes and continuously rolled over. [114725]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Hypothetical calculations of this kind are meaningless. A wholesale change in financing of this kind would have had a major effect on relative yields. The only sure way to reduce debt interest and make room for worthwhile public spending is steadfast pursuit of disciplined fiscal and monetary policy within strict frameworks, as the present Government have done.

Industrial and Provident Societies

Mr. Love: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what plans he has to bring forward amendments to the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts arising from the recent consultation exercise; and if he will make a statement; [114248]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government recognise the wish to modernise the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts. 76 written responses to the consultation document were received. They have not been published. Responses were received from the Movement's promoting bodies, other interested organisations and a number of individual industrial and provident societies, who made a number of wide ranging comments on the issues and questions raised in the consultation document. Discussions with the Movement are continuing.

Gold Reserves

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect on the price of gold of sales to date of UK gold reserves; and what effect this will have on the revenue from IMF sales of gold intended to benefit poor countries. [112862]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 14 March 2000]: The Government's policy is to sell gold in an orderly, prudent and transparent way, in order to minimise the impact on the market. The price of gold is at around the same level as it was on the day prior to last May's announcement.

Unemployment Count Leavers

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a breakdown of leavers of the unemployment count by duration, using the categories of destination and duration used in Table C.34 of "Labour Market Trends", broken down into those aged (a) under 25 and (b) 25 years or above, for each of the six most recent half-year periods for which figures are available. [109572]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 15 February 2000]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

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Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Peter Lilley, dated 20 March 2000:



    The information you requested for the six most recent half-year periods is given in the attached tables. These are large tables and copies of them are being placed in the House of Commons Library rather than reproduced in Hansard.

Jobcentre Vacancies

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of official jobcentre vacancies consisted of (a) armed forces and (b) other vacancies which are counted more than once by reason of being registered in more than one job centre, for each of the last three years. [114684]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Graham Brady, dated 20 March 2000:



    Armed forces vacancies are not counted more than once by reason of being registered in more than one Jobcentre. The armed forces vacancies displayed in Jobcentres are only a small sample of the overall numbers available. Some 40 Jobcentres around the country are nominated to take vacancies from their local armed forces careers office. There will be some duplication in the displays, as information about vacancies is shared between Jobcentres, but there is no problem with overcounting in the statistics which are obtained from the computer records.


    Similarly other vacancies are only counted by the Jobcentre which takes them. Any duplication, if it exists, is likely to be minimal as employers have no need to notify a vacancy to more than one Jobcentre.


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