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TREASURY

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Portillo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the net financial impact, in the first financial year of its operation, of the climate change levy on (a) the automotive industry, (b) the farming industry, (c) the shipbuilding industry and (d) manufacturing industry in the West Midlands. [120992]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 5 May 2000]: The Climate Change Levy package as a whole is expected to be revenue neutral for the private sector. Its introduction will entail no net financial gain for the public finances. The levy package as a whole is also expected to be broadly neutral between the manufacturing and the service sectors.

The Government have sought to design the climate change levy in a way that maximises its environmental effectiveness while protecting the competitiveness of UK firms. It is not possible to say with precision what the effects of the climate change levy on individual sectors or firms will be, since this will depend, among other things, on each sector's future energy use, employment trends, and take up of the various incentives to improve energy efficiency.

New Deal

Mr. Portillo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent on the New Deal since 1997. [120997]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 5 May 2000]: Information on the estimated allocation of the Windfall Tax receipts between different programmes, including the New Deal, is set out in Table 4.1 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report, 2000.

Annex Bii of the Department for Education and Employment and the Office for Standards in Education Departmental Report 2000 provides information on expenditure on New Deal programmes within their Departmental Spending Limit.

Figure 10a of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Departmental Report 2000 provides information on expenditure on the New Deal for Communities within their Departmental Expenditure Limit.

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National Savings Bonds

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the efficiency of the administration relating to bonds by National Savings; and if he will make a statement. [120218]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 2 May 2000]: National Savings (NS) takes great care to ensure the systems it uses to deliver its products are efficient and effective. This is essential if NS are to continue to operate successfully in the increasingly competitive retail savings sector. Ministers set annual targets for NS to measure, report on and improve the efficiency of its product administration systems. To achieve these targets NS uses a framework of performance measures, standards and reporting procedures constantly to monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of its product administration systems, including those relating to bonds. This ensures they are subject to continuous improvement and that they remain competitive.

Family Statistics

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the median duration of (a) a marriage and (b) a cohabiting union in (i) 1970, (ii) 1980 and (iii) 1999. [120677]

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 Alan Goldsmith to Mr. Gerald Howarth, dated 8 May 2000:


The Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been asked to reply to your recent Question on the median duration of (a) a marriage and (b) a cohabiting union in (i) 1970, (ii) 1980 and (iii) 1999. I am replying in the Director's absence.
The only available estimates for marriages ending in divorce or death are as follows:

Estimated(1) median duration of marriages solemnised in England and Wales in:

Years
1979-8037
198727
1993-9424

(1) Life table estimates derived from marriage and mortality registration records



Estimates of the median duration of cohabiting unions are calculated using a different method based on the separation of the couple or the death of one of the partners. The following estimates are the only ones available.

Estimated(2) median durations of cohabiting first unions
in Great Britain which started in:

Years
1970-793
1980-844
1985-893

(2) Omnibus Survey (a sample survey)

(3) Which ended other than in marriage


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Censuses

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people were prosecuted for failure to complete the 1991 census; [121056]

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 Alan Goldsmith to Mr. Nick Gibb, dated 8 May 2000:


The Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been asked to reply to your recent questions on the number of people prosecuted for failure to complete a 1991 Census return and when the 2001 Census form will be despatched and due for return. I am replying in the Director's absence.
The total number of people in England and Wales who were prosecuted for failure to complete a 1991 Census return was 354.
Enumerators will deliver 2001 Census forms of return, and reply-paid envelopes as necessary in advance of census day, which is 29 April 2001. The Census forms should be returned on the day after census day or as soon as possible thereafter. Follow-up enquiries will be undertaken if a form has not been received by 8 May 2001.
The Census Regulations, which provide for the detailed arrangements for the conduct of the census, are shortly to be laid before Parliament.

Holocaust Victims (Compensation)

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the tax treatment of moneys paid out by UK banks under the British Bankers Association Restore UK initiative in respect of bank accounts opened by Holocaust victims, frozen during World War II under the Trading With the Enemy Act and subsequently held as dormant accounts. [121457]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government very much support the British Bankers Association "Restore UK" initiative.

It is right that people who were Holocaust victims, or their beneficiaries, who have moneys restored to them under this scheme, should receive not only the original capital but some form of compensation.

I am glad to announce that no tax will be payable on any moneys paid out by the banks under this initiative to Holocaust victims or their beneficiaries. This exemption will cover income tax liability on any compensation payments as well as any death duties in respect of the capital held in the accounts.

DEFENCE

Army Criminal Legal Aid Authority

Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on delays in the payment of bills due under the Army Criminal Legal Aid Authority. [120136]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 2 May 2000]: The Army Criminal Legal Aid Authority (ACLAA) was set up in 1996 to administer the provision of legal aid for individuals facing court-martial or other defined legal processes. The role of ACLAA is to receive applications

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for legal aid, define the individual contribution required, make an offer of legal aid on that basis, negotiate acceptance with the employing unit and individual, instruct legal representatives, and finally to review and settle bills for work done.

In December last year the Officer in Charge became ill which led to some reordering of work while his situation clarified. Sadly it has become clear that it will not be possible for him to return to ACLAA. In addition another experienced member of staff also became ill in January, and has not been able to return either.

While new staff were being recruited it was necessary to give priority to the allocation of legal aid to individuals to ensure that the legal process was not disrupted or delayed. Regrettably this meant that ACLAA was not able to assess and clear bills until the arrival of additional staff. Over the last month ACLAA staff have been working hard to deal with the backlog of bills that were awaiting payment and many have now been settled.

Any delay in payment is regrettable. However, ACLAA is currently being expanded and strengthened which should ensure that similar delays, caused by unforeseen circumstances, do not recur.

Service Personnel (Divorce)

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the divorce rates for serving military personnel in (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force for the last 12 month period for which figures are available. [120408]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 3 May 2000]: Due to the manner in which each Service records data on changes in marital status, it is not possible to provide information in the precise manner requested. Notwithstanding, the rates for 1998-99 by Service are as follows:

Number/percentage
Army divorce rates 1998-99
Married strength at 1 April57,744
Divorced (Decree Absolute and Annulments)1,135
Proportion of married personnel Divorced2.0%
Royal Navy--Widow, Divorce and Separation Rates 1998-99
Married Strength at 1 April22,417
Widowed, Divorced or Separated850
Proportion of married personnel Widowed, Divorced or Separated3.8%
Royal Air Force--Divorce and Separation Rates 1998-99
Married Strength at 1 April22,417
Divorced10
Separated1,172
Proportion of married personnel Divorced or Separated3.4%

Note:

The Royal Navy figures include widows/widowers


Figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the married population between the ages of 20 and 34, which is broadly comparable with the average age of married Service personnel, indicate an annual divorce rate of approximately 3 per cent. The figures above show that the divorce rates in the Services on a comparable age

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group basis are no worse than those for society as a whole, especially as the RN and RAF figures include separation as well as divorce.


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