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The Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been asked to reply to your recent question on the value of sterling. I am replying in the Director's absence.
The attached tables show how sterling has moved against the currencies of 30 of the UK's major trading partners between 14 May 1997 and 4 May 2000.
The exchange rates data have been provided by the Bank of England.
|£ exchange rate|
|Country||14 May 1997||at 4 May 2000||% change on May 1997|
(9) There is no such thing as an 'official exchange rate'. Exchange rates vary during the day and depending on what time you measure them will influence any average rate calculated. The Bank of England measures representative exchange rates in the London interbank market every day at around 4pm. These rates are the spot middle market rates i.e. The difference between the bid rate (what a bank will sell currency to you at) and the offer rate (what bank will buy a currency from you at) for spot) i.e. Today-but may settle in two to seven days time).
(10) Based on the value of trade in goods and services (exports and imports) in 1998.
UK Balance of Payments 1999 edition
Bank of England and ONS
11 May 2000 : Column: 474W
11 May 2000 : Column: 475W
The Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been asked to reply to your recent question on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). I am replying in the Director's absence.
The most recently published data for annual GDP was released on the 27th of March 2000. GDP at current market prices for 1999 was £889,874 million, an increase of 5.0% on the previous year. GDP at 1995 constant market prices for 1999 was £788,729 million, an increase of 2.1% on the previous year.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the effect is on the maximum pension contributions eligible for tax relief for (a) the employer and (b) the employee if a pay increase is (i) compulsorily staged by the employer and (ii) voluntarily foregone by the employee. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 9 May 2000]: In broad terms, tax relievable pension contributions that an employee may pay are based on a percentage of taxable earnings received for a year of assessment.
The treatment of employer contributions depends on the type of pension scheme. With tax approved occupational pension schemes, the employer's contributions are set by the scheme actuary according to the level of benefits promised by the scheme. For a personal pension scheme, total contributions by the employee and employer combined must not exceed an age-related percentage of the employee's taxable earnings for the year.
Mr. Portillo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) has been spent since May 1997 and (b) is projected to be spent in the next 12 months on measures to meet Public Service Agreement targets. 
Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 5 May 2000]: The Public Service Agreements published following the 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) set out the outputs and outcomes the Government are seeking to achieve with the resources allocated for the CSR period. Those spending plans can be found in the CSR White Paper published in July 1998 (Cm 4011).
11 May 2000 : Column: 476W
Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 5 May 2000]: The Government's White Paper "Public Services for the Future: Modernisation, Reform, Accountability" (Cm 4181, December 1998), with the supplement published in March 1999 (Cm 4315), set out all of the Public Service Agreements agreed following the Comprehensive Spending Review of 1998.
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 5 May 2000]: The Inland Revenue currently has no estimates of this kind. However, compliance checks are undertaken after the end of the tax year, based on ISA managers' annual information returns. Estimates based on these returns will be available later in the year.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what studies his Department has (a) undertaken, (b) commissioned and (c) reviewed on the efficiency of the Private Finance Initiative; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 5 May 2000]: The Treasury has commissioned two reports on PFI, focusing on the efficiency of the PFI process. These were the first and second reviews of PFI Policy undertaken by Sir Malcolm Bates in the Spring/Summer of 1997 and in the Spring/Summer of 1999. These were published respectively on 23 June 1997 and on 22 July 1999.
In June 1999, the Treasury Taskforce commissioned Arthur Andersen to undertake a study of value for money in a range of operational PFI projects. The results of the findings were published on 17 January 2000 in "Value for Money Drivers in the Private Finance Initiative".
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