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Budgeting Loans

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many applications were made for a budgeting loan in 1999-2000; and how many were refused on the grounds of inability to meet the repayments. [133849]

Angela Eagle: Of the 1,680,000 applications made for budgeting loans in 1999-2000 only 255 were refused because of inability to repay.

Refusal on these grounds would arise where an applicant who would otherwise be eligible is already repaying a social fund loan at the maximum rate applicable in their circumstances.

In 1999-2000 the overall number of budgeting loan awards rose by 82,000 and the gross expenditure was £52 million higher than in 1998-99.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security for what reason the annexe, "Budgeting Loans Reasons for Refusal by Client Group", was omitted from his 1999-2000 Annual Report on the Social Fund. [133850]

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Angela Eagle: A table showing budgeting loan reasons for refusal by client group was not included in the 1999-2000 Annual Report because under the new budgeting loan scheme most of the reasons for refusal have either been changed or abolished. There were previously seven main reasons for refusal and there are now three. Thus, individual reasons for refusal in 1999-2000 do not directly compare with those from previous years. For this reason it was decided that it was more appropriate to include details on the main reasons for refusals in the narrative of the report, paragraphs 7.5 to 7.7.

A copy of the Annual Report on the Social Fund 1999-2000 is in the Library.

Attendance Allowance

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people receive Attendance Allowance (a) in the constituency of Glasgow, Pollok and (b) in Glasgow. [134165]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of Attendance Allowance is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. Ian Davidson, dated 23 October 2000:




Winter Heating Allowance

Ms Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many households will benefit from the winter heating allowance in Warrington, South in 2000. [133752]

Angela Eagle: For winter 1999-2000, 17,061 customers in the Warrington, South constituency qualified for a Winter Fuel Payment of either £100 or £50, dependant on their circumstances. This figure includes those in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits as well as men from age 60 who qualified through receipt of either Income Support or income-based Jobseekers Allowance.

The Winter Fuel Payment scheme has now been extended so that men as well as women will be eligible for a payment from age 60, providing they satisfy the qualifying criteria. The changes apply from the beginning of the scheme in 1997-98 and payments will be made for past winters to customers who are entitled. The majority of the customers who are newly eligible will need to make a claim.

This means that the figure given above in respect of 1999-2000 could be higher for winter 2000. How much higher will depend on the number of people who decide to make a claim and how many are entitled.

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Therefore, it is not possible to give a precise number of how many households may benefit from winter fuel allowance until all payments are made on the claims received and through the legacy systems, that is, those people receiving qualifying benefits.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Illegal Logging

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she has taken to combat illegal logging; and if she will make a statement in respect of implementation and related procurement practices. [134187]

Mr. Foulkes: Addressing the underlying causes of illegal logging in tropical rain forests is complicated and requires a range of actions, not only in the forest sector. For this reason, through the Department for International Development (DFID), we are working to encourage good government, reduce the burden of debt on developing countries and develop alternative livelihoods for the poor.

Our main efforts are directed at combating illegal logging at source and addressing the other underlying causes of poor forest management, since most illegally harvested timber is consumed domestically. We help countries develop their capacity to assess the nature and extent of illegal logging and to take counter-measures. We help them develop national forest programmes. Early next year, together with the US and World bank, we will sponsor a high-level meeting in South-East Asia to examine what can be done to strengthen enforcement of forestry laws in the region.

In Okinawa the G8 leaders made a commitment to


TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Tobacco

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for which products he supports the EU prohibition of the manufacture within the United Kingdom of certain legal products which conform with the regulations of third countries. [132338]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 24 July 2000]: I understand that the hon. Member's question refers to the proposed EU Directive concerning the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products (known as the 'EU Tobacco Labelling Directive').

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The Government support the 'common position' on the Directive agreed by the EU Health Council on 29 June.

The common position includes agreement to the provision in Article 3 of the draft Directive which will require that, from 1 January 2004, the yield of cigarettes released for free circulation, marketed or manufactured in the member states shall not exceed:




Correspondence

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Spelthorne dated 10 February relating to his constituent, Mr. David Allan. [130657]

Mr. Alan Johnson [holding answer 17 July 2000]: I replied to the hon. Member on behalf of the Secretary of State on Thursday 27 July 2000.

Ilisu Dam

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Government decided to underwrite plans by Balfour Beatty to undertake work on the Ilisu Dam in Turkey; and what the maximum potential liability is to the Treasury assessed from such underwriting. [134190]

Mr. Caborn: The Government have not yet taken a decision to underwrite Balfour Beatty's application for support from the Export Credits Guarantee Department in respect of the Ilisu Dam project. We do not expect to take such a decision until we have seen and assessed both and revised Environmental Impact Assessment Report and the Resettlement Action Plan which are currently being prepared.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will place in the Library the reports of Dr. Ayse Kudat concerning the social and environmental impacts of the Ilisu Dam in Turkey. [134169]

Mr. Caborn: Dr. Kudat's reports are not the property of the Government. Following my hon. Friend's question, the Export Credits Guarantee Department asked the owners of the reports, the Export Risk Guarantee Agency (the Swiss export credit agency), whether they were prepared to allow them to be placed in the Library of the House. The owners have replied that they are not prepared to allow the reports to be made available at this time. When the final reports are available, we will seek agreement to their being made publicly available.

Fraudulent Sales Promotions

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals he has to introduce measures to control fraudulent sales promotions from operators outside the UK; and if he will make a statement. [R] [134148]

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Dr. Howells: I am concerned about these promotions and am setting out the action the Government are taking to tackle them. The legislation which is currently in place to protect consumers includes:





In addition, when the European Community Directive No. 98/27/EC on injunctions for the protection of consumers' interests is implemented in the UK next year, the DGFT and other qualifying bodies will be able to seek injunctions in the courts of other member states to stop operators there from directing false and misleading sales promotions at UK consumers.

I recognise the problems of taking enforcement action against sales promotion scams originating outside the UK--and particularly from beyond Europe. Apart from jurisdictional constraints on the DGFT and other UK authorities, it is often hard to trace the sales promotion operator. They may hide behind PO box addresses, which are used as solely collection or distribution points for mail. Operators move from country to country to avoid detection and frequently change the postal services they use.

The Government are working with industry and our regulatory authorities to address this situation. We are determined in particular to improve co-operation and information sharing between authorities in Europe and around the world. The following actions are being taken:





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