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Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those economies of the single currency with which a sustainable convergence must be demonstrated for the purpose of satisfying his first economic test as to whether entry into the euro is in Britain's economic interest. 
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Republic of Ireland in the last 12 months; and what volume was so imported via the ports of Cairnryan and Stranraer. 
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which relocation companies hold contracts with his Department for the relocation of civil servants; when the contracts were last renewed; where the contracts were advertised; and what the length and value of each contract is. 
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The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is the main source of labour market data on individuals used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS preferred measure of unemployment is derived from the LFS and is defined on a consistent and internationally recognised basis set out by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It counts as unemployed people who are a) without a paid job, b) available to start work within the next two weeks and c) have either looked for work in the last four weeks or are waiting to start a job already obtained. However, estimates for the number of ILO long-term young unemployed in the constituency of Hendon cannot be used as they are below the threshold for reliable data.
ONS also publishes the monthly number of people who are claiming unemployment-related benefits, also known as the Claimant count.
In May 1997 there were 160 18-24 year olds on the claimant count (computerised claims only). This fell to 9 by May 2000 and to 14 in September 2000. Constituency level claimant count figures are not seasonally adjusted so comparisons are best made year to year. Computerised claims do not include clerical claims which currently makes up around 1 per cent of the total claimant count.
Dawn Primarolo: The Treasury will today be publishing a booklet containing the estimates of the effects of various illustrative tax changes on tax receipts in 2001-02 and 2002-03 (plus 2003-04 for indirect taxes) and estimates of the costs of the main tax reliefs in 1999-2000 and 2001-02. Copies are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
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Mr. Andrew Smith: The costs arising from devolution in Scotland and Wales are the responsibility of the devolved administrations. They are expected to meet all the costs associated with devolution form within their existing budgets.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) families and (b) children in Hull have benefited from the working families tax credit; what is the total weekly sum involved; what estimate he has made of the number of families which are entitled to apply and have not done so; what further steps he plans to bring this entitlement to their attention; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the number of families in each local authority in receipt of the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) at the end of May, based on a 5 per cent. sample of awards, are shown at Table 9.3 in the WFTC Quarterly Inquiry for May 2000. A copy has been placed in the Library.
The Inquiry also gives the average value of awards to families in the Yorkshire and the Humber Government Office Region. There are too few sample cases to provide reliable estimates of average awards, or of total expenditure, at the local authority level.
We started a new phase of advertising for WFTC on 23 October, which includes national television, national and regional press, radio and advertising in women's and television magazines. This campaign will be running in the Hull area as in all other areas of the UK.
Dr. Godman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) families and (b) children in Inverclyde have benefited from the working families tax credit; what is the total weekly sum involved; what estimate he has made of the number of families which are entitled to apply and have not done so; what initiatives he has undertaken to bring this source of income to their notice; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: For the number of families benefiting from WFTC in Inverclyde, and for details of the current advertising campaign, I refer my hon. Friend to my answer given above to my hon. Friend the Member for Hull, North (Mr. McNamara).
There are too few sample cases to provide reliable estimates at the local authority level of total expenditure on WFTC, or of the number of children in families in receipt of WFTC. The WFTC Quarterly Inquiry for May 2000 gives the average number of children per family in receipt of WFTC in Scotland at that date is estimated at 1.8.
Dawn Primarolo: I have completed the annual review under section 141 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. In line with the reforms to national insurance contributions announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his March 1999 Budget and reaffirmed in his pre-Budget reports of 9 November
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1999 and 8 November 2000, I propose the following changes to take effect from 6 April 2001. These rates and limits will also apply to Northern Ireland national insurance contributions.
Employers and Employees
In line with the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, the lower earnings limit for primary class 1 contributions is to be raised to £72 a week. It is set at the level of the basic retirement pension for a single person from April 2001 and rounded down to the nearest pound.
The primary threshold for primary class 1 contributions will be aligned with the secondary threshold for secondary class 1 contributions and the weekly amount of the income tax personal allowance at £87 a week. This means that no tax or class 1 contributions will actually be paid on earnings below this level.
The upper earnings limit for primary class 1 contributions will be raised to £575 a week to ensure a fair base of earnings liable to such contributions.
The rate of secondary class 1 contributions payable by all employers is to be reduced by 0.3 per cent., from 12.2 per cent. to 11.9 per cent.
The rate of class 2 contributions is to remain at £2 a week.
Self-employed people with earnings below the annual small earnings exception can apply to be exempted from paying class 2 contributions. This limit will be raised by £130 to £3,955.
The annual lower and upper profits limits for liability to class 4 contributions will be raised respectively by £150 to £4,535 (in line with the income tax personal allowance) and by £2,080 to £29,900, to maintain the link with employees' earnings liable to class 1 contributions and ensure a fair base for contributions by the self-employed.
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The rate of class 3 voluntary contributions will be increased by 20 pence to £6.75 a week.
The special rate of class 2 contributions for share fishermen, which allows them to build entitlement to contributory jobseekers allowance in addition to the other contributory benefits available to the self-employed, will remain at £2.65 a week.
Volunteer Development Workers
The special rate of class 2 contributions for volunteer development workers, which entitles them to the full range of contributory benefits, will be increased by 25 pence to £3.60 in line with the statutory formula of 5 per cent. of the primary class 1 lower earnings limit.
Although benefit expenditure from the National Insurance Fund will broadly match income, I need to ensure that the fund can maintain a prudent working balance throughout the coming year. In accordance with section 2(2) of the Social Security Act 1993, I propose to do so by prescribing that the maximum Treasury grant which may be made available to the fund in 2001-02 shall not exceed 2 per cent. of the estimated benefit expenditure for that year. Similar provision will be made in respect of the Northern Ireland National Insurance Fund.
I shall be laying a draft re-rating order before Parliament in due course. This will accompany a report by the Government Actuary to myself and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security, which we shall jointly present to Parliament.
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|Lower Earnings Limit, primary Class 1||£72 per week|
|Upper Earnings Limit, primary Class 1||£575 per week|
|Primary Threshold||£87 per week|
|Secondary Threshold||£87 per week|
|Employees' primary Class 1 rate||10 per cent. of £87.01 to £575 per week|
|Employees' contracted-out rebate||1.6 per cent.|
|Married women's reduced rate||3.85 per cent.|
|Employers' secondary Class 1 rate||11.9 per cent. on earnings above £87 per week|
|Employers' contracted-out rebate, salary-related schemes||3 per cent.|
|Employers' contracted-out rebate, money-purchase schemes||0.6 per cent.|
|Class 2 rate||£2 per week|
|Class 2 Small Earnings Exception||£3,955 per year|
|Special Class 2 rate for share fishermen||£2.65 per week|
|Special Class 2 rate for volunteer development workers||£3.60 per week|
|Class 3 rate||£6.75 per week|
|Class 4 rate||7 per cent.|
|Class 4 Lower Profits Limit||£4,535 per year|
|Class 4 Upper Profits Limit||£29,900 per year|
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