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Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to announce the details of the scheme for assisting rural post offices; what discussions have been held on this, and with whom; and when he expects to report to the House on his conclusions. 
In accordance with the recommendations of the performance and innovation unit's report on the future of the post office network, the Postal Services Commission will be advising the Government on the best way to channel financial assistance to rural post offices and issued a discussion document in December. The Commission has been asked to report by the autumn following consultations and discussions with the Consumer Council for Postal Services, the National Federation of Sub-postmasters and other key post office network stakeholders. A report to the House will be made thereafter.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the currencies which will be paid to the Bank of England for euro notes; and which currencies will be involved in the payment of interest. 
Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 15 January 2001]: Investors in euro notes will pay the Bank of England in euro. The Bank of England will pay interest on the notes in euro. These arrangements are identical to those in place for euro notes issued by the Government.
Miss Melanie Johnson: The "Getting Britain Giving" package introduced last year provides significant incentives for businesses and wealthy individuals to make charitable donations. The £1,200 annual limit on donations under the payroll giving scheme has been removed to make it more attractive for higher earners, boosted by the Government's three year 10 per cent. supplement on all donations made in this way. The new relief for gifts of certain shares and securities provides a tax effective way for wealthy individuals with extensive shareholdings to give shares to charity and reduce their income tax bill by the full value of the gift. Higher rate taxpayers have always been able to claim tax relief on donations under gift aid. Companies can now give to charity by simply making a gross payment and claiming a deduction for the amount in their accounts.
18 Jan 2001 : Column: 304W
Mr. Timms: The Chancellor announced in the pre-Budget report 2000 that the Government would further explore how resources going through the landfill tax environmental bodies credit scheme can be better used to increase recycling rates, particularly of household waste. No decisions have been taken yet on reforming the scheme.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the sale of ineffective insurance policies to people aged under 18 years to cover the loss of mobile phones; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 8 January 2001, Official Report, column 458W, if he has received the Inland Revenue Commissioner's report; and if it has been presented to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. 
Dawn Primarolo: I have seen and approved for publication the Inland Revenue Annual Report for 1999-2000. It is planned to submit the report to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury and Parliament by the end of the month.
Miss Melanie Johnson: Figures for public sector net debt, the GDP deflator and UK population are available form the Office for National Statistics. Figures for public sector net debt (ONS series RUTN) are published in Table 1.1A of Financial Statistics; the GDP deflator (ONS series YBGB) is published in Table 2.1 of Economic Trends; and population figures are published in Tables 1.1 and 1.2 of Population Trends (number 102, Winter 2000).
Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of total UK public expenditure was accounted for by expenditure on (a) defence, (b) police, (c) health, (d) education, (e) pensions, (f) unemployment benefits, (g) overseas aid, (h) agriculture, fisheries and food and (i) road building and maintenance in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
18 Jan 2001 : Column: 305W
|Function||As percentage TME on services|
|International development assistance||0.7|
|Agriculture, fisheries, food and forestry||1.6|
1. Table 4.5 Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 2000-01 (CM 4601).
Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the proportion of UK marketable wealth owned by the least wealthy 50 per cent. of the UK population in each year from 1979-80 to 2000-01; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The latest available information on the distribution of UK marketable wealth relates to 1998. Data for 1984 to 1998 are given in the Table 13.5 of Inland Revenue Statistics 2000, and for the earlier years in the 1996 edition. Copies are available in the House of Commons Library.
Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total of public sector net borrowing as a percentage of gross domestic product, added to taxes and social security contributions as a percentage of gross domestic product was for each of the years 1989-90 to 2002-03; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: Figures for public sector net borrowing and taxes and social security contributions as a per cent. of GDP from 1989-90 to 1999-2000 were published in Table B26 of the pre-Budget report. Projects to 2005-06 were published in Tables B6 and B10 respectively.
The Government have cut borrowing by £44 billion since 1996-97. As a result of lower borrowing, the Government are able to spend £4 billion a year more on key public services rather than on servicing the national debt.
18 Jan 2001 : Column: 306W
I refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 16 January 2001, Official Report, column 183W, given to my hon. Friend, the Member for Preston (Mr. Hendrick). The Government are committed to tackling deprivation and the needs of disadvantaged communities through the national strategy for neighbourhood renewal action plan, launched on 15 January 2001. This aims to narrow the gap between deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of the country and to ensure that within 10 to 20 years no-one is seriously disadvantaged by where they live. The neighbourhood renewal unit, which is being established in DETR, will lead on implementing the action plan. It will work closely with new neighbourhood renewal teams in the Government Offices in the Regions.
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