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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to Indonesian Ministers on tear gas fired by police at protesters on 17 January; and if he will make a statement. [146880]

Mr. Battle: We understand that there was a demonstration by several thousand protesters outside the Indonesian Parliament calling for President Wahid to step down. When the demonstrators tried to force their way into the grounds of the Parliament on 17 January, the security forces responded with tear gas. We are not aware of any clashes or casualties. While we have concerns at the human rights record of the Indonesian police, on this occasion they appear to have been legitimately protecting Government buildings and staff. We have not made any representations to the Indonesian authorities on this particular event, but we continue to monitor closely events in Indonesia.

European Council

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) which parts of the provisional text of the treaty of Nice provide the Presidencies for 2001 with political tasks and initiatives on behalf of the European Council; and for what reasons these duties were supported by Her Majesty's Government; [144777]

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Mr. Vaz: A declaration agreed at Nice, and contained in Annexe IV of the draft treaty, deals with work on the future institutional development of the EU.

The conference calls for a deeper and wider debate about the future development of the European Union, involving all with an interest including the peoples of Europe and the candidate countries. The Swedish and Belgian Presidencies have been mandated to take this consultative exercise forward. In Warsaw, the Prime Minister said that we should start the debate about Europe with the question of what the people of Europe want, and the Government strongly support the consultative exercise.

Drug Trafficking

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his EU colleagues about combating drug trafficking within the European Union. [145322]

Mrs. Roche: I have been asked to reply.

I have regular meetings with European Union colleagues, where the issue of combating drug trafficking is discussed, including attendance at the European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council and other forums. Last year, the United Kingdom successfully negotiated key elements of the Prime Minister's initiative on drugs, aimed at strengthening the European Union response to drugs problems, into the European Union Action Plan on Drugs 2000-04. The United Kingdom is also playing a central role in European Union-funded drugs twinning projects in Bulgaria and Romania designed to block the Balkans drug trafficking route into the European Union.


Census 2001

Mr. John M. Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about Government policy and administrative practice with regard to the destruction of the questionnaire forms that are to be delivered to households for the 2001 census of population for England and Wales. [146448]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. John M. Taylor, dated 23 January 2001:

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Working Families Tax Credit

Mr. Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the measures he (a) has taken and (b) is planning to take to prevent and detect fraudulent claims of working families tax credit. [146993]

Dawn Primarolo: The measures taken to prevent and detect fraudulent claims to the Working Families Tax Credit include redesigned application forms and guidance to make applications easier to complete while warning of the consequences of incorrect and fraudulent applications. Staff dealing with tax credit applications have been trained to explain the importance of providing correct and complete information. Staff also have powers to obtain information in support of an application where required and to check information provided by applicants against the relevant details already held. Risk assessments of applications based on accumulated Inland Revenue and DSS experience of fraudulent claims are also carried out, together with formal inquiries by specialist staff into applications identified as requiring further investigation. Where fraud is found to have taken place, financial penalties can be imposed and in the most serious cases applicants may be prosecuted.

As to future plans, I refer my right hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 16 November 2000, Official Report, column 758W.

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the regulatory impact assessment for the climate change levy. [146419]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 22 January 2001]: It was published in April 2000.

Departmental Policies (Slough)

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Slough constituency, the effects on Slough of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [146935]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Slough parliamentary constituency, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, is benefiting from the long-term action we have taken to build economic stability and secure high and stable levels of growth and employment. Since the General Election, claimant unemployment in the constituency has fallen by 1,078, or 40 per cent.; youth unemployment is down by 83 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 73 per cent. The claimant count rate in December 2000 was only 2.1 per cent., well below the UK average.

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Macro-economic stability is being complemented at the micro-economic level by the Government's policies to ease the transition from welfare into work and to make work pay. To the end of October 2000, the New Deal for 18 to 24-year-olds had helped 824 young people in the Slough constituency to gain valuable skills and experience--371 (45 per cent.) of whom had moved into employment. The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), introduced in October 1999, is helping to make work pay for low and middle-income families. In August 2000, 1,400 families in Slough constituency were benefiting from WFTC.

The Government are also committed to developing policies which enable all pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. As a result of the recent pre-Budget report, all pensioners, including 13,300 in the Slough constituency, will receive an above-inflation increase in the basic state pension from April 2001. Single pensioners will receive an extra £5 a week, and couples will receive an extra £8 a week. All pensioners age 75 or over have also been entitled to a free TV licence since November 2000--including around 8,000 in the Slough constituency.

Health Spending

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of UK GDP his Department expects will be devoted to total health spending in the fiscal year 2004-05. [146960]

Mr. Andrew Smith: In last year's Spending Review, the Chancellor provided for a significant increase in UK health expenditure for the years up to 2003-04. Based on the current GDP forecast, total health spending could therefore reach around 7.6 per cent. of GDP in 2003-04.

As the public spending plans for 2004-05 will not be announced until nearer the time, in the normal way, it is not yet possible to provide a figure for total health care in 2004-05.

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