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Jobcentre Vacancies

Mr. Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the accuracy of the recording of the official data on Jobcentre vacancies following the Low Pay Unit's report. [151769]

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Frank Field, dated 28 February 2001:

Gilt-edged Securities

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what powers he has to withhold issue of payment warrants for interest due upon gilt-edged securities to the name of a security holder known to have died; [151172]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: The information sought will take some time to assemble and I will write to the hon. Member separately.


Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many repossessions by building societies and other providers of mortgages there were in each of the last 10 years. [152005]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information, as set out in a Council of Mortgage Lenders press release of 31 January 2001, is as follows:

Property repossessions from 1991 to 2000

PeriodNumber of properties taken into possession


Council of Mortgage Lenders

Departmental Policies (Ilford, North)

Ms Perham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what initiatives embarked upon since May 1997 have benefited Ilford, North; and if he will make a statement. [152032]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Ilford, North, 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 1,071, or 48 per cent., youth unemployment is down by 85 per cent., and long-term unemployment has fallen by 75 per cent.

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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 December 2000, the New Deal for 18 to 24-year-olds had helped 552 young people in Ilford, North constituency gain valuable skills and experience--241 (44 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, 600 families in the 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 16,400 in Ilford, North, 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 aged 75 or over have also been entitled to a free TV licence since November 2000--including around 10,600 in Ilford, North.

Banking Facilities

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking, prior to the establishment of the proposed universal bank, to help people on low incomes gain access to banking facilities; and which banks accept benefit books as proof of identity for the purpose of opening an account. [148490]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government are currently consulting on a benchmark standard for basic bank accounts which includes the requirement that they are free to open and run, making them suitable for those people on low or variable incomes.

The British Bankers Association's advice to customers on the subject of proving their identity includes a benefit book on its list of documents frequently requested by banks as evidence of identity.


"Your Britain, Your Europe"

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent changes there have been to the criteria for selecting "Your Britain, Your Europe" roadshow venues; and if he will make a statement. [151636]

Mr. Vaz: Since the launch of the "Your Britain, Your Europe" information initiative, we have aimed to visit all of the English regions and devolved Administrations. We have not changed these selection criteria.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make available the responses to the "Your Britain, Your Europe" questionnaire. [151653]

Mr. Vaz: Among other things, the questionnaire asked where respondents got their information on the EU. We have not retained copies of the responses.

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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from which budget line expenditure on the "Your Britain, Your Europe" roadshow has been drawn; and if he has applied for EC funds. [151635]

Mr. Vaz: All expenditure on "Your Britain, Your Europe" activities is drawn from the programme budget of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's EU Command. We have not applied for funds from alternative sources.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs further to his answer to the right hon. Member for Strangford (Mr. Taylor) of 14 December 2000, Official Report, column 226W, what meetings and events were organised in connection with the visit to Northern Ireland of the "Your Britain, Your Europe" roadshow; which political representatives of what political parties he met; what advice he (a) sought and (b) received concerning the marketing of the Your Britain, Your Europe roadshow among (i) young people and (ii) people whose community origin is not British; what flags and emblems are (A) associated with and (B) on display in conjunction with the roadshow; in what publications the visit of the roadshow was advertised; what the breakdown was of the total cost of the visit of the roadshow; and what further initiatives are planned in Northern Ireland. [150612]

Mr. Vaz: Unfortunately, because of diary pressures we had to postpone this visit.

Conflict Diamonds

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the United States Government about conflict diamonds; and if he will make a statement. [149990]

Mr. Wilson: We are in regular contact with the Government of the United States of America on the subject of conflict diamonds. Both Governments are playing an active role in the current series of meetings of the Kimberley process, a grouping of all the major participants in the diamond sector, involving Governments, industry and civil society. We hope that the Kimberley process will lead to the adoption by the end of the year of an international certification scheme for rough diamonds, as envisaged in the United Nations resolution adopted by the General Assembly last December. Such a scheme would make an invaluable contribution to preventing illegally mined rough diamonds fuelling civil conflict.

NHS Recruitment

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 28 February 2001, Official Report, column 585W, concerning representations from other countries about recruitment of staff for the NHS in those countries if he will list the representations to which he refers. [152038]

Mr. Wilson: The international recruitment of medical staff has been raised during our normal discussions--both formal and informal--with other Governments, including those of Antigua and Barbuda, China, Croatia, Georgia,

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South Africa, Spain and Vietnam. The Department of Health has of course also received a number of direct representations.

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