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Employment (Scotland)

26. Mr. McFall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his targets for employment in Scotland. [154625]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government have no specific employment targets for Scotland alone, but across Great Britain as a whole they strive for employment opportunity for all, with the aim that by the end of the decade there will be a higher proportion of people in work than ever before, defined as high and stable levels of employment, taking account of the economic cycle, so that at least three quarters of the working age population are in work by 2010.

However, in Scotland, by December of last year employment had risen by 4.9 per cent. to 2.3 million, while ILO unemployment stood at 165,000, a reduction of 22.5 per cent. since May 1997. Furthermore, by January of this year claimant unemployment in Scotland stood at 109,200, a reduction of 32.8 per cent. since May 1997.

In order to help this trend to continue in Scotland as well as Great Britain as a whole, the Spending Review 2000 committed the Government to the following PSA targets for the period 2001-04:

Building on these PSA targets, the Government have recently committed to increase the proportion of lone parents in work to 70 per cent. over the next 10 years.

Objective 1 Funding

27. Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress he has made in the delivery of EU Objective 1 funds to Objective 1 regions. [154626]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Good progress has been made, given that we are only seven months into the current Objective 1 programme. The picture in Cornwall is particularly encouraging, with over £40 million of the programme already committed.

Global Health Fund

29. Ms Drown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his recent announcement on the establishment of a purchase fund for global health. [154628]

Miss Melanie Johnson: At the recent International Action Against Child Poverty conference that the UK hosted in London, the Chancellor announced a package of measures aimed at combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Every year, about six million people--mostly in the world's poorest countries--die from these diseases.

Alongside plans for a tax credit into vaccine and drug research, the Chancellor announced plans for a new global purchase fund to provide a credible commitment to create a market for current and future treatments for developing countries.

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The Government will work closely with other governments, the G8 and international institutions to develop these proposals.


30. Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the taxation of savings. [154629]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Government receive many representations on tax, including tax on savings. The Government are encouraging more people to provide for their financial security throughout their lives, in line with their savings strategy is set out in "Helping People to Save", published alongside the November 2000 pre-Budget report.

The Government have introduced individual savings accounts (ISAs)--8.5 million people invested over £28.4 billion in the first year alone. In the first nine months of ISAs' second year, a further £20 billion was invested.


31. Mr. Bailey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the measures in his Budget on unemployment rates in the UK. [154630]

Miss Melanie Johnson: As the Government recently announced, claimant count unemployment has fallen below one million and is now at its lowest level since December 1975.

Moreover, up to December last year we had placed almost 280,000 young people into work, further building on our manifesto of moving 250,000 young people from welfare into work.

Some of the measures outlined in Budget 2001 seek to increase employment opportunity for all, aiming to get a higher proportion of people into work than ever before, by the end of the decade. The measures include:


32. Sir George Young: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his policies on annuities. [154631]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer the right hon. Member to Sections 5.66 to 5.69 of our Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report published on Budget Day, available in the House of Commons Library.

Small Businesses (Ceredigion)

33. Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the measures in his Budget which will benefit small businesses in Ceredigion. [154632]

Mr. Timms: In the Budget the Government announced further assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises which will benefit small businesses in Ceredigion and across the UK:

These build on the substantial tax and spending measures announced in previous Budgets that are aimed at making the UK one of the most competitive environments in the world for small firms to start and grow.

Fiscal Forecasts

34. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what account he takes in making his fiscal forecasts of the cyclical nature of the economy. [154633]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government take full account of the economic cycle in making their public finance projections. In accordance with the Code for Fiscal Stability, the Government publish projections of both actual and cyclically adjusted fiscal aggregates in the pre-Budget report and Budget. The latest figures are set out in Table 2.5 of the March 2001 Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report.

Tax Changes (Liverpool)

35. Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the tax changes announced in the Budget on the regeneration in Liverpool. [154634]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government announced in Budget 2001 a package of fiscal measures to help regenerate Britain's towns and cities. This package includes stamp duty exemption for property transactions in disadvantaged communities, 150 per cent. payable tax credit for cleaning up contaminated land, reduced rate of VAT for residential conversions, and 100 per cent. capital allowances for "creating flats over shops" for letting.

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The measures will tackle physical regeneration of towns and cities--helping to bring derelict and under- utilised land and property back into productive use and reducing pressure for development on greenfield land.

The total value of these measures is estimated at over £1 billion over five years, across the UK.

It is not possible to quantify the impact of these tax changes on the regeneration of Liverpool.

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