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Children's Grants

Mr. Plaskitt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families he expects to benefit from the new children's bond in the first year of its introduction. [159877]

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of the proposed grant to children at birth. [159882]

Dawn Primarolo: In late April the Government announced a consultation on two new proposals to encourage saving and the build up of assets, the Saving Gateway and the Child Trust Fund. The Child Trust Fund would benefit each of the 700,000 or more children born every year. The scheme would allow parents, grandparents, friends and children themselves to make additional contributions, so providing families with a safe and secure account to save towards their children's future. The Child Trust Fund would provide all young people beginning their adult life with the advantage that owning financial assets brings.

The cost of the scheme would depend on the level of the endowment and other aspects of its design, details on which the Government are consulting. But cost- effectiveness will be a key consideration as the Government develop this proposal in the light of consultation.

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Community Sports Clubs

Mr. Andy King: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his plans to introduce VAT relief for community sports clubs. [159887]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave today to my hon. Friend the Member for Milton Keynes, North-East (Mr. Brian White) at column 257.

Illegally Imported Meat

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what tonnage of illegally-imported meat was intercepted by HM Customs and Excise in the last year for which figures are available. [160905]

Dawn Primarolo: In the year 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001, Customs seized 2.655 metric tonnes of meat. This figure does not include meat detected when Customs are working with the lead enforcement authorities for meat imports, MAFF or local authority officials, where the meat is seized by the lead authorities. Customs have no central record of those seizures.


Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 23 April 2001, Official Report, column 190W, on the legal status of the euro after 1 January 2002, if the euro will have the same legal status in the United Kingdom as other foreign currencies that it will replace. [160846]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Yes.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the changeover cost for (a) business and (b) the civil service, if the United Kingdom accedes to the euro. [160902]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government have not made any estimate of the cost of a changeover either to business or the public sector.

The cost of a changeover would depend on the overall approach taken and individual management decisions.

Child Tax Credit (Glasgow)

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, (c) Glasgow and (d) Glasgow, Pollok have claimed child tax credit up to the latest date for which figures are available. [160824]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue have invited PAYE taxpayers to claim the Children's Tax Credit (CTC). To date they have received over 3.5 million claim forms, which represents more than 85 per cent. of the potential 4 million families who are eligible for CTC and pay tax under PAYE in the UK. Self employed taxpayers will claim when they submit their 2001-02 tax returns. I regret that the other information that my hon. Friend has asked for is not available.

Life Expectancy

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated average life expectancy is of (a) men

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and (b) women, in (i) Glasgow, Pollok, (ii) the City of Glasgow, (iii) Scotland and (iv) the UK on (1) 1 May and (2) 1 May 1997; and if he will make a statement. [160828]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Estimates of life expectancy are not available for specific days. The table gives life expectancy at birth for the period 1995-97 and for the calendar year 1997 and the calendar year 1999, the latest year for which the data required to calculate a life table are available. Sub-national life expectancy is not calculated at the level of parliamentary constituencies.

Expectation of life at birth in year shown

AreaBased on data in year(s)MalesFemales
Glasgow, Pollok--(12)--(12)--
City of Glasgow(13)1995-9768.475.4
United Kingdom(13)1995-9774.479.6
United Kingdom(14)199774.779.7
United Kingdom(14)199975.079.9

(12) Not available

(13) Source: Griffiths C. and Fitzpatrick J. Geographic inequalities in Life Expectancy in the United Kingdom. 'Health Statistics Quarterly' no. 9. The Stationery Office 2001.

(14) Source: The Government Actuary's Department


Mr. Connarty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome was of the ECOFIN Council held in Brussels on 7 May; what the Government's voting record was at the Council; and if he will make a statement. [160972]

Mr. Gordon Brown: I attended the meeting of the Economic and Finance Council of Ministers with the Paymaster General.

The Commission presented its recommendation for the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPGs) for 2001. This consists of a section of guidelines addressed to the Community as a whole, and a series of guidelines addressed to individual member states. I made it clear that the Commission had exceeded its remit in proposing a UK-specific guideline that the expected ratio of UK public sector current expenditure to GDP should not exceed 37.3 per cent. Decisions on the level of public spending are for member states, and the Government's fiscal rules ensure sound and sustainable public finances while enabling increased investment in priority public services. The guidelines will now be discussed by officials from the member states and the Commission before ECOFIN presents them to the European Council in Gothenburg and their final adoption by ECOFIN.

A joint Council-Commission delegation will travel to Russia next week to discuss economic co-operation. The presidency reported on its plans to discuss how the EU could best contribute to improving the financial and

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investment climate in Russia. No decisions would be taken, and the presidency will report back to ECOFIN on the dialogue.

The presidency gave an update on the exchanges of correspondence between the Commission and the European Parliament on the modalities of the Lamfalussy proposals for improving the regulation of the securities market.

The Economic Policy Committee chairman set out the committee's work programme for the coming year. This includes UK-inspired work on how economic incentives contribute to promoting R&D. The Committee will report back on this to ECOFIN in the autumn.

Ministers agreed that further work was required on prudential regulation of supplementary pensions. Conclusions were also adopted on e-commerce and financial services.

The Commission gave advance notice of the preliminary draft Community budget for 2002, which was subsequently adopted by the Commission on 8 May.

The Commission presented its communication on the elimination of tax obstacles to the cross-border provision of occupational pensions, which advocates exchange of information and sharing best practice as solutions to double or non-taxation of cross-border pensions. Ministers agreed that the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the member states and a technical working group should undertake a more detailed study of the communication.

No votes were taken during the course of the meeting.

Chester Street Insurance Holdings

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on compensation for asbestosis sufferers and their families following the insolvency of the insurance company Chester Street. [161061]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Following the insolvency of Chester Street on 9 January this year, concerns were raised over the position of employees whose private sector employer insured with Chester Street and no longer exists or is insolvent, and whose injury was sustained during employment in the private sector before 1972 (1975 in Northern Ireland). There were fears that these individuals would not receive the compensation for which their employers would have been liable.

However, the insurance industry will fund compensation to those individuals in the following circumstances.

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The Government will themselves fund the compensation owed to former employees of public sector companies for whom they are liable.

These arrangements apply only when the employer no longer exists or is insolvent. Where the employer still exists, or its liabilities have been carried forward to another company, that company or firm are liable to pay the compensation award.

The PPB will ensure that claims are topped up to 100 per cent. so far as they relate to compulsory insurance policies (i.e. relate to the period from 1972 (1975 in Northern Ireland)). Both private sector employers and, where that employer no longer exists, the employees, are eligible for that payment.

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