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Departmental Budgets

Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what basis loans may be made for a departmental budget to a private company in administration; on how many occasions this has occurred in the last four years; and how such loans would be treated in the national accounts. [22062]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 10 December 2001]: The basis on which loans may be made from a departmental budget to a private company in administration is as for any other expenditure. Departments must take account of the guidance in Government Accounting, in particular, Chapter 2, on the powers to incur expenditure.

Information on the number of occasions that such loans have been made in the last four years is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

In national accounts such loans are treated as loans from the government sector to the private sector. There is no impact on the public sector current surplus, public sector net borrowing, or Total Managed Expenditure (TME).

Investment

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the real growth rate of net investment, as used to produce the estimates of future public borrowing set out in Table B2, page 165, of the pre-Budget report, November 2001. [20304]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 6 December 2001]: The forecast for public sector net investment is set out in Table B5, page 171, of the pre-Budget report.

Diesel

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the duty points for diesel in the United Kingdom. [21764]

Mr. Boateng: In the UK, duty on hydrocarbon oils, including diesel, is payable upon removal from either:



By "home use" we mean consumption in the UK, as opposed to export.

HM Customs and Excise must approve such warehouses. A full list of Mineral Oil Premises (the warehouses and producers' premises) is available to the public in notice 179B.

Barnett Formula

Mr. Swire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what account he will take of the 2001 census in Scotland in assessing funding under the Barnett formula. [22237]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Barnett formula uses the latest available mid-year population estimates. The outcome of the 2001 census will be taken into account when available.

13 Dec 2001 : Column: 1001W

Private Health Care

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to increase the percentage of GDP spent on private health care. [16994]

Mr. Andrew Smith: None.

Public Finance Forecasts

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason he does not assume recent changes in (a) equity prices, (b) oil prices and (c) financial corporation (i) profits and (ii) bonuses to be cyclical for the purposes of his public finance forecasts. [22190]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Treasury's methodology for estimating the impact of the economic cycle on the public finances is set out in the publication "Fiscal policy: public finances and the cycle", HM Treasury, March 1999. The impact of equity prices, oil prices and financial corporations on the forecast is described in detail in paragraphs B34-B49 of the pre-Budget report (pages 174–178).

Business Start-ups (Buckingham)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many business start-ups there were in the Buckingham constituency in each year since 1997. [22646]

Ruth Kelly: The information falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. John Bercow, dated 13 December 2001:



Business start-ups (VAT registrations) in each year since 1997

YearNumber
2000680
1999690
1998705
1997655

Source:

Office for National Statistics Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR)


Strikes (Buckingham)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many working days were lost through (a) official and (b) unofficial strike action in the constituency of Buckingham in each year since 1997. [22643]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. John Bercow, dated 13 December 2001:



13 Dec 2001 : Column: 1002W


Business (Buckingham)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses there were in the Buckingham constituency with (a) 0 to five, (b) five to 20, (c) 20 to 49 and (d) more than 50 employees in each year since 1997. [22641]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. John Bercow, dated 13 December 2001:



Number of VAT based enterprises in Buckingham parliamentary constituency by employee sizebands by year (1996–2001)

Employees sizebands
Year0–45–1920–4950+Total
20013,72046545354,265
20003,69045045354,225
19993,58544050354,110
19983,47543040353,980
19973,24540035253,710

Note:

All figures have been rounded to the nearest 5 to avoid disclosure

Source:

Office for National Statistics Inter Departmental Business Register


Financial Services Authority

Ian Stewart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements are in place to ensure that the Financial Services Authority is held accountable following the implementation of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. [23531]

Ruth Kelly: The Financial Services and Markets Act set out a comprehensive new framework to ensure that the FSA and its board, while independent of Government, would be properly accountable to Ministers, Parliament and the wider public. The Chancellor has today written to Howard Davies, Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, setting out how the Government propose to use their powers under the new arrangements to ensure that the accountability process works as effectively as possible.

A copy of the letter, and the reply from the Chairman of the FSA, will today be deposited in the Library of the House and on the Treasury's website at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk.

Investment Capital Appraisal

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 3 December 2001, Official Report, column 55W, on Treasury investment capital appraisal, when he expects the review to conclude;

13 Dec 2001 : Column: 1003W

if he will place the terms of reference in the Library; what representations he has received; and if he will make a statement. [22264]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The review is on-going. It needs to cover a range of complex issues and will conclude once the necessary work has been done. Its terms of reference are as per the objectives set out in paragraph 61 of the HM Treasury document—"Planning Sustainable Spending—Lessons from Previous Policy Experience", published in November 2000.

Beer Duty

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations his Department has received on his proposals on progressive beer duty; and if the sliding scale of relief will apply to local brewers who produce up to 200,000 hectolitres per annum. [22611]

Mr. Boateng: The Government have announced that they are minded to introduce a reduced rate of duty on the beer produced by small breweries and has had a number of representations. A decision will be announced in Budget 2002.


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