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The Council examined and after debate agreed opinions on the updated stability and convergence programmes for Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom, produced in line with the Stability and Growth Pact. The Council also agreed additional statements on Germany and Portugal, in which both countries set out the disciplines they should follow in future years.
The presidency noted that all member states had now ratified the Council decision of September 2000 on own resources. This will now take effect from March 2002, with any differences resulting from the late entry into force being corrected with retrospective effect from 1 January.
The Commission presented its proposals for a budgetary framework for enlargement, for use in the accession negotiations. Following a brief discussion, the presidency concluded that the Commission should now draw up draft common positions for the financial aspects of enlargement that were in conformity with the Berlin European Council budgetary settlement. These should not be linked with parallel discussions later in the year on reform of the common agricultural policy. Equally, it was important that enlargement should not impede reform.
ECOFIN reached political agreement on VAT on e-commerce without discussion. The amended directive and regulation make welcome changes to the rules governing the taxation of digitised products, so as to correct certain distortions of competition. During the negotiations the UK successfully secured an explicit commitment, which now features in the directive, to move, by 2006, to a comprehensive electronic solution for the taxation of such items which will treat EU and non-EU businesses on an identical basis.
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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what definition of a film he uses in extending tax allowances to film production; and how many (a) films and (b) television programmes have benefited from such allowances in the last five years; 
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 706W, on Geoffrey Spence, which Department has responsibility for Partnerships UK. 
PUK provides services to a wide range of Government Departments and other public bodies. It also assists public bodies with joint venture and investment activities. HM Treasury is responsible for the Government's shareholding and nominates two non-executive directors to the PUK Board. HM Treasury has also established an advisory council chaired by Sir Andrew Turnball, Permanent Secretary to the Treasury. The membership consists of representatives from Government Departments, the devolved Administrations, local authorities and other public bodies drawn from PUK's client base. The council's remit is to review the effectiveness of Partnerships UK in fulfilling its public sector mission.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make a statement on the additional support he intends offering small and medium-sized enterprises to increase research and development investment. 
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Mr. Boateng: Budget 2000 introduced an R&D tax credit for small and medium-sized companies. It provides a tax deduction of 150 per cent. of the cost of all qualifying R&D expenditure. Under this enhanced relief the cash cost of R&D will be reduced by 30 per cent. for a company paying tax at the small companies' rate. Companies that are not yet in profit can take the relief up front and reduce the cash cost of their R&D by 24 per cent.
publication of a prospectus for a £50 million early growth fund to help at least 1,000 businesses access the risk capital they need to develop and grow.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state, for each year since 1990, Government spending on the NHS in (a) the UK, (b) England and (c) Scotland, (i) in real terms and (ii) as a percentage of GDP. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: Figures for identifiable total managed spending on health and personal social services in the UK, England and Scotland are published annually in the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses. The latest publication shows figures for 199596 to 19992000. Figures for earlier years are published in earlier publications which are available in the House of Commons Library.
Information on NHS expenditure as a proportion of GDP in the UK for the period 19992000 to 200304 is also published in the Department of Health departmental report (Cm 5103) for England and the United Kingdom. Health spending in Scotland is a devolved matter described in the Scottish Executive's budget documents for Scotland.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many overseas visits have been undertaken by parliamentary private secretaries in his Department at departmental expense in each of the last four years; and at what cost to public funds. 
Ruth Kelly: The name change is just one part of the transformation process undertaken by National Savings and Investments to modernise its operation, improve efficiency and upgrade services to customers.
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introduced new products
introduced new channels of distribution
improved direct mail capability
developed the relationship with the Post Office.
|Redcar and Cleveland UA||136.4|
|Blackburn with Darwen UA||138.1|
|Yorkshire and The Humber|
|East Riding of Yorkshire UA||318.9|
|Kingston upon Hull, City of UA||254.3|
|North East Lincolnshire UA||155.2|
|North Lincolnshire UA||152.5|
|Herefordshire, County of UA||169.3|
|Telford and Wrekin UA||151.3|
|Bracknell Forest UA||111.1|
|Brighton and Hove UA||259.9|
|Isle of Wight UA||129.4|
|Milton Keynes UA||209.8|
|West Berkshire UA||144.3|
|Windsor and Maidenhead UA||142.6|
|Bath and North East Somerset UA||170.2|
|Bristol, City of UA||406.2|
|North Somerset UA||191.1|
|South Gloucestershire UA||247.9|
|Total population in unitary authorities in England||8,318.8|
|Average persons per unitary authority in England||180.8|
|Isle of Anglesey||64.8|
|Neath Port Talbot||138.0|
|Rhondda, Cynon, Taff||239.8|
|The Vale of Glamorgan||122.9|
|Total population in unitary authorities in Wales||2,946.2|
|Average persons per unitary authority in Wales||133.9|
Figures may not add exactly because of rounding
Office for National Statistics
25 Feb 2002 : Column 1040W
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