Previous Section Index Home Page

Polarisation (Financial Advice)

17. Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has made to the Financial Services Authority's proposals to end polarisation in financial advice. [35760]

Ruth Kelly: I am pleased that the FSA have been able to take forward work on the polarisation regime by publishing consultation paper 121, setting out the options for reform. And I am sure there will be a lively debate about the FSA's proposals.

In principle, these proposals could represent a significant move in the direction of deregulation while maintaining and enhancing consumer protection. But they are of course subject to consultation and I would encourage all those with views to look at the consultation paper and supporting research reports, and let the FSA have their views by 19 April.

Low Pay

19. Jeff Ennis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he is taking to increase the take-home pay of those in low paid work. [35763]

Dawn Primarolo: Over the last Parliament this Government introduced the following measures to make work pay: national minimum wage; working families tax credit and childcare tax credit; the 10 pence and 22 pence rates of income tax; and reforms to national insurance contributions.

As a result of these measures families with children in the poorest fifth of the population are on average 1,700 a year better off in real terms.

28 Feb 2002 : Column 1430W

From April 2003, the working tax credit will extend the principles of WFTC to low paid people without children.

Public Debt

20. Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the additional public debt would be as a percentage of GDP if all capital expenditure agreed under private finance and private partnership initiatives were included. [35764]

Mr. Andrew Smith: In my answer to my hon Friend the Member for Eccles (Ian Stewart) on 7 February 2002, Official Report, columns 1144–46W, I set out the estimated level of capital spend by the private sector in projects taken forward under the private finance initiative.

It is not possible to calculate accurately the increased level of public debt that would be created if these projects were funded instead by the public sector. That would depend on the way in which the project was taken forward. Since the abolition of universal testing, public authorities choose the method of procurement which is best suited to individual projects.


23. Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the measures he announced in the pre-Budget report to support families. [35768]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have received a number of representations regarding measures announced in the PBR to support families and have held discussions with a wide range of organisations both within and outside of Government. These are being considered ahead of Budget and Spending Review 2002.


25. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his forecasts are for the impact of productivity on UK economic growth over the next three years. [35770]

Ruth Kelly: Table A4 of the November 2001 pre-Budget Report (Cm 5318) shows the assumed contribution of trend labour productivity growth to trend output growth in the Government's latest economic forecast. In the neutral case, growth of trend labour productivity is assumed to contribute 1.9 percentage points to annual trend output growth during the pre-Budget report forecast period.


26. Mr. Beard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fiscal steps he is taking to encourage investment by British business: [35771]

Ruth Kelly: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given earlier today to the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Syms) at column 1424W.

28 Feb 2002 : Column 1431W

Public Services

27. Roger Casale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his plans for investment in public services in London. [35772]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Plans for expenditure on public services across the UK for the next three years will be set out in the summer, following the Spending Review.

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he intends to fund improvements in local authority public services; and if he will make a statement. [35769]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Government are making additional investment in public services. Local authorities are no exception. Government grant increased by 7.5 per cent. in the 2002–03 local government finance settlement, with provision for spending on education up 8.8 per cent. and social services up 6.2 per cent.

Renewable Energy

28. Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will allocate additional resources for renewable energy in the comprehensive spending review. [35773]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Spending plans and outcome targets for Departments will be set as part of the 2002 spending review. The aim of the review will be to determine how best Departments' programmes can contribute to the Government's priorities.

The 2002 spending review will roll forward existing spending plans and set budgets and outcome targets for Departments up to 2005–06. The aim of the review will be to determine how best Departments' programmes can contribute to the Government's priorities.

The review, which will conclude by the summer of 2002, will take a thorough look at all programmes to ensure that the new plans fully reflect the Government's priorities and the scope for greater efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. Each Department has been asked to produce a sustainable development report, which will assist in the consideration of the social, economic and environmental implications of their plans.

Combined Heat and Power

30. Gillian Merron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the climate change levy on the combined heat and power industry. [35775]

Mr. Boateng: The climate change levy package has delivered significant benefits to the combined heat and power (CHP) industry.

Fuel used by CHP, heat produced by CHP and electricity sold direct from CHP are all free of the levy. CHP plant can also benefit from 100 per cent. Capital Allowances. Nevertheless, as announced in the Pre-Budget Report, the Government will consider the environmental case for providing even more favourable treatment for CHP.

28 Feb 2002 : Column 1432W

Employment Levels

31. Mr. Khabra: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on recent measures he has taken to improve levels of employment.[35776]

Ruth Kelly: Figures recently announced show that the employment level is at 28,232 million, and the claimant unemployment level stands at 951,000. Claimant unemployment in Ealing, Southall is down by 27 per cent. since 1997. The new deal has been a contributing factor to these levels of unemployment.

In particular new deal for young people has been successful in its four years of operation; it has placed over 340,000 18–24-year-olds into work. The new deal for 25 plus and the enhanced programme (since April 2001) has also helped over 92,000 long-term unemployed people into work.

To build on this performance, the Government have introduced further measures to increase the effectiveness of the new deal and other employment programmes, including: piloting greater flexibility in the Options section of NDYP from November 2001 to give personal advisers more freedom to tailor the provision of support to meet the needs of the individuals, local employers and local labour markets; establishing a pilot mentoring scheme from January 2002 to assess how mentoring can best be used to improve employment chances and job retention under the new deal; step-up a new programme of transitional employment pilots will target our hardest to help clients who have not been able to find a job through the new deal. People who take up these jobs will receive individual support so that they can eventually make the transition to unsupported jobs in the open labour market; the Government are allocating additional resources to strengthen the Job Transition Service over the next two years, this is to support those communities affected by large-scale redundancies; and the working families' tax credit (WFTC) helps to make work pay for low to middle income families with children. Nearly 1.3 million families with children are currently receiving the WFTC, around 400,000 more than received its predecessor, Family Credit. On average these families are receiving 35 a week more on WFTC than under Family Credit.

Office for National Statistics

32. Mr. Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the operations of the Office for National Statistics. [35777]

Ruth Kelly: The Office for National Statistics operates in accordance with its three year business plan and reports performance in its annual report and accounts. Copies of these documents are available in the House of Commons Library and on the National Statistics website.

Next Section Index Home Page