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8. Mr. Pike: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on a family with two children on an average income for the north-west as a result of the Budget changes. 
Mr. Gordon Brown: There are 325,000 families with children in the north-east and 880,000 in the north-west. Around 90 per cent. of these families will be eligible for the child tax credit from April 2003, which together with child benefit will deliver up to £54.25 a week in support for the first child, compared with £27.70 a week in April 1997.
Dawn Primarolo: An additional £500 million of support will be available for families with children in 200203. This includes the costs of a £2.50 per week above-inflation increase in working families' tax credit rates from June 2002 and a £3.50 per week above- inflation increase in the child allowances in income support and jobseeker's allowance from October 2002.
14. Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people in Thurrock who will be affected by his Budget proposals aimed at relieving poverty. 
Mr. Boateng: There are 14,000 families with children in Thurrock. Nationally, around 90 per cent. of families will be eligible for the child tax credit, which together with child benefit will deliver up to £54.25 a week in support for the first child from April 2003.
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There are 17,000 people in Thurrock benefiting from the increase in the winter fuel payment to £200 and 15,000 will benefit from the guaranteed increases in the basic state pension. Nationally, up to half of all pensioner households will be eligible for the pension credit from October 2003.
24. Mr. Baron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the Federation of Small Businesses regarding the increase in employers' national insurance contributions announced in the 2002 Budget. 
Dawn Primarolo: Ministers and civil servants have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals as part of the process of policy development and analysis. As with previous Administrations it is not this Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code and Guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists.
27. Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cash-flow implications to businesses of the increase in employers' national insurance contributions announced in the 2002 Budget. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: Most businesses in the UK are small, and the average small business employs around five employees. For a typical employer of this size, the increase in employers' NICs is around £835 a year.
34. Matthew Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the impact of the proposed change in employers' national insurance contributions on manufacturing company profitability for financial year 200304. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: It is estimated that the changes to employers' national insurance contributions announced in the Budget will increase pay costs on average across the economy by 0.7 per cent. next year. Employers will benefit from the impact of the investment in the health service on the health of their employees.
38. Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the cost to the public sector of the change in employers' national insurance contributions announced in the Budget in 200304. 
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39. Mr. Hendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the cost to the public sector of the change in employers' national insurance contributions announced in the Budget in 200304. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: The cost to the public services will be just over £1 billion which compares with a planned rise in spending on public services of nearly £20 billion. The changes will help to fund improvements to public services and a real terms increase in spending on health over the next five years of over 40 per cent.
16. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the Road Haulage Association on the impact of Budget measures on the road haulage industry; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: Since the Budget, I have chaired a meeting in the Treasury to outline further details about how the Government intend to implement their manifesto commitment to "ensure that hauliers from overseas pay their fair share towards the costs of our roads".
The Road Haulage Association has welcomed the Budget and the Government's proposals to modernise the taxation of the haulage industry, describing them positively as a revolution gathering momentum. The Road Haulage Association's chief executive, a former Member of the House for the party opposite, has even said that this policy could make 2002 the most important year since denationalisationand perhaps ever.
Ruth Kelly: The Government are committed to tackling pensioner poverty; helping those in greatest need. The Government introduced the minimum income guarantee and is committed to raising it in line with earnings throughout this Parliament. From 2003, the pension credit will enable those with a modest amount of second pension or savings to gain on average just over £400 a year.
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Dawn Primarolo: The Government are introducing pension credit from 2003, at a cost of £2 billion in the first full year. The pension credit will reward those pensioners who have modest incomes from second pensions or savings. In addition from 200304 the age-related personal tax allowances will be increased to ensure that no pensioner aged 65 or over will pay tax on income of less than £127 a week.
Mr. Boateng: The UK Government continue to press other countries to follow the UK's example and to hold in trust any debt payment received from HIPC countries prior to decision point. However, among other considerations, legal constraints make this difficult for many countries. To date only Canada has introduced a similar policy.
22. Ms Drown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he will ensure that debt relief for developing countries (a) inside and (b) outside the HIPC initiative is accelerated to levels required to meet international development targets. 
Mr. Boateng: The Government continue to press for rapid implementation of the HIPC debt relief initiative. At the IMF/World bank spring meetings we secured agreement that there needed to be a full review of HIPC for consideration at the annual meetings in October. This review will ensure that all countries in the HIPC initiative achieve sustainable levels of debt. Already countries are receiving debt relief worth $1.7 billion in 200102 which is being used to increase spending on education, health and other key poverty reducing areas.
The benefits of the HIPC initiative remain open to all poor countries that are heavily indebted. However it is clear that many poor countries that have only moderate levels of indebtedness none the less need additional finance if they are to achieve the millennium development goals. For this reason the Government have welcomed the recent commitments by the US and the EU to increase their aid effort by $12 billion per annum.
33. Alan Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average number of conditionality terms attached to agreements in the Debt Relief programme undertaken by the World Bank and IMF has been to date, broken down by country. 
Mr. Boateng: Under the HIPC framework countries must demonstrate their commitment towards poverty reduction prior to qualifying for debt relief. They do this by developing a national poverty reduction strategy and following sound macroeconomic policy. Upon reaching decision point, countries start receiving interim relief and continue to develop their full poverty reduction strategy. Most countries will have implemented their poverty reduction strategy for a year prior to exiting the HIPC
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framework. The average number of conditions is 12 where 60 per cent. of the conditions are attached to poverty, including health and education, while 24 per cent. are on governance and financial transparency.
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