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Ruth Kelly: Developing cross-border payments infrastructure is the responsibility of the banks. I am aware that UK banks are fully participating in the European banking industry's co-ordinated initiative to produce a single European market for payments, and welcome this action which should improve the current, sometimes poor, level of cross-border payments service which consumers receive.
Ruth Kelly: The UK believes a competition-based approach to the problem of market failure in cross-border payments is the right one. The EU regulation could result in banks having to charge less for a service than it costs them to provide and may well give rise to perverse (potentially counter-productive) effects that harm consumers. For example, some banks may withdraw from offering the service altogether, or alternatively attempt to off-set losses made on cross-border payment transactions by increasing the cost of domestic payment costs. Thus, by not including sterling denominated payments in the scope of the regulation, these counter-productive effects are minimised.
It is too early to quantify the full impact of not including sterling denominated payments in the scope of the regulation. The main aspect of the regulation, article 3, which requires institutions to charge the same for euro cross-border payments as for euro domestic payments, does not take effect until July 2002 and July 2003 for electronic payments and credit transfers respectively. However, we will keep the situation under review.
Mr. Boateng: As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced, the Government will be producing a new strategy for sustainable farming and food in England in the early autumn, which will incorporate a definitive response to the Policy Commission's recommendations.
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withdrawal of £5 notes announced by the Bank of England on 27 May; by what means he reached the figure; and if he will make a statement. 
Ruth Kelly: Following reports that it is possible to remove the serial number from some of the new issue £5 notes, the Bank of England took the precautionary measure of asking the commercial banks and the Post Office to suspend issuance. The Bank is continuing to carry out tests and investigative work on the notes to establish the cause of the fault, how widespread it is and the best way to rectify it. At present it is too early to estimate the potential cost of the exercise.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the percentage of dependant children living in lone-parent families in the UK in each of the last 30 years; and if he will make a statement. 
(18) Based on a single GHS year's data only.
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|Year||Proportion of births outside marriage|
|Year||Proportion of births to mothers aged under 20 years|
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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the new pension annuities are on an (a) indexed and (b) flat basis, and based on a (i) single and (ii) joint life in the last three years; and what proportion of the stock of pension annuities was in those categories. 
John Healey: Excise duty and estimated VAT receipts from tobacco and alcohol for the financial years 19992000 and 200001 can be found in HM Customs and Excise "Tobacco" and "Alcohol Factsheets", copies of which can be found in the House of Commons Library.
Provisional receipts of excise duty from tobacco and alcohol in the financial year 200102 are published in the national statistics publication "Financial Statistics" table 2.1D, a copy of which can be found in the House of Common Library.
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