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26 Nov 2002 : Column 150W—continued

Children (Poverty Statistics)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what percentage of children were living in poverty in each constituency in the last year for which figures are available. [83189]

Dawn Primarolo: Poverty is a complex multi-dimensional issue, affecting many aspects of children's lives—including income, health, housing, the quality of their environment and opportunities to learn. There is therefore no single measure of the number of families with children in poverty in each constituency of the UK.

The Government have a PSA target to reduce by a quarter the number of children living in households below 60 per cent. of median income by 2004, compared with 1998–99.

In XOpportunity for All", the Government's annual anti-poverty report, the Government report progress in tackling poverty and social exclusion against this and a range of other indicators. The annual XHouseholds Below Average Income" report, published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office for National Statistics, gives a breakdown of the percentage of children below the 60 per cent. median income threshold in each region of Great Britain. But no such information is available on a constituency-by-constituency basis.

Climate Change Levy

Mr Watts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of financial impact of the introduction of the Climate Change Levy tax on the glass industry; [82601]

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John Healey: All industries face the same challenges and opportunities from the climate change levy. All revenue from the levy is recycled back to business through reductions to employer national insurance contributions (NICs) and support for energy efficiency. While the levy package is broadly revenue neutral to business as a whole, the effects on any specific sector will depend on a number of factors, including:





Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated total of Treasury receipts from the Climate Change Levy is in 2002–03. [83540]

John Healey: The projection for CCL receipts in 2002–03 is shown in table C7 of the financial statement and Budget report 2002 and is £0.9 billion. An updated 2002–03 receipts projection for all duty heads, including CCL, will be published in the 2002 pre-Budget report on 27 November.

Coin Production

Ms Stuart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) on what basis the Treasury decided not to put its contract for UK coin production out to tender; and if he will make a statement; [80655]

Ruth Kelly: The Treasury keeps the arrangements for the supply of circulation coins under review. The current arrangements have several years to run. When the time comes, the Treasury will consider all the possible options for the future supply of UK circulation coin, including the possibility of commercial tendering.

It would be improper at present to comment further on this issue, given that it may have a bearing on the case brought against the Treasury by the Birmingham Mint, which is currently before the courts. Exemption 4 (Law enforcement and legal proceedings) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information applies.

Congestion Charging

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the cost of tax relief in Central London road user charges incurred in the financial years ending 31March (a) 2003, (b) 2004 and (c) 2005. [81821]

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John Healey [holding answer 19 November 2002]: The information on which to base an estimate of the cost is not available.

ECOFIN Council

Mr. Hood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome of the ECOFIN Council held on 5 November was, what the Government's position was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. [82936]

Mr. Gordon Brown: I attended ECOFIN on 5 November.

Council reached political agreement on the prospectus directive. I argued for greater freedom of choice of home state for issuers of non-equities, and secured an amendment to the text ensuring choice for all bonds denominated in units of 5,000 or more. A vote on the amended text was taken and a qualified majority obtained, with the UK voting in favour. In accordance with the revised Council rules of procedure following the Seville European Council, the initial debate and vote on the directive were held in public session.

The Council noted the Commission's annual oral update on progress against the Risk Capital Action Plan.

Professor Jaap Winter, Chair of the high level group of Company Law Experts outlined the key recommendations in his group's report on creating a modern regulatory framework for company law and corporate governance in the EU. This report was published on 4 November. Members of the Council noted the report and will discuss it in more detail at a later date.

ECOFIN discussed, in restricted session, progress on the draft directive on the taxation of savings. The Presidency and the Commission reported on negotiations with third countries, which are to be concluded by end 2002 according to the timetable agreed at the Feira European Council.

There was also a discussion on energy taxation. It was concluded that further preparatory work was needed on the outstanding issues ahead of further discussion at the December ECOFIN.

Ministers decided that agreement on VAT Administrative Co-operation should be postponed until the December ECOFIN.

ECOFIN noted a draft interim report from the Economic and Financial Committee and the Economic Policy Committee on ongoing work on streamlining economic and employment policy processes. It was agreed that further work on this should be undertaken jointly with the preparatory committee for the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council before the report is submitted to the Copenhagen European Council.

In accordance with Article 104 of the Treaty, the Council agreed that Portugal had an excessive budget deficit, above the 3 per cent. limit, in 2001, and adopted a Recommendation for Portugal to bring the excessive deficit to an end by 31 December 2002.

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ECOFIN also agreed conclusions on the reform of governance of the European Investment Bank and the capital and reserves of the European Central Bank in light of enlargement.

Under AOB, the economic and financial situation in the Lebanon was raised by the French Finance Minister.

After the Council meeting, ECOFIN Ministers held a dialogue with their counterparts from the EU candidate countries.

Ethiopia (Debt Relief)

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to provide debt relief to Ethiopia; what recent discussions he has had with international organisations about providing debt relief to Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement. [83153]

John Healey: The UK is already providing 100 per cent. debt relief to Ethiopia. As a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Ethiopia is eligible for debt relief under the enhanced HIPC initiative. In November 2001 Ethiopia reached Decision Point under the initiative and qualified for interim debt relief on payments due. For its part the UK goes further than is required under the terms of the HIPC initiative and always provides 100 per cent. debt relief. The UK Government are working with other donors, the World bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help Ethiopia reach Completion Point under the HIPC initiative.

At that point debt will be irrevocably cancelled. To reach Completion Point Ethiopia will need to have demonstrated a clear commitment to poverty reduction, and show how its country-owned poverty reduction strategies will be able to use the resources released by debt relief to reduce poverty. The IMF and World bank estimate that Ethiopia could reach Completion Point as early as July 2003.

EU Savings Directive

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations have been made by his Department to (a) the Cayman Islands and (b) Bermuda seeking to encourage compliance with the EU Draft Savings Directive. [83459]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have held a number of discussions with both territories.

Income Statistics

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage of the population of (a) Birmingham, (b) the West Midlands region and (c) the London region had an income (i) twice, (ii) three times, (iii) four times, (iv) five times and (v) more than five times the national average in each of the past 10 years; [82874]

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Dawn Primarolo: Available estimates are in the tables.

Number of higher rate taxpayers(5) as a percentage of the total population(6) for the respective geographical areas
Percentage

BirminghamWest Midlands region(7)London region
1995–961.92.65.3
1996–971.72.35.2
1997–981.82.15.2
1998–992.22.66.0
1999–20002.02.86.3
2000–012.83.37.9

(5) Number of higher rate taxpayers based on the Survey of Personal Incomes.

(6) Source for population estimates: Office for National Statistics, General Register Office for Scotland, and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

(7) Government Office Region.


Number of individuals(11) with total income over twice GB average earnings(12) as a percentage of the total population(13) for the respective geographical areas
Percentage

BirminghamWest Midlands region(14)London region(14)UK
1995–961.01.53.32.1
1996–971.11.33.52.2
1997–981 01.23.62.3
1998–991.11.44.02.4
1999–20001 01.64.22.5
2000–011.41.64.92.7

Number of individuals(11) with total income over three times GB average earnings(12) as a percentage of the total population(13) for the respective geographical areas
Percentage

BirminghamWest Midlands region(14)London region(14)UK
1995–960.50.51.60.9
1996–970.40.51.60.9
1997–980.40.41.80.9
1998–990.40.52.01.0
1999–20000.40.62.01.1
2000–010.50.62.41.2

Number of individuals(11) with total income over four times GB average earnings(12) as a percentage of the total population(13) for the respective geographical areas
Percentage

BirminghamWest Midlands region(14)London region(14)UK
1995–960.20.21.00.4
1996–970.20.31.00.5
1997–980.20.21.10.5
1998–990.30.31.30.6
1999–20000.20.31.30.6
2000–010.30.31.50.6


26 Nov 2002 : Column 155W

Number of individuals(11) with total income over five times GB average earnings(12) as a percentage of the total population(13) for the respective geographical areas
Percentage

BirminghamWest Midlands region(14)London region(14)UK
1995–960.10.10.70.3
1996–970.10.20.70.3
1997–980.10.20.80.3
1998–990.20.20.90.4
1999–20000.10.20.90.4
2000–010.20.21.10.4

(8) Number of individuals based on the Survey of Personal Incomes.

(9) Average earnings based on the New Earnings Survey.

(10) Source for population estimates: Office for National Statistics, General Register Office for Scotland, and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

(11) Government Office Region.



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