Previous Section Index Home Page

10 Dec 2002 : Column 264W—continued

Modern Apprenticeship Taskforce

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) remit, (b) terms of reference and (c) guidance are for the new Modern Apprenticeship Taskforce. [85958]

John Healey: Working alongside DfES and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the new National Modern Apprenticeship Taskforce has been created to recommend effective and innovative ways of ensuring that modern apprenticeship programmes respond to the changing needs of employers and young people. It will generate greater employer engagement in Modern Apprenticeships and provide strategic oversight of the MA system. It will advise the Government and the LSC on forward strategy and support progress towards meeting the Government's target that, by 2004, 28 per cent. of 22 year olds will have participated in a Modern Apprenticeship.

Oil Prices

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the impact on his projected GDP growth in 2003 and 2004 of an average oil price of (a) $30 in 2003 and 2004, (b) $40 in 2003 and $30 in 2004; and (c) $60 in 2003 and $40 in 2004. [85648]

John Healey: By raising production costs and so constraining supply, higher oil prices tend to depress GDP growth, simultaneously pushing up inflation and unemployment. The UK differs from most other major industrialised economies in that it is a small net exporter of oil. Potential GDP losses therefore may be partly offset by increased UK incomes deriving from North Sea production due to the improvement in the terms of trade.

In practice, the overall economic effects from rising oil prices are difficult to estimate as they depend largely on second round impacts on wages and other prices, as well as movements in business and consumer confidence.

Pensions Review

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the review of pension contribution statistics by the National Statistician has been completed; what conclusions have been reached; and if he will place the full report in the Library. [85659]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from K. Dunnell to Mr. Jim Cousins, dated 10 December 2002:

10 Dec 2002 : Column 265W

Planning Permission

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what safeguards he proposes to put in place to prevent inappropriate or low quality developments as a result of the relaxation of requirements for detailed planning permission in enterprise areas announced in the Pre-Budget Report. [85963]

Ruth Kelly: The Pre-Budget Report announced that the Government will consider how to encourage local authorities to introduce Local Development Orders (LDOs) to relax planning control in enterprise areas.

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill will provide that LDOs can only be introduced for the purpose of implementing policies in an adopted development plan document. They will be subject to the same public consultation as that development plan document. The Secretary of State may direct that a draft LDO be submitted to him for his approval, and may, in extreme circumstances, revoke an adopted LDO.


Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what definition the government uses of (a) relative and (b) absolute poverty as applicable to government policy; and what plans the government has to review the utility and appropriateness of definitions of poverty in respect of government policy. [85760]

Dawn Primarolo: For the purposes of the Public Service Agreement target to reduce the number of children living in low income households by a quarter by 2004–05 compared to 1998–99, the Government measure the number of children in households with an equivalised income below 60 per cent. of the contemporary median, as reported in XHouseholds Below Average Income". This is a measure of relative income distribution; statistics on absolute measures based on income thresholds fixed in real terms are also published, as is information on pensioners and working-age adults.

Low income is central to poverty. But poverty is a complex multi-dimensional issue, related to many other aspects of people's lives—including health, housing, the quality of the environment, and opportunities to learn. A broader set of indicators related to poverty and social exclusion, going beyond income, is published in the annual report XOpportunity for All".

Looking further ahead, the Government are committed to finding a measure of child poverty that will both underpin effective policy-making and enable the public to gauge progress towards the long-term goal of halving child poverty by 2010 and eradicating it within a generation. In April 2002 the Department for

10 Dec 2002 : Column 266W

Work and Pensions launched a consultation exercise on measuring child poverty in the long-term. Preliminary conclusions are due to be published by spring 2003.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on the use of a version of the budget standards model to define poverty; and what assessment he has made of the effect on poverty of the poorest households of change since 1977, using a budget standards model. [85761]

Dawn Primarolo: A wide range of research has been produced into what constitutes an Xadequate" level of income for a family with children, following different budget standards models. However, there is no simple answer to the question of which level of incomes is adequate for all family types. Different research methods tend to make different assumptions and generate a range of estimates. It would be difficult to justify any one set of assumptions against another equally plausible set.

Statistics based on relative and absolute low income going back to 1979 are published in XHouseholds Below Average Income".

Stamp Duty

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask The Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total revenue from stamp duty was in each year since 1997. [85948]

Ruth Kelly: Stamp Duty revenues for each financial year since 1997–98 are given as follows:

# million

YearStamp duty revenue

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the stamp duty thresholds were in each year since 1997. [85949]

Ruth Kelly: Stamp duty thresholds and rates for this period for the transfers of land, buildings and property, other than stocks and shares, are given in the table (the rate is nil for considerations up to #60,000):


Commencing dateConsiderations exceeding #60,000, but not exceeding #250,000Considerations exceeding #250,000, but not exceeding #500,000Considerations exceeding #500,000
16 March 1993111
8 July 199711 .52
24 March 1998123
16 March 199912.53.5
28 March 2000134

Training and Management Courses

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions officials from his Department have had with small businesses regarding

10 Dec 2002 : Column 267W

expanding training and management courses; and if he will publish the research he has commissioned regarding a proposed expansion; [85961]

John Healey: The Government welcome a proposal from high street banks to provide leadership support for prospective and existing businesses by creating a virtual university for small businesses with ready access to information, advice, support and mentoring through the internet and more specialist training courses. The Government are currently in discussion with a number of banks to develop the detail, and will consult with small businesses as the proposal develops.

Next Section Index Home Page