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4 Jun 2003 : Column 428W—continued

Tewkesbury After-Hours Club

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement about the OFSTED report into the Tewkesbury After-Hours Club. [116134]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 3 June 2003]: This is a matter for Ofsted and their HM Chief Inspector, David Bell, will write to the hon. Member and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.

Young Carers

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures have been instituted in schools in recognition of extra demands put on carers under the age of 16. [114743]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have made a Vulnerable Children's Grant (worth £84 million this year) available to all local education authorities. This will help them secure access to education for all vulnerable children, including young carers. Sixty-one LEAs are also receiving additional funding for Behaviour Improvement Programme projects. These typically include multi-agency Behaviour and Education Support Teams who provide additional support for pupils who are at risk of becoming disengaged from their education.


Benefit Claims

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claims were made to the Inland Revenue on forms (a) P161, (b) R27 and (c) R40 in the last year for which figures are available; how many of these claims were successful; and what estimates he has made of the numbers who were entitled to the benefit concerned. [114599]

Dawn Primarolo: 522,371 R40 forms were received during the year ended 31 March 2003, of which 521,533 were successfully processed by 31 March. In addition, some forms were issued and processed by local offices. No estimate is available of the number of individuals who received repayments of tax.

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Information relating to forms P161 and R27 is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Construction (Public-private Partnership)

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the capacity of the construction industry to meet the Government's PPP requirements in the current financial year; and if he will make a statement. [115951]

Mr. Boateng: The Government keep all aspects of market capacity under review in order to safeguard high quality competition and value for money. In addition, officials maintain an on-going dialogue with the key representative bodies in the construction sector, including the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), Confederation for British Industry (CBI), and the Major Contractors Group (MCG).

Heavily Indebted Poor Countries

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) pursuant to his Answer of 15 May 2003, Official Report, column 377W, on heavily indebted poor countries, whether he will make a detailed proposal for a donor-funded technical assistance facility to provide advice to HIPC countries facing litigation at the forthcoming G8 summit in Evian; [116111]

John Healey: The UK government has been at the forefront of the international debate on debt relief issues, and continues to press for the rapid and full implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. In particular, the UK is seeking agreement that additional bilateral voluntary debt relief

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should be excluded from the calculation of topping-up at Completion Point in the HIPC initiative, and this rule change could provide a further US $1 billion in debt relief to HIPCs. The UK is also seeking to explore further options to address the issues of creditor litigation within the enhanced HIPC initiative. While the initiative does not alter the legal rights and obligations between HIPCs and their external creditors the UK believes that an adequate HIPC legal defence is still essential in reaching fair and equitable settlements with some creditors. More detail on the steps taken by the IMF and World Bank to encourage creditor participation and the status of commitments on HIPC from the G7 Kananaskis Summit, can be found in the September 2002 HIPC Status of Implementation Report and the March 2003 HIPC Initiative—Statistical Update. Both are available from the World Bank Website www.worldbank.orq/hipc.

On March 12, 2003, the Executive Board of the IMF paper discussed creditor participation issues in the HIPC initiative. The Public Information Notice issued by the IMF on April 3, 2003, for this meeting reported the discussion between Directors on the issue of HIPC-to-HIPC debt:

The full text of this Public Information Notice is available from the IMF website www. With respect to tax incentives for creditors taking part in the HIPC initiative, corporate loan creditors can already claim relief under the loan relationships regime for losses on the release of debt owed by HIPC countries. The Inland Revenue is not aware of any non-corporate loan creditors.

While the UK continues to work hard to promote the HIPC initiative the Government acknowledges that debt relief is not a panacea for broader economic development problems; even the provision of 100 per cent. debt relief to all low-income countries would still fall short of the resources needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals. That is why the Chancellor has proposed an International Finance Facility (IFF) that would seek to double the amount of development aid from just over US$50 billion a year today to $100 billion per year in the years to 2015.

Market Testing

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated level of saving to the Department is from the use of market testing in 2002–03. [107769]

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Mr. Boateng: Past use of market testing has led to the contracting-out of a variety of Treasury services. During 2002–03 the Treasury re-tendered a number of services, but did not conduct any new market testing.

Postal Services

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations the Government has made to the European Commission regarding the impact of the imposition of value added tax on postal services; [113931]

John Healey: The European Commission has recently published proposals to amend the provisions of the Sixth VAT Directive concerning the VAT arrangements applicable to postal services. The proposals have yet to be tabled for discussion at Council, and the Government has therefore not formally responded to the Commission on them. However, the Government is opposed to VAT on stamps, and will make this clear in negotiations on the proposals. Amendments to the Sixth VAT Directive must be agreed unanimously by Member States.

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