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Departmental Procurement

Mr. Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much Government Departments spent in procurement (a) from the private sector and (b) from International Business Machines Corporation and its subsidiaries in each year from 1997–98 to 2002–03. [143675]

Mr. Boateng: This information about expenditure by Government departments with suppliers from the private sector, including International Business Machines and its subsidiaries, could only be obtained from individual departments and agencies. They would need to consider the ability to supply such information in consideration of guidance on disproportionate costs.

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Mrs. Liddell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide an update on euro changeover planning (a) within Government, (b) across the public sector and (c) in other areas of the economy. [143225]

Ruth Kelly: The Seventh Report on euro preparations was published on 18 November 2003. The report sets out progress in euro preparations across the UK economy since the Chancellor's statement to the House of Commons on UK membership of EMU on 9 June 2003.

EU Trade

Mrs. Liddell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the number of jobs in England reliant on trade with the EU in (a) 2003 and (b) each of the past 10 years; [143231]

Ruth Kelly: The Treasury estimates that 3 million jobs in the UK are linked, directly and indirectly, to the export of goods and services to the European Union. This figure is based on the assumption that the share of total UK employment associated with UK exports to the EU is equal to the share of total UK value added (GVA) generated by UK exports to the EU. The information necessary to apply the same method to derive comparable estimates for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is not available.

Mrs. Liddell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the value of (a) exports from Northern Ireland to the EU and (b) imports to Northern Ireland from the EU in (i) 2003 and (ii) each of the past 10 years; [143232]

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Ruth Kelly: The information is given in the tables:

Imports and exports by country or region
Estimates of regional trade with the European Union    £ million

Exports to EU
Northern Ireland1,6871,7031,7662,1552,2202,2942,1711,046
Imports from EU
Northern Ireland1,4211,4351,4631,5201,7122,0092,0841,006

(16) January to June.


1. Figures from the Regional Trade Statistics series are only available from 1996.

2. The sum of the regions will differ from the UK figures published in the OTS, due to timing and coverage differences.

Imports and exports to/from the UK
UK trade with the European Union    £ million

Exports to EU—UK (OTS)(17)Imports from EU—UK (OTS)(17)

(17) Overseas Trade Statistics. These figures may differ from those published in the Regional Trade Statistics series.

(18) January to September.

European Budget Deficits

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects on the UK economy of (a) budget deficits in (i) Germany and (ii) France and (b) an average euro zone deficit of 3 per cent. [143551]

Ruth Kelly: The Pre-Budget Report 2003 (Cm6042) forecast for the UK economy takes full account of economic developments in the euro area.

Financial Services Markets

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the timing of the N2+2 review of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. [143059]

Ruth Kelly: The Government committed to assessing the impact of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) on competition two years after it came into force in response to the Cruickshank Report on competition in UK banking.

The review will have three main strands. First, a review of the impact of FSMA on competition. This assessment will be carried out by the Office of Fair Trading. Second, changes to aspects of the FSA's practices and consideration of changes to the Financial

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Ombudsman Service. The FSA's practices to be examined include the complexity of the FSA's Handbook of Rules and Guidance and its cost-benefit analyses. On the Financial Ombudsman Service, among the issues to be considered are whether Ombudsman decisions should be subject to some form of appeal. The third strand will consider changes to the boundary of regulation, including in respect of advice or information provided by employers to employees about workplace pensions and by Citizens Advice Bureaux and similar advice centres to their clients.

I expect all the strands of the two-year review of FSMA to be completed within a year (with the possible exception of the scrutiny by the Office of Fair Trading).

Further information about the two-year review is in the written statement to Parliament that I made on 4 November 2003, Official Report, column 28WS.

Home Equity Release Products

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions he has had with consumer groups on the prevention of mis-selling of home equity release products; and what impact the new regulatory structure will have on these efforts; [144334]

Ruth Kelly: Mortgage-based equity release plans (lifetime mortgages) will be regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) with effect from 31 October 2004. The FSA has published a consultation paper (CP 197) that sets out proposed reporting requirements for mortgage, insurance and investment firms. Regulated firms will have to provide product sales data

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regularly, and in particular, firms will be required to report on the type of product sold and the status of the borrower.

The Government published their consultation document on home reversion plans on 11 November and responses are due to be received by 13 February 2004. The issue of property valuation is discussed in paragraphs 21–23. My officials have met representatives of consumer bodies to discuss these proposals on a number of occasions.

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