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Economic Growth

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many quarters of continuous economic growth there have been in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) the UK and (d) Wales from 1997 to the most recent quarter for which information is available. [221491]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Alex Salmond, dated 18 March 2005:

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EU Finances

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the UK's share of the most recent underspend on the EU's final budget to be repaid to the UK. [222390]

Mr. Timms: No underspend from the 2004 EC Budget has yet been announced by the European Commission. Any surplus will, as usual, be returned to member states by reducing the amount which they are required to finance in the 2005 EC Budget. This will be implemented by an Amending Budget tater this year. The surplus from the 2003 EC Budget was returned to member states in this way in Amending Budget 7/2004 implemented from 1 October 2004.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response his Department will make to the National Audit Office report on financial management of the EU, with particular reference to (a) persistent errors in transactions, (b) failure to comply with regulatory requirements, (c) delays in closing the 1994 to 1999 structured programmes and (d) poor forecasting of expenditure. [222985]

Mr. Timms: It would not be appropriate for the Treasury to respond to the National Audit Office's report to Parliament on financial management of the EU.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress is being made in the EU on the introduction of resource accounting; and what targets will be set to improve budget accounting reliability. [222391]

Mr. Timms: The European Commission introduced a system of full accruals accounting on time on 1 January 2005.

G7 Meeting

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the agenda is for the G7 meeting due to take place in April. [222481]

Mr. Timms: As set out in Box 2.3 of the 2005 Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report, the UK sees its leadership of the G7/8 and EU this year as an opportunity to address the key challenges of international poverty reduction; structural economic reform; fairer trade; and climate change. G7 Finance Ministers will continue their discussions on these issues when they meet in Washington in April.

MOD Risk Assessment Reports

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library copies of the Ministry of Defence's (a) December 2003, (b) July 2004 and (c) December 2004 progress reports produced under the Risk Management Assessment Framework. [221879]

Mr. Ingram: I have been asked to reply.

I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Sani Abacha

Tom Brake: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether funds have been returned to Nigeria from bank accounts in the UK of the late Sani Abacha in the last five years. [222403]

Mr. Timms: The return to Nigeria of any money held in accounts owned by the Abacha family or close associates is dependent on the Nigerian authorities prosecuting individuals for their offences and subsequently, if these individuals are found to be guilty, obtaining a confiscation order against them. An application for enforcement of that order in the UK courts would then be required. I understand that no such confiscation orders have, as yet, been made in Nigeria.

In line with the recommendations of the Commission for Africa, UK authorities will continue to deliver a range of technical assistance programmes in partnership with Nigerian authorities in relation to anti-money laundering and mutual legal assistance.

School-age Children (Essex)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children of school age there have been in each year since 1997 in (a) Essex and (b) Southend. [222490]

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Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibilities of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. David Amess, dated 18 March 2005:

Mid-year population estimates of school age children (5–15)

Essex (county of)Southend UA

Office for National Statistics

Energy Policy

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his announcement in the 2004 pre-Budget report, what plans he has to introduce a reduced rate of VAT for micro-combined heat and power units; what data he has collected from field trials; what representations his Department has received from industry; and if he will make a statement. [220786]

Dawn Primarolo: Budget 2005 announced a reduced rate of VAT for the installation of micro-CHP. This decision was taken in light of ongoing field trials, which are overseen by Defra and sponsored by the Carbon Trust in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust. It also follows representations on this issue from industry and stakeholder groups.


Water Quality

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer of 25 January 2005, Official Report, column 247W, on bottled water, what recent assessment has been carried out to determine whether tap water remains stale and undrinkable. [222534]

Sir Archy Kirkwood: No recent assessment has been made of whether tap water remains stale and undrinkable.


Alcohol Confiscation

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions the power conferred on local authorities by the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to designate areas where alcohol
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may be confiscated from individuals have been used in each year since 2001, broken down by local authority area. [221130]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Since September 2001 over 135 local authority areas have notified the Home Office that they have made designation orders under section 13 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to restrict antisocial public drinking in areas that have experienced alcohol-related disorder or nuisance. The following list sets out a breakdown of designation orders made in every year. A number of those listed will appear more than once as they have introduced more than one designation order since 2001.

Local authorities that introduced designation orders:

September 2001-December 2001


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2005 to date

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