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13 Jun 2005 : Column 48W—continued


Banks (Windfall Tax)

Mr. Walker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to levy a windfall tax on the domestic banking sector; and if he will make a statement. [3201]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Tax policy is reviewed as part of the annual Budget process. There are no current plans to introduce a windfall tax on banks.

Climate Change Levy

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total yield of the climate change levy in each year since its introduction; what its expected yield is in the 2005–06 financial year; by how much the income of the National Insurance Fund has been reduced in each year since the introduction of the climate change levy by the off-setting cuts in employers' contributions; and whether he plans to arrange for future proceeds of the levy to be transferred to the National Insurance Fund to pay for increases in pensions and other benefits. [2359]

John Healey: The climate change levy was introduced in 2001 with offsetting tax cuts for business, which included a 0.3 per cent. cut in employers' national insurance contributions. The information requested is given in the following table.
Climate change levy (CCL) revenues and value of 0.3 per cent. cut in employers' national insurance contributions (NICs)
£ million

CCL revenues(10)
Value of 0.3 per cent. cut
in employers' NICs(11)

(10)On accruals basis. Based on CCL declarations on trader returns.
(11)Source: Based on HMT Tax Ready Reckoner.

The Government are committed to enabling pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. Reforms to pensioner tax and benefits since 1997 have meant that pensioners on average are £29 per week better off and the poorest third of pensioners are £39 per week better off than they would have been under the 1997 system.
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Clostridium Difficile

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of deaths in each year since 2000 that were attributable to Clostridium difficile; and if he will make a statement. [3764]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. David Lidington, dated 13 June 2005:

Number of deaths where enterocolitis due to Clostridium difficile was mentioned on the death certificate and the number of these mentions where it was also the underlying cause of death,(14) England and Wales, 2001–03(15)

Total mentionsUnderlying cause

(14)Selected using the code A04.7 from the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10)
(15)Figures are for deaths occurring in the years 2001 to 2003.
Office for National Statistics

EC Budget

Kate Hoey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to publish the European Community Finances Statement on the EC budget for 2005. [3402]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The annual European Community Finances" White Paper (Statement on the 2005 EC Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement") will be published on 23 June.

Finance Bodies (Orphan Assets)

Mr. Walker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the estimated value is of the orphan assets of banks, building societies and insurance companies in the UK; and if he will make a statement; [3198]

(2) if he has plans to confiscate the orphan assets of the financial services sector; and if he will make a statement. [3202]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government announced in Budget 2005 that they continue to believe that it is right in principle that more should be done to reunite assets with their owners. Where assets and their owners cannot be reunited, the Government believe that the assets should be reinvested in society, as long as the original owners' entitlements to reclaim are preserved. As the Budget noted, the Government are engaged in constructive discussions with the banking industry to take this forward.

Looking ahead, the Government expect to agree with industry a common definition of an unclaimed asset, and for the industry to search their records and to set out the full value of their assets so defined, by the time of the 2005 pre-Budget report. The Government also expect the industry to explore what more could be done to reunite owners and assets, including the possibility of a National Register, and to set out how they will achieve this by the time of the 2005 pre-Budget report.

First-time Buyers (Northern Ireland)

Lady Hermon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his recently-announced shared-ownership scheme to help first time buyers who have been priced out of the housing market will extend to Northern Ireland. [2201]

Mr. Hanson: I have been asked to reply.

The recently announced proposals are designed to address particular problems in England and will not apply in Northern Ireland. A shared ownership scheme—the Co-ownership scheme—already operates in Northern Ireland. The scheme assists first time buyers on marginal incomes to become home owners. The Department for Social Development has secured additional funding over the next three years for the scheme to provide almost £39 million over the period. This will help support around 2,400 applicants over the period.

G8 Summit

John Battle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken in the preparation for the G8 Summit to extend debt cancellation to (a) Peru and (b) other highly indebted countries with large numbers living in absolute poverty which are not on the Highly Indebted Poor Countries list; and if he will make a statement. [3344]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The debt of heavily indebted poor countries is addressed under the Heavily Indebted PoorCountries' Initiative (HIPC). The UK continues to be absolutely committed to the rapid and full implementation of the HIPC Initiative to ensure that it delivers maximum debt relief for the world's poorest countries.

The appropriate process for official bilateral creditors to tackle the debt problems of non-HIPC countries facing external debt problems is through the Paris Club's Evian Approach.

Peru has rescheduled its external debt to Paris Club eight times since 1968. The last rescheduling was in 1996. Peru has not requested any further debt relief from
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Paris Club creditors since then. If Peru were to do so, and its request was accepted, the UK would deliver its share of any debt relief agreed in the Paris Club.

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