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Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research he has evaluated on the effects of the level of interest rates on (a) retail sales and (b) the level of employment in the retail sector. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Interest rate policy is the province of the Bank of England and it is not appropriate for the Government to comment on interest rate decisions taken by the independent Monetary Policy Committee. Commentary on the relationship between interest rates and the performance of the retail sector is contained in the Bank of England's May Inflation Report, (section 2.1, Why has consumer spending growth slowed?").
John Healey: The Intermediaries legislation, often referred to as IR35, is anti avoidance legislation and ensures that where individuals are working in a manner that would have been considered to be that of employment, had it not been for the use of an intermediary (such as a service company), they pay broadly the same amount of tax and NICs as a direct employee.
No data is held on administration and employment costs relating solely to this legislation as it is policed as part of HMRC's general employer compliance activity. HMRC does not routinely collect data in respect of specific types of employer obligations from the PAYE system. It is therefore not possible to isolate the increase in yield to the Exchequer arising from this legislation alone.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Government's most recent estimate is of the cost of the British presence in Iraq in each month since the start of the conflict, broken down by (a) military and (b) reconstruction costs. 
The Chancellor set aside £3 billion in Budget 2003 to cover the cost of operations in Iraq. In the PBR 2003 the Chancellor announced the remaining £2 billion of this special reserve would be carried forward to 200304. A further £500 million was set aside for the financial year 200304 and-a further £820 million for 200405 as a prudent allowance to cover Iraq and our continuing international commitment to the war on terrorism. In Budget 2005, a further £340 million was added to the special reserve for 200405 and £400 million for the special reserve in 200506.
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The Ministry of Defence drew down £847 million in 200203 and £1,311 million in 200304 to cover the net additional costs of operations in Iraq. They drew down a further £975 million for Operations in Iraq in Spring Supplementary estimates for 200405.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has discussed with members of the Paris Club the implications for private individuals and small businesses of rescheduling Iraqi debt. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Saddam Hussein regime paid its creditors little or nothing since August 1990, when United Nations Security Council resolution 660 came into force. The Paris Club of official creditors negotiated a debt deal with the Iraqi Government in November 2004. This treatment sought to restore Iraq's debt sustainability and to tailor Iraq's future debt payment schedule to its capacity to pay. Iraq has committed to negotiate settlements with non-Paris Club creditors on terms comparable to the Paris Club deal. Private individuals and small businesses will therefore benefit from Iraq's new willingness to service as much of its debt as it can reasonably afford.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Officials have had a number of technical discussions regarding the implementation of the Paris Club's agreement with Iraq since 21 November 2004. All creditor positions are given in confidence.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Paris Club, while discussing the rescheduling of Iraqi debt, considered requiring the immediate payment in full to private individuals and small business creditors owed £250,000 or less. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: A core principle of the Paris Club is that all non-preferred creditors should bear their proportionate share of the costs of any debt reduction or rescheduling. The Saddam Hussein regime paid its creditors little or nothing since August 1990. Creditors of Iraq who are private individuals and small businesses will therefore benefit from Iraq's new willingness to service as much of its debt as it can reasonably afford.
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many deaths have been recorded in the last 30 years which are attributable to magic mushroom use. (6227)
Available figures relate to deaths where the underlying cause was poisoning and a particular substance was mentioned on the death certificate, not the total number of deaths where the use of the substance in question was a contributory factor. The most recently available information is for deaths in 2003. Figures are not available prior to 1993 as this is the earliest year for which textual information is held on the Office for National Statistics statistical deaths database. Figures are shown in the table below for the calendar years 1993 to 2003.
|Number of deaths|
The latest year for which figures are available is 2003. The number of deaths which occurred in NHS general hospitals within England and Wales are given in the table below by month for the years 1997 to 2003.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many deaths have been recorded connected to the MRSA bug in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency in the last five years, broken down by age group. 
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many deaths have been recorded connected to the MRSA bug in Middlesbrough South and Cleveland constituency in the last five years; and how old the victims were. (5843)
The latest year for which figures are available is 2003. Fewer than 5 deaths occurred in the five year period 1999 to 2003 to residents of Middlesbrough South and Cleveland constituency where MRSA was a contributory factor 1 As there were fewer than 5 deaths over this period an age breakdown cannot be provided.
1 Identified using the methodology described in Griffiths C, Lamagni TL, Crowcroft NS, Duckworth G and Rooney C (2004) Trends in MRSA in England and Wales: analysis of morbidity and mortality data for 19932002. Health Statistics Quarterly 21,1522.
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