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25 Oct 2005 : Column 305W—continued

Rosewall Sculpture

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will make a statement on Royal Mail's planned auction of the Rosewall Sculpture; [21126]

(2) what discussions he has had with the Chairman of the Royal Mail Group, plc. regarding the auction of the Rosewall Sculpture; [21127]

(3) if he will take steps to prevent Royal Mail's sale of the Rosewall Sculpture and its permanent departure from Chesterfield. [21937]

Barry Gardiner: There have not been any discussions with the chairman of the Royal Mail Group on this matter.

Royal Mail has recently withdrawn the sculpture from the planned auction. The company is currently reviewing the future of the piece and are hopeful of finding a satisfactory solution.

Severn Estuary (Tidal Barrage)

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans his Department has to review the viability of a tidal barrage on the Severn Estuary; and if he will make a statement. [20387]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department has no plans to review the viability of a tidal barrage on the Severn Estuary at this time.

Small Shops

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the number of small shops in England which (a) are and (b) will in 2015 be run by (i) major retailing chains and (ii) independent owners. [20885]

Barry Gardiner [holding answer 24 October 2005]: There are 184,695 VAT-registered retail businesses in the UK, operating 278,630 retail outlets. The Department does not hold data on the ownership status of these companies.

The Department has not made projections regarding the composition of the retail sector up to 2015.


Child Benefit

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have benefited from child benefit in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [21044]

Dawn Primarolo: Figures below the level of Great Britain are not available for periods prior to August 1999.
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Figures for August 1999 to August 2004 are available on the Office for National Statistics Neighbourhood Statistics website under the people and society heading,

Child Poverty

Ed Balls: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what funding has been allocated to measures to tackle child poverty for (a) 2005–06 and (b) future financial years; and if he will make a statement. [17013]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 13 October 2005]: The Government are committed to halving child poverty by 2010 and eradicating it by 2020. Our measures for tackling child poverty for current and future generations cover not just financial support measures, but also measures to deliver employment opportunity for all, and improve children's life chances and break cycles of deprivation. Therefore it is not possible to provide a precise figure for the funding allocated in 2005–06 and future years, as the full range of public services must contribute to tackling child poverty. Details of this approach are available in the Child Poverty Review and the 2004 Spending Review White Paper (Cm 6237).

The Government have made a strong start to tackling child poverty. In relative low income terms this Government have already lifted more than half a million children out of poverty. Tax credits are a key element in the Government's strategy to tackle child poverty and provide financial support for families, and are benefiting 6 million families and 10 million children. In 2005–06 the child tax credit and child benefit provide up to £59 per week for the first child and up to £44 for each additional child, and the Government have committed to increasing the child element of CTC in line with earnings up to and including 2007–08.

Debt Relief

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the details of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) aspects of the G8 debt proposal to be finalised; if he will list those countries which may be eligible to benefit by having all their IMF debts up to 31 December 2004 irrevocably cancelled; when he expects they will receive this cancellation; and from which IMF funding streams this cancellation is to be paid for each of the countries concerned. [20526]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: At the meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee on 24 September, it was agreed that the managing director of the IMF would call the executive board together to complete its approval of the arrangements to deliver debt relief by the end of 2005.

Eligible countries will be the HIPCs, as they reach completion point. For those countries who have already reached completion point we expect the same standards required for completion point to have been maintained, so that we can sure that countries will use the savings from debt relief in a poverty-reducing manner.

A list of the HIPCs and the progress they have made in the HIPC initiative follows:
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Countries at completion point

Countries between decision and completion points

Countries not yet at decision point

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) policies and (b) measures of governance are required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank of the Completion Point Heavily Indebted Poor Countries to enable them to benefit from further IMF debt cancellation; and if he will make a statement. [20527]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Countries will qualify for debt stock cancellation by reaching Completion Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC). By definition, Completion Point HIPCs have demonstrated a sustained commitment to poverty reduction and sound macroeconomic management that provides confidence that the savings from debt relief will be used for poverty reduction. Good governance is part of this,
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with standards drawn from national strategies. Once countries have qualified for debt stock cancellation, they will get 100 per cent. irrevocable relief. There will be no on-going conditionality.

Countries that have already completed the HIPC Initiative must demonstrate that they have maintained their commitment to poverty reduction and good macro-economic management in order to qualify for relief. They must therefore have remained current with their repayment obligations to the International Financial Institutions, and not have experienced serious lapses, including in governance, such that their IMF programmes would be at risk.

In addition, extra donor resources will be provided to the World Bank and African Development Bank to fully compensate for the costs of the debt stock cancellation. These resources will be allocated to all poor countries through the Institutions' existing Performance Based Allocation System, thereby providing a strong incentive for good policy (including governance) and performance. World Bank and IMF staff will also continue to monitor and report on the overall efficiency of public expenditure as well as on progress in reducing corruption and enhancing transparency in recipient countries.

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