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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 16 November 2005


Civil Registration Reform

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (John Healey): Following the publication last year of the Regulatory Reform Committee's reports on civil registration reform, the Government announced that they would actively consider other ways of delivering the key elements of civil registration modernisation.

The Government remain committed to the modernisation of the local registration service in England and Wales, and are pressing ahead with their plans to reform the structure and delivery of civil registration. The consultation paper "Registration Modernisation", published today, sets out how local authorities are to be given greater responsibility and accountability for the delivery of the local registration service, and gives details of other important changes to be introduced to modernise civil registration.

Under these proposals local authorities would have more control to decide, within a national standards framework, how best to meet the needs of local people. Systems are also to be overhauled to speed up the registration process and deliver improved customer service. The details of the proposals have been developed by the Registrar General together with LACORS (Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services) and local registration managers.

A copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Deposits (Eligible Liabilities)

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Des Browne): Under the Cash Ratio Deposit (CRD) scheme, banks and building societies place non-interest bearing deposits at the Bank of England. The Bank invests the deposits and uses the income earned to fund the costs of the Bank's sterling liquidity, monetary policy and financial stability operations, which benefit sterling deposit-takers. With the effect of 1 June 1998 the Bank of England Act 1998 placed the scheme on a statutory footing.

From next year the Bank of England will be making significant changes to its operations in sterling money markets, in particular the introduction of remunerated voluntary deposits which banks and building societies will be able to place with the Bank. As a result, my written Ministerial Statement of 13 July 2005 announced that (as required by the Bank of England Act 1998) the Treasury would begin consultation on its proposal to amend the definition of Eligible Liabilities (ELs) for CRDs.

The consultation ended in September and the Treasury published its response. The responses to the consultation recognised and understood the rationale
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for making the change and accepted that including voluntary deposits in the definition of ELs would have a net neutral effect on the overall levels of CRDs.

As the proposal requires a change to secondary legislation made under the Bank of England Act 1998, tomorrow I will be laying before Parliament a Statutory Instrument scheduled to come into force on 1 March 2006. Principally the Statutory Instrument will ensure that voluntary deposits do not count as an offset within the calculation of ELs on which CRDs are based.


EU General Affairs and External Relations Council

The Minister for Europe (Mr. Douglas Alexander): The General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) will be held on 21–22 November in Brussels. My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary, and the International Development Secretary will represent the presidency.

The agenda items are as follows:



Civil-military co-ordination


Western Balkans (Bosnia)


Preparation for the 15–16 December European Council

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Financial Perspectives 2007–13

Post Tsunami follow-up





EuroMed Summit

EU/Canada and EU-Ukraine Summit Preparations

Migration in External Relations


EU Strategy for Africa

Development Policy Statement

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Orientation Debate: EU Aid Effectiveness

Post Tsunami follow-up

Aid for Trade

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