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Mr. Ivan Lewis: At the G8 meeting in Moscow Finance Ministers called for full implementation of commitments made on the multilateral debt relief initiative, aid effectiveness, and increasing resources for development. They supported the decision by the IMF Board to implement 100 per cent. debt relief for 19 countries and encouraged the World Bank and African Development Bank to finalize urgently all necessary steps for implementation.
Russia also announced that it will be providing 100 per cent. debt relief to the heavily indebted poor countries. With this step forward the G8 are now all providing additional debt cancellation on the bilateral debts of HIPCs.
The UK has also proposed going further than the existing list of HIPC countries to extend relief to all low-income countries that can use the debt service savings effectively for poverty reduction. The UK is paying 10 per cent. of the share of the debt interest payments of the eligible non- HIPC countries.
|Environmental taxes(1) as percentage of net taxes and social security contributions|
Information on the mean and median of total income by constituency can be found in table 3.15 Total Income by Parliamentary
2 Mar 2006 : Column 851W
Constituency" on the HM Revenue and Customs internet website. http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_distribution/menu-by-year.htm#315.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps have been taken to ensure that the Register for Births, Marriages and Deaths will not suffer from inaccuracies as a result of the Office for National Statistics' decision to move it to India. 
As Registrar General, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning the steps taken to ensure that the Register for Births, Marriage and Deaths will not suffer from inaccuracies as a result of work being undertaken in India. (54796)
The Office for National Statistics has entered a contract with Siemens Business Services to digitise records for birth, marriage and death information held by the Registrar General for purposes of producing certified copies of the entry on request.
The records that are going to be digitised are copies of the birth, marriage and death records held by the Registrar General for England and Wales at the General Register Office. The original records, which are the entries in registers held locally around the country at register offices, are not being sent to India.
Information in civil registration records is accessible by any person within the legal frame work that governs the issue of certified copies of entries in birth, marriage and death registers (certificates). Digitisation of these records will not change the position. Access will continue to only be via certificates.
The Registrar General is sent a certified copy of all entries made in registers of live-births, still-births, marriages and deaths. These form the central archive of civil registration records in England and Wales and for many years have been microfilmed by the Registrar General for the purposes of producing certificates on request. A digital image will be created in the UK from these microfilmed records. These images will be encrypted to ensure they cannot be accessed illegally and sent electronically to India.
Some fields will be data-captured by operators based in India, fully supported by sophisticated computer techniques including character recognition software and look up tables of English and Welsh names and place names.
There will be strict security and audit controls built into the process including physical security of data and vetting of staff. Once these fields and images have been subjected to rigorous data quality and validation checks, the images and data will be returned to the UK for further validation and quality assurance before acceptance testing is undertaken by General Register Office staff based in Southport. Once the General Register Office has accepted the digitised records, all images and data records held on off-shore computers will be deleted. The size of the contract to carry out the digitisation of these records required the Registrar General to follow rules governing public procurement in the European Union and therefore advertise for tenders via the Official Journal of the
The General Register Office will continue to issue certificates and therefore staff will continue to be employed to carry out this work. The digitisation of civil registration records will enable certificates to be supplied more efficiently and provide improved services for customers.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the most recent population figures provided by the Office for National Statistics for West Lancashire. 
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your question about what assessment of the accuracy of the most recent population figures provided by the Office for National Statistics has been made for West Lancashire. (52777)
Population estimates are calculated using an internationally respected methodology. Further information can be found in the detailed methodology guide Making a population estimate in England and Wales'. This is published here: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product,asp?vlnk=575
It is becoming increasingly difficult to estimate the size of the population because of changes in society, which include increased mobility and different living arrangements. The decennial Census provides a benchmark against which national and sub-national population estimates can be assessed. Substantial work has been done on the difference between mid-year population estimates and the 2001 Census. This work is summarised in the final report of the 2004 Local Authority Population Studies, which can be found here: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_population/LAStudy_FullReport.pdf
These studies confirmed that the 2001 Census had worked well in most areas, including West Lancashire, but there were a few cases where the adjustment for under-enumeration was not able to adjust sufficiently for exceptional circumstances. This work, together with revised international migration estimates, accounted for a large proportion of the initial 1.1 million difference between mid year estimates and the Census; reducing the difference to a little over 0.2 million
In addition, extensive annual quality assurance is undertaken in order to ensure the accuracy of the annual mid-year estimates. Quality assurance starts with detailed checking of the source data used in the components of change (birth, deaths, etc.). Procedures are then in place to ensure that these data sources are correctly processed when deriving the estimates. The calculated national and sub-national estimates, for all 376 local authorities in England and Wales, are then subject to a further set of quality assurance procedures before they are published. These procedures include reviews of sex ratios and age profiles, comparisons of change over time, and comparisons of fertility and mortality rates. Substantial effort has already been undertaken, in recent years, to improve the quality assurance of population estimates.
ONS is also now investing substantially in a project to Improve Migration and Population Statistics (IMPS). (More information on this project can be found at: www-statistics.gov.uk/IMPS). The key aims of this project are to reduce the size of the difference between the 2011 Census results and the mid-year estimates and to better understand any difference that does remain. As part of this project, we are developing a data comparator tool to enable us to compare the annual mid-year estimates against a range of administrative sources. This work is ongoing and the results will
Another strand of the IMPS project is a review of the quality assurance procedures that are currently in place for population estimates. One of the aims of this review is to assess what improvements can be made to existing procedures, and determine whether additional quality assurance is required.
ONS also produces population projections for each local authority area. The methodology used in the production of the subnational population projections is an established and recognised methodology. Subnational population projections undergo extensive quality assurance before publication. In addition, local authorities and health authorities are consulted on the first year of migration assumptions used as the baseline trend for migration.
Population estimates and projections are supplied to the QDPM, I understand that ODPM make checks to ensure that the data as provided by the ONS have been correctly entered into their calculations for allocating Formula Grant to local authorities. Otherwise, they do not make any assessment of accuracy of the data supplied, as this responsibility lies with the ONS.
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