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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The most recent data available that allow assessment to be made of the number of households with no access to a bank account are the Family Resources Survey from 200203. Those indicate that 8 per cent. of households in the United Kingdom had no bank account of any kind. This equated to 1.9 million households containing around 2.8 million adults. The data are broken down to Government Office regional level. This shows 9 per cent. of households in the North West and Merseyside were unbanked.
In 199798, the Family Resources Survey was collected on a Great Britain basis, excluding Northern Ireland. 11 per cent. of households in the North West and Merseyside were unbanked at that time compared to 8 per cent. of households in Great Britain as a whole.
In December 2004, the Government and the banks agreed to work together towards the goal of halving the number of adults in households with no access to a bank account of any kind and of making significant progress within two years. The Financial Inclusion Taskforce has been asked to monitor progress and will report to Government shortly.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Following the report of Policy Action Team 14: Access to Financial Services in 1999, the banking industry worked with the Government to introduce the basic bank account which is specifically designed to address the needs of the financially excluded.
In December 2004, the Government and the banks agreed to work towards the goal of halving the number of adults in households with no bank account of any kind and of having made significant progress within two years. The Government established a Financial Inclusion Taskforce to monitor progress towards this goal and to report on what more needs to be done.
Vera Baird: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of introducing tax incentives to encourage poorer parents to invest in trust funds for siblings who are not eligible for child trust fund vouchers. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The child trust fund became operational from April 2005. To show we understood the issue of older children the Government backdated the eligibility date to all children born on or after 1 September 2002 to align with school years. It is important to recognise that to realise the success of the child trust fund for future generations we must draw a line somewhere.
There already exists considerable scope for tax-relieved savings for children. All children have their own personal tax allowance and parents are taxed on income generated from contributions to their child's account only when those gifts produce more than £100 gross income per parent per year.
In addition, the market offers a wide range of savings and investment accounts designed especially for children from national savings and investment products to products offered by friendly societies, banks and building societies.
John Healey: In a written statement on 16 November 2005, I confirmed that the Government remained committed to the modernisation of the registration service in England and Wales, and announced the publication of the position and consultation paper 'Registration Modernisation'. This sets out how the Government intend to take forward the modernisation of civil registration and contains details of the changes to be introduced. Those requiring primary legislation will be taken forward as and when opportunities for legislation arise.
|Office of Government Commerce||(21)||(21)||(21)||4,218||5,712|
|Debt Management Office||890||319||560||525||768|
|HM Revenue and Customs||39,917||76,671||54,907||69,005||(23)105,490|
|Valuation Office Agency||45||335||825||1,645||1,420|
|National Savings and Investments||1,427||4,630||2,827||1,617||1,400|
|Office for National Statistics||4,473||4,286||(24)6,729||11,761||27,118|
|Government Actuary's Department||97||48||64||15||19|
|(b) External secondments(25)|
|Office of Government Commerce||(21)||(21)||(21)||1,233||2,945|
|Debt Management Office||308||281||206||118||12|
|HM Revenue and Customs||(22)||(22)||(22)||(22)||(22)|
|Valuation Office Agency||(22)||(22)||(22)||176||128|
|National Savings and Investments||19||125||111||nil||34|
|Office for National Statistics||(22)||(22)||(22)||(22)||896|
|Government Actuary's Department||nil||nil||nil||nil||nil|
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