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Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be worse off in Beverley and Holderness constituency following the abolition of the 10 pence tax rate ; and if he will make a statement. 
The removal of the 10p rate is part of a package of reforms announced in Budget 2007 and should not be looked at in isolation. As a result of these reforms four-in-five households in the United Kingdom are better or no worse off than if they had not taken place.
Budget 2008 announced additional measures supporting low income households including increased child tax credit, child benefit and housing benefits that will lift up to a further 250,000 children out of poverty, and one-off payments of £100 to households with someone aged 80 or over and £50 to households with someone aged 60 or over, to be paid alongside the winter fuel payment in 2008-09.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effects on financial intermediaries of financial lenders withdrawing products and lending directly to end customers; 
The 2008 Financial Risk Outlook published by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) presents the FSA's consideration of the effects on the economy of a reduced availability of credit, and is available at:
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 10 March 2008, transferred from the Department for Children, Schools and Families, on value added tax on school uniforms, PO reference: 7/15810/2008. 
Angela Eagle: During the period of temporary public ownership, Northern Rock will be managed on an arms' length, commercial basis. It is a matter for the company's management to release specific business updates.
On 31 March 2008, Northern Rock published a business plan that meets the Government's objectives, setting out its strategic priority to reduce the size of its balance sheet by over 50 per cent. to £49 billion by 2011.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received since nationalisation on the operations of Northern Rock bank in (a) Denmark, (b) the Republic of Ireland and (c) Guernsey. 
Angela Eagle: There were a number of representations about the operations in question, including Northern Rock's announcement of 18 March 2008 of their intention to close their Danish branch and maintain their branch in the Republic of Ireland and subsidiary in Guernsey.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to provide greater flexibility for Government Departments, with reference to the use of capital expenditure and operational expenditure spending budgets. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government set separate capital and resource budgets for Departments at spending reviews. Separate resource and capital budgets support the Government's fiscal rules and ensure sustained investment in priorities, including infrastructure, schools and hospitals. The Government have introduced firm three-year spending plans and Departments have flexibility to focus resources within budget limits, subject to the rules set out in Managing Public Money and the Consolidated Budgeting Guidance 2008-09 (please see the links to these documents as follows). The Government have also introduced End Year Flexibility, which enables flexibility across financial years.
DEFRA has recently funded four smoking litter campaigns, organised by Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS), the organisation which runs the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. The Government will continue to encourage local authorities to use their powers in this regard to take action, where appropriate, against those discarding smoking related litter.
We are currently looking at how the work and behaviour of prisoners can be better linked to the regime they are under in prison through a prisoner compact. I will be publishing proposals on this shortly.
Mr. Hanson: Between 2000 and 2005 youth re-offending has reduced by 2.5 per cent. We are building on this by developing a cross-government youth crime action plan which will set out work to reduce offending and reoffending by young people. We also continue to work with partners to improve practice and performance. This includes ensuring that the right performance frameworks and indicators are in place and putting in place a delivery plan to reduce youth reoffending.
Bridget Prentice: The Government take the integrity of the electoral process very seriously. Postal voting has proved popular and has helped to boost turnout at elections. However, we must balance accessibility with security, and we have put in place a range of measures to safeguard the security of postal voting. We are not complacent on this issue and will consider what further action may be taken to ensure postal voting is secure.
The prison will be in the public sector and run by HM Prison Service. Subject to planning permission, the first offenders are planned to be received in early 2009 and the prison will be fully operational later in the year.
Mr. Wills: We have set up the Governance of Britain website to provide information and updates on proposals in the Green Paper (http://governance. justice.gov.uk). As well as providing regular updates on progress, the site can give people the opportunity to contribute to discussion and debate in online forums and through e-mail.
16. Alun Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the time taken to bring young offenders cases to court; and what targets he has set for this process. 
Maria Eagle: The Government have a pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders from its 1996 level of 142 days. The 71-day target was first met in 2002, and the most recent monthly average for January 2008 is 62 days.
July 2007 data on reconvictions show that the referral order has the lowest reconviction rate, 44 per cent., of all juvenile court imposed sentences. This is against the overall reconviction rate for juvenile community sentences of 70 per cent.
The Youth Justice Board is responsible for the monitoring of the provision and operation of youth justice services. It issued a consultation document on referral orders at the end of last year and is now in the process of drawing up an action plan to address issues raised in the responses.
Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people under the age of 21 years were serving sentences for public protection offences at the latest date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hanson: The following table shows the number of young offenders in prison establishments in England and Wales serving indeterminate and extended sentences for public protection as at end February 2008:
|Under 18s||Young adults( 1)|
|(1) Young adults are those aged 18-20 and those 21 year olds who were aged 20 or under at conviction who have not been reclassified as part of the adult population.|
These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing so numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
17. Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress is being made in conjunction with the Home Department in securing agreements with other countries to transfer foreign national prisoners to their countries of origin. 
Mr. Hanson: There are 98 Prisoner Transfer Agreements in place. I continue to look for opportunities to develop agreements with countries for the return of their nationals. This would enable them to serve their sentences closer to their families in the country to which they will ultimately be deported.
Mr. Hanson: The Government have announced a programme to provide an additional 20,000 prison places and increase overall capacity to just over 96,000 by 2014. The programme has already provided 2,475 places, and will provide a further 1,708 places this year.
Mr. Hanson: Prisons deploy a comprehensive framework of drug supply reduction measures and have achieved considerable success. Drug use as measured by random mandatory drug tests has dropped by 64 per cent. since 1996-97.
On 11 March 2008 I announced that David Blakey, former inspector of constabulary, has been commissioned to conduct a review of the effectiveness of the measures to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs into prisons. His report will also look into mobile phone use in prisons and their interrelation with drug supply.
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