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The help scheme is funded by the BBC—£603 million of licence fee income has been ring-fenced for this purpose.

The scheme costs a subsidised £40 fee for those who are eligible, but is free to those who are eligible and also on some form of income-related support.

After further consideration, I have concluded that it would reasonable to take the view that anyone resident in a care home is likely to have difficulty in making the switch to digital TV, and therefore should be eligible for help under the scheme. I therefore propose to extend the scheme eligibility criteria so as to include everyone normally resident in a care home. For the purposes of the help scheme, someone will be considered normally resident if they have been in a care home for six months or more, or if a care home manager expects them to have been resident for more than six months by the end of the eligibility period.

It is not possible to estimate accurately the number of additional people who will now be eligible for the help scheme as there are no centrally held figures on care home residents across the UK. However, a large number of those in care homes will already qualify under the
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existing eligibility criteria and our estimate is that the proposed change will bring about 100,000 new people within the help scheme.

Health

NHS Funds (Icelandic Banks)

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. Ben Bradshaw): Acting on the advice of the Bank and FSA, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week took action to protect the retail depositors in three Icelandic banking operations in the UK: Icesave, a UK-based branch of Landsbanki; Heritable, a UK-based banking subsidiary of Landsbanki; and Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander, a UK-based banking subsidiary of Kaupthing Bank.

Using powers under the Banking (Special Provisions) Act 2008, retail deposits in Heritable and Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander have been transferred to ING Direct. Savers’ money is safe and secure. The Chancellor has also guaranteed retail deposits in Icesave in full. The Treasury and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme are working with the Icelandic authorities and their Deposit Insurance Scheme to ensure that depositors in Icesave are paid back as quickly as possible. The Bank of England has also provided a short-term secured loan of up to £100 million to the London branch of Landsbanki, to help ensure an orderly wind down and maximize the returns to UK creditors. The Government have also frozen the funds and financial assets held by Landsbanki. This is a precautionary measure to protect UK economic interests and we are continuing to work closely with the Icelandic authorities to ensure a fair process for UK creditors.

There are no strategic health authorities, primary care trusts or NHS trusts with any Exchequer funds—that is, taxpayers’ money—residing in Icelandic banks.

There is one organisation, Hammersmith hospitals NHS Charities, which has £1.65 million of charitable funds deposited in the Icelandic bank—Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander. Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust has now merged with Imperial College NHS Trust, but the charity arm is still going through the merger process. The trust are working with their legal team and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to ensure they protect these deposits.

In addition, there are two NHS foundation trusts with money deposited in Icelandic bank accounts.

The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust released a statement on Friday 10 October confirming that they have a deposit of £7.5 million with the Icelandic bank, Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander—£1 million pounds of this is NHS money and £6.5 million is charity money. The Christie hospital have taken legal advice and are working closely with the Financial Services Authority to ensure that they protect their deposits.

Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust also have a deposit of £1 million with the Icelandic bank, Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander. All of this deposit is NHS money and the trust are working with their legal team to ensure that they protect their deposits.


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The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust have confirmed that that in neither case will any potential loss give rise to concerns as to their ability to continue to provide services.

Home Department

Animal Procedures Committee (Annual Report)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Meg Hillier): In accordance with Section 20(5) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, I have today laid before the House the Committee’s annual report for 2007. Copies are available in the Vote Office. Among other things the report includes:

The report concludes with the Committee’s work plan for 2008.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Universities (Icelandic Banks)

The Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Mr. John Denham): Acting on the advice of the Bank and FSA, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week took action to protect the retail depositors in three Icelandic banking operations in the UK: Icesave, a UK-based branch of Landsbanki; Heritable, a UK-based banking subsidiary of Landsbanki; and Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander, a UK-based banking subsidiary of Kaupthing Bank. Using powers under the Banking (Special Provisions) Act 2008, retail deposits in Heritable and Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander have been transferred to ING Direct. Savers’ money is safe and secure. The Chancellor has also guaranteed retail deposits in Icesave in full.

The Treasury and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme are working with the Icelandic authorities and their Deposit Insurance Scheme to ensure that depositors in Icesave are paid back as quickly as possible. The Bank of England has also provided a short-term secured loan of up to £100 million to the London branch of Landsbanki, to help ensure an orderly wind-down and maximize the returns to UK creditors. The Government have also frozen the funds and financial assets held by Landsbanki. This is a precautionary measure to protect UK economic interests and we are continuing to work closely with the Icelandic authorities to ensure a fair process for UK creditors.

Over the past few days, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has been seeking information from higher education institutions about whether they have deposited money in these Icelandic banks.


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Universities are independent charitable bodies, and take their own banking and investment decisions. But HEFCE has a responsibility to keep under review the financial health of higher education institutions that receive public funding.

HEFCE has informed the Government that there are 12 universities which held deposits with Icelandic banks that have recently entered into administration. The total amount deposited was around £77 million.

Clearly this is a serious matter for each of these universities, and officials from HM Treasury are engaging with them and HEFCE about their concerns. However, it should be noted that HEFCE has concluded that no university is at risk as a result of its exposure to Icelandic banks. Certainly no university faces a level of exposure that would raise questions about its continuing solvency. Students, businesses, charities and others may deal with universities with exactly the same level of confidence as before. HEFCE will be on standby to provide advice and expertise to any institution affected by these problems.

It is important that the Funding Council is able to hold full and candid discussions with universities about their financial affairs. For this reason its policy, which the Government support, is not to disclose information about individual universities.

International Development

Regional Development Strategy (Caribbean)

The Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. Douglas Alexander): I have placed in the Libraries of both Houses a communications booklet outlining the UK’s regional development strategy for the Caribbean 2008-13.

Achieving a higher rate of growth is vital for the Caribbean’s development. Whilst the Caribbean has the natural resources and talent to be a global player, economic growth has been slow in recent decades. The region must diversify and become more competitive in order to prosper and achieve its significant potential.

Preferential trade agreements are coming to an end under international law, but new trade agreements, such as the European Partnership Agreement with the EU, provide significant opportunities for the region to grow and diversify.

The UK’s new regional development strategy for the Caribbean focuses on:

Cabinet Office

The Third Sector (Icelandic Banking)

The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Liam Byrne): Over the last few days, the Cabinet Office has been working actively to determine the economic situation some charities may find themselves facing.


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Only a small fraction of a total of £56 billion(1) worth of investment assets held by general charities(2) is invested in Icelandic banks.

As agreed at a meeting between Ministers and charity representatives on Friday 10 October, the Cabinet Office is working with ACEVO, NCVO, CFDG and CAF—The Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, The Charity Finance Directors Group and The Charities Aid Foundation—to ascertain the full extent of investment assets affected by the position of Icelandic banks.

We are working closely with the Charity Commission, the sector’s regulator, to support charities who have deposits in Icelandic banks. We are also discussing directly with affected charities their concerns.

Acting on the advice of the Bank and the FSA, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week took action to protect the retail depositors in three Icelandic banking operations in the UK: Icesave, a UK-based branch of Landsbanki; Heritable, a UK-based banking subsidiary of Landsbanki; and Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander, a UK-based banking subsidiary of Kaupthing Bank. Using powers under the Banking (Special Provisions) Act 2008, retail deposits in Heritable and Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander have been transferred to ING Direct. Savers money is safe and secure. The Chancellor has also guaranteed retail deposits in Icesave in full. The Treasury and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme are working with the Icelandic authorities and their deposit insurance scheme to ensure that depositors in Icesave are paid back as quickly as possible.

The Bank of England has also provided a short-term secured loan of up to £100 million to the London branch of Landsbanki, to help ensure an orderly wind-down and maximize the returns to UK creditors. The Government have also frozen the funds and financial assets held by
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Landsbanki. This is a precautionary measure to protect UK economic interests and we are continuing to work closely with the Icelandic authorities to ensure a fair process for UK creditors.

We are working with HM Treasury to do what we can to support those organisations with investments in Icelandic banks, and ensure they are in the strongest possible position to protect their investments.

In the light of recent global economic events, the Government are more determined than ever to support the third sector through the upcoming months and years. We are committed to ensuring that charities are supported in resolving any short term issues they may face as well as supporting them in the long term.

We are working closely with sector leaders, representing small and large organisations, and Ministers will co-chair, alongside Stuart Etherington, an upcoming NCVO sector-wide summit to tackle upcoming issues.

A survey released by the Commission this morning has revealed that one in four charities has already put in place measures to deal with the economic downturn. The Commission is keen to provide further advice and guidance for charities and trustees via its helpline and website.

We are confident that the sector is in better shape than ever before to meet the challenges ahead. Its income from Government has doubled over the last 11 years to a total of £11 billion a year.

I will continue to represent the interests of the sector at the newly founded National Economic Council, which will consider the impact of the current financial crisis on the economy as a whole.


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