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Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in identifying countries with the capability to contribute to the police units for the joint UN-AU hybrid force in Darfur; which countries have pledged to contribute; and what each has pledged to contribute. 
Gillian Merron: When fully deployed, the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur will include 19 Formed Police Units (FPUs) of up to 140 police officers each, in addition to 3,772 individual police officers. An FPU from Bangladesh is already deployed in Darfur, and FPUs from Nepal, Indonesia (two), Nigeria (two), Senegal, Egypt, Togo and Bangladesh (two) are scheduled to deploy by the end of 2008. We understand the UN has received further pledges for additional FPUs including from Uganda, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria, Gambia, Rwanda, and Cameroon.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the security situation in Darfur on the number of police patrols UNAMID is able to perform around refugee camps at night. 
Gillian Merron: Security around refugee camps is improving as more Formed Police Units arrive in Darfur. Most police patrols are in daylight hours. They are being extended to midnight where sufficient manpower and four wheel drive vehicles are available. In some cases, such as around Kalma camp, 24 hour patrolling is now in operation. As additional personnel and vehicles become available, the number of night patrols will increase.
Gillian Merron: Through our embassy in Khartoum, we have pressed the Sudanese Government to appoint a credible and effective National Election Commission (NEC) without delay, as an essential step for free and fair elections. The electoral law, passed on 9 July 2008, stipulated the appointment of the NEC within one month of passage of the law. The NEC is still not confirmed.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government are giving to the conduct of the national elections in Sudan that are scheduled for 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron: We have worked closely with the UN Mission in Sudan and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) over their technical assistance to the Sudanese government on, for example, the electoral law. We will continue to support the holding of free and fair elections in Sudan, including through contributing to a UNDP managed basket fund.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the operation of the Bank of England Act 1998; what recent representations he has received about this Act; and what (a) statutory instruments, (b) departmental circulars and (c) other documents he (i) has issued and (ii) plans to issue in the next 12 months consequent on the provisions of the Act. 
Ian Pearson: The Bank of England Act 1998 requires that the Chancellor specify what price stability is taken to consist of and the Governments economic policy objectives at least once in every period of 12 months beginning on the anniversary of the day the Act came into force. The Chancellor last wrote to the Governor of the Bank of England on this matter on 11 March 2008. Consequentially the Chancellor will write again to the Governor on this matter before 11 March 2009.
As part of the Banking Bill currently being considered in Parliament the Government are bringing forward measures to strengthen the Bank of Englands role in financial stability. This includes providing the Bank with a new statutory objective relating to financial
stability, enhancements to the governance arrangements within the Bank, and new policy responsibilities relating to the special resolution regime for banks, and oversight of inter-bank payment systems.
As part of the process of developing the legislation, the Government, with the Bank of England and FSA issued a consultation document, containing these proposals (Financial Stability and Depositor Protectionfurther consultation)and on which many respondents commented, and supported.
In line with the Bank of England Act 1998, the Bank of Englands annual report and accounts were laid before Parliament in June 2008. The Treasury issues press notices regarding departing and new members of Court as required.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure that British business clients of the Landsbanki bank are able to continue to draw on their overdraft facility notwithstanding the Government's freezing of that bank's assets. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 21 October 2008]: HM Treasury has granted a licence to allow Landsbanki London branch to carry out commercial finance, asset based lending and capital markets and fixed income activities, as well as operating customers' business accounts.
HM Treasury has issued a series of notices providing guidance in relation to the operation of the Landsbanki Freezing Order 2008. These notices confirm that the Freezing Order is specific to Landsbanki and does not freeze the funds of any other Icelandic banks. It does not affect Icelandic companies with no links to Landsbanki. HM Treasury notices can be found at
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the UK Government are responsible for conducting negotiations with the Icelandic authorities on behalf of Guernsey in respect of deposits held by Landsbanki Guernsey; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to introduce a centralised system of credit approval for all loans made by English local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Ann Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect the mark to market rules are having on bank liquidity; and what the procedures are for changing those rules. 
Ian Pearson: The Government welcome the steps the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has taken to revise accounting standards to address concerns that the application of fair value accounting may be exacerbating the reduction in some asset prices in the current extraordinary market conditions, while at the same time ensuring alignment of international and US standards. International Financial Reporting Standards are set by the IASB and adopted for use in the EU.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what mechanisms he plans to put in place to ensure that the banking rescue package does not disadvantage banks which do not seek recourse to it. 
Ian Pearson: It should be a commercial decision for each bank whether or not to take part in the package of support measures set out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 and 13 October 2008. The investments being made by the Government are on commercial terms.
As the Chancellor made clear in his statements, in reviewing applications for the scheme, the authorities will give due regard to the extent to which institutions have substantial business in the UK and their role in the UK banking system and overall economy.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reports he has received on the extent of bad debt held by (a) UK banks and (b) banks with a base in the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle: Under the construction industry scheme, businesses have to continue to meet certain statutory criteria to maintain registration for gross payment. HM Revenue and Customs have cancelled around 10,000 gross payment registrations since 6 April 2007 and registered those businesses for payment under deduction.
Ian Pearson: These are difficult times in the global economy. The Government are determined to help families and businesses affected by the global economic difficulties, doing what we can to support those who need it most. The Government will update their forecasts for the UK and world economies, including prices, in the forthcoming pre-Budget report as normal, based on all relevant factors.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of credit card debt in (a) November 2006 and (b) the most recent month for which figures are available. 
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what estimate has been made of the level of credit card debt in (a) November 2006 and (b) the last month for which figures are available. (229839)
At end-November 2006, outstanding consumer credit on credit cards was estimated at £54893 million. At end-August 2008 the estimate was £54574 million. The figures are not seasonally adjusted and come from Table S3.2B of the ONS publication Financial Statistics No 558 October 2008.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of his Departments (a) chart of accounts and (b) resource account codes and usage descriptions for the 2008-09 financial year. 
Yvette Cooper: The chart of accounts for 2008-09 reflects the Departments structure for the year and will not necessarily reflect the 2007-08 structure, or that for future years. The chart shows the relationship between parent codes (used for preparing resource accounts and shown in bold) and children codes (used for more detailed management purposes). Each code has a brief description that describes its use. A copy of the chart has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what IT projects (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies is undertaking; and what the most recent estimate of (i) the cost and (ii) the completion date of each is. 
|IT project||Recent estimate of the cost (£)||Recent estimate of the completion date|
Introduction of new video conferencing equipment at our main office locations in Liverpool and Norwich plus the installation of an additional private network connection between the two sites for video traffic.
Upgrade to Supplier and Contracts database and creation of the Management Information Collection Application. This will allow us to better manage suppliers and report on customer spending through our arrangements.
Common Infrastructure Management Toolsimplementation of single toolset and process for systems management across multiple networks Confidential and Restricted including deployment of software/upgrades and security patches.
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