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4 Mar 2009 : Column 1619W—continued


Table 2 : Cost of increasing the age addition to ( b) £1 in 2009-10 and (i) no linking, (ii) linking it to prices and (iii) earnings thereafter

(i) No linking (ii) Prices (iii) Earnings

2009-10

140

140

140

2010-11

140

140

140

2011-12

140

150

150

2012-13

140

150

160

2013-14

140

160

170


Table 3 : Cost of increasing the age addition to ( c) £5 in 2009-10 and (i) no linking, (ii) linking it to prices and (iii) earnings thereafter

(i) No linking (ii) Prices (iii) Earnings

2009-10

690

690

690

2010-11

690

700

710

2011-12

690

730

740

2012-13

710

770

780

2013-14

720

820

840


Table 4 : Cost of increasing the age addition to ( d) £10 in 2009-10 and (i) no linking, (ii) linking it to prices and (iii) earnings thereafter

(i) No linking (ii) Prices (iii) Earnings

2009-10

1,380

1,380

1,380

2010-11

1,380

1,410

1,410

2011-12

1,380

1,450

1,470

2012-13

1,420

1,550

1,570

2013-14

1,450

1,630

1,670

Notes:
1. The cost for payments of the age addition in the last 12 months is as of March 2008 and is in £ million, for Great Britain, in 2008-09 terms, rounded to the nearest £5 million.
2. For the costs of administration of the age addition in the last 12 months, most of the process is automated and the clerical elements are so minor that it is incorporated into normal daily actions and not identified separately.
3. In tables 1 to 4, costs are in £ million, for Great Britain, in 2008-09 terms. For values less than £100 million, rounding is to the nearest £5 million, otherwise, to the nearest £10 million.
4. Treasury Economic Assumptions have been used for linking the age addition to earnings and prices.
5. The estimated number of individuals who currently receive the age addition is as of March 2008.
Source:
DWP modelling.

There are currently approximately 2.7 million individuals who receive the age addition.

Winter Fuel Payments

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the (a) average, (b) lowest and (c) highest number of days was between the conditions for a cold weather payment being met and the payment being made to eligible recipients in the last 12 months, broken down by weather station area; [249440]


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(2) what the average time between the cold weather payments being triggered and payments being made was in respect of the most recent period of below-freezing temperatures when the payment has been made (a) manually and (b) automatically. [249446]

Kitty Ussher: The information is not available in the requested form.

Triggers based on recorded periods of seven consecutive days are notified on the day after the last day of the recorded period. Triggers based on forecast periods of seven consecutive days are notified on the first day of the forecast period. (This holds except when a trigger would be notified on a Saturday or a Sunday, when it is actually notified on the following Monday.) Payment scans are run at a weekend for triggers notified on the previous Monday to Thursday or on the Friday prior to that. Scan payments into bank accounts should arrive on the Wednesday after the weekend and cheque payments should be posted on the Monday after the weekend. Thus scan payments into bank accounts should arrive seven to 13 days after the temperature criterion has been met. Payments made clerically are not made as quickly as payments which can be made automatically. Information is not available on the split between payments into bank accounts and cheque payments, or on the time taken to process clerical payments, so the two questions cannot be answered.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people held in (a) Rampton, (b) Broadmoor, (c) Ashworth, (d) Carstairs and (e) Southall hospitals received the winter fuel payment in 2008-09. [258835]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not available.

People qualify for a winter fuel payment if, during the qualifying week in September, they are aged 60 or over and normally living in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

Some groups of people do not qualify for a winter fuel payment. A person will not qualify for a payment if during the qualifying week they were in hospital getting free in-patient treatment and had been getting such treatment for more than 52 weeks or they were in custody serving a sentence imposed by a court.

Treasury

Bank Services: Identity Theft

Jim Dowd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of identity theft insurance policies in relation to bank accounts; and what discussions his Department has had on the matter with (a) the Association of British Insurers and (b) the Royal Bank of Scotland. [260390]

Ian Pearson: The Government have established an independent system of financial regulation that works through the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the lead regulator and the Office of Fair Trading. The Treasury is not responsible for the merits of the design of individual insurance products.


4 Mar 2009 : Column 1621W

Banks: Directors

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment the Financial Services Authority has made of whether the (a) chief executive, (b) chairman and (c) board members of each bank in receipt of public money meet the fit and proper person test. [256984]

Ian Pearson: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent non-governmental body, given statutory powers by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). FSMA requires that persons carrying on certain controlled functions within an FSA authorised firm hold “approved person” status (including the “governing” functions such as executive director, non-executive director and CEO).

Details of the regime and processes applied to assessing the fitness and propriety of a person to perform a particular controlled function can be found on the FSA’s website at:

In March 2008 the FSA published its “lessons learned” review following the events at Northern Rock. The recommendations can be found at

and include reference to the need to increase the emphasis on assessing the competence of firms’ senior management.

Banks: Regulation

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require all financial businesses to register derivatives with the Financial Services Authority. [260406]

Ian Pearson: Section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 requires that anyone dealing in, or arranging deals in, investments, be authorised by the Financial Services Authority. This includes firms or individuals trading in derivative products. The Government support the industry initiative to clear more credit default swaps through central counterparties (CCPs) and that the regulations for CCPs should be updated.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisers

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been claimed in reimbursable expenses by special advisers in his Department in 2008-09 to date. [260341]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 1 September 2008, Official Report, column 1477W to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban).

Economic Situation: Canada

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with his Canadian counterpart on the economic downturn. [259996]


4 Mar 2009 : Column 1622W

Ian Pearson: The Government’s immediate priority is to continue to support the economy through these difficult times. As part of that, in addition to its regular monitoring of developments, HM Treasury has regular engagements with other Governments, including Canada, on a range of issues relating to the economy.

Financial Services: Regulation

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what dates (a) he, the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority and the Governor of the Bank of England and (b) their deputies met in their capacity as principals of the tripartite regulatory system between 1997 and 2007. [260583]

Ian Pearson: The three authorities meet at a number of levels under the auspices of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a very regular basis. As a matter of course, we do not comment on meetings of the Standing Committee.

Interbank Lending Scheme

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value of lending guaranteed by the Interbank Lending Scheme is. [256181]

Ian Pearson: On 8 October 2008, the Government announced, as part of a comprehensive package of measures, the Credit Guarantee Scheme. The scheme took effect on 13 October and assists eligible institutions in refinancing maturing wholesale funding. Banks have drawn down some £100 billion of guarantees.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 15 January 2009 on Mr. K. Williams. [260399]

Ian Pearson: A reply has been sent to the right hon. Member.

Mortgages: Repossession Orders

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to discourage banks from repossessing homes of people in mortgage arrears. [257987]

Ian Pearson: The Government introduced FSA regulation of mortgages in 2004. The FSA’s regime provides important protections for borrowers. It requires lenders to treat their customers fairly, and to treat repossession as a last resort.

FSA regulation is supported by the new mortgage pre-action protocol introduced in November 2008. This sets out clear guidance on what actions the courts expect lenders to take before bringing a claim in the courts, to help ensure that repossessions are a last resort and that lenders have tried to discuss and agree other alternatives with the borrower.

Through the new Lending Panel, announced in the 2008 pre-Budget report, the Government are working closely with lenders, consumer groups and regulators to
4 Mar 2009 : Column 1623W
monitor lending and support best practice by lenders. The major lenders on the Lending Panel have committed not to repossess where the owner-occupier is less than three months in arrears.

In December 2008, the Government announced a new Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme, which will enable households that experience a significant and temporary loss of income as a result of the economic downturn to defer a proportion of the interest payments on their mortgage for up to two years. Further details are available at:

The Government have also launched a Mortgage Rescue Scheme to help borrowers facing repayment difficulties remain in their homes and this scheme has been extended to include second charge lending. Depending on homeowners’ circumstances, local authorities and housing associations can either buy a property and then rent it back to them, or buy a share of the property to reduce the household’s overall mortgage costs. More information is available at:

National Debt

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on the maximum amount of public debt which should be permitted as a percentage of gross domestic product. [259881]

Yvette Cooper: The Government set out their policy on public debt in paragraphs 3.20 to 3.23 of the Government’s Fiscal Framework, published alongside the 2008 pre-Budget report. This document is available at:

Royal Bank of Scotland: Bank Services

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what instructions his Department has given to the Royal Bank of Scotland in relation to loan requests made by small and medium-sized businesses to cover bad debt. [256868]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 23 February 2009]: Under the recapitalisation scheme announced last October, the Government have invested £19.97 billion in RBS. As part of their investment, the Government have agreed a range of commitments with RBS, including its restoring and maintaining the availability and active marketing of competitively priced lending to SMEs, at a level at least equivalent to that of 2007, until the end of 2011.

On 26 February, RBS announced its intention to participate in the Government’s Asset Protection Scheme. As part of its agreement with the Government, RBS will increase its lending to businesses by £16 billion in 2009.

The Government’s shareholdings in the banks supported by the recapitalisation scheme are managed on a commercial basis by an arm’s length company, UK Financial Investments Ltd. (UKFI). UKFI’s objective is to protect and create value for the taxpayer as shareholder with due regard to the maintenance of financial stability and to act in a way that promotes competition.


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