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Mr. Byrne: The Government have commissioned Sir John Chadwick to review available information and consider a number of issues in relation to determining relative losses suffered by Equitable Life policyholders, and their impact.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any change has been made to the overall block grant received by the Welsh Assembly Government as a result of monies received from the EU Convergence Programme in each year from 2007 to date; and whether any such change is likely to be made in each year from 2010-13. 
Mr. Byrne: No change was made to the block grant as a result of monies received from the EU Convergence Programme from 2007 and no changes are expected. Monies received from the EU Convergence Programme are additional to the block grant received by the Welsh Assembly Government from the UK Government.
Nick Ainger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress is being made by the Financial Action Task Force of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in its work on effective due diligence by banks and the ending of secrecy on beneficial ownership of companies and trusts; and if he will make a statement. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued 40+9 recommendations on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. These require countries to ensure that banks conduct due diligence on their customers, and that the beneficial ownership information of companies and trusts is collected and accessible to competent authorities. The FATF is currently preparing for its fourth round of assessment of countries against the standards, which will focus on how effectively the measures work in practice.
Nick Ainger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps the Financial Services Authority is taking to ensure that UK-regulated banks are compliant with requirements on due diligence to prevent funds from corrupt sources entering the UK; 
(2) what powers the Financial Services Authority has in respect of UK-regulated banks in the event of their failure to carry out effective due diligence on the source of funds in accounts which they administer. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, a UK-authorised bank is required to undertake enhanced customer due diligence checks, including taking adequate measures to establish the source of wealth and source of funds, where it deals with a politically exposed person. It is also required to undertake enhanced ongoing monitoring. A politically exposed person is an individual who may be more vulnerable to corruption.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is the supervisory authority for banks. It is required to effectively monitor those banks and take the necessary measures to ensure they comply with the Money Laundering Regulations. It meets this obligation by assessing risks in individual firms, and risks that impact across a range of firms within a particular market or industry sector.
The FSA has both criminal and civil sanctions to address breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations. The Money Laundering Regulations add to the range of options available to the FSA under the Financial Services and Markets Act for dealing with anti-money laundering failures.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The matter raised in this question is the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), whose day to day operations are independent from Government control and influence.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Banking regulation is conducted by the Financial Services Authority, the independent financial regulator. As is the case in every developed economy, responsibility for financial stability in the UK is shared between the financial regulator, the central bank and the finance and economics ministry. The Government have recently published "Reforming financial markets" which includes proposals to formalise the structures, and increase the transparency, of co-operation between the FSA, the Bank of England and the Treasury.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: "Reforming financial markets", which sets out the Government's strategy for strengthening the regulation of financial services, including actions taken to date, was published on 8 July.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 24 April 2009, Official Report, column 985W, on Government departments: aviation, whether the Government Air Programme includes flights by (a) Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff, (b) Ministry of Defence civilian staff, (c) members of the armed forces and (d) Department for International Development staff. 
Ian Pearson: The Government air programme does include flights by Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development staff. It does not include Ministry of Defence civilian staff or armed forces.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 24 April 2009, Official Report, column 985W, on Government departments: aviation, what the estimated expenditure on domestic flights is of each year of the Government Air Programme contract. 
Ian Pearson: Historic data suggest that 22 per cent. of the air spend relates to domestic flights. Using the estimated £69.6 million per annum applying to the Government air programme this would equate to an estimated £15.3 million per annum.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 24 April 2009, Official Report, column 985W, on government departments: aviation, whether the Government Air Programme will encompass domestic and international air travel by officials from (a) central government departments, (b) executive agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies. 
Building Britain's Future announced that Lord Davies of Abersoch would lead the development of Infrastructure UK. He will consider the appropriate terms of reference for Infrastructure UK and will report
to the Prime Minister, Chancellor and the First Secretary of State at the pre-Budget report. The resource required for Infrastructure UK will be decided once these details have been considered fully.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether officials of his Department have had recent discussions with representatives of Lloyds Banking Group on its decision to order the Islamic Bank of Britain to cease processing payments for Interpal. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry [holding answer 20 July 2009]: The Treasury has regular discussions with the banking sector on financial crime and financial sanctions issues. This includes ongoing discussions about the provision of banking services to individuals or entities who are on UK, US or international sanctions lists.
David Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will instruct the Office of Government Commerce to classify halal meat to a category 1 food for the purposes of public procurement; 
Ian Pearson [holding answers 20 July 2009]: The purpose of the Food Quality Standards published by the OGC is to provide guidance for suppliers on the general quality of products sought in food procurements undertaken by all public sector authorities. In the Standards, matters relating to food policy have been provided by DEFRA, those related to food safety provided by the Food Standards Agency. The Standards are not to be considered as a series of product specifications but as a guide to the minimum quality criteria that authorities may include in their specifications and will expect the contractor to deliver.
The Standards state, however, that contractors should ensure that wherever possible the supply of all raw food should originate from sources participating in recognised national or international assurance schemes or equivalent standards where such schemes exist.
For raw food products (other than fish) contractors should supply to the authority unprocessed commodities, lightly processed foods and drinks, and composite products, produced in accordance with one or more of four categories.
Category 1 denotes food produced in accordance with relevant parts of Standards such as Red Tractor, Food Assurance Scheme or equivalent Standard or, in the case of eggs in their shells, the Lion Quality Mark or equivalent. The procurement of food using alternative schemes shall be subject to prior approval by the authority.
The Standards do not contain specific guidance on Halal foods other than to state that ethnic food products must be sourced, prepared, processed and packed in accordance with the specific requirements of the religious law, where these apply eg Halal or Kosher foods. The assurance schemes in category 1 can be applied to Halal meat as to other products.
Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letters dated 3 March, 28 May and 15 June 2009 from the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe, with regard to Mr. Bernard Lockett. 
Sir John Stanley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letters sent to him by the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling on 12 November 2008 and 13 February 2009 on behalf of his constituents Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Miller. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he plans to take further steps in co-operation with the mortgage insurance industry to assist first-time buyers to gain access to mortgage finance; 
(3) which of the banks in which the Government has purchased a shareholding provide mortgage finance for purchases under the (a) HomeBuy Direct, (b) OwnHome, (c) OpenMarket HomeBuy, (d) the First-time Buyers' Initiative, (e) MyChoice HomeBuy, (f) New Build HomeBuy, (g) Social HomeBuy and (h) Rent to HomeBuy schemes. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Government's key objective for housing is to ensure everyone has access to a decent home at a price they can afford. The Government remain committed to the delivery of affordable housing, including through both shared equity and shared ownership schemes. Since 1997 the Government have helped more than 110,000 households into low cost homeownership through shared ownership and shared equity.
Decisions concerning whether to engage in lending to support shared equity of shared ownership remain commercial decisions for firms. Where there is public sector investment in financial institutions these stakes will be managed on an arm's length and independent basis by UK Financial Investments Ltd.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the effect on the availability of mortgages of deferring mortgage applications to an underwriter; and if he will make a statement. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) proportion and (b) monetary value of UK property which is held offshore by investment funds or limited partnerships. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Information on authorised unit trusts, including those that invest in property, is available from the Financial Services Authority. Details on the types of assets that authorised funds can invest in are also available via the FSA.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of exempting authorised property unit trusts exempt from corporation tax in 2010-11. 
Since April 2008, following extensive consultation with industry, the Government introduced the Property Authorised Investment Fund regime, which enables tax efficient investment for funds that wish to invest predominately in property income generating assets. Subject to certain conditions being met, investors are taxed as if they had owned the underlying assets directly.
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