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Minimum Wage for Young People

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The information is set out in the table.

Savings on Housing Benefit resulting from a minimum wage

Minimum wage for 18-21 year-olds Savings on Housing Benefit
£3.00 £5 million
£3.20 £10 million
£3.60 £15 million

Notes: 1. Estimates are based on the 1995-96 Family Resources Survey, uprated to 1998-99 levels of expenditure and caseloads, but with the October 1999-2000 tax and benefit structure imposed. 2. Savings are rounded to the nearest £5 million. 3. Estimates are based on the first-round effects of the minimum wage: no other factors are taken into account.

Nuclear-related Exports to India and Pakistan

Lord Grenfell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, following the recent Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, there has been a change of policy on nuclear-related exports to India and Pakistan, and on contacts between British nuclear industry officials and their Indian and Pakistani counterparts.[HL2700]

Lord Whitty: The UK already has in place strict controls on the export of nuclear-related goods to India and Pakistan, and we do not believe there is a loophole in the existing controls. The UK also exercises caution over contacts between personnel from the British nuclear industry and their Indian and Pakistani counterparts. However, following the recent Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests we have decided that it is appropriate to introduce some additional measures.

All export licence applications (ELAs) for items listed on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Dual-Use List will be denied to nuclear and nuclear-related end-users in India and Pakistan, as will all other goods to these end-users which could contribute to the Indian and Pakistani nuclear programmes. This will mean that some amendments will be required to existing open general export licences, which will be made in due course.

All contacts by British nuclear scientists or nuclear industry personnel with Indian and Pakistani counterparts will be discouraged, and all visits by Indians or Pakistanis to UK nuclear facilities will be prevented.

As the recent actions by both countries have demonstrated a lack of commitment to the principles of non-proliferation, and have adversely affected regional stability, we will consider all export licence applications concerning either country with particular vigilance.

13 Jul 1998 : Column WA6

Low Pay Commission Report

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To whom, other than Ministers, officials in departments and special advisers, the report of the Low Pay Commission and the accompanying Executive Summary were distributed subsequent to their delivery to the Government on 27 May and prior to their becoming available to Parliament.[HL2590]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): There was no authorisation given to distribute the Low Pay Commission's Report outside the normal distribution arrangements for such documents.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the President of the Board of Trade discussed the contents of the report by the Low Pay Commission at the Trade Union Congress dinner on 16 June.[HL2591]

Lord Clinton-Davis: The President of the Board of Trade never reveals details of unpublished reports prior to their publication.

Electricity: Wholesale Prices

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their statement on 25 June on their energy review (H.L. Deb., cols. 379-390), how are "real falls in wholesale electricity prices in the medium term" defined.[HL2566]

Lord Clinton-Davis: This was a reference to reductions, compared to movements in the retail prices index, in the average level of electricity Pool prices. If, in pursuance of the Review of Electricity Trading Arrangements, the Pool price ceases to exist, then the words should be taken to refer to an analogous wholesale price.

Electricity: Domestic Prices

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their statement on 25 June on their energy review (H.L. Deb., cols. 379-390), whether they expect domestic electricity prices to fall in line with wholesale prices.[HL2567]

Lord Clinton-Davis: In a competitive market, movements in wholesale prices can be expected to feed through to domestic electricity prices. Movements in domestic prices will also be affected by movement in other cost elements.

13 Jul 1998 : Column WA7

Coal Fired Power Stations: Fluid Gas Desulfurisation

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration they have given to tax incentives for the installation of Flue Gas Desulfurisation at coal fired power stations in order to lower sulphur dioxide emissions.[HL2570]

Lord Clinton-Davis: If the Government's proposals on the review of Energy Sources for Power Generation, announced on 25 June, are confirmed, further investment in FGD plant would be desirable. We have no plans to introduce tax incentives, beyond the normal tax reliefs which apply to investment.

ECGD: Defence Contract Debt Write-offs

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a table showing the amounts of money written off by the Export Credits Guarantee Department in respect of defence contracts in each of the years 1979-80 to 1997-98.[HL2377]

13 Jul 1998 : Column WA8

Lord Clinton-Davis: ECGD does not maintain information on amounts of debt written off in a way which would enable it, other than at disproportionate cost, to relate these write-offs to the type of goods covered under the original contracts.

I can however advise the noble Lord that the total amounts written off by ECGD in each year since 1988-89 were as follows:

Total Amount written offAmount attributable to Commercial Causes of LossesAmount attributable to Political Causes of LossPolitical Amount attributable to Debt Forgiveness
Year£ million£ million£ million£ million

(1) 1997-98 figures are provisional pending finalisation of ECGD's Accounts for last year.

An analysis in this format is not available for years prior to 1998-99.

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