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Form CRU1

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The administration of the Compensation Recovery Unit is a matter for Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. I have asked him to write to you.

Letter to Earl Howe from the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, Mr. P. Mathison, dated 27 April 1999.

The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent parliamentary Question asking whether supplies of Form CRU1 issued by the Benefits Agency pursuant to the Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Act 1999 were available to insurance companies in sufficient quantities from 1 April; how many such forms have been destroyed owing to a design error; what the cost has been of this wastage; and who was responsible for it.

Form CRU1 was available in sufficient quantities from 1 April. The Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Scheme came into operation on 5 April 1999 and stocks of the form were available to insurers from mid-March.

A total of 0.5 million forms were printed and the stock was quickly reduced due to demand from insurers. A further 0.5 million forms were subsequently ordered and the opportunity was taken on re-print to introduce improvements to some of the wording on the form.

There was no design error on the original version and accordingly no forms were destroyed. However, whilst the original version was perfectly adequate, the changes made, in accordance with the Compensation Recovery Unit's aim of continuous improvement, further clarified the requirements of the scheme for insurers.

I hope you find this reply helpful.

Mortgage Protection Insurance

Lord Layton asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The Government have no current plans to make mortgage payment protection insurance compulsory but will monitor the impact of voluntary arrangements being adopted by mortgage lenders and insurers to provide better protection for home buyers. A new minimum specification for payment protection insurance for new and existing mortgages was announced by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Association of British Insurers on 23 February. The new minimum specification will take effect no later than 1 July for new insurance policies and no later than 1 July 2001 for upgrading existing policies.

Buses: EU Legislation

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the reference numbers of any present or proposed European Union legislation which might affect buses in the United Kingdom; what is the state of play of that legislation; and what is their estimate of its cost and benefit to the United Kingdom.[HL2115]

Lord Whitty: The information requested is as follows: Existing legislation (EEC) 684/92 (amended): Council Regulation on common rules for the international carriage of passengers by coach and bus. (EEC) 56/83: Council Regulation implementing Council Decision 82/505/EEC on the Agreement on the international carriage of passengers by road by means of occasional coach and bus services. (EC) 12/98: Council Regulation laying down the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate national road passenger services within a member state. 96/26/EC (amended): Council Directive on admission to the occupation of road haulage operator and road passenger transport service operator and mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications intended to facilitate for these operators the right to freedom of establishment in national and international transport operations. 70/156/EEC, 70/157/EEC, 70/220/EEC, 70/221/EEC, 70/222/EEC, 70/311/EEC, 70/387/EEC, 70/388/EEC, 71/127/EEC, 71/320/EEC, 72/245/EEC, 72/306/EEC, 74/60/EEC, 74/61/EEC, 74/297/EEC, 74/408/EEC, 74/483/EEC, 75/443/EEC, 76/114/EEC, 76/115/EEC, 76/756/EEC, 76/757/EEC, 76/758/EEC, 76/759/EEC, 76/760/EEC, 76/761/EEC, 76/762/EEC, 77/102/EEC, 77/389/EEC, 77/538/EEC, 77/539/EEC, 77/540/EEC, 77/541/EEC, 77/649/EEC, 78/316/EEC, 78/317/EEC, 78/318/EEC, 78/507/EEC, 78/548/EEC, 78/549/EEC, 78/632/EEC, 78/932/EEC, 79/488/EEC, 79/489/EEC, 79/490/EEC, 80/1268/EEC, 80/1269/EEC, 82/318/EEC, 82/319/EEC, 84/424/EEC, 85/647/EEC, 88/76/EEC, 88/77/EEC, 88/194/EEC, 88/195/EEC, 88/321/EEC,

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88/436/EEC, 89/297/EEC, 89/459/EEC, 91/441/EEC, 91/662/EEC, 92/6/EEC, 92/21/EEC, 92/22/EEC, 92/23/EEC, 92/24/EEC, 92/114/EEC, 94/20/EC, 95/28/EC and amendments: motor vehicle standards. Proposed legislation COM(97)276 final: Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive relating to special provisions for vehicles used for the carriage of passengers comprising more than 8 seats in addition to the driver's seat and amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC

    State of play: Currently being discussed in Council working group following European Parliament first reading.

    Costs and benefits to the United Kingdom: No direct costs. Should assist UK vehicle manufacturers as it provides a common standard throughout the EU. COM(98)0117 final: Proposal for a Council Directive on the roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the Community

    State of play: Common position adopted by Transport Council in June 1998. European Parliament amendments to be considered by Commission and Council.

    Costs and benefits to the United Kingdom: Roadside inspections are already carried out in the UK, but additional inspections elsewhere in the Community would incur costs (estimated at up to about £70 on each occasion) in lost time and other implications. However, the proposal should help to raise vehicle safety standards and establish a more level playing field throughout the Community. COM(98)0662 final: Proposal for a Council Directive concerning the organisation of working time for mobile workers performing road transport activities and for self employed drivers. Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time to cover sectors and activities excluded from that Directive

    State of play: Under discussion in the Council of Ministers.

    Costs and benefits for the United Kingdom: The Government have concerns over the application of some of the provisions in these proposals. It is not possible to give estimates of costs and benefits until these are resolved.

British Films

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will lay the Statutory Instrument referred to in their Press Release DCMS 291/98 (25 November 1998) to modify the definition of what constitutes a British film so that the definition takes account of the growing number of international

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    co-productions which bring investment to Britain; and whether the terms of such a Statutory Instrument would require prior clearance by the European Commission before it could be laid in this House; and, if so, whether such clearance has been sought.[HL2034]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Under the EU Treaty provisions relating to state aids, the planned revision of the statutory film definition must be cleared by the EU Commission prior to being laid before Parliament. We are currently awaiting that clearance. Assuming no unforeseen delays in the clearance process, we intend to lay the statutory instrument in time for it to come into force in July.

The revision is intended to make the criteria set out in Schedule 1 to the Films Act 1985 more practical and user-friendly. Schedule 1 criteria apply to films made principally in the UK. International co-productions will continue to qualify as British films if they fulfil the terms of the UK's international co-production agreements.

Electronic Interfaces with the Public

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What applications have been received to date from departments for financial assistance from the Invest to Save budget of £150 million over three years to establish electronic interfaces with the public.[HL2095]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Invest to Save budget has been increased from £150 million to £230 million over the three years 1999-2000 to 2001-02. The first bidding round held in 1998 resulted in 55 bids, of which 19 included development of electronic interfaces with the public. In total, 33 projects were successful and allocated a total of £120 million, and, of those, 10 projects allocated a total of £87 million will establish or pilot electronic interfaces with the public. They are listed below.

Lead DepartmentProject OutlineCost (£000)
Cabinet OfficeOne-stop-shop pilot for local authorities to provide regulatory information to the public 100
Department of Culture, Media and SportLocal pilot to develop a website bringing together tourist and transport information 50
Department of Environment, Transport and the RegionsPilot to allow drivers to apply for vehicle tax discs by telephone and internet technology279
Department for Education and EmploymentSingle Work Focused Gateway, which includes developing call centre pilots to provide claimants with benefit, jobsearch and training information 79,540
Department for Education and EmploymentPilot to test whether access to Jobcentre information is more effective through a call centre2,912
Department of Finance and Personnel (N.I.)Prototyping software for vehicles-related data enabling electronic delivery of service to, amongst others, the general public356
Department of Finance and Personnel (N.I.)Pilot to develop self service kiosk technology to provide work and benefit related information to the public 200
Inland RevenuePilot to provide online central and local government information, tailored to individual need210
Office for National StatisticsFeasibility study for a single business register across central and local government 440
HM Land RegistryOnline system for providing land and property information through a central database2,700

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UK and Euro-area Interest Rate Comparisons

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What, at the latest available date, are the real short-term interest rates and long-term interest rates of the United Kingdom and the Euroland eleven respectively; and what have been the real short and long-term interest rates of the United Kingdom and Germany in each of the past 10 years.[HL2063]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: For the UK, using RPIX inflation, short-term real interest rates are currently 2.5 per cent. and long-term (10-year) real interest rates are 1.75 per cent. For the euro-area, using HICP inflation, short-term real interest rates are currently 1.7 per cent. and long-term real interest rates are 3.1 per cent.

Data on short-term and long-term real interest rates for the UK and Germany for each of the past 10 years are given in tables 1 and 2 below.

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Table 1: Short-term real interest rates


Calculated from OECD economic outlook: annex tables 36, 37 and 17.

Table 2: Long-term real interest rates


Calculated from OECD economic outlook: annex tables 36, 37 and 17.

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