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Lord Rooker: Despite above inflation increases in grant for all English local authorities in 200304, we were disappointed that the average council tax increase was 12.9 per cent. Having looked at the budget returns from all English authorities, we have considered very carefully whether to use our powers under Part IVA of the Local Government Act 1992 to cap any local authority budgets. We have decided against doing so this year.
Every local authority has a responsibility to its own taxpayers and electors. However, the Government are clear that the current trend in council tax rises is not sustainable. We will look at council tax rises very closely next year and we will also want to take account of the trend in increases over more than one year. Local authorities should be aware that we are prepared to use our targeted capping powers in 200405. In exceptional circumstances I do not rule out the possibility of capping authorities categorised as "good" or "excellent" in the current and future comprehensive performance assessments.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): It is too early to expect outcomes from investments made in research activities funded during 200203. It is in the nature of investment in research that it will take a number of years for the outputs to arise and their outcome and benefit to be evident.
The ESRC annual report (which was laid before both Houses of Parliament on 17 July 2003) provides a review of the work and investments of the ESRC during 200203. It includes information about the outcome and benefits arising from previous investments.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The information requested is contained in Child and Working Tax Statistics: Quarterly Statistics, July 2003. This is on the Inland Revenue website (www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/personaltaxcredits/menu.htm). This publication includes an analysis of the number of families receiving awards in income bands.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The migration assumptions underlying the official UK national population projections, produced by the Government Actuary's Department, use the internationally agreed definition of a migrant. A migrant is defined as someone who changes his or her country of usual residence for a period of at least a year so that the
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): The Home Office currently provides funding for certain organisations to provide immigration and asylum advice under Section 110 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. On transfer to the Legal Services Commission, the services will be subject to the same scope and quality assurance requirements as the rest of the asylum services funded through the Community Legal Service. The Home Office will be responsible for negotiating future funding arrangements in Scotland with the Scottish Legal Aid Board, because the Community Legal Service fund only covers work undertaken in England and Wales.
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