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Acting on the advice of the Bank and the FSA, my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week took action to protect the retail depositors in three Icelandic banking operations in the UK: Icesave, a UK-based branch of Landsbanki; Heritable a UK-based banking subsidiary of Landsbanki; and Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, a UK-based banking subsidiary of Kaupthing Bank.
Using powers under the Banking (Special Provisions Act) 2008, retail deposits in Heritable and Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander have been transferred to ING Direct. Savers money is safe and secure. The Chancellor has also guaranteed retail deposits in Icesave in full. The Treasury and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme are working with the Icelandic authorities and their deposit insurance scheme to ensure that depositors in Icesave are paid back as quickly as possible. The Bank of England has also provided a short-term secured loan of up to £100 million to the London branch of Landsbanki to help ensure an orderly wind down and maximize the returns to UK creditors. The Government have also frozen the funds and financial assets held by Landsbanki. This is a precautionary measure to protect UK economic interests and we are continuing to work closely with the Icelandic authorities to ensure a fair process for UK creditors.
There is one organisation, Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Charities, which has £1.65 million of charitable funds deposited in the Icelandic bank, Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander. Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust has now merged with Imperial College NHS
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The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust released a statement on Friday 10 October confirming that it has a deposit of £7.5 million with the Icelandic bank, Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander. £1 million of this is NHS money and £6.5 million charity money. The Christie Hospital has taken legal advice and is working closely with the Financial Services Authority to ensure that it protect its deposits.
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust also has a deposit of £1 million with the Icelandic bank, Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander. All of this deposit is NHS money and the trust is working with its legal team to ensure that it protects its deposits.
The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust have confirmed that in neither case will any potential loss give rise to concerns as to their ability to continue to provide services.
Digital switchover is the process by which the UKs analogue television signals are switched off and replaced by digital television signals. Switchover will take place ITV region by ITV region. The next region to switch will be Border in November 2008.
In order to help those who may otherwise have difficulty in switching to digital, the Government, with the BBC, have established the digital switchover help scheme which provides digital equipment, installation and after-care support to those who:are aged 75 or over;have a significant disability; orare blind or partially sighted.
After further consideration, I have concluded that it would be reasonable to take the view that anyone resident in a care home is likely to have difficulty in making the switch to digital TV, and therefore should be eligible for help under the scheme. I therefore propose to extend the scheme eligibility criteria so as to include everyone normally resident in a care home. For the purposes of the help scheme, someone will be considered normally resident if they have been in a care home for six months or more, or if a care home manager expects them to have been resident for more than six months by the end of the eligibility period.
It is not possible to estimate accurately the number of additional people who will now be eligible for the help scheme as there are no centrally held figures on care home residents across the UK. However, a large number of those in care homes will already qualify under the existing eligibility criteria and our estimate is that the proposed change will bring about 100,000 new people within the help scheme.
Achieving a higher rate of growth is vital for the Caribbeans development. While the Caribbean has the natural resources and talent to be a global player, economic growth has been slow in recent decades. The region must diversify and become more competitive in order to prosper and achieve its significant potential.
Preferential trade agreements are coming to an end under international law, but new trade agreements, such as the European Partnership Agreement with the EU, provide significant opportunities for the region to grow and diversify.
I recently announced a series of changes to ministerial responsibilities. I have today placed in the Library of the House the Cabinet Office paper Machinery of Government: Economy, Business, Climate Change, Energy and Environment which sets out these changes in more detail.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I would like to inform Parliament that we have issued today an invitation to local authorities to make proposals which they consider would encourage the improvement of the economic, social or environmental well-being of local areas. The invitation falls under Section 2(1) of the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. A copy of the invitation has been deposited in the Library of the House.
Regulations relating to the Act were made on 9 October 2008 and laid before Parliament on 13 October 2008. They come into force on 3 November 2008. The regulations include further details about the procedure to be followed in relation to the submission of proposals under the Act. In particular, they require a local authority, before making any proposal, to establish or recognise a panel of representatives, consult it about the proposal, and to have regard to any guidance issued. The SI No. is 2008/2694.
Statutory guidance relating to the Act was published on 9 July 2008, as an annex to statutory guidance on the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (Creating Strong, Safe and Prosperous Communities: Statutory Guidance).
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