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Savings Ratio

26. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the ratio of savings to income over the last four years; and if he will make a statement. [150162]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The November 2000 pre-Budget report gave an assessment of developments in household saving and borrowing in Box A4, page 155.


27. Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the level of taxation. [150163]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Chancellor receives a large number of representations on tax policy.

VAT (Church Repairs)

28. Mr. Beith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has completed his consultation about the relief from VAT for repairs to places of worship. [150164]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave on 7 February 2001, Official Report, column 662W.

Departmental Performance Targets

32. Mr. Fallon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the role of the Treasury in setting performance targets for other Departments. [150168]

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Mr. Andrew Smith: Performance management is integral to the management of every Government Department and public sector body. Most Departments will set performance targets at a range of levels within the organisation.

As part of the spending review process the discussion of allocation of resources (inputs) is now accompanied by discussion of the level of service that can be achieved (outcomes). Departments set strategic objectives and targets in the form of public service agreements (PSAs). These are discussed at the Cabinet Committee on Public Services and Public Expenditure (PSX) and with the Treasury.

Interest Rates and Mortgages

34. Mr. Alan W. Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the effect of the Government's economic policies has been on the level of interest rates and the average cost of mortgages; and if he will make a statement. [150170]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Government policies have delivered economic stability and historically low interest rates. Payments on the average mortgage are over £1,000 a year lower than on average between 1979 and 1997.

World Recession

35. Sir Peter Tapsell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he is preparing to guard the UK from the effects on the economy of a possible world recession. [150171]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Under the Government's macroeconomic framework, policy-makers are able to react proactively to global developments in a manner that will promote economic stability. The forthcoming Budget, on March 7, will provide an updated assessment of domestic and international developments.


36. Tony Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what savings have been made as a result of the introduction of self-assessment by the Inland Revenue. [150172]

Dawn Primarolo: The introduction of self-assessment was a long-term investment involving significant costs for the Inland Revenue and savings will emerge by 2005. By the year 2000-01, however, cash savings of £145 million have already been deducted from the Revenue baseline.

Renewal Technologies

38. Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on fiscal incentives for renewal technologies. [150174]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Government have a range of policies to support renewable energy, including exemption for most renewables from the Climate Change Levy, the proposed Renewables Obligation and £100 million of grants over the next three years to support offshore wind and energy crops.

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Climate Change Levy

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the additional cost to manufacturing industry of the introduction of the climate change levy, broken down sector by sector. [150121]

Mr. Timms: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) on 18 December 2000, Official Report, columns 81-82W.


Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of his measures designed to reduce youth and long term unemployment. [150154]

Mr. Timms: Through the New Deal for Young People we have helped nearly 270,000 young unemployed people into jobs, further building upon the Government's manifesto commitment to help 250,000 into jobs this Parliament. In addition, over 60,000 long-term unemployed people have been helped to move from welfare and into work through the New Deal for the Long-Term Unemployed.

Recent independent evaluation of the New Deal for Young People has shown that over 200,000 young people left unemployment earlier than they would have done without the programme, with 60,000 entering into employment.

The New Deal helps the young and long-term unemployed to secure jobs as the most effective way of enhancing their earnings, increasing their skills and securing their future economic independence. Furthermore, New Deal is just part of the Government's package of measures aimed at providing employment opportunity for all, by helping people to compete effectively for jobs, increasing work incentives and addressing the specific labour market problems of particular groups of people or local areas.

Minimum Wage

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many workers were being paid less than £3.70 per hour in real terms in each of the last 20 years. [141681]

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Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 11 February 2001]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Chris Ruane, dated 28 February 2001:

Table 1: Number of jobs in the United Kingdom for workers aged 22 and over paid at less than £3.50, £3.60 and £3.70 per hour

Hourly paid Number of jobs (thousands)
less thanSpring 1998Spring 1999Spring 2000

This improved methodology cannot be used to produce estimates before spring 1998 because it makes use of an LFS variable that is not available for earlier years. The introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) has changed the distribution of pay rates across the lower pay bands. The NMW was introduced in April 1999 with an adult rate for workers aged 22 and over of £3.60 per hour. The rate was increased to £3.70 per hour in October 2000. The impact of this increase is not reflected in figures for spring 2000 as they relate to an earlier period.
The estimates cannot be used as a measure of non-compliance with the NMW legislation because it is not possible from either the LFS or the NES to identify whether an individual is eligible for NMW rates. For example, it is not possible to identify people such as apprentices, those undergoing accredited training or those with accommodation supplied who are exempt from the NMW or are entitled to lower rates.