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Pension Funds

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the timetable is for the phased abolition of the minimum funding requirement applicable to pension funds. [7998]

Mr. McCartney: On 7 March 2001 the Government announced their proposals to replace the minimum funding requirement (MFR) with a long-term scheme specific funding standard, with additional measures to strengthen security. Our proposals offer better protection that provides more effective security for scheme members without damaging consequences for investment.

On 18 September 2001 we published "The Minimum Funding Requirement: The Next Stage of Reform". This document seeks views on the workability of draft regulations that introduce changes to the current MFR regime in advance of its replacement. The consultation period ends on 10 December 2001, and we plan to introduce these changes early next year.

Implementing our proposals to replace the MFR in full will require primary legislation, and in the meantime we are working with the pensions industry and other interested parties to develop proposals for legislation when parliamentary time becomes available.


Climate Change Levy

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the projected cost is to (a) UK and (b) Scottish industry of implementation of the climate change levy over the next three years. [6501]

Mr. Boateng: The climate change levy will raise an estimated £1 billion in its first year, all of which will be recycled back to business through national insurance contribution cuts and support for energy efficiency. While the levy is broadly revenue neutral, it is not possible to say at this stage what the effects on any specific country, sector or industry will be. That will depend on a number of factors including:

Thalidomide Trust

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the Thalidomide Trust about issues arising from the Diageo Covenant. [6166]

Dawn Primarolo: The Chancellor receives a number of representations from a variety of organisations.

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Frozen Assets (Afghanistan)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the Taliban assets in the UK which are frozen; when assets of the (a) Afghan National Credit and Finance and (b) the National Trading Company of Afghanistan were frozen; and what the value of frozen assets is. [8013]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 15 October 2001]: The UK Government have frozen £63 million of Taliban assets since sanctions were introduced; details of the assets are listed in the table. No funds belonging to Afghan National Credit and Finance have been frozen in the UK. The National Trading Company of Afghanistan assets were frozen on Friday 5 October 2001 as a temporary measure. When the freeze lapsed, we decided to take no further action as they work for the state of Afghanistan and not the Taliban, and are therefore not covered by the UN sanctions.

Bank/companyNumber of accounts(33)Sterling value (£ million)
Pashtany Tejaraty bank63
Banke Millie114.5
Da Afghanistan bank1355
Ariana Airlines20.4
Khalid Al-Fawwaz123.19

(33) Approximately

Terrorist Bank Accounts

Mr. Allen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what global resources he has proposed since 11 September and to which bodies in respect of the use of off-shore bank accounts by terrorists and others. [7313]

Ruth Kelly: The UN resolutions are binding upon all states, which are expected to apply them as a matter of international law.

Health and Education Expenditure

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a breakdown of the proportion of total gross domestic product spent by EU states on health and education in the most recent year for which figures are available, indicating the private and public portion of each nation's expenditure. [7794]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The latest information on health is contained in the "Compendium of Health Statistics", a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has its own definition of education spending as a proportion of GDP. Their figures for each European Union country were published in "Education at a Glance", a copy of which has been placed in the Library. The latest figures for expenditure as a proportion of GDP for the UK were provided by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills in her reply to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 20 July 2001, Official Report, column 776W.

Airline Industry (State Aid)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussion he has had with the (a) DTI, (b) European

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Commission and (c) representatives of UK airlines regarding possible state aid for the airline industry; and if he will make a statement. [7780]

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans the Government have to offer financial assistance to British airlines. [7464]

Mr. Andrew Smith: I refer the hon. Gentlemen to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson), on 16 October 2001, Official Report, column 1169W to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable).

Census Data (Bromley)

Mr. Forth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when the full census data for Bromley will be published; [7968]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the national statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Eric Forth, dated 16 October 2001:

16 Oct 2001 : Column: 1214W

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