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Information for Social Care Scheme

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the financial impact on local authorities of the Information for Social Care scheme. [25779]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 January 2002]: Plans recently submitted by councils with social services responsibilities to the Department indicate a financial requirement for taking forward Information for Social Care as part of the wider 'Modernising Government' agenda. In recognition of the need, and in addition to funding provided by the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions under the wider agenda, the Department of Health is providing a capital grant over three years to help each council improve the quality of their welfare services through the better use of information and information technology.

Romanian Adoptions

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many adoptions from Romania have taken place in each of the last four years. [26493]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The table shows how many Romanian adoption applications the Department has processed in each of the last four years.

Romanian inter-country adoption applications processed by
the Department of Health

Number
20014
200023
19998
199817

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department has altered its policies on inter-country adoptions from Romania since 1997. [26495]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 January 2002]: An informal Co-operation Agreement between the Department and the Romanian Committee for Adoptions was signed on 17 February 1998. A copy of the Co-operation Agreement has been placed in the Library for information. The agreement was drawn up in consultation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, following the introduction of new adoption legislation in Romania in 1997. The co-operation agreement embodies the principles of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption 1993.

A one year moratorium on international adoptions from Romania was announced by the Romanian National Authority for Child Protection and Adoption, formerly

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the Romanian Committee for Adoptions, on 13 July, following a recommendation from the European Parliament.

Hospital Star Ratings

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action has been taken with regard to each of the chief executives of NHS hospital trusts awarded zero stars in his star rating exercise in 2001; and if he will list them. [26086]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The Department, in conjunction with the Modernisation Agency is assessing what progress has been made to improve performance in the 12 national health service trusts who were given a zero star rating in September 2001. These considerations are not yet complete.

Digital Hearing Aids

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the criteria were for the selection of NHS trusts announced on 25 May 2000 in the project to provide access to digital hearing aids; and what the criteria will be for the selection of those which were the subject of his press release on Christmas Eve 2001. [25995]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 January 2002]: National health service trusts were invited to be part of the project on the basis of geographical spread, preparedness to modernise, and the commitment of the local health community to the aims of the project. The criteria for selection for the next wave have yet to be determined.

Norwich and Norfolk Hospital

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when his Department received an application from the Norwich and Norfolk hospital for contingency funding, and when such a grant was approved; [27013]

Mr. Milburn: Officials within the Department have control over a small fund to deal with particular pressures on local health services. £75,000 was agreed for the Norfolk and Norwich Health Care National Health Service Trust on 21 December 2001 to cover significant staff sickness. The money was used to fund extra shifts and additional child care costs of staff with family responsibilities to extend their hours. £250,000 was agreed on 9 January 2002 to buy operations in the private sector to free up capacity for emergencies in the trust and to reduce waits for elective surgery, prior to the opening of an additional 144-bed unit later this year on the new hospital site. This is in line with well-established procedures for monitoring local health services. A number of other NHS trusts have already received support through this fund. Others will receive support throughout the year.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the questions tabled by the hon. Member for Hull, North on 26 October 2001 regarding MMR. [25949]

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Yvette Cooper: I replied to my hon. Friend on 11 January.

Preserved Rights and Residential Allowances

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proposals he has to compensate local authorities, following the latest RSG settlement, for the shift of responsibility from central to local government for people with preserved rights and residential allowances. [26356]

Jacqui Smith: Details of the money local authorities will receive in 2002–03 on account of their new responsibilities towards people with preserved rights and the phasing out of the residential allowance were announced on 4 December and published in Circular LASSL(2001)13, a copy of which is available on the Department of Health website at www.doh.gov.uk. I shall arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library.

TREASURY

Earnings

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average weekly earnings were of the (a) lowest and (b) highest decile of all employees in each of the last five years. [26268]

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

Letter from John Kidgell to Mr. John Bercow, dated 14 January 2001:



Gross weekly earnings of full-time employees on adult rates(20) Great Britain; not seasonally adjusted
£

Lowest decileHighest decile
April 1996166.9571.8
April 1997175.3590.1
April 1998182.3618.5
April 1999190.0645.0
April 2000197.9662.2

(20) Whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence

Source:

New Earnings Survey


Euro

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much, since the introduction of the euro, interest rates have changed in (a) each country in the EU, (b) the US and (c) Japan. [26004]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The changes in interest rates in these countries since the start of 1999 are as follows:

Percentage

1 January 199910 January 2002
Euro area(21) 33.25
UK(22) 6.254
Sweden(23) 3.403.75
Denmark(24) 3.53.25
USA(25) 4.751.75
Japan(26) 0.250.001

(21) Key financing rate

(22) Bank of England base rate

(23) Riksbank repo rate

(24) Discount rate

(25) Federal Funds rate

(26) Unsecured overnight call rate


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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the value of the euro against (a) the pound sterling, (b) the US dollar and (c) the Japanese yen has changed since its introduction. [26002]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 January 2002]: The information is as follows:

Exchange rate comparisons1 January 19999 January 2002
UK £ to euro0.7060.617
US dollar to euro1.1740.889
Japanese yen to euro132.5117.8

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he will take to ensure that measures taken to control bureaux de change and prevent money laundering are applied to retail outlets accepting euro- denominated notes and coins. [26008]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 January 2002]: All UK institutions and persons are obliged, by law, to report to the proper authorities any financial transactions linked to terrorism or drug trafficking which they become aware of in the course of their trade, business or profession. Retail outlets, along with the rest of the population, are covered by this obligation, irrespective of the currency in which the payment is made.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much (a) the retail prices index, (b) GDP, (c) unemployment, (d) employment and (e) taxation as a proportion of GDP or equivalent, has changed since the introduction of the euro in (i) each country in the EU, (ii) the US and (iii) Japan. [26003]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 January 2002]: International data on retail prices and gross domestic product are available in "Economic Outlook", OECD (eds.). Data on unemployment and employment can be found in "Employment Outlook", OECD (eds.). Information on taxation as a proportion of GDP can be found in "OECD Revenue Statistics 1965–2000". All of these publications are available in the Library of the House.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much average incomes have changed, since the introduction of the euro, in (a) each country in the EU, (b) the US and (c) Japan. [26005]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 January 2002]: International comparisons of disposable income per capita are available in "Main Economic Indicators", OECD (eds.). Comparisons of wage levels across OECD

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countries are available in "Taxing Wages", OECD (eds.). These publications are available in the Library of the House.

Mr. Allen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will calculate how much it would cost to supply every household in the United Kingdom with a free sterling to euro calculator. [24958]

Ruth Kelly: The Government's policy on membership of the single currency is unchanged. The determining factor underpinning any Government decision on membership of the single currency is the national economic interest and whether the economic case for joining is clear and unambiguous.

Mr. Randall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the amount of public money which has been spent on preparing British business for the arrival of the euro. [26946]

Ruth Kelly: Details of expenditure on business euro preparations were set out in the Treasury's Fifth Report on Euro Preparations, published on 4 November 2001. Copies of this were deposited in the Library of the House.


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