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Legal Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what legal costs have been incurred by his Department in each of the last four years. [34294]

Ruth Kelly: The table shows the legal fees incurred by the Treasury, Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue 1997–98. Figures for the current year are not yet available.

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£ million

HM TreasuryHM Customs and ExciseInland Revenue
1997–980.818.613.3
1998–991.720.711.9
1999–20001.422.617.1
2000–011.224.122.0

Accountancy Services

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost to his Department was for accountancy services in each of the last four years. [34169]

Ruth Kelly: It has not been possible to establish the cost of accountancy services in HM Treasury, Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise.

The information is not held in the format required and any further examination would be of a disproportional cost.

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Economic Statistics

Mr. Swire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list for (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland, (e) each English region and (f) each local authority in the United Kingdom (i) GDP per head of population, (ii) average gross weekly full-time earnings, (iii) average gross weekly household incomes, (iv) VAT registrations as a percentage of stock business and (v) VAT registered business per 10,000 population aged 16 and over. [34305]

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. Hugo Swire, dated 11 February 2002:



Information required for (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland, (e) each English region and (f) each local authority in the United Kingdom

InformationSource
(i) GDP per head of populationRegional Accounts articles in (a) Economic Trends March 2001 and (b) Economic Trends May 2001 www.statistics.ons.gov.uk/regional accounts: (a) GDP per capita for the countries and regions up to 1999 and (b) GDP per capita for sub-regions and local areas up to 1998
(ii) Average gross weekly full-time earningsNew Earnings Survey data are available from the NOMIS labour market data system. Countries and Regions of the United Kingdom and Local Authority District level information is available
(iii) Average gross weekly household incomesFamily Spending (2002), provides average gross weekly household incomes for Countries and Regions of the United Kingdom
(iv) VAT registrations as a percentage of stock business and (v) VAT registered business per 10,000 population aged 16 and overVAT registration statistics are available from the Small Business Service of Department of Trade and Industry at www.sbs.gov.uk/statistics. Countries and Regions of the United Kingdom and Local Authority District level information is available.

Commonwealth Education Fund

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the creation of a Commonwealth Education Fund; who will be in charge of it; and whether the £10 million funding will be for 2002 only. [34761]

Mr. Boateng: Under Clare Short's leadership, DFID have committed over £600 million since 1997 to achieving universal primary education. The Commonwealth Education Fund will complement this effort by supporting civil society to help Commonwealth Governments to ensure that the poorest and most marginalised children are able to enrol in and complete good quality primary education. The fund will support innovative ways of working with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children (including street children, former child soldiers and nomadic children). It will also help promote public participation in education planning and delivery in the Commonwealth.

The Government have pledged an initial £10 million to kick-start the fund. They will also match contributions by business, pound for pound including tax relief. Money raised by this year's Comic Relief "Sports Day" earmarked for education in Commonwealth countries will also be matched pound for pound, including tax relief, by the Government.

Work in preparing the details of the Commonwealth Education Fund is on-going and we hope to make a further announcement on 26 February.

Debt Relief

Mr. Reed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to promote a bankruptcy process for nations burdened with unpayable debts. [34760]

Mr. Boateng: Over the past three years, the Government have been working with our G7 partners to reform the international financial architecture and to deliver an international financial system that is less prone to crises and better able to withstand them when they occur. A key component of this reform effort has been the development of a new framework for private sector involvement in crisis prevention and resolution which ensures that all parties who benefit form the international financial system play their part in maintaining stability.

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Recent experience has highlighted some of the legal and practical obstacles that may prevent countries with unsustainable private debt burdens from restructuring those debts in a timely and orderly manner. An international bankruptcy procedure has the potential to address some of these obstacles and thereby improve the overall operability of the crisis resolution framework. The Government therefore welcome the recent proposal by the IMF to explore options for establishing a new Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism.

Separately, the UK continues to work hard to ensure that the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative delivers a sustainable relief from debt for eligible countries. We also call on other countries to follow our leads on bilateral policies, such as 100 per cent. relief at Decision Point, and in holding payments in trust for those countries yet to receive debt relief. Already 24 countries have qualified for debt relief, and they will benefit from over $56 billion in debt reduction, which will bring their debts to below the average of developing countries.

HEALTH

Medical Students

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many medical students in universities in 1997 were expected to qualify in the period 1998 to 2002. [27230]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

The available data are given in the table. Figures for the number of medical students graduating in 2002 will be available in January 2003.

Students on first degree medical courses(26) in HE institutions in the UK

Number
Students enrolled in 1997–98(27)24,360
of which, those graduating in:
19985,160
19994,910
20005,160
20015,160

(26) Includes home domiciled and overseas students on clinical and pre-clinical medical courses. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.

(27) Census count as at 1 December 1997.


Following a review of the medical workforce, published in December 1997 which recommended that the intake to medical schools in the UK should be increased by 1,000 a year, and the commitments made in the Year 2000 NHS Plan, the number of places available to study medicine will increase to almost 5,900 by 2006—an increase of some 2,150 over 1997 levels.

Disabled Doctors

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of doctors graduated from medical school this year who are registered disabled. [24660]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 8 January 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

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The latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in 2001 6 per cent. of UK domiciled students who graduated in medicine reported that they had a disability.

Agency Nurses

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent by each acute trust on agency nurses as (a) a total annual amount and (b) a proportion of the annual expenditure in each of the last three years for which records are available. [16397]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested has been placed in the Library.


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