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Euro

David Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the value of euro-based transactions in the United Kingdom since the introduction of the currency. [41421]

Ruth Kelly: The Government have not made any estimate of the value of euro-based transactions in the UK.

It is entirely a commercial decision for UK business to determine whether or not they wish to accept the euro or any other foreign currency.

Guaranteed Equity Bond

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the accounting arrangements are for National Savings and Investments' Guaranteed Equity Bond. [41860]

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Ruth Kelly: As with most other National Savings and Investments instruments, the Guaranteed Equity Bond is a liability of the National Loans Fund (NLF). In order to avoid exposing the Exchequer to movements in equity prices, a matching equity index swap is being executed on the Debt Management Account (DMA) and managed by the debt management office.

Both NLF and DMA accounting officers are content that appropriate risk management processes are in place and that, overall, the GEB will provide cost-effective financing for the Government that is consistent with National Savings and Investments' primary role.

London Underground

Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether capital expenditure on London Underground by means of (a) private sector companies and (b) bond funding raised by London Underground falls within the general Government financial deficit; whether such capital expenditure is included in the public sector borrowing requirement; and if he will make a statement. [34901]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Capital expenditure by London Underground Ltd. (LUL), financed by its own borrowing, would increase public sector net borrowing. It would not increase general Government net borrowing because LUL is a public corporation: these are outside general Government but inside the public sector.

In accordance with generally accepted accounting practice, capital invested in London Underground (LUL) by the private sector would not count as public expenditure, and would not be included in the public sector net borrowing, if LUL's accountants and auditors judged that the assets should be off LUL's balance sheet. If the accountants judged it was on balance sheet then it would count as public expenditure and be included in public sector net borrowing. The PPP saves £2 billion of public money over the first 15 years of the contracts, in comparison to funding the same projects through conventional public investment. The plans will mean £16 billion of investment over the next 15 years.

Advertising

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the expenditure was per campaign for the five most expensive media advertising campaigns his Department undertook in the past five parliamentary Sessions including the current parliamentary Session in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland; and for the last two parliamentary Sessions and the current Session, when each advertising campaign (i) began and (ii) ended in (A) Scotland, (B) England, (C) Wales and (D) Northern Ireland; [37400]

Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Turner) on 17 January 2002, Official Report, column 423W, and also to the answer given to the then hon. Member for

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Guildford (Mr. St. Aubyn) on 18 May 2000, Official Report, column 258W, by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary.

As to further breakdown of expenditure, such figures could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Lakshmi Mittal

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason (a) Mr. Lakshmi Mittal and (b) LNM Holdings do not pay tax in the United Kingdom. [38399]

Dawn Primarolo: Under Section 182 of the Finance Act 1989 the Inland Revenue cannot comment on the tax position of particular individuals or companies.

Foreign Nationals (Tax Status)

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will implement his plan to end non-domiciled tax status for foreign nationals resident in the UK. [38772]

Dawn Primarolo: The Chancellor keeps all aspects of the tax system under review.

Staff Promotion

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the criteria are for the promotion of staff in HM Customs and Excise in Northern Ireland who have served less than one year in their previous job band. [40402]

Mr. Boateng: The criteria for the promotion of staff in HM Customs and Excise in Northern Ireland vary depending on the specific job requirements, as defined in the role profile for each job, and the business requirements which the vacancy seeks to address.

Staff serving less than one year in their current job band may apply for a post in a higher job band providing they meet the criteria for the post and their conduct, performance and attendance clearly meet the required standards. In a promotional situation no time in band restriction applies.

Smaller Quoted Companies

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the barriers to institutional and retail investment in smaller quoted companies. [40247]

Dawn Primarolo: A number of assessments have been made. The Government commissioned the Myners Review in 2000 to look at factors that may be distorting the investment decision-making of institutions. The Review reported in March 2001 and found weaknesses in the investment process that affected all quoted companies, including smaller quoted companies. In addition, a working group on smaller quoted companies was set up in August 1998 and reported to the Treasury in October 1998. The Department of Trade and Industry also participated in two tranches of work dealing with SQC issues with findings from both published in 1999.

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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if a platform to encourage a wider shareholder base actively interested in investing in smaller quoted companies has been established. [40254]

Dawn Primarolo: In 1995 the London stock exchange created the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). This has helped to create a focus to encourage investor interest in smaller quoted companies with growth potential. Over 850 companies have used AIM since it was created. The Government have taken further steps to encourage investment in smaller quoted companies by introducing attractive capital gains tax taper relief for investors investing in AIM.

Tax Losses

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the tax losses due to tax-free non-domicile status in each of the last three full financial years, distinguishing between the general categories of taxation. [40562]

Dawn Primarolo: Individuals who are not domiciled here are liable on UK income and gains as they arise and on overseas income and gains which are remitted or brought to this country.

Any estimate of comparative tax yield would depend on what it was assumed would apply in place of the current rules.

Rail Journeys (Staff)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy that rail journeys undertaken by staff in his Department should ordinarily be on standard class tickets. [40437]

Ruth Kelly: Treasury officials' travel is carried out in accordance with Paragraph 8.2.1. of the 'Civil Service Management Code'.

Pensioners

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the total cost to the Exchequer of NIC rebates for those contracting out of the state earnings related pension scheme; and if he will provide separate estimates for (a) employees and (b) employers, identifying within each subtotal the rebates applicable in the case of (i) salary-related schemes and (ii) money-purchase schemes. [40766]

Ruth Kelly: This information is contained in the "Report by the Government Actuary on the Social Security Benefits Uprating Order 2002 and the Social Security Contributions Re-rating and National Insurance Funds Payments 2002" (Cm 5383).

Gender Pay Gap

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the extent of the gender pay gap among staff in his Department. [40990]

Ruth Kelly: In response to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) task force "Just Pay" report, the Government have committed Departments and agencies to review their pay systems by April 2003 and prepare action plans to close any equal pay gaps. The Cabinet

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Office issued comprehensive guidance in January 2002 to assist Departments and agencies in carrying out these reviews. All Departments and agencies have until April 2003 to complete an equal pay review and prepare the necessary action plans to close any equal pay gaps.

The Inland Revenue has begun analysing its pay systems with a view to identifying any gender pay gaps. HM Treasury will shortly be developing their strategy for carrying out the review. HM Customs and Excise will be carrying out an equal pay audit during 2002.


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