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Personal Injury Cases

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he will publish a consultation paper on periodical payments for future loss and care costs in personal injury cases. [43088]

Mr. Wills: The Lord Chancellor has today published the consultation paper "Damages for Future Loss: Giving the Courts the Power to Order Periodical Payments for Future Loss and Care Costs in Personal Injury Cases". The consultation paper proposes that the courts should have the power to award damages for future loss and care costs in the form of periodical payments. Responses to the consultation are sought by 7 June 2002. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Fatal Accidents (Bereavement Damages)

Linda Gilroy: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will change the level

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of bereavement damages awarded under section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and Article 3A(5) of the Fatal Accidents (Northern Ireland) Order 1977. [43087]

Mr. Wills: The Lord Chancellor laid before Parliament yesterday orders increasing the level of bereavement damages from £7,500 to £10,000 to reflect the increase in inflation since the figure was last revised in 1991. The orders will take effect from 1 April 2002.

Citizen's Advice Bureaux

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what funding the Government provide each year to the Citizen's Advice Bureaux; and if he will make a statement. [41220]

Dr. Whitehead [holding answer 7 March 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

Individual Citizen's Advice Bureaux are funded through a variety of sources, including lottery money, and by local authorities who decide on the level of funding in the light of their own assessment of local needs and the resources available to them. Central Government provide support for local authorities in this area through general grant. The Legal Services Commission, a non- departmental public body, also provides funding to some Citizens Advice Bureaux through the system of contracting, introduced as part of the arrangements for the community legal service.


Small Landlords

Margaret Moran: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the British Federation of Landlords and Private Tenants associations on bringing small landlords within the same tax regime as other small businesses. [41668]

Dawn Primarolo: Ministers and civil servants have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals as part of the process of policy development and analysis. I refer to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 689W, stating that as with previous Administrations it is not this Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the "Ministerial Code", the "Civil Service Code" and "Guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists".


Ms Walley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who provided, or is providing, the (a) windows and (b) doors for the refurbishment of the Treasury building. [41349]

Ruth Kelly: Oakmead have provided the new and replacement windows. Ruddy Joinery have provided the bulk of the new doors.

Ms Walley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what organisation provided the certification for the doors and windows for the refurbishment of the Treasury

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building to show that they were produced from sustainably managed sources; and if he will place a copy of these certificates in the Library. [41350]

Ruth Kelly: A number of companies have provided the necessary certification for this refurbishment. A copy of the certificates will be placed in the Library at the earliest suitable opportunity.

Inland Revenue

Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Minister has responsibility for ensuring that the rules laid down by the Civil Service Management Code are observed within the Inland Revenue. [42054]

Dawn Primarolo: The direct responsibility lies with the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue as the Head of the Non-Ministerial Department. He exercises his responsibilities under the general direction of Treasury Ministers.


Mr. Hood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome was of the ECOFIN Council held in Brussels on 5 March; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. [42705]

Mr. Gordon Brown: The Paymaster General and I attended the ECOFIN Council.

ECOFIN agreed a Key Issues Paper on the 2002 Broad Economic Policy Guidelines, which will be submitted to the Barcelona European Council. Ministers also agreed reports on structural reform, increasing labour market participation and promoting active aging and healthcare and care for the elderly. They also adopted an ECOFIN report on the integration of environmental and sustainable development into economic policy making.

ECOFIN discussed the mid-term review of the Financial Services Action Plan and agreed that progress should be accelerated to meet the deadlines agreed at the Lisbon European Council.

ECOFIN endorsed the European Commission's study on globalisation and development and agreed a statement on it. Ministers also considered a Commission report on the preparation of the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey. I called for European Union member states to lead the way on global social justice, to set out a strong EU position in support of the aims of the conference, and specifically to make a new commitment to increasing overseas development assistance as a proportion of Gross National Product. This issue was discussed further at the General Affairs Council on 11 March.

An opinion on the Danish Convergence Programme was agreed and the Commission's oral update on the transition to the euro was noted.

ECOFIN agreed Council priorities for the 2003 budget. Ministers also noted the implementation of initiatives to improve management and accounting in order to combat fraud and irregularity, and consequently agreed a recommendation that the European Parliament grant discharge of the 2000 budget. The Commission outlined

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its Green Paper on the European Public Prosecutor. There was widespread agreement to see how the new Eurojust fared before considering alternatives.

Ministers discussed a number of proposals for strengthening EU development assistance to the Mediterranean region. No agreement was reached at this stage on the potential role of a new financing institution, and ECOFIN will consider the matter further at its meeting on 14 March ahead of the Barcelona European Council.

The Presidency presented a paper on administrative cooperation on tax matters. The paper will be considered further by the Fiscal Questions Group and ECOFIN will then be asked to adopt a report to the Seville European Council in June. The Paymaster General, in her role as Chair of the Code of Conduct Group, delivered an oral report on the Group's progress and its work programme under the Spanish Presidency. There will be a further update on the Group's work at the ECOFIN in June. No votes were taken at the meeting.

Stamp Duty

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 28 February 2002, Official Report, column 815, on stamp duty, what the value was of property transactions of less than £150,000 in the three months immediately prior to the introduction of the stamp duty exemption in the 2,000 most deprived wards. [42621]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not available.

Equitable Life

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the situation regarding Equitable Life. [42685]

Dawn Primarolo: Equitable Life's current situation is a matter for the society's board and for the members of the society.


Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people completed self-assessment income tax forms in (a) 1998–99, (b) 1999–2000 and (c) 2000–01. [42594]

Dawn Primarolo: No details are held of the number of people who completed self-assessment tax returns. The number of completed tax returns for each tax year received by the Inland Revenue in the following tax year is as follows:

Share Incentive Plans

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many share incentive plans have received Inland Revenue approval. [42001]

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Dawn Primarolo: 292 share incentive plans have received Inland Revenue approval up to 6 March 2002 and a further 140 plans are in the final stages of the approval process.

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