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4 Nov 2002 : Column 140W—continued


Currency Transfers

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what research he has commissioned regarding the transfer of currency across national boundaries using electronic technology; and if he will publish the results of this research; [79100]

Ruth Kelly: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not commissioned any research into bank charges for the transfer of currency across national boundaries in the European economic area or the transfer of currency across national boundaries using electronic technology.

Discretionary Trusts

Pete Wishart: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer how many discretionary trusts there are in the UK. [79353]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested is not available.

Economic Cycle

Mr Howard: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what assumption his Department has made regarding the end date of the current economic cycle; and if he will make a statement. [78649]

Ruth Kelly: Budget 2002 (HC 592) included an assessment of cyclical developments, in particular on pages 26 and 190 to 193. This assessment will be updated in the forthcoming pre-Budget report.

Economic Growth

Mr. Clappison: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to amend his growth forecasts in line with the recent forecast from the International Monetary Fund. [78836]

4 Nov 2002 : Column 141W

Ruth Kelly: The Government will publish an updated forecast for the UK economy in the forthcoming pre-Budget report.

Equitable Life

Mr. Clappison: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his Answer of 22nd October, Official Report, column 220W, on the Penrose inquiry, what criteria have been established in respect of decisions to withhold publication of Lord Penrose's report on legal and commercial grounds; and who will apply such criteria. [78892]

Ruth Kelly: It is our intention to make public as much as possible of the results of the inquiry. The presumption is that this will be the full report. However, much of the information being considered by the inquiry is subject to legal and commercial confidentiality restrictions, and such restrictions may also attach to information included in the report of the inquiry. It will not be possible to determine in advance of receiving the report from Lord Penrose whether any such restrictions prevent the report from being published in full.

Treasury Ministers will decide, on the basis of legal advice, whether it is possible to publish the whole of Lord Penrose's report within the restrictions relating to legal or commercial confidentiality.


Mr. Clappison: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what work is being undertaken by his Department in advance of a decision on whether to join the Eurozone; and if he will make a statement. [78883]

Ruth Kelly: The Government has said that it will complete an assessment of the five economic tests within two years of the start of this Parliament. The assessment has not yet started, but the necessary preliminary analysis technical work that is necessary to allow us to undertake the assessment within two years as promised is underway.

As we set out in the XPaper for the Treasury Select Committee on the Treasury's approach to the preliminary and technical work", issued on 6 September, XA number of supporting studies will be published encompassing the preliminary and technical work . . . When the assessment is complete, the detailed supporting studies will be published alongside, all to be subject to intensive public scrutiny and debate." More detail on the supporting studies is given in the 6 September paper.

4 Nov 2002 : Column 142W

GDP Estimates

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) for what reason gross domestic product estimates for the countries and regions of the United Kingdom are two years behind United Kingdom gross domestic product estimates; [79325]

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

Letter from L. Cook to Mr. Alex Salmond, dated 4 November 2002:

Table A: Gross Value Added: # person
North EastNorth West (GOR) and MerseysideYorkshire and the HumberEast MidlandsWest MidlandsEastLondon
1997(26) 9,30110,49410,54111,37110,84513,65715,266
1998(26) 9,74110,90910,98311,84811,45514,53016,532
1999(26) 10,02411,27311,40412,14611,90015,09416,859

4 Nov 2002 : Column 143W

United Kingdom
South EastSouth WestWalesScotlandNorthern IrelandExcluding Extra RegioIncluding Extra-Regio and stat. Discrepancy
1997(26) 13,63411,0089,56211,4299,50711,87112,118
1998(26) 14,51011,44710,06312,1179,75412,54812,750
1999(26) 15,09811,78210,44912,51210,05012,97213,213

(26) Provisional

National Insurance (Armed Forces)

Mr. Webb: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the periods in the last 30 years where the National Insurance Contributions regime for armed forces personnel were different to those that applied to ordinary employees, listing in each case (a) whether such arrangements were (i) voluntary and (ii) compulsory, (b) what rates of contribution applied, (c) whether separate rules applied to (i) men and (ii) women and (d) what benefits accrued in respect of these contributions. [77867]

Dawn Primarolo: [holding answer 29 October 2002]: Prior to 6 April 1996 serving members of Her Majesty's Forces paid National Insurance contributions at a reduced rate. The contributions paid built up entitlement to all contributory benefits although Contributory Jobseekers Allowance and Incapacity Benefit are not payable to serving members of Her Majesty's Forces. The amount of the reductions, which were compulsory, are shown in the table below.

Reduction in weekly primary (flat rate) NICs
DatesMen over 18Women over 18Men under 18Women under 18
2 October 1972 to 30 September 19730.
1 October 1973 to 4 August 19740.
5 August 1974 to 5 April 19750.

4 Nov 2002 : Column 144W

Percentage Reduction in Primary NICs
DatesStandard RateReduced Rate
6 April 1975 to
5 April 19780.80.2
6 April 1978 to
5 April 19820.70.15
6 April 1982 to
5 April 19841.050.5
6 April 1984 to
5 April 1988 0.90.9
6 April 1988 to
5 April 19890.80.8
6 April 1989 to
5 April 19900.650.65
6 April 1990 to
5 April 19910.70.7
6 April 1991 to
5 April 19920.60.6
6 April 1992 to
5 April 19930.40.4
6 April 1993 to
5 April 19950.50.5
6 April 1995 to
5 April 19960.40.4

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