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|Table 2 : Cost of increasing the age addition to ( b) £1 in 2009-10 and (i) no linking, (ii) linking it to prices and (iii) earnings thereafter|
|(i) No linking||(ii) Prices||(iii) Earnings|
|Table 3 : Cost of increasing the age addition to ( c) £5 in 2009-10 and (i) no linking, (ii) linking it to prices and (iii) earnings thereafter|
|(i) No linking||(ii) Prices||(iii) Earnings|
|Table 4 : Cost of increasing the age addition to ( d) £10 in 2009-10 and (i) no linking, (ii) linking it to prices and (iii) earnings thereafter|
|(i) No linking||(ii) Prices||(iii) Earnings|
1. The cost for payments of the age addition in the last 12 months is as of March 2008 and is in £ million, for Great Britain, in 2008-09 terms, rounded to the nearest £5 million.
2. For the costs of administration of the age addition in the last 12 months, most of the process is automated and the clerical elements are so minor that it is incorporated into normal daily actions and not identified separately.
3. In tables 1 to 4, costs are in £ million, for Great Britain, in 2008-09 terms. For values less than £100 million, rounding is to the nearest £5 million, otherwise, to the nearest £10 million.
4. Treasury Economic Assumptions have been used for linking the age addition to earnings and prices.
5. The estimated number of individuals who currently receive the age addition is as of March 2008.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the (a) average, (b) lowest and (c) highest number of days was between the conditions for a cold weather payment being met and the payment being made to eligible recipients in the last 12 months, broken down by weather station area; 
(2) what the average time between the cold weather payments being triggered and payments being made was in respect of the most recent period of below-freezing temperatures when the payment has been made (a) manually and (b) automatically. 
Triggers based on recorded periods of seven consecutive days are notified on the day after the last day of the recorded period. Triggers based on forecast periods of seven consecutive days are notified on the first day of the forecast period. (This holds except when a trigger would be notified on a Saturday or a Sunday, when it is actually notified on the following Monday.) Payment scans are run at a weekend for triggers notified on the previous Monday to Thursday or on the Friday prior to that. Scan payments into bank accounts should arrive on the Wednesday after the weekend and cheque payments should be posted on the Monday after the weekend. Thus scan payments into bank accounts should arrive seven to 13 days after the temperature criterion has been met. Payments made clerically are not made as quickly as payments which can be made automatically. Information is not available on the split between payments into bank accounts and cheque payments, or on the time taken to process clerical payments, so the two questions cannot be answered.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people held in (a) Rampton, (b) Broadmoor, (c) Ashworth, (d) Carstairs and (e) Southall hospitals received the winter fuel payment in 2008-09. 
Some groups of people do not qualify for a winter fuel payment. A person will not qualify for a payment if during the qualifying week they were in hospital getting free in-patient treatment and had been getting such treatment for more than 52 weeks or they were in custody serving a sentence imposed by a court.
Jim Dowd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of identity theft insurance policies in relation to bank accounts; and what discussions his Department has had on the matter with (a) the Association of British Insurers and (b) the Royal Bank of Scotland. 
Ian Pearson: The Government have established an independent system of financial regulation that works through the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the lead regulator and the Office of Fair Trading. The Treasury is not responsible for the merits of the design of individual insurance products.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment the Financial Services Authority has made of whether the (a) chief executive, (b) chairman and (c) board members of each bank in receipt of public money meet the fit and proper person test. 
Ian Pearson: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent non-governmental body, given statutory powers by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). FSMA requires that persons carrying on certain controlled functions within an FSA authorised firm hold approved person status (including the governing functions such as executive director, non-executive director and CEO).
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require all financial businesses to register derivatives with the Financial Services Authority. 
Ian Pearson: Section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 requires that anyone dealing in, or arranging deals in, investments, be authorised by the Financial Services Authority. This includes firms or individuals trading in derivative products. The Government support the industry initiative to clear more credit default swaps through central counterparties (CCPs) and that the regulations for CCPs should be updated.
Ian Pearson: The Governments immediate priority is to continue to support the economy through these difficult times. As part of that, in addition to its regular monitoring of developments, HM Treasury has regular engagements with other Governments, including Canada, on a range of issues relating to the economy.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what dates (a) he, the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority and the Governor of the Bank of England and (b) their deputies met in their capacity as principals of the tripartite regulatory system between 1997 and 2007. 
Ian Pearson: The three authorities meet at a number of levels under the auspices of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a very regular basis. As a matter of course, we do not comment on meetings of the Standing Committee.
Ian Pearson: On 8 October 2008, the Government announced, as part of a comprehensive package of measures, the Credit Guarantee Scheme. The scheme took effect on 13 October and assists eligible institutions in refinancing maturing wholesale funding. Banks have drawn down some £100 billion of guarantees.
Ian Pearson: The Government introduced FSA regulation of mortgages in 2004. The FSAs regime provides important protections for borrowers. It requires lenders to treat their customers fairly, and to treat repossession as a last resort.
FSA regulation is supported by the new mortgage pre-action protocol introduced in November 2008. This sets out clear guidance on what actions the courts expect lenders to take before bringing a claim in the courts, to help ensure that repossessions are a last resort and that lenders have tried to discuss and agree other alternatives with the borrower.
Through the new Lending Panel, announced in the 2008 pre-Budget report, the Government are working closely with lenders, consumer groups and regulators to
monitor lending and support best practice by lenders. The major lenders on the Lending Panel have committed not to repossess where the owner-occupier is less than three months in arrears.
In December 2008, the Government announced a new Homeowner Mortgage Support Scheme, which will enable households that experience a significant and temporary loss of income as a result of the economic downturn to defer a proportion of the interest payments on their mortgage for up to two years. Further details are available at:
The Government have also launched a Mortgage Rescue Scheme to help borrowers facing repayment difficulties remain in their homes and this scheme has been extended to include second charge lending. Depending on homeowners circumstances, local authorities and housing associations can either buy a property and then rent it back to them, or buy a share of the property to reduce the households overall mortgage costs. More information is available at:
Yvette Cooper: The Government set out their policy on public debt in paragraphs 3.20 to 3.23 of the Governments Fiscal Framework, published alongside the 2008 pre-Budget report. This document is available at:
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what instructions his Department has given to the Royal Bank of Scotland in relation to loan requests made by small and medium-sized businesses to cover bad debt. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 23 February 2009]: Under the recapitalisation scheme announced last October, the Government have invested £19.97 billion in RBS. As part of their investment, the Government have agreed a range of commitments with RBS, including its restoring and maintaining the availability and active marketing of competitively priced lending to SMEs, at a level at least equivalent to that of 2007, until the end of 2011.
On 26 February, RBS announced its intention to participate in the Governments Asset Protection Scheme. As part of its agreement with the Government, RBS will increase its lending to businesses by £16 billion in 2009.
The Governments shareholdings in the banks supported by the recapitalisation scheme are managed on a commercial basis by an arms length company, UK Financial Investments Ltd. (UKFI). UKFIs objective is to protect and create value for the taxpayer as shareholder with due regard to the maintenance of financial stability and to act in a way that promotes competition.
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