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British Current Account Credits: Compound Growth

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics who has been asked to reply.

Letter to Lord Pearson of Rannoch from the Director of the Office for National Statistics, Dr. T. Holt, dated 14 September 1999.

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As Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary question on the compound growth of British current account credits.

The data requested are shown in the attached table. The ONS does not publish separate geographic data for the sum of trade in goods, trade in services and income credits (i.e. current account less current transfers credits). Data for the Commonwealth are not available, although figures for the larger Commonwealth countries are published. The data used to derive the growth rates will be published in the 1999 Pink Book, which will be published on 27 August and will be available in the House of Lords Library. The data are currently available from the ONS DataBank. I have enclosed a copy of the tables.

Compound Growth in UK Current Account Credits, 1993-1998

Current account less current transfers credits
European Union17.5
NAFTA28.1
Selected Commonwealth countries31.9
World Total6.8

Source: Office for National Statistics

1 The definition of the EU includes EU institutions as defined by EUROSTAT.

2 NAFTA includes United States of America, Canada and Mexico as defined by EUROSTAT.

3 Commonwealth countries used as follows--the list was kept consistent to allow comparisons over time; Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.


Climate Change Levy

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention to exempt renewable energy generation from the proposed Climate Change Levy. [HL 4035]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The consultation document on the climate change levy issued by Customs & Excise on 9 March asked for views on whether and, if so, how renewable energy generation could be exempted from the levy. The Government are considering this issue carefully in the light of the consultation responses.

Institute of Public Policy and Research

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much tax relief has been given on covenanted monies to the Institute of Public Policy and Research. [HL 3999]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Institute for Public Policy Research is a registered charity. As such, it is exempt from tax on its charitable activities and can claim tax relief on its charitable donations, including those made by deed of covenant. Donors may also claim further relief where they are eligible. Because of

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taxpayer confidentiality, I cannot disclose the amount of relief given.

International Financial Stability

Lord Sudeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, and, if so, how, they and the Bank of England have considered the use of sterling to provide economic sustainability for the Commonwealth of Nations. [HL 3944]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government are committed to promoting international financial stability through international cooperation as a way of increasing global prosperity including seeking to protect the most vulnerable groups.

Lord Sudeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they and the Bank of England have considered the monetary mechanisms necessary for building sterling as a global stabiliser and as a viable alternative to the dollar, the yen and the euro. [HL 3943]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Chancellor and the Governor of the Bank of England meet regularly with their G7 colleagues to discuss matters relating to the international monetary and financial system. The Government are committed to strong cooperation with G7 partners to promote international monetary and financial stability.

Currency Value: Financial Indicators

Lord Sudeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What prevents them and the Bank of England from using the M0:M4 ratio as a financial indicator of currency value.[HL3942]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government and the Bank of England use all relevant economic indicators in the pursuit of their objectives.

PFI Projects: Private Sector Capital Borrowed

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 20 July (WA 95-96), what is the estimated cost in each year 1997-98 to 2000-01 of servicing the private sector capital borrowed under the private finance initiative schemes to finance public investment projects.[HL3922]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In PFI projects, the private sector is responsible for financing the assets required to provide the services the public sector needs. The public sector pays for those services. Statistics on the costs to the private sector of its capital requirements are not therefore kept.

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Private Pilot Licence Applications: Processing Delays

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the Civil Aviation Authority's target for the clearing of applications for the issue of licences for rotary and fixed wing private pilots; and what percentage of applications are cleared within that target.[HL4103]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The CAA target for the clearing of applications for the issue of licences for rotary and fixed wing private pilots is an average of 10 working days from the receipt of a correct application and fee. During the previous financial year for 1998-99, the average time to issue a licence was 12.9 days and 29.1 per cent. of issues were made within 10 days. During the current financial year, the average time to issue a licence is 24.2 days and 9.9 per cent. of issues were made within 10 days.

The CAA issued an Aeronautical Information Circular (A/C 31/1999 White 351) on 11 March advising licence holders of delays in the processing of applications due to the severe impact of the implementation of JAR-FCL on service levels.

The turnaround time for completing applications has increased significantly in recent months due to a considerable increase in applications for both private and professional licences. In fact the demand for examinations alone rose by as much as 70 per cent. during the first part of the year. However the CAA are working to reduce these delays by giving top priority to the issue of licences, by making use of weekend overtime working and other measures. These measures are improving the situation and we look forward to seeing continued signs of improvement during the next few months.

Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the light of the Answers by the Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 19 May (H.L. Deb., cols. 294-296) and 7 June (WA 121), (a) whether the Minister for the Environment was correctly quoted in The Times of 12 April as saying “Scientific opinion on genetically modified organisms is split and the new committee [Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment] will reflect this", and if he was, (b) how this principle can be reconciled with the Answers already given; (c) whether this principle has general application to other committees; and (d) how it relates to the recruitment of “people's judges" to the main scientific advisory bodies to monitor GM developments.[HL3063]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The quotation was taken from a briefing the Minister for the Environment gave to a journalist from The Times.

The Answers previously given by Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 19 May and 7 June explain that experts for advisory committees, such as ACRE, are chosen to reflect the range of scientific disciplines needed to evaluate the diversity of issues relevant to that committee.

The experts chosen to sit on ACRE are encouraged to have open minds on the scientific issues, and to take all the evidence into account before giving advice. This is particularly the case where there is a difference of opinion (a split) on a specific topic.

As Lord Sainsbury made clear in his previous Answers, appointments to committees are made on a case by case basis to ensure the optimum balance of expertise, while always working within the guidelines of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

On 21 May, the Minister for the Cabinet Office announced the setting up of two new scientific advisory bodies on biotechnology. As he made clear, these bodies will include lay members (“people's judges") drawn from a broad range of interests, who will consult widely on the issues under discussion.


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