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Home Ownership Task Force

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): The Home Ownership Task Force, which my noble friend Lord Bassam announced to the House on 5 February, will meet for the first time today, chaired by my noble friend Lady Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde. It will consider schemes currently available to potential homeowners on low or modest incomes and identify the most effective ways of promoting home ownership.

The terms of reference for the task force are as follows:

Sustainable Communities: building for the future marks a step-change in housing. Resources have been increased substantially to deliver sustainable communities but more needs to be done to help tenants and those on waiting lists to move into home ownership, without the loss of social housing. New ideas and a new approach are vital in helping people on low or modest incomes into home ownership.

The task force is to examine the routes and methods by which those in housing need can be helped to meet their home ownership aspirations in a way that ensures the sustainability of that ownership and is cost-effective. It will examine who is being helped through current initiatives, to what extent those initiatives free up social tenancies for other occupants and the scope for better targeting and design. It will also take account of the work being undertaken by government departments and others to review issues in relation to existing homeowners.

The task force will develop a more rational and straightforward suite of programmes to allow social tenants and those on waiting lists to purchase either their own home or another home, while recognising the many different circumstances of aspiring home owners.

The task force will build on Evaluation of the low cost home ownership programme and other recent ODPM research, consider a wide range of innovative

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funding proposals and take into account proposals on single tenure, commonhold, flexible tenure, equity shares and new forms of public and private low-cost home ownership schemes.

Throughout its work the task force will take into account the difficulties faced by traditionally disadvantaged groups such as disabled people and BME communities in accessing home ownership and look at the different problems faced by people wishing to access home ownership in areas of low demand and the growth areas.

The existing programmes that will be considered are right to buy; rent to mortgage; right to acquire; cash incentive scheme; voluntary purchase grant; shared ownership; do-it-yourself shared ownership; homebuy; and self build.

The task force will report with recommendations on how the above home ownership objectives can be most effectively delivered.

The Home Ownership Task Force is due to report in the autumn.

We are also publishing today the report, Equity Shares for Social Housing, in fulfilment of our 2001 manifesto commitment to consider equity shares. Equity shares are one way to deliver our objectives to promote home ownership, increase asset ownership and improve the image of social housing. The report concludes that the costs of introducing equity shares are likely to be substantial, while the scale of benefits is highly uncertain. We will continue to keep this issue under review.

UK Domestic Economy and Exports

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on the euro and the dollar on 29 January (HL Deb, cols. 1223–46), what percentages of the United Kingdom economy, measured by total final demand, are involved in (a) the domestic economy; and (b) exports to (i) the European Union; and (ii) the rest of the world.[HL2023]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Table 3 of the 2002 input output tables gives a breakdown of total final demand in the United Kingdom economy. Table 9.3 of the United Kingdom Balance of Payments: The Pink Book 2002 gives a breakdown of UK trade in goods and services. These can be found at http://www. statistics.gov.uk.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on the euro and the dollar on 29 January (HL Deb, cols. 1223–46), what percentages of the United Kingdom economy, measured by total final demand, are denominated in (a) sterling; (b) the United States dollar; (c) the euro; and (d) other currencies; and what methodology they use to calculate such percentages.[HL2024]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: These figures are unavailable as a percentage of total final demand.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on the euro and the dollar on 29 January (HL Deb, cols. 1223–46), what evidence they have to support the statement by Lord McIntosh of Haringey that, "it is where we do the trade, not the currency in which we invoice, that matters . . . A large proportion . . . of UK trade is in sterling . . . If we entered the euro, all that trade would instantly be invoiced and denominated in the euro". (HL Deb, col. 1243)[HL2025]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As set out in the Paper for the Treasury Committee on the Treasury's approach to the preliminary and technical work, published on 6 September 2002, a number of supporting studies will be published alongside the assessment of the five economic tests. A supporting study will be published examining the likely impact of EMU on UK external trade with the euro area and the rest of the world. Further detail can be found in the 6 September paper.

Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act: Cost of Litigation

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the cost to date of litigation under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. [HL1669]

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): I understand the Question as relating solely to the litigation costs of the Home Department. Litigation sevices under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 are provided to the Secretary of State for the Home Department by the Treasury Solicitor's Department. The cost of these services to 10 February 2003 is £105,530.82, excluding disbursements incurred but not yet paid.

DTI Conferences: Cost

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the cost to the Department of Trade and Industry of conducting conferences in the most recent year for which figures are available. [HL2050]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Department of Trade and Industry spent £2.030 million for financial year 2001–02 on conducting conferences.

Hull: Level of Poverty

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their plans to reduce the level of poverty in Hull. [HL2018]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Our commitment to tackling poverty and social exclusion throughout the United Kingdom is well known. In particular, we have made a clear pledge to abolish child poverty in a generation—and to halve it by 2010.

The fourth opportunity for all report (Cm 5598) set out the action we have taken to tackle poverty and social exclusion. Progress is monitored against a wide range of indicators.

In Hull and East Riding there is a comprehensive range of Sure Start programmes designed to give every child the best start in life by bringing early education, childcare, health and family support to young children living in disadvantaged areas. In addition, we have introduced a number of work focused initiatives, for example 19 training providers offering work based learning for adults and jobsearch programmes.

Hull: GCSE Pass Levels

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the percentage pass rates at all levels for GCSEs in Hull; and how this compares with the national average. [HL2017]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland) The pass rates for each grade in GCSE examination entries made by 15 year-olds in 2001–02 were as follows:

Percentages

GCSE GradeHullEngland
Grade A*1.25.0
Grade A4.211.4
Grade B9.717.4
Grade C20.123.7
Grade D18.617.7
Grade E17.812.1
Grade F13.47.0
Grade G8.33.3
Grade A*–C35.257.5
Grade A*–G93.397.6
No grades result6.72.4
Number of entries22,1684,952,487

Museum Funding

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How their response set out in Cm. 5772 to conclusion (iv) of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee report National Museums and Galleries: Funding and Free Admission fulfils the committee's recommendation that the current process for allocating funds to museums should be modernised.[HL2068]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The Government's response shows that there is already a

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process of dialogue at both official and ministerial level, that the dialogue is informed by evidence from the museums and galleries and that the Government have sought specifically to protect their core funding, including support for their collections and curatorial expertise. The response explains that the strategic objectives of each museum are linked to the Secretary of State's objectives through a funding agreement. The Government will continue to seek improvements in the allocation process through dialogue with our sponsored museums and galleries.


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