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London Student Pledge

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The London student pledge builds on activities that are happening now across London

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through schools, youth organisations, the voluntary sector, local communities and in families. The activities are variously funded, but London Challenge is putting in some additional resources, generally matched funding with business or charities, to help build capacity in London so that all young people get the chances that some get already. £500,000 has been committed to date from London Challenge funds.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What, in practical terms, the London student pledge means for each London student.[HL5376]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The London student pledge creates an expectation that every young person in London will, by the age of 16, have the opportunity to benefit from the common wealth of London—its arts and sports facilities, universities, business and enterprise. Its 10 points provide a focus for the activities of a range of London organisations in offering opportunities to London's young people.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many pupils will benefit from the London student pledge.[HL5377]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Through the student pledge, London organisations will be offering opportunities to all young people over the course of their secondary education.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the geographical boundary within which the London student pledge will apply.[HL5378]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The London student pledge relates to the Greater London area.

Pension Protection Fund

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What independent professional advice they are taking, or intend to take, about the impact on pension fund investment strategy of different possible contribution calculations for the Pension Protection Fund, and whether any such advice will be published in full. [HL5362]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): DWP officials are working closely with a wide range of external organisations and key pensions stakeholders, both here and abroad, on issues relating to the Pension Protection Fund. This work is ongoing. We will continue to seek the views of external experts to help us achieve the successful implementation of the Pension Protection Fund. Most of the input we have received so far has been at informal meetings between officials and external stakeholders and we are therefore not in a position to publish it.

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State Pension

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated net additional cost to the Exchequer, in each year from 2006 to 2015, of increasing the basic state pension in 2006 by:


    (a) £10 a week for single people aged 75–79 inclusive; and


    (b) £15 for single people aged 80 and over with corresponding increases for couples in both cases, and with the basic state pension uprated in line with average earnings thereafter. [HL5257]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The information requested is in the following table:

YearThe estimated net additional cost in each year from 2006–07 to 2015–16, of increasing the basic state pension in 2006 by £10 a week for single people aged 75–79 inclusive with corresponding increases for couples with the basic state pension then uprated by average earnings for those years (£ billion)The estimated net additional cost in each year from 2006–07 to 2015–16, of increasing the basic state pension in 2006 by £15 a week for single people aged 80 and over with corresponding increases for couples with the basic state pension then uprated by average earnings for those years (£ billion)
2006–070.51.1
2007–080.71.3
2008–090.81.5
2009–101.01.8
2010–111.12.1
2011–121.32.3
2012–131.52.6
2013–141.83.0
2014–152.03.3
2015–162.33.7

Notes:

1. All costs are rounded to the nearest £100 million and are in 2003–04 price terms.

2. Gross costs are calculated by the Government Actuary's Department and are consistent with Budget 2003 assumptions.

3. The net costs are calculated using the DWP policy simulation model for 2005–06. The net cost represents the cost after allowing for any offsetting savings in income-related benefits only.


Housing Benefit

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the cost of housing benefit paid to tenants of (a) housing associations; (b) local authorities; and (c) private landlords, in each of the past three years.[HL5484]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The available information is in the table.

Housing Benefit Expenditure by tenure
£ millions

Tenure2000–012001–022002–03
Rent Rebate (local authority tenants)5,2595,2835,216
Rent Allowance (housing associations)3,0183,4504,016
Rent Allowance (remainder of private rental sector)2,8892,8592,986
Total11,16611,59112,218

Source: Subsidy returns from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Executive.

Notes:

1. Figures for 2000–01 and 2001-02 are final audited expenditure figures provided by local authorities.

2. The 2002–03 figures are an estimated outturn, consistent with Budget 2003 forecasts.

3. Figures may not sum due to rounding.


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Tax Credits

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why, after the tax credit scheme was launched in April, more than 200,000 applicants are still waiting for their money.[HL4850]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): As the Paymaster General said at the Treasury Committee hearing in the House of Commons on 2 July, there were 220,000 claims being worked on at the end of June, over 98 per cent of which have now either been resolved, or the Inland Revenue is awaiting further information from the claimants involved.

Currently there are around 20,000 claims being worked on by Inland Revenue, half of which have been received in the past four weeks.

FSA: Market Misconduct and Enforcement Action

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Financial Services Authority will announce the results of the first enforcement actions covering stock market abuse.[HL5298]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The chief executive of the Financial Services Authority has said that there are several cases of market misconduct reaching their final stages. The timing of an announcement of enforcement action depends on completion of the proper procedures for taking action against a person under Part VIII of the Financial Services and Markets Act.

Business Banking Code

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the new banking regulations, designed to protect small businesses, will be incorporated into the voluntary banking code and adopted by banks.[HL5348]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Business Banking Code sets standards of good banking practice for banks and building societies for their services to small businesses with a turnover of up to £1 million a year. The Banking Code Standards Board is responsible for the development, production and continuing revision of both the Business Banking Code and the Banking Code, which relates to personal banking. The codes are reviewed every two years.

The Competition Commission reported on banking services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in March 2002. It made a number of adverse findings and the Office of Fair Trading has subsequently agreed a series of legally binding undertakings with the main clearing banks to remedy the problems identified. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland Group have agreed to either pay interest on SME current accounts (at least Bank of England base rate less 2.5 per cent) or provide free money transmission services. The main eight clearing groups have also signed behavioural undertakings to cover a range of issues, including measures to increase transparency of bank charges; and, most recently they have agreed measures that will make it easier for SMEs to switch bank accounts.

The commission also recommended a series of informal remedies. These did not arise from adverse findings and so cannot be enforced under the Fair Trading Act. They cover issues such as the provision of services at agreed cost and compensation for errors. The British Bankers Association has agreed that amendments should be made to the code to cover most of these areas.


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