Parliamentary Questions - Written Replies

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PENSIONS: Agreement with British Rail pension fund trustees and the BR board on safeguarding railway pensions after privatisation was announced by John MacGregor, Secretary of State for Transport. The deal gives pensioners a government guarantee of index-linked payments when a new fund is set up next year; 40 per cent of any distributed surplus, the remainder being held in reserve against any shortfall, the percentage mirroring staff contributions; and an assurance that the Government will make up the gap in any future shortfall.

ART: Edouard Vuillard's Le Dejeuner and Femme assise, tasse de cafe had been accepted in lieu of tax, Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for National Heritage, said.

BUDGET DATE: The first of the new 'tax and spend' Budgets would be on 30 November, Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, disclosed.

(First Edition)

INCOME: Average weekly income in England was pounds 373.20 a week, a quarter higher than the figure for Northern Ireland, according to figures derived from the 1991 Family Expenditure Survey, Anthony Nelson, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, disclosed. The average weekly income for Ulster households was pounds 296.50, compared with pounds 297.40 for Wales adn pounds 316.20 for Scotland. Income per head was pounds 153.30 in England, pounds 140.70 in Scotland, pounds 123.80 in Wales and pounds 107.20 in Northern Ireland.