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Dairies

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what criteria the Welsh Office uses to decide which individual dairies in Wales receive grant aid; to what extent such grant aid relates to (a) the provision of new jobs and (b) the securing of existing jobs; and what consideration is given to the possible distortion of competition by such grants. [44052]

Mr. Win Griffiths: Assistance to dairies is available through a number of Welsh Office grant schemes such as Regional Selective Assistance, Processing and Marketing Grant and the Marketing Development Scheme.

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The criteria used depend on the grant scheme in question. I have arranged for copies of the literature relating to the schemes to be sent to the right hon. Gentleman.

Creating and safeguarding jobs is an important factor in deciding which grant applications to support but the Marketing Development Scheme and the Processing and Marketing Grant are specifically geared to improving the marketing and processing infrastructure of companies. Such projects will not necessarily lead to job creation but will assist in the expansion of business. However, for grants such as Regional Selective Assistance, the level of employment generated or retained is a crucial factor and due weight is given to this element when assessing applications.

Applications for grant aid are considered from any eligible business and all applications are considered on their individual merits.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Sierra Leone

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money was provided by her Department to President Kabbah's Government in exile. [42691]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development provided £50,000 to support the basic services of President Kabbah's Government in exile. This was in addition to £250,000 for a workshop and seminar in the United Kingdom to plan for the restoration of Government and for communications equipment.

Sir Alastair Goodlad: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department is currently providing in Sierra Leone. [41751]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development is currently supporting the work of NGOs in the provision of emergency seeds and tools, community healthcare, and reconstruction in Sierra Leone. We are also funding two Sierra Leoneans in key advisory posts.

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support and advice, other than financial assistance, was rendered to President Kabbah of Sierra Leone between 25 May 1997 and 10 March 1998 by her Department. [42690]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development assisted President Kabbah's planning for a return to government by supporting basic services in exile, providing communications equipment, and through a workshop and seminar in the United Kingdom in October 1997.

North Korea

Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the current humanitarian situation in North Korea. [43712]

Clare Short: The report of the UK-led European Union Technical Mission to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and discussions at the United Nations

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Development Programme (UNDP) Round Table on DPRK in May indicate that nutrition has improved and the immediate emergency has abated. However there are selective humanitarian needs, especially in health, and the population remains at risk from possible future disasters. My Department is discussing with relevant authorities in DPRK, UN agencies and partners in the European Union how targeted support can help to promote sustainable recovery and reduce future vulnerability. I will place a copy of the report on this mission in the Library.

Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what revision of her current policies towards North Korea will result from the recent visit to that country by officials from her Department leading an EU team. [43713]

Clare Short: I have considered the report of the UK-led Technical Mission and the conclusions of the United Nations Development Programme Round Table on Agricultural Recovery and Environmental Protection (AREP). The emphasis for future assistance to North Korea is to support a transition from food aid dependency to food security and rehabilitation of the rural sector within the context of promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. We will support a common European Union approach to target assistance to help poor households, reduce vulnerability to future disasters, promote confidence and trust between North Korea and the outside world and gain greater access for international agencies to implement their humanitarian activities more effectively. We support the implementation of the European Commission's 1998 programme. In addition we will consider proposals for support from NGOs and UN agencies, within the above framework. I will place a copy of the report on this mission in the Library.

TREASURY

Brewing Industry (Duty Changes)

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment his Department has made of the duty lost to the Inland Revenue as predicted by the model used by Oxford Economic Forecasts to assess changes in duty on the brewing industry; [42969]

Dawn Primarolo: There would be no tax lost to the Inland Revenue. Moreover, we do not believe that any cut in duty on beer would provide a sustainable benefit to the economy.

Staff Car Mileage Allowance

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total real terms value of (a) staff car mileage claims paid and (b) staff rail fares paid; and what was the total amount of staff car mileage for which reimbursement was made and the percentage change year on year, for each year since 1989-90. [44083]

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Mrs. Liddell: The real terms value of Treasury staff travel is:

Staff car mileage costsStaff UK rail/air faresStaff car mileage
£000£000
1995-968153n/a
1996-976135n/a
1997-986897,841

Figures for years prior to 1995 are in summary form and a breakdown at the level required could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Israeli Exports

Mr. Faber: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current status of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise investigation into the origin of certain Israeli exports to the United Kingdom; and if he will publish the results. [43863]

Dawn Primarolo: The outcome of investigations co-ordinated by the European Commission into the origin of orange juice exported from Israel is being analysed by the Member States. In line with normal procedure, the detailed results are notified to the individual importers, who are liable under Community law for any customs duty liability. They are not published generally. Investigations by HM Customs and Excise into the origin of other products have so far revealed duty liabilities in excess of £100,000.

Tobacco

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was raised from each of the taxes payable on each category of tobacco product in the last year for which figures are available. [44006]

Dawn Primarolo: The table shows receipts in 1997 and 1997-98:

Duty receipts

£ million
YearCigaretteCigarHand rolling tobaccoOther smoking and chewing tobacco(6)VAT
19978,035139166501,915
1997-988,00914015848n/a

(6) Value added tax has been estimated using non-seasonally adjusted figures for consumers' expenditure at current prices on tobacco (from ONS publication Consumer Trends-Quarter 4 1997, Table 4.1). It is not possible to calculate the VAT for 1997-98 because the ONS estimate for consumers' expenditure on tobacco in Quarter 1 1998 is not yet available.


EU Debt

Mr. Gill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the statistics produced by the International Monetary Fund for the purposes of measuring the ratio of debt to Gross Domestic Product are on the same basis for each EU country. [43871]

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Mrs. Liddell: The International Monetary Fund published the ratio of government debt to GDP for EU countries in their May 1998 World Economic Outlook. The outturn data were from national sources and the IMF noted they were not in all cases based on the same definition.


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