|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times in each year since 1994 his Department has been notified of a ministerial direction as provided for in the procedures set out in paragraphs 12 to 15 of the Treasury document, entitled "The Responsibilities of an Accounting Officer"; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 13 July 2000]: The Treasury has been notified of the following number of directions, under the procedures set out in paragraphs 12 to 15 of the Treasury document entitled "The Responsibilities of an Accounting Officer".
|Year||Number of directions|
24 Jul 2000 : Column: 484W
Miss Melanie Johnson: The total amount of debt relief agreed to date under the HIPC Initiative is in excess of $16 billion. Since May 1997, the UK has provided in the region of £250 million of debt relief to the heavily indebted poor countries. With the additional 11 countries expected to qualify under the HIPC initiative by the end of the year, the UK will have provided approximately £660 million in debt forgiveness. This is in addition to the £400 million of relief provided prior to May 1997 in the context of multilateral rescheduling agreements.
(3) how the proposed aggregates tax will differentiate between quarrying operations with good and bad environmental performance; 
(4) what assessment he has made of the benefits of linking the taxation of aggregates to environmental performance of quarrying operators; 
(5) if he will exempt some quarrying operations from the proposed aggregates tax on the basis of defined environmental targets. 
Mr. Timms: The aggregates levy is based on independent research which verified that there are significant environmental costs associated with quarrying, including noise, dust, visual intrusion, loss of amenity and damage to biodiversity. The Government decided to address these costs through the introduction of the aggregates levy. It will be introduced at a uniform rate in order to keep it simple and to give a clear signal to purchasers of primary aggregates to use more sustainable materials. It will reward quarry operators who invest in equipment for recycling, and ensure that all users of aggregates are taking responsibility for the costs that the production of their inputs imposes on the rest of society. This is consistent with the polluter pays principle.
There would be a number of practical difficulties with a levy which attempted to differentiate between quarries with different environmental performance. These relate to assessing compliance, defining environmental performance, the treatment of imports, EU state aids rules and UK competition policy. A uniform levy was therefore considered to be the most viable option.
24 Jul 2000 : Column: 485W
All the revenues raised from the levy will be recycled back to business through a cut in employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and a new 'Sustainability Fund' aimed at delivering local environmental benefits. It is not possible to say precisely what the effect of the levy, the cut in employer NICs and the Sustainability Fund will be on the aggregates and construction industries, since this will depend, among other things, on future employment trends and the degree to which firms switch to recycled materials.
Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many owners of pleasure yachts have been prosecuted in the last 12 months for which figures are available for the unlawful use of rebated heavy oil. 
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many seizures there have been of smuggled fuel and tobacco products in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Berry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the average annual net disposable income was, at 2000 prices, calculated on the basis of Table 8.2 in the annual reports of the Family Expenditure Survey, in the
24 Jul 2000 : Column: 486W
lowest and highest quintiles in each year from 1990 to 1999, only for households with children in those quintiles; and how many and what proportion of the population households in each quintile represented; 
24 Jul 2000 : Column: 485W
|Lowest 20 per cent.||Highest 20 per cent.|
|Disposable income (£)||Percentage change||Gross income (£)||Percentage change||Disposable income (£)||Percentage change||Gross income (£)||Percentage change|
(1) In 1994-95 the Family Expenditure Survey moved from a calendar year basis to a financial year basis
ONS, Family Expenditure Survey 1990 to 1993 and 1994-95 to 1998-99
24 Jul 2000 : Column: 487W
|Disposable income||Gross income|
|Lowest 20 per cent.||4,790||4,870|
|Highest 20 per cent.||42,000||55,100|
ONS, Family Expenditure Survey 1998-99
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|