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Fuel Prices

Dr. George Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the annual increase in VAT income generated by each 1p increase in the pump price of fuel following an increase in crude oil prices; and what total increase he estimates will arise from such price increases in the current financial year. [102170]

Mr. Timms: The estimated increase in VAT revenues from road fuels resulting from a 1p per litre increase in pump prices is around £50 million. However the net effect on total VAT revenues of recent increases in pump prices is likely to be small as the additional expenditure on road fuels will have been offset by reduced expenditure on other VATable products.

Amusement Machines

Mr. Woolas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to review the licence duty for amusement machines. [102181]

Mr. Timms: The Government keep duty rates under constant review.

Revenue Estimates

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what basis he has (a) reduced his second year revenue estimate from £375 million to £300 million and (b) maintained the first year revenue estimate at £475 million. [101816]

Dawn Primarolo: There has been no such reduction. The £300 million the right hon. Gentleman refers to is a full year cost for what will eventually be raised each year from this measure. It is not comparable to the first year cost shown in the 1999 Financial Statement and Budget Report.

National Changeover Plan

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the cost of the Government's National Changeover plan to date. [101820]

Miss Melanie Johnson: As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear in his statement to the House on 23 February 1999, Official Report, columns 179-96, and repeated on 8 December 1999, Official Report, columns 824-26, we may spend some tens of millions of pounds. Any such expenditure would be required mainly in the DSS, Inland Revenue and Customs where the scale and complexity of their computer systems makes advance preparations critical so that we can maintain the flexibility for Britain to make any changeover as cost-effectively as possible.

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Land Settlement Tenants

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will meet the Chairman of the Inland Revenue and hon. Members representing former land settlement tenants to seek to establish a resolution to the tax issues relating to their compensation agreed with the Ministry of Agriculture in 1991. [102569]

Dawn Primarolo: A meeting would not be appropriate.

Representations have been made querying the raising of tax charges by the Inland Revenue in respect of out of court compensation paid by MAFF to a number of former tenants of the Land Settlement Association, but it has been made clear that Ministers do not intervene in individual cases. The Inland Revenue's independence from Treasury Ministers in the handling of individuals' affairs must be scrupulously observed. Where disputes continue between taxpayers and the Revenue it is for the Appeal Commissioners and the courts to determine how the law is to be applied.

Tax Rates

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have benefited from the 10p tax rate in each constituency. [102596]

Dawn Primarolo: Almost all of the individual income taxpayers in each constituency are benefiting from the 10p tax rate.

Statistics Commission

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what terms of reference will be given to the proposed Statistics Commission; to which Minister it will report; and if he will make a statement. [102237]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The White Paper "Building Trust in Statistics", published in October (Cm 4412), outlined the role that the proposed Statistics Commission will play in advising on the scope, quality and priority-setting for National Statistics.

More detail on the roles and responsibilities of all the key players in National Statistics, including the Statistics Commission, will be set out in a Framework for National Statistics, which the Government intend to publish as soon as possible.

Income Drawdown

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to redefine the income limits for an individual to take income drawdown from a personal pension fund. [102187]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) on 29 November 1999, Official Report, column 78W.

Limb Deficiency

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's classification is for recording children born with limb deficiency. [102317]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from John Pullinger, on behalf Dr. Holt, to Mr. Andrew George, dated 9 December 1999:

    The National Congenital Anomaly System, based at the ONS, codes all anomalies using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The version currently being used is the 10th revision. The codes that cover limb reduction defects are:

    Q71 Reduction defects of upper limb

    Q72 Reduction defects of lower limb

    Q73 Reduction defects of unspecified limb

    The ONS also provides data on selected congenital anomalies to the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Monitoring Systems. For limb reduction defects, the classification used is based on the text description provided to the National Congenital Anomaly System. Each defect is manually classified as upper, lower or both (upper and lower) and as:

    a. transverse: absence of limbs and digits (excluding thumb and little finger)

    b. preaxial: absence or partial absence of thumb/radius/tibia

    c. postaxial: absence or partial absence of little finger/ulna/fibula

    d. intercalary: absence of the limbs with hand or foot intact

    e. mixed: presence of more than one type of limb defect.

CO2 Reduction Targets

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what study Her Majesty's Treasury has made of the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions already achieved by firms which will be affected by the climate change levy; and if those firms with significant recent reductions will be granted lower reduction targets. [101828]

Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.

Extensive analyses of energy use and carbon dioxide emissions within industry have been carried out on behalf of the Government by the Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU). These studies estimate the potential for future energy efficiency improvements by industry sectors. The Building Research Establishment has undertaken similar research for building sectors.

Targets for energy intensive firms which wish to enter into agreements with the Government are being negotiated on the basis of the potential for further cost-effective energy efficiency improvements. Those firms which are already relatively efficient will be expected to make fewer energy savings than those firms which still have substantial scope for further energy efficiency improvements.


Pre-school Learning

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will set out in respect of each education authority area the percentage of three-year-olds whose pre-school learning is being funded by his Department in the current financial year under the scheme announced in December 1998. [98589]

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Ms Hodge: The Government are making available £390 million over three years to increase the number of free, good quality, early education places for three-year-olds. 190,000 new free places will be made available, which will mean 66 per cent. of three-year-olds will be able to access a free place by March 2002. In 1999-2000, around £40 million of this additional funding will be allocated to 57 Local Education Authorities with the highest levels of social need. The following table

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shows, by Local Education Authority, the percentage of three-year-olds that are expected to be funded through nursery education grant in this financial year. In addition, Local Education Authorities are also funding a proportion of three-year-olds via their Standard Spending Assessment allocations. This percentage is also shown. From April 2000, funding for additional new free places will be distributed across all Local Education Authorities.

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The 57 local education authorities receiving nursery education grant for 3-year-olds in 1999-2000

Percentage of children receiving nursery education grantCurrent percentage of children receiving free early education (via Standard Spending Assessment)Total participation of three-year-olds in free early education in 1999-2000
Barking and Dagenham12.969.181.9
Blackburn with Darwen26.741.367.9
County Durham5.571.476.9
Hammersmith and Fulham29.051.580.5
Kingston upon Hull13.969.082.9
Newcastle upon Tyne25.458.583.9
North East Lincolnshire30.046.676.5
North Tyneside3.078.881.8
Redcar and Cleveland3.097.0100.0
South Tyneside3.876.780.5
St. Helens12.546.458.9
Tower Hamlets9.376.685.9
Waltham Forest45.535.280.7

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