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25. Mr. White: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of prospects for e-commerce as a result of his pre-Budget statement. [145817]

Mr. Timms: The Government have set a target of the UK being the best environment in the world to trade electronically by 2002 and regularly report on progress. The UK Online annual report, published shortly before the pre-Budget report, outlines the Government's strategy for reaching this goal, and the current state of play in the UK. The Minister for Small Business and E-commerce provides monthly reports on progress against this strategy, which can be found at: progress/montprog.htm. The December report included a summary of relevant measures announced in the pre-Budget report.

Tax Incentives (Social Exclusion)

26. Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce tax incentives to promote further corporate involvement in tackling social exclusion. [145818]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government believe that the best approach to tackling social exclusion brings the private, voluntary and community sectors and Government together. And business has a key role to play within this partnership--a role which we have encouraged through, for example, the introduction of new tax reliefs on corporate charitable giving, which formed part of the wider "Getting Britain Giving" package introduced in Budget 2000.

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Furthermore, as the Chancellor set out in his pre-Budget report in November, the Government welcome and endorse the recommendations of the Social Investment Taskforce Report regarding supporting the growth of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and introducing a Community Investment Tax Credit to encourage private investment in under-invested communities.

Public Services (Investment)

27. Dr. Starkey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on proposals for future investment in the health service and education. [145819]

Mr. Andrew Smith: In Budget 2000 the Government announced an unprecedented increase in NHS UK funding of 6.1 per cent. average annual real terms growth over the four years to 2003-04--the longest period of sustained growth in the history of the NHS. The Government announced in the 2000 Spending Review an increase in education spend of 5.4 per cent. average annual real terms growth over the four years to 2003-04.

Tax Burden

28. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the change in the amount of tax paid by the average family since 1997. [145820]

Dawn Primarolo: By April 2001 a single earner family on average earnings with two children will pay £200 a year less income tax and National Insurance Contributions than they would have under the 1997 system of tax and benefits. This family will also receive £170 a year more Child Benefit. The direct tax burden on this family will be the lowest since 1972.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the organisations with which Treasury officials have had discussions in the last three months on the use of the term tax burden; and what advice and instructions were given on the use of that term. [145618]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 15 January 2001]: The description of the amount of money taken by the Treasury in taxation is as set out in the Financial Statement and Budget Report and pre-Budget Report; no other advice has been issued.

Business Taxes and Regulations

29. Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the annual cost to businesses of new taxes and regulations introduced since May 1997. [145821]

Dawn Primarolo: All changes to the tax system are included in the relevant Budget Reports. These are available in the Library of the House.

Departmental Running Costs

30. Mr. Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the annual cost was of running Government Departments in (a) 1997 and (b) 2000. [145822]

35. Mr. Leigh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the annual running costs of Government Departments. [145827]

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Mr. Andrew Smith: Annual costs of running Government Departments are published in HM Treasury's "Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses" (PESA). The latest edition is available in the Library of the House.

New Deal (Young People)

31. Mr. Patrick Hall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have joined the New Deal for Young People since January 1998. [145823]

Mr. Timms: Since the Pathfinders were launched in January 1998, 568,400 people have joined the New Deal for Young People, of whom 269,210 have found employment meeting the Government's key target of placing 250,000 young people into jobs.

The New Deal for Young People has proved extremely effective at getting young unemployed people off welfare and back into work.

Department of Health (Misappropriations)

32. Sir George Young: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what misappropriations he has identified in the departmental expenditure limit for the Department of Health. [145824]

Mr. Andrew Smith: A copy of the latest published Appropriation Accounts for the Department of Health, including the audit certificate, is for 1998-99 (HC 11-XI) and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House. In addition, the Department of Health Appropriate Accounts for 1999-2000 were certified by the Comptroller and Auditor General and laid before the House earlier today and are due to be published shortly.

Minimum Wage

33. Mr. Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the trend in unemployment since the introduction of the national minimum wage. [145825]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Since April 1999, when the national minimum wage was introduced, unemployment has continued to fall reflecting the prudent and sensible level at which the national minimum wage was set. ILO unemployment has fallen by well over 200,000, from 6.2 per cent. to 5.3 per cent.

Gross Domestic Product

34. Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of GDP in the financial years 2001-02 and 2002-03. [145826]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Treasury's latest GDP projections can be found in Annexe A of November's pre-Budget report; and the corresponding financial year assumptions used for projecting the public finances are set out in Annexe B (table B3).

Debt Relief

36. Mr. Illsley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from (a) charities and (b) Churches on Government plans to write off debt owed by the poorest countries. [145828]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: Campaigns by non- governmental organisations, faith groups and members of the public have helped to maintain the issue of debt relief at the top of the international agenda. Last year, around a third of all letters received by the Treasury related to debt relief.

Faith groups and charities participated in three special seminars in Downing street last year, where they were able to put their concerns about debt relief directly to the Chancellor, the Secretary of State for International Development, and international figures such as the head of the IMF, Horst Kohler. They will also play a key part in the upcoming Children's conference, which the UK Government will host in London in the near future.

Inland Revenue (Malpractice)

Mr. Allan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures are used by his Department to follow up decisions by the Parliamentary Ombudsman on malpractice by the Inland Revenue. [145797]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue always tries to make positive use of the Parliamentary Ombudsman's findings. Where a taxpayer has suffered injustice, the Inland Revenue will put matters right and, where appropriate, pay compensation.

Where the Ombudsman's findings point to a more general problem, or a defect in the Department's systems and processes, his comments and recommendations are made available to officials responsible for that particular area of work, so that any lessons learnt from the case can be used when planning and reviewing the Department's business.

Capital Gains Tax

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he collates regarding the age of people who pay capital gains tax; and if he will make a statement. [146261]

Dawn Primarolo: Information on the age of taxpayers is held where it is needed to administer the tax system or where it has been provided by the taxpayer.

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