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Abu Qatada

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what countries have sought the freezing of assets in the UK held by Abu Qatada; and if he will make a statement. [8661]

Ruth Kelly: United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 requires states to freeze the assets of entities and individuals who are suspected of committing, or posing a significant risk of committing, or providing material support for, acts of terrorism. In accordance with the resolution the Bank of England issued a press notice on Friday 12 October 2001 listing individuals and entities suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. The name Abu Qatada appears on this list.

General Abacha

Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures the Government are taking in response to the allegations of money laundering by General Abacha, relating to the use of banks for which the UK has responsibility; and if he will make a statement. [9124]

Ruth Kelly: Following the Divisional Court's ruling of 18 October, the SFO will be able to provide evidence answering the Nigerian and Swiss requests for assistance.

An FSA task force is now monitoring seven banks' actions to remedy inadequate money laundering controls. Under the Financial Services and Markets Act the FSA will have wider powers to disclose information and to prosecute breaches of the money laundering regulations.

The Proceeds of Crime Bill, introduced on 18 November, will further strengthen the UK's anti-money laundering defences.

Guaranteed Annuities

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are being taken to ensure that the full record of exchanges between the Government Auditor, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Treasury on the subject of guaranteed annuities, and particularly in relation to Equitable Life, are being made available for examination by the Penrose public inquiry. [8481]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 18 October 2001]: Lord Penrose will have full access to all the information he requires. >

Aggregates Tax

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much VAT he forecasts will be raised by the imposition of the aggregates tax in the first full year of its operation. [8859]

Mr. Boateng: No such estimate is available.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a breakdown of how much is forecast to be raised by the aggregates tax in its first full year from (a) low specification aggregates, (b) virgin aggregates and (c) recycled aggregates. [8852]

Mr. Boateng: Forecasts of tax revenues are published each March in the Financial Statement and Budget Report (FSBR) and in the autumn in the pre-Budget report. Forecasts of aggregates levy revenues are not broken down by type of aggregate. Recycled aggregates are exempt from the levy.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the impact which the aggregates tax will have on the cost of housing construction; [8850]

Mr. Boateng: No such estimates have been made.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total impact so far on UK carbon dioxide emissions of the reduction in VAT on domestic supplies of fuel and power from 8 per cent. to 5 per cent. [8851]

Mr. Boateng: The annual figure was set out in Table 6.2 of the Government's Financial Statement and Budget Report published in March 2001, which shows the latest estimates of the environmental impact of measures introduced in recent Budgets.

EU Tax Companies

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those EU countries which operate taxes broadly comparable to (a) the aggregates tax and (b) the climate change levy. [8858]

Mr. Boateng: There are energy taxes in Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden.

There are aggregates taxes in Denmark, France and Sweden and the Netherlands is in the process of introducing a tax.

Disabled Person's Tax Credit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to extend the Disabled Person's Tax Credit to people who work less than 16 hours per week; and if he will make a statement. [8977]

Mr. Andrew Smith: There are no current plans to extend the Disabled Person's Tax Credit to people who work less than 16 hours per week. >

Royal Prerogative

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many ministerial decisions were made where authority for the same derived from the royal prerogative in the most recent calendar month for which information is available. [9375]

Ruth Kelly: Records are not kept of the individual occasions on which powers under the royal prerogative are exercised nor would it be practicable to do so.

European Court of Justice Judgments

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the implications for (a) UK tax law and (b) Government revenue of the 9 October Judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C-108/99, Commissioners of HM Customs and Excise v. Cantor Fitzgerald International; and if he will make a statement. [9169]

Mr. Boateng: No change in UK tax legislation is needed as a result of this judgment. Subject to the final decision of the UK courts, this European Court of Justice decision is expected to have prevented a potential tax loss.

Helpline

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the progress made towards the establishment of a virtual call centre structure to support the proposed national helpline for VAT, excise and freight. [9178]

Mr. Boateng: HM Customs and Excise introduced a new National Advice Service on 2 April 2001 that deals with all general telephone inquiries from businesses and the public about taxes and duties they are responsible for.

Pension Fund Surpluses

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to review legislation governing pension fund surpluses; and if he will make a statement. [9757]

Ruth Kelly: The pension fund surpluses legislation is kept under regular review and an announcement will be made if it is decided to change the current rules.

Savings

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what constraints will be placed upon parents' investment decisions on behalf of their children in respect of money made available through the Child Trust Fund; [9753]

Ruth Kelly: The Government's strategy towards saving and the measures they have taken, including the introduction of Individual Saving Accounts and Stakeholder Pensions, is set out in "Helping People to Save", published by HM Treasury in November 2000.

The Government launched consultation on further proposals to encourage saving and asset-building, especially among households with low incomes, in "Saving and Assets for All" published by HM Treasury in April 2001. The consultation is focused on proposals for the Child Trust Fund and the Saving Gateway. As the consultation paper describes, decisions on the design and operation of the proposed initiatives have not been taken. The potential cost of the initiatives would depend on such decisions. Many financial service providers have responded to the consultation. The Government intend to report back on the results from the consultation and on its further intentions for these initiatives around the time of the pre-Budget report in autumn 2001.


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