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Environmental Taxation

Mr. Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much environmental taxation has been collected by the Treasury in each of the past five financial years broken down by type of tax. [9026]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 19 October 2001]: The Government publish figures for revenue receipts for all taxes in the pre-Budget report and the Budget.

Child Pornography

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many detections of indecent or obscene material featuring children were made by Customs and Excise in 2000–01. [9213]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Information on detections of obscene material made during 2000–01 will shortly be published in Customs' annual departmental report.


Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much income has been raised by the Crown Estates from dredging licences issued in respect of dredging offshore in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [9654]

Mr. Andrew Smith: the income derived from dredging licences issued for the last five years as published in the Crown Estates' annual report is as follows.

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£ million

Public Expenditure (Scotland)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for each year since 1979, what the total sum was, in real terms, of public expenditure spent by the (a) Scottish Office, (b) Scotland Office and (c) Scottish Executive that was negotiated externally from the block grant and Barnett formula; and what was for each year (i) the single largest item of such expenditure and (ii) the total amount of such expenditure. [10126]

Mr. Andrew Smith: This information is not readily available. Moreover, coverage of the block grant arrangements has changed over the period since 1979, which makes comparisons over this period difficult. However, information on Scottish public expenditure back to 1995–96 was published in Chapter 8 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses in April 2001. Information for earlier years was published in previous editions of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses.


Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry regarding the effect on UK productivity of (a) the regulatory burden on business and (b) the climate change levy. [R] [10255]

Mr. Boateng: The Chancellor discusses a wide range of issues, including regulation, with Government colleagues and takes into account relevant economic, social and environmental factors when forming taxation policy.

Tax Revenues

Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if tax revenues predicted for the current financial year are so far on target; and if he will identify specific shortfalls or surpluses. [10261]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Updated public finance forecasts will be made available in the forthcoming pre-Budget report.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Collins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will announce conclusions on the proposals for extended relief for business rates and VAT for businesses affected by the foot and mouth outbreak, as set out in the Haskins report. [9629]

Mr. Boateng: Customs and Inland Revenue have worked jointly to respond to the needs of businesses affected by foot and mouth disease. A joint helpline was set up on 21 March 2001 to offer immediate advice, and this was followed by the publication of a special tax bulletin giving further information. The majority of

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contacts were from businesses experiencing financial difficulties, and were assisted by deferring liabilities or agreeing time to pay.

A programme of proactive support was also established. In affected areas, both Departments telephoned businesses identified as likely to need support and attended many meetings set up by support agencies.

The Revenue departments will continue to take a sympathetic approach to businesses which have been affected by FMD, and are aware that some businesses will continue to suffer problems throughout the autumn and winter.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will answer the question tabled by the hon. Member for Yeovil on 20 July 2001 [ref 200]. [9964]

Mr. Boateng: I very much regret that Treasury Ministers are not yet in a position to provide the hon. Member with the information he is seeking. However, the Economic Secretary will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Self-assessment Tax Returns

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the data for each month since 1 October 2000 on how many self-assessment tax returns were (a) issued, (b) received, (c) waiting to be processed and (d) processed; and if he will make a statement. [8137]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The information requested is as detailed:

Self-assessment tax returns

Tax year/dateIssuedReceivedProcessedWaiting to be processed
1 October 20009,159,2114,263,6142,778,8691,484,745
29 October 20009,221,1214,907,0913,736,8571,170,234
26 November 20009,281,4405,330,8664,643,537687,329
31 December 20009,335,8235,859,0445,288,979570,065
28 January 20019,416,6177,219,4046,113,1681,106,236
25 February 20019,502,2958,612,1147,160,6501,451,464
25 March 20019,532,4428,750,0428,323,890426,152
29 April 20018,761,593243,35076,410166,940
27 May 20018,852,094629,980328,328301,652
1 July 20018,940,5131,323,115864,497458,618
29 July 20018,990,2921,943,9011,350,597593,304
2 September 20018,989,0432,798,1531,966,795831,358
30 September 20019,152,2554,241,9522,677,1451,564,807


Ministerial Visits

Mr. Brady: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list the persons who accompanied her on her visit to Brazil from 30 July to 1 August; and what was the cost of the visit. [9888]

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The Solicitor-General: Neither I nor the Attorney- General have visited Brazil, either between 30 July and 1 August, or at all since our appointment in June 2001 this year.


Policing (Bromley)

Child Curfew Orders

Mr. Horam: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many curfew orders have been imposed on young people in the London borough of Bromley. [9995]

Mr. Denham: No applications have been received to impose child curfew schemes under section 14 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Sections 48 and 49 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, which took effect on 1 August 2001, have recently extended the upper age limit to 15 and allowed the police, as well as local authorities, to initiate schemes. Local areas are assessing the implications of these changes.

Religious Hatred

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to extend offences which involve aggravation by racial hatred to include aggravation by religious hatred; and if he will make a statement. [9896]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 24 October 2001]: The Government intend to bring forward proposals to extend the law on racially aggravated offences, to cover offences aggravated by religious hostility.

The Government have also announced their intention to propose this change as part of a package of measures to strengthen the incitement to racial hatred provisions contained in Part III of the Public Order Act 1986 and in particular to extend those provisions to the incitement to religious hatred.

Metropolitan Police Numbers

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many officers were serving in the Special Branch of the Metropolitan police on (a) 1 August and (b) 1 October; [9726]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 24 October 2001]: On 31 March 1997 the Metropolitan police had 26,677 police officers and on 31 March 2001 there were 24,878. I am told by the Commissioner that 466 police officers were seconded to the forces of Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey when the boundary change took effect on 1 April 2000. 253 of these officers have now returned to the

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Metropolitan police and the remainder should have returned by March 2002. They will return as and when replacements are recruited by the three forces.

The effects of the boundary change were incorporated into the police funding formula and the overall transfer was in terms of financial resources, not of officers. Where data on police numbers are used in the formula, a notional transfer of 887 from the Metropolitan police to the three county forces was applied. Because it is for police authorities and chief constables to decide how resources are utilised, it is not appropriate to convert the notional transfer directly into a full-time equivalent strength for the Metropolitan police immediately prior to the boundary changes.

I am told by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the force had 538 Special Branch officers on 1 August and 552 on 1 October 2001.

The number of officers available for active duty cannot be provided by the Metropolitan police. Figures in the table are those for ordinary duty 1 for the periods requested.

31 March 199726,677
31 March 199926,073
31 March 200025,485
31 March 200124,878

Police numbers in the Metropolitan police have been increasing since September 2000. Between 30 September 2000 and 31 March 2001 police strength increased by 183. This was the largest single increase in police numbers in the force for more than a decade. The overall reduction between March 2000 and March 2001 largely reflects the impact of boundary changes in April 2000.

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