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Customs and Excise

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the target of HM Customs and Excise is for detecting notifiable export irregularities. [11166]

Mr. Boateng: Targets for the number of notifiable export irregularities detected are not set.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made since 11 September of the priority given by HM Customs and Excise to detecting notifiable import and export irregularities. [11165]

Mr. Boateng: Customs continue to deploy resources on the basis of intelligence and assessment of risk. Many of the potential risks which can result in notifiable import and export irregularities are unaffected by the 11 September events. Where intelligence or risk assessment indicates an increased risk a higher priority is afforded.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many and in what percentage of searches of premises by HM Customs and Excise were (a) smuggled goods and (b) other evidence relating to an offence discovered in (i) 1999–2000, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) 2001–02 to date. [11167]

Mr. Boateng: This information is not readily available and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

5 Nov 2001 : Column: 69W

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many searches of premises were conducted by HM Customs and Excise (a) by consent, (b) by warrant and (c) by writ of assistance in (i) 1999–2000, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) 2001–02 to date. [11168]

Mr. Boateng: Figures for 2000–01 and 2001–02 are not yet available. For the year 1999–2000 there were 298 searches of premises conducted by consent, 265 conducted by warrant and 183 by writ of assistance in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases were taken to court for Common Agricultural Policy export refund offences and irregularities levied by the Intervention Board as a result of Customs detections; what was the total overclaim value of those cases; and what was the total sum of penalties awarded in (a) 1999–2000, (b) 2000–01 and (c) 2001–02 to date. [11173]

Mr. Boateng: There were no cases taken to court by HM Customs and Excise for Common Agricultural Policy export refund offences in 1999–2000, 2000–01 and no cases to date for 2001–02.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people were detained after arrest by HM Customs and Excise in (a) 1999–2000, (b) 2000–01 and (c) 2001–02 to date; and how many such people were subsequently (i) charged, (ii) released on payment of a compound settlement and (iii) released for other reasons; [11170]

Mr. Boateng: Figures for 2000–01 and 2001–02 are not yet available.

1999–2000

England and WalesNorthern Ireland
Number of persons:
Detained after arrest3,59589
Detained for more than 24 hours and subsequently released without charge250
Number of persons for whom warrants for further detention were:
Applied for270
Granted(20)260
(20)in this instance, the number of persons:
Charged460
Released on payment of a settlement50
Number of persons:
Charged1,56318
Released on payment of a settlement3101
Released for other reasons00

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many prosecutions were brought by HM Customs and Excise in (a) 1999–2000, (b) 2000–01 and (c) 2001–02 to date in cases where the offence is registrable under the Sex Offenders Act 1997. [11169]

5 Nov 2001 : Column: 70W

Mr. Boateng: As part of the multi-agency approach to combating paedophile activity both Customs and Excise and the police bring prosecutions following the investigation of detections of material by Customs.

1999–20002000–01
Total number of prosecutions3329
Police1414
HM Customs1915

The figures for 2001–02 are incomplete.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many searches of persons carried out by Customs and Excise officers related to (a) drugs, (b) revenue goods and (c) other prohibited or restricted goods in (i) 1999–2000, (ii) 2000–01 and (iii) 2001–02 to date; and what percentages of the number of searches conducted this represented in each case. [11197]

Mr. Boateng: This information is not readily available and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Individual Pension Account

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to introduce the individual pension account. [12450]

Ruth Kelly: The individual pensions account was introduced in Budget 2001. They have been available since April 2001.

FRS 17 Regulations

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the FRS 17 regulations on portfolio decisions of pension fund managers; and if he will make a statement. [12451]

Ruth Kelly: FRS 17, like the other financial reporting standards, is a matter for the Accounting Standards Board.

Kingscrest Case

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 3 July 2001, Official Report, column 127W, on care homes, what steps his Department has taken to challenge the decision of the London VAT tribunal. [12162]

Mr. Boateng: The Government are of the clear view that care of vulnerable people provided in residential homes should not be subject to VAT.

Customs and Excise appealed against this tribunal decision. The appeal is expected to be heard early in the new year.

Landfill Tax Credit

Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) which organisations and individuals he has (a) already consulted and (b) plans to consult on the future of landfill tax credit; and when the consultations took place; [12982]

5 Nov 2001 : Column: 71W

Ruth Kelly: The Government are committed to meeting the challenging targets for waste recycling set out in Waste Strategy 2000. As stated in Budget 2001, it is attracted to replacing all or part of the landfill tax credit scheme with a public spending programme to direct resources towards Government priorities on sustainable waste management. The Government, together with the devolved Administrations, are now beginning work on developing options for a spending programme for consideration as part of Spending Review 2002. In taking forward this work, the Government will consult with interested parties on the shape of any replacement scheme and the transition to any replacement.

Brownfield Sites

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answers of 25 October 2001, Official Report, column 375W, and 30 October 2001, Official Report, column 625W, on brownfield sites, what information he has (a) collated and (b) published on the take-up of the tax credit for clearing and developing brownfield sites. [12414]

Mr. Boateng: No estimates are currently available for the take up of this measure. Tax relief for expenditure on the remediation of contaminated land will be claimed in the tax return of the company undertaking the remediation work and those returns do not have to be filed until 12 months after the end of the accounting period concerned. Relief is available in respect of land remediation expenditure incurred on or after 11 May 2001, therefore those companies who take advantage of this relief are unlikely to file their tax returns until May 2002 at the earliest. Information provided in those returns is covered by the normal rules on taxpayer confidentiality.

Tobin Tax

Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with his European colleagues on the Tobin tax; and if he will make a statement. [9849]

Mr. Boateng: The Tobin tax was discussed by European Finance Ministers during the 22 September informal ECOFIN meeting in Liege. Ministers agreed to further work into the economic implications and practical issues raised by the Tobin tax as part of a wider study into the challenges of globalisation.

Mr. Challen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about the Tobin tax. [8750]

Mr. Boateng: The Treasury has received correspondence from the public and non-governmental organisations, as well as academic assessments of the Tobin tax, and there have been meetings with non- governmental organisations and academics to discuss the issues.

The Tobin tax was also discussed by European Finance Ministers during the 22 September informal ECOFIN meeting in Liege. Ministers agreed to further work into the economic implications and practical issues raised by the Tobin tax as part of a wider study into the challenges of globalisation.

5 Nov 2001 : Column: 72W


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