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Mr. Rendel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the NIRS2 computer system to be fully operational. 
Dawn Primarolo: The NIRS2 computer system is fully operational.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much additional VAT revenue was secured by shadow economy teams in (a) 19992000, (b) 200001 and (c) 200102 to date. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 6 November 2001]: The information is as follows:
(1) Data not yet available
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average case value was of cases of VAT fraud investigated by HM Customs and Excise under the civil penalty procedure in (a) 199798, (b) 199899, (c) 19992000, (d) 200001 and (e) 200102 to date; and if he will express the figures both in actual cash terms and in constant prices. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 6 November 2001]: The average values for VAT civil evasion cases are as follows:
|Year||Number of cases||Actual average value (£)||At constant 200001 prices (£)|
These figures are rounded to the nearest thousand. Figures for 200102 are not yet available.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what additional budget allocations have been made since 11 September to (a) the UK security services, (b) the
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Ministry of Defence, (c) the Department for International Development and (d) other Departments; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer, 25 October 2001]: The Chancellor has made it clear that the Government will meet the costs of measures related to our response to international terrorism, while continuing to deliver our spending plans within the fiscal rules. Any additions to departmental expenditure limits will continue to be reported to Parliament through the supplementary estimates process in the normal way.
Derek Conway: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the basis is for the policy of allowing tax deducted from bank and building society deposits to be reclaimed, but not from dividends paid on shares and unit trusts; and if he will make a statement. 
Ruth Kelly: Income tax is deducted at source from bank and building society interest, and the tax deducted can be reclaimed where a saver is not liable to pay it. There is no tax deduction at source from dividends, and so no tax to reclaim. Dividends carry a tax credit which satisfies the tax liability of investors with income up to the basic rate limit, but non-taxpayers cannot claim payment of this tax credit.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received as to the effect of fuel duties on businesses in the Greater London area in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Boateng: The Chancellor receives many representations covering a wide range of issues including the impact of fuel duties upon the economy. These are given due consideration in the context of the Budget judgment.
Mr. Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if part-time employees or ex-employees who have been awarded backdated access to their occupational pension schemes, will be permitted to take the relevant tax relief for the year in which the contribution applied; and if he will relax sections 592 and 594 of the Taxes Act 1988 to permit such persons to make a one-off tax-free contribution of greater than the annual permitted amount. 
Ruth Kelly: Part-time employees have always been able to join and contribute to tax approved pensions schemes on the same basis as other employees. Any restriction on the participation of part-time employees in an occupational pension scheme is as a result of scheme rules.
It is up to employers and employees to settle how to give part-timers' rights to retrospective membership in occupational pension schemes, or agree equivalent compensation. In such cases there are no limits on the amounts of contributions which employers and employees
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may make to defined benefit occupational pension schemes. Employee contributions of up to 15 per cent. of the pay of the year of payment of contributions qualify for tax relief, as do all employer contributions.
Mr. Singh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Customs and Excise officers are suspended over allegations relating to a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice; and in which areas of the country they were based. 
Mr. Boateng: Eight officers are suspended: at Leeds (six), Brighton (one) and London (one).
Mr. Singh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much heroin seized in the last year in the United Kingdom was supplied from Pakistan; and whether this includes controlled deliveries by Customs and Excise from Pakistan to the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Boateng: The complexity of smuggling routes means that Customs does not know the country of origin of all drug seizures. Of the heroin seized in the UK by Customs during the financial year 200001, 83 kg is recorded as having Pakistan as the known country of origin. It is not policy to give details of investigative techniques as that could prejudice the investigation and detection of crime.
Mr. Singh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many operations conducted by HM Customs and Excise in relation to controlled deliveries are under legal review by independent counsel. 
Mr. Boateng: HM Customs and Excise has asked independent counsel to advise on five controlled delivery cases.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to write off debts owed by the poorest countries; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: The UK has consistently been at the forefront of the international debate on debt relief for developing countries. The UK pushed for the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative to be speeded up, and as a result 23 countries were receiving debt relief at the end of October. Those countries will receive $54 billion in debt relief, which will reduce their debts to below the developing country average.
The UK's 100 per cent. bilateral policy on debt relief means that it stands ready to write off £1.9 billion of debt to all 42 HIPCs, and is one of the highest contributors to the HIPC trust fund.
In addition, the Chancellor also announced last December that the UK would hold in trust any payments from those HIPCs yet to receive debt relief, and we continue to call on other creditor countries to follow our lead.
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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the interpretation of the phrase, for own consumption, when applied to the import of cigarettes from the EU into the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Boateng: The definition of "own use" and the circumstances whereby people travelling to the UK from other EU countries are entitled to bring into the UK without charge cigarettes which they have purchased tax-paid elsewhere in the EU are set out in the Excise Duties (Personal Reliefs) Order 1992.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimate is of the cost of the Penrose inquiry in (a) 200102 and (b) 200203. 
Ruth Kelly: No firm estimate has been made of the cost of the Penrose inquiry. Whatever resources are required by Lord Penrose will be made available to him.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff are employed on the Penrose inquiry (a) full-time and (b) part-time. 
Ruth Kelly: The Penrose inquiry is an independent inquiry and the number of staff employed on it will be determined by the requirements of Lord Penrose. I understand that currently there are seven full-time and two part-time staff employed on the inquiry.
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