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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the implication of judgment of the European Court of Justice against the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Case C-338/98) for (a) the policy of HM Customs and Excise with regard to input-VAT deductions for taxable employers on the expenses of their employees and (b) annual irrecoverable VAT revenue for HM Treasury; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 5 December 2001]: Customs and Excise are exploring the implications of this decision with the European Commission, and will consider whether any changes are required to ensure the UK's VAT rules are compatible. The Government will consult UK businesses closely about these implications, but are not prepared to impose any unnecessary costs or burdens on them. In the meantime, UK businesses can continue to rely on current UK law, policy and practice.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the ratio of value added tax receipts to consumptions was, setting out the variation between the forecast VAT/ consumption ratio and its actual outturn, in each of the last four years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 6 December 2001]: As the hon. Member will be aware, since pre-Budget 1997 the VAT receipts forecast is governed by a National Audit Office assumption that the VAT/Consumers' Expenditure ratio declines by 0.05 per cent. per year.
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|Implied by forecasts for respective Budgets||Ratio outturns|
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 6 December 2001]: Community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) pay a range of taxes depending on their circumstances. The Government recognise the valuable and important role CASCs play in promoting the health and cohesion of their local communities. The consultation document "Promoting Sport in the Community" seeks views on the best way for tax relief to help CASCs that make a positive contribution to their local communities, and is held in the House Library.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment has been made of the number of community amateur sports clubs which would qualify for (a) charitable status and (b) Inland Revenue administered tax relief under the proposals contained in the consultation paper; 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the revenue which will be forgone following implementation of the Charity Commission's proposals on community amateur sports clubs; 
Mr. Boateng: The consultation document "Promoting Sport in the Community" seeks views on the best way to help CASCs that make a positive contribution to their local communities. The cost and number of clubs which would qualify depend upon the outcome of the consultation.
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Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what basis Customs and Excise allocate staff members to tackle (a) drug trafficking and (b) tobacco smuggling; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: The Law Enforcement function of HM Customs and Excise presently has around 7,000 staffbased across the UK and overseasand broadly divided between detection, investigation and intelligence arms. A great many of these staff, particularly uniformed officers at ports and airports, are trained to act multifunctionally in order to deal with detections of drugs, tobacco and all other contrabands. Customs deploys its enforcement staff on a flexible resourcing-to-risk basis with a view to delivering the strategic outcomes to which it is committed in the drugs and tobacco areas as well as meeting its commitments in other tax fraud and criminal areas in which it has a responsibility. National, regional and local intelligence assessments inform the day-to-day allocation of resources to specific tasks at specific locations.
Employment levels in those sectors and the benefits received from the levy funded national insurance contribution cuts.
The number of energy intensive firms in that sector that are eligible to receive a discount on the main rates of the levy by signing up to an energy efficiency agreement.
The use that firms in that sector make of electricity generated from levy exempt 'new' renewable sources of energy and combined heat and power.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what has been the total cost of researching and producing the book on entrepreneurs referred to in the Budget Red Book 2000, HC 346, para. 3.73; 
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Mr. Boateng: A range of options for the format of the publication, including book and magazine styles, is currently under consideration. As these matters are still under consideration the book has not yet been published and no costs have yet been incurred.
Mr. Boateng: The world economy is experiencing its first synchronised slowdown for three decades, and the Government fully appreciate that manufacturers are exposed to faltering global demand and heightened uncertainty. In these circumstances it is more vital than ever that we maintain the conditions for domestic growth and stability that our macroeconomic frameworks have established.
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 6 December 2001]: I refer the hon. Gentleman to pages 18 and 19 of the Customs and Excise paper "Measuring Indirect Tax Fraud" that was published on 27 November 2001, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Boateng: Sir Gareth Roberts is expected to send his final report to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in February 2002, at which time arrangements will be made to publish the report.
Chapter 3 of the 2001 pre-Budget report included a section that set out the main areas that Sir Gareth Roberts has indicated he intends to cover in his recommendations. Copies of the pre-Budget report are available in the Library. Additional information relating to Sir Gareth Roberts' Review was included in a document, "Review of
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the Supply of Scientists and Engineers; A Summary of the Responses to the June 2001 Consultation Paper", published alongside the pre-Budget report. Copies of this document, too, are available in the Library.
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