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EC Directive 92/83

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to transpose EC Directive 92/83; and if he will make a statement. [39356]

Mr. Boateng: Council Directive 92/83/EEC is already implemented in the UK.

Overseas Aid

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the percentage of GNP is committed to overseas aid in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; what plans he has to increase the percentage of GNP committed to overseas aid; and if he will make a statement. [39726]

Ruth Kelly: The final figures for 2002 are currently not available from the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The latest DAC figures available show the UK net overseas development assistance average for 2000 was 0.32 per cent. of GNP.

The Government remain fully committed to the UN 0.7 per cent oda/GNP target. They have made clear their pledge that the ratio of aid to GNP will reach 0.33 per cent. in 2003–04. This would place the UK above the G7 country average of 0.19 per cent. and the OECD average of 0.22 per cent.

In his speech in November in New York and in his pre-Budget report speech, the Chancellor emphasised his commitment to ensuring further substantial increases in development assistance and its share in national income. The impending spending review will set spending plans for 2003–04 to 2005–06 and is an opportunity to consider plans for development spending beyond 2003–04, alongside other priorities and pressures.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the proportion of gross national income devoted to overseas development assistance was in each financial year since 1979. [39970]

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Mr. Boateng: The oda/GNI ratio is an input target whose elements are set by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Development assistance as a percentage of GNP will rise to 0.33 per cent. in 2003/04, up from 0.26 per cent. in 1997.

The figures for the proportion of gross national income devoted to overseas development assistance for each financial year since 1979 are available in the DFID Report, Statistics on International Development 1996/7–2000/01, page 143, Figure 16.1 Net oda/GNI ratios for the UK.

The report is a National Statistics publication.

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what date he intends to achieve the United Nations' target of 0.7 per cent. GNP for overseas aid. [40324]

Mr. Boateng: The Government remain fully committed to the UN 0.7 per cent. oda/GNP target. They have made clear their pledge that the ratio of aid to GNP will reach 0.33 per cent in 2003–04. This would place the UK above the G7 country average of 0.19 per cent. and the OECD average of 0.22 per cent.

In his speech in November in New York, and in his pre-Budget report speech, the Chancellor emphasised his commitment to ensuring further substantial increases in development assistance and its share in national income. The impending spending review will set spending plans for 2003–04 to 2005–6 and is an opportunity to consider plans for development spending beyond 2003–04, alongside other priorities and pressures.

Fair Trade

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether fair trade products are sold in his Department. [39827]

Ruth Kelly: Yes.

Pensions

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the effects of the abolition of the advance corporation tax credit on future pensions. [40194]

Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the additional contributions that (a) a 30- year-old man, (b) a 40-year-old man and (c) a 50-year-old man would have to make to a money-purchase pension scheme as a result of changes to the tax treatment of pension funds introduced since 1997. [39432]

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the number of months' pension contributions would now be required to achieve an equivalent funded pension to a year's pension contributions in 1997; [40281]

Ruth Kelly: The Government's package of corporation tax reforms included measures to boost corporate investment by removing tax distortions. The withdrawal of payable tax credits on dividends was just one part of

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these measures. Pension funds will share in the long-term benefits from these changes to corporation tax. The overall effects of these changes on pension funds and future pensions will depend on a variety of factors, including: the type of scheme paying the pension; the take-up of private pensions; the level of future pension contributions; pension schemes' asset allocation and investment policies; and investment returns generally.

Sir Ronald Cohen

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what meetings he has had with Sir Ronald Cohen since 1 May 1997; what subjects were discussed at those meetings; and if he will make a statement. [39900]

Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon Gentleman to the answer given by the Chancellor on 11 February 2002, Official Report, columns 114–15W.

EU Prospectus Directive

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the proposed EU Prospectus Directive, with specific reference to the impact of this directive on the regulatory burden and costs of listing on non-recognised investment exchanges. [40252]

Ruth Kelly: It is not possible to list securities on a 'non-recognised investment exchange', but I assume that my hon. Friend's question relates to AIM and OFEX.

The admission of securities to trading on AIM and OFEX does not currently trigger requirements in terms of the Listing Particulars Directive (which would be repealed by the Prospectus Directive). The Prospectus Directive, as drafted, would stipulate that the admission of trading of securities to trading on a regulated market would trigger a requirement for a prospectus. AIM is currently a regulated market but OFEX is not.

However, the position in respect of both AIM and OFEX could change depending on the changes made to the definition of 'regulated market' in the new Investment Services Directive.

Three aspects of the prospectus Directive, as drafted, could give rise to additional costs for companies that seek or obtain admission to trading on AIM: the precise content requirements of both the registration document and the full prospectus; the approval process for prospectuses; and the provision for mandatory shelf registration.

We take very seriously the possibility that the Prospectus Directive might increase the regulatory burden for UK companies. But it is not possible at this stage of the negotiation to calculate the cost implications for companies whose securities are admitted to trading on AIM and OFEX.

Government Management Map

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 27 February 2002, ref 37683, if he will list the units which report to each Minister for the organogram to which he refers; and if he will make a statement. [40543]

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Ruth Kelly: Ministerial responsibilities are set out in HM Treasury's Departmental Report, (Cm 5116). The responsibilities of teams across the Department are also outlined in the report.

Monetary Union

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his policy on the required European Union conditions for the public sector borrowing requirement in advance of a decision of UK entry into the monetary union. [40416]

Ruth Kelly: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 6 December 2001, Official Report, columns 517–18W.

Advance Corporation Tax

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much additional income has been realised by the Exchequer as a result of his most recent changes to advance corporation tax. [40280]

Dawn Primarolo: Advance corporation tax was abolished with effect from April 1999. The abolition did not in itself give rise to additional yield to the Exchequer.

The abolition of advance corporation tax was part of a package of reforms that included the abolition of payable tax credits on dividends and cuts in corporation tax rates. These changes were designed to boost corporate investment by removing tax distortions and to improve the climate for quality long-term investment. The figures of cost and yield for these reforms were given in the FSBR for the July 1997 and March 1998 Budgets.

X-ray Images

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what was the original target date, and what the latest target date is, for the completion of HM Customs and Excise's programme to train officers in the recognition of x-ray images; [38622]

Mr. Boateng: The original target to train sufficient staff for the proposed operation of each scanner was met for all scanners.

However, in certain locations managers decided to extend the scope of the operation or increase the number of staff involved with image interpretation. These changes created an additional training requirement which is being met. The operational efficiency of the scanner fleet has not been adversely affected.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many Customs officers he plans will undergo training during (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03 in the interpretation of x-ray images; [38624]

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Mr. Boateng: 247 officers working with the mobile x-ray freight scanners have received training in the interpretation of x-ray images.

Training for a further 100 officers will be delivered during the first half of 2002–03.


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