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Jane Griffiths: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of lorries and containers were randomly searched by Customs for contraband such as beer in 2001; and what assessment he has made of the outcome of those searches. [50044]

Mr. Boateng: Customs selections of freight for examination are made on the basis of intelligence—using either regularly updated profiles or specific (target- related) information. Where a freight scanner is based at the port concerned, consignments are scanned before a physical examination is considered.

Customs do not make random selections of freight for scanning or physical examination.


Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letter of 10 July 2001 from the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald, concerning a constituent and the effect of VAT on domestic heating oil bills. [51524]

Mr. Boateng: I replied to the right hon. Lady on 5 September 2001.

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Business Taxation

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reductions in taxation on business there have been since 1997. [51484]

Dawn Primarolo: All changes to the tax system are included in the relevant Financial Statement and Budget report, which is available in the Library of the House.

Budget 2002 takes further steps to build a corporate tax regime which recognises the realities of the modern business environment and competes with the best in the world. Reductions in business tax include cutting the main rate of corporation tax from 33 per cent. to 30 per cent., the introduction of a 10 per cent. starting rate, which has now been cut to zero, and the introduction of an R&D tax credit.

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Wray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the climate change levy brings to the Exchequer; and who is exempt from the levy. [49681]

Mr. Boateng: A forecast of revenue from the climate change levy in 2001–02 and 2002–03 was published in the pre-Budget report in November 2001. A new forecast was published in the Financial Statement and Budget report on 17 April.

The climate change levy is designed to encourage the non-domestic sector to become more energy efficient. Full details of the exemptions are available in the Library and on Customs and Excise's website at http:// In addition partial exemption is given to businesses who enter into negotiated energy efficient climate change agreements with the Government.

Following Budget 2002 the Government are exempting two further sources of energy generation from the CCL in view of their environmental benefits:

Road User Charge

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the consultation on the proposed road user charge for lorries will (a) start and (b) finish. [52366]

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when the further details of the lorry road user charges referred to on page 135 of Budget 2002 will be published; from where these details will be available; and what further process of consultation he intends to undertake; [52387]

Mr. Boateng: The Government are today publishing a document on their proposals for the lorry road user charge, 'Modernising the taxation of the haulage industry—progress report one'. Copies of this document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses today.

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The document outlines why the Government have chosen to introduce a distance based rather than time based lorry road user charge, some preliminary thoughts about the nature of the charge and the key next steps. It follows a period of consultation, involving the haulage industry, other business groups and environmental organisations, based on the Government's consultation document, 'Modernising the taxation of the haulage industry—a consultation document', published in November 2001. The Government will continue to ensure that stakeholders are involved in the development of the lorry road user charge.

Tax Credits

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to increase the take-up of working families tax credit; and if he will make a statement about take-up targets and measures for the proposed (a) integrated child credit and (b) working tax credit. [48641]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 15 April 2002]: The number of working families with children benefiting from WFTC continues to increase. At November 2001 nearly 1.3 million families with children were benefiting from the working families' tax credit, over 450,000 more families than benefited from family credit at its peak. The child tax credit and working tax credit will be introduced from April 2003 and around six million families are expected to benefit from one or both of the new tax credits.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the rate of take-up for each of the tax credits available in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02; and if he will estimate the (i) numbers and (ii) values of unclaimed tax credits. [52128]

Dawn Primarolo: No reliable estimate of the take-up of the working families tax credit can be attempted until the Family Resources Survey for 2001–02 is analysed.

The children's tax credit (CTC) started in 2001–02. Many claims for the 2001–02 CTC will be made after the end of that year, including via self-assessment, and so no estimate of the take-up rate is available.

Benefit Take-up

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the case load and take-up estimates and assumptions referred to in footnotes 2, 3 and 4 of Table 4.4 on page 79 of the Budget Red Book. [51721]

Dawn Primarolo: Column 2 of Table 4.4 of the Budget 2002 report is based on the levels of housing benefit and council tax benefit take-up in 1997–98, which came from an analysis of the 1 per cent. sample of the Housing Benefit Management Information System, and on actual case load numbers for those receiving family credit in 1997–98.

Columns 3 and 4 of this table are based on the levels of housing benefit and council tax benefit take-up in 1999–2000 and on projected case load numbers for those receiving working families tax credit or disabled persons tax credit in 2002–03 and new tax credits in 2003–04, respectively.

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North Sea Oil Projects

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the oil industry about the taxation of North sea oil projects. [52364]

Dawn Primarolo: Ministers and civil servants have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals as part of the process of policy development and analysis. As with previous Administrations it is not this Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code and Guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists.

Tax Concessions

Mr. Allen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research he has assessed on the impact of tax concessions to non-domiciled British residents on the level of (a) inward investment and (b) employment in the United Kingdom; and if he will place copies of the research findings in the Library. [52233]

Dawn Primarolo: We announced on 17 April as part of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget statement that we are reviewing the residence and domicile rules as they affect tax liabilities of individuals. I refer to Chapter 5 of the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report 2002, paragraph 5.83.

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Company Vans

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are being taken by the Treasury to review the tax treatment of the private use of vans provided by employers; and if he will make a statement. [52390]

Mr. Boateng: As announced in the Budget, the Government will review the tax treatment of the private use of vans provided by employers. The review will take into account environmental benefits, fairness and modern working practices.

Education Resources (Coalfield Areas)

Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he plans to increase financial resources available for education in the coalfields in the local authority finance review. [51556]

Mr. Timms: I have been asked to reply.

As part of the review of local authority finance we are working up proposals for a reformed system of LEA funding for introduction in 2003–04. Our aim is to create a fairer formula that reflects fairly, on the basis of up-to-date evidence, the needs of authorities in different parts of the country.

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