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Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the recent meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the IMF in Washington DC. 
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Ruth Kelly: The International Monetary and Financial Committee met in Washington DC on 20 April 2002. The Committee had a broad agenda, covering the global economy, the IMF's policy agenda and progress in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Based on the Committee's discussions, management will determine the forward work programme and priorities for the International Monetary Fund over the next six months.
In their discussion of the global economy the Committee welcomed the international community's decisive policy actions, especially following the tragic events of 11 September 2001, to maintain financial stability, restore the momentum of world economic growth, and reinvigorate the fight against poverty. The Committee also urged the Argentine authorities to co-operate with the IMF to reach agreement on a sustainable economic programme.
Going forward the Committee will continue to work together for sustained, broad based growth, creating opportunities for productive employment, reducing vulnerabilities, opening up economies for trade, providing resources for durable poverty reduction, and sustaining global action to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The Committee also made recommendations for strengthening the IMF's surveillance, including in financial sectors, and crisis prevention and for enhancing the existing framework for crisis resolution, including consideration of innovative proposals to improve the process of sovereign debt restructuring.
The Committee fully endorsed the Monterrey consensus and encouraged the IMF to work closely with the World bank, regional development banks, the United Nations and bilateral donors in monitoring progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Committee welcomed the outcomes of the recent reviews of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper process and were encouraged by progress in implementation of the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. However, they noted that debt sustainability remains an issue for a number of HIPC countries and called on the IMF and the World bank to review the situation.
Copies of the IMFC's final communiqué are available in the Library of the House and on the IMF website at www.imf.org.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of companies that will benefit from his proposed exemption from corporation tax of the gains from the sale of substantial shareholdings. 
Dawn Primarolo: About 5,000 companies are expected to benefit from the exemption.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds in each of the next three years of the provision in the Budget for firms with turnovers of up to £150,000 to make flat-rate VAT payments. 
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Mr. Boateng: The costs of this measure will be set out in the normal way in the Government's next Financial Statement and Budget report once full and final details of the proposed change have been announced.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when it is intended to introduce duty incentives for sulphur-free fuels; what duty incentive he plans; and on what bases EU agreement is required before any duty incentive can be implemented. 
Mr. Boateng: As we announced in the Budget, the Government will introduce incentives for sulphur-free fuels in 2003. The precise incentives will be for the Chancellor to decide, taking into account economic, social and environmental factors.
Giving a duty incentive for sulphur-free fuels is likely to require a derogation from the EC mineral oils structures directive.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when a new rate of duty for biodiesel at 20 pence below the ultra-low sulphur diesel rate will be available; what the total cost to the Treasury will be at (a) the outset of its introduction and (b) projected in the next three years; what recent assessment has been conducted by his Department of future use of biodiesel; and what assumptions he has made about the (i) current and (ii) projected future availability of biodiesel in the UK. 
Mr. Boateng: Budget 2002 confirmed that the new rate for biodiesel will take effect from Royal Assent of the Finance Bill. The revenue cost of the new rate was published in Table A2.1 of the Financial Statement and Budget report. As a result of the measure, biodiesel is assumed to take up a steadily increasing share of the diesel market, representing around two-thirds of 1 per cent. of the market by volume by 200607.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost to the Treasury will be at (a) the outset of its introduction and (b) projected in the next three years of the (i) freeze in duty on (A) liquefied petroleum gas, (B) compressed natural gas and (ii) enhanced capital allowances for investments in CNG fuelling infrastructure, as announced in the Budget. 
Mr. Boateng: (i) The revenue cost of the freeze in duty on gas for road fuel is negligible.
(ii) The cost for investments in CNG refuelling infrastructure is also negligible.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the total cost to the Treasury will be at (a) the outset of its introduction and (b) projected in the next three years of the reduction in VED for motorcycles announced in Budget 2002; 
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Mr. Boateng: The costs of the reforms to motorcycle vehicle excise duty, application of lower rates of air passenger duty (APD) to European Union applicant countries and Switzerland from 1 November 2002, and the freeze in APD are set out in table A.1 (page 155) of the FSBR.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost to the Treasury will be at (a) the outset of its introduction and (b) projected in the next three years of the freeze in vehicle excise duty rates for lorries announced in Budget 2002; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: The cost of freezing vehicle excise duty for lorries in Budget 2002 is forecast to be approximately £5 million a year for each of the three financial years 200203 to 200405.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department plans to take to reform the fuel duty rebate for buses; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: To ensure the most effective use of funds in improving bus services and delivering the Government's transport, environment and social objectives, the Chancellor announced in the Budget that a review of the support mechanisms for buses will be carried out as part of the forthcoming spending review and the current review of the 10-year plan. In particular, the review will consider fuel duty rebate for buses to assess whether it provides effective support for buses in a way that is consistent with Government objectives.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue effect in each of the next three years of his proposed rule for bad debt relief to give businesses an automatic entitlement to recover the VAT after six months. 
Mr. Boateng: The main impact of the changes to VAT bad debt relief announced in the Budget is to reduce compliance costs for affected businesses. The impact on VAT revenues is negligible.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what his estimate is of the gross cost to the Treasury in a full year of the increased employers' national insurance contributions envisaged in his Budget statement; 
Mr. Andrew Smith: It is estimated that the changes to employers' national insurance contributions announced in the Budget will increase pay costs on average by 0.7 per cent. next year.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the aggregate proportion of PSA targets across all Departments which were (a) met, (b) on
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target to be met, (c) not met and (d) not on target to be met for financial years (i) 19992000 and (ii) 200001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: Departments publish progress against their PSA targets in their spring annual reports and, from this year, in autumn performance reports. The Treasury will provide an overall analysis of the Government's performance in future reports, as it did in its 2000 departmental report.
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