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Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the effect which corporation tax changes announced in the Budget of 2002 will have on UK small businesses which are (a) incorporated and (b) unincorporated. 
Dawn Primarolo: As set out in Budget 2002 cutting the corporation tax starting rate and the small companies rate will benefit around 485,000 smaller companies. An average small company will save around £700 a year.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the review of non-domiciled tax status; who is leading this review; and what its remit is. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Chancellor announced a review of the residence and domicile rules as they affect the tax liabilities of individuals in his Budget statement. As paragraph 5.83 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report makes clear, we believe that modernisation of these rules needs to be based on clear principles: the rules should be fair, clear, easy to operate and support the competitiveness of the British economy.
Mrs. Browning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the increased employers' NI contribution on charities. 
Dawn Primarolo: It is estimated that the changes to employer NICs announced in the Budget will add around 0.7 per cent. to pay costs on average next year. The
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changes will help to fund improvements to public services and a real terms increase in spending on health over the next five years of over 40 per cent.
Mrs. Browning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received to waive value added tax payments for charities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: The Government have received a number of representations about VAT and charities. The Government regularly discuss taxation issues with the charitable sector.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if the Lord Chancellor will take steps to amend the law relating to succession to titles to allow equality of rights to succeed between men and women. 
Mr. Wills: There are no plans to legislate in this area.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what statutory law enforcement agencies and prosecuting authorities there are within the responsibility of his Department; and what complaints procedure is available for each. 
Mr. Wills: The Information Commissioner exercises her statutory enforcement powers and brings prosecutions independently of the Government, but is sponsored by my Department. A new, two stage, complaints procedure, designed to ensure that all complaints are dealt with expeditiously by a senior member of staff, and the most serious ones by a Deputy Commissioner or the Commissioner herself, is about to be implemented.
While there are no enforcement agencies as such within the civil and family courts and Supreme Court, there are county court bailiffs employed by the Court Service as part of the civil service structure, and Sheriffs Officers who are not employed by the Court Service but are authorised to act for the Supreme Court. The complaints procedures for county court bailiffs and Sheriffs Officers are set out in a public leaflet available in all courts.
There are no prosecuting agencies within the civil and family courts system.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, how much money additional to that already committed the Libra IT system will require before it is operational. 
Mr. Wills: The Office Infrastructure has operated since October 2000 and is now in use in more than 70 per cent. of the magistrates court offices. The software application was not delivered on the planned date of July 2001. The contract is currently under renegotiation and it is not yet possible to indicate the outcome.
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Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what contractual obligations there are in the Libra IT deal with Fujitsu that would require it to fund an overspend. 
Mr. Wills: There is no obligation within the current contract with Fujitsu Services that would require the Department to fund an overspend.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if his Department recommended Fujitsu for the Libra IT deal. 
Mr. Wills: Fujitsu (then ICL) were selected through a formal evaluation, which conformed to procurement laws and guidelines. The evaluation was carried out by staff from LCD and the magistrates court service supported by independent advisers.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he expects the Libra IT system to be up and running; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wills: The Libra IT system consists of two elements. The office infrastructure has been progressively installed and used across the country since late 2000 and is now more than 70 per cent. complete. The software application was due to begin rollout in July 2001 but was delayed. We are currently in negotiation with the suppliers, Fujitsu Services about this matter.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many computer companies bid for the Libra contract in 1997. 
Mr. Wills: Two companies went forward to the final stage of the competition in 1997 for Libra but one withdrew at a late stage and only one formal bid was received.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the total cost to his Department was of the use of external consultants in each of the last four years. 
Mr. Wills: The Department's net expenditure with external consultants over the past four years was:
The recent increase reflects a wide-ranging and fast paced programme to modernise the courts and the tribunal system to increase efficiency, provide better customer service, and value for money for the tax payer.
Delivering such a programme has necessitated the use of external expertise and skills to supplement the Department's own resources.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the mandate of the
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Committee on the Protection of Individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wills: This is the committee of representatives of EU member states' Governments, which is established by Article 31 of the EC Data Protection directive (95/46/EC). Its mandate is to assist the European Commission in taking decisions relating to the adequacy of data protection in countries outside the European Union. Meetings of the committee are also used by the Commission to keep member states informed about other matters relating to the directive.
In the 12 months ending 30 April 2002, the committee met three times. The UK representation is provided by an official from my Department. The total cost to the Department of the meetings mentioned above is estimated at £1,100.
The committee currently has before it no draft Commission decisions, but the Commission is keeping the committee informed of matters that the Commission has under consideration. These include discussions with the United States authorities about the adequacy of US data protection laws for the financial sector; consideration of the adequacy of data protection in Argentina; and the Commission's future report on the implementation of directive 95/46/EC. The United Kingdom has also asked the Commission to consider an adequacy decision for the recently adopted Guernsey data protection law.
Together with the member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission". There is an obligation under this decision for the Commission to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report (Com(2001)783 Final) was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002. As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the mandate of the group on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wills: The group is the Working Party of EU member states' independent data protection supervisory authorities, which is set up under Article 29 of the EC Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC). Its mandate is to examine questions about the application of national measures adopted under the directive; to give the
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European Commission opinions on the level of data protection in the European Community and in third countries; to advise the Commission on any proposed amendments of the directive, and on other data protection matters; and to give opinions on data protection codes of practice drawn up at Community level.
In the 12 months ending 30 April 2002, the Working Party met four times. In the same period there were also six meetings of sub-groups at which the UK was represented. The UK representation is provided by staff from the Office of the Information Commissioner. The total cost to the Commissioner's office of the meetings mentioned above is estimated at £6,800. The Working Party is currently considering a wide range of matters including the effect of certain provisions of the directive; the data protection implications of certain draft EU instruments; various draft codes of practices; and various requests which the European Commission have received for formal decisions relating to the adequacy of data protection in third countries.
A new regulation on public access to EU documents, fully supported by the UK, came into force in December 2001. It provides a clear and effective mechanism for any interested party to request access to documents of the European institutions, including the Commission. As the committee in question is an advisory body to the Commission, its conclusions are covered by that regulation.
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