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Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration is given by (a) his Department and (b) the IMF to the recent human rights record of the country concerned during the consideration of providing assistance under the HIPC initiative. [68509]

John Healey: The UK continues to be at the forefront of the international debate on debt relief issues, and continues to press for the rapid and full implementation of the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative. One of the necessary conditions for countries to qualify for debt relief under HIPC is the formulation of a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). For low-income member countries, the IMF has placed PRSPs at the centre of its efforts. Pro-poor growth policies help to increase the amount of resources available that are required for the progressive realisation of human rights, including civil and political rights, and social justice. These strategies are designed in collaboration with civil society and the private sector and describe a country's macroeconomic, structural and social policies, setting out the policy action governments propose to take to reduce poverty. They provide a budgetary framework, not only for spending the savings from debt relief, but also for allocating other government revenue and support from the World bank, IMF and donor countries, hence enhancing transparency

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over fiscal expenditure. IMF programmes in HIPC countries pay particular attention to promoting pro-poor growth and improving governance.

Home Care

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to review the VAT treatment of the services of home care agencies and home carers. [67634]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for mid-Sussex (Nicholas Soames) on 5 July 2002, Official Report, columns 627–28W.

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total revenues were which he received during 2001–02 as a result of the climate change levy. [60478]

John Healey: Table 2.1D in the ONS publication "Financial Statistics" (May 2001) shows cash receipts from CCL to be £551 million for the year 2001–02; on an accruals basis this is equivalent to £831 million.

Aggregates Levy

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many opencast mines have applied for exemption from the Aggregates Levy in respect of their sales of surplus aggregates by-product; [67231]

John Healey: Open cast mines which do not produce any taxable aggregate are not required to register for the levy.

Current revenue forecasts use only those aggregate arisings which are subject to the levy, and therefore no assessment has been made of the proportion of aggregates used in the UK that will be exempt from the levy.

The spoil arising from the separation of coal from rock after it has been extracted from an open cast mine is exempt because it is a waste material and its use as aggregate is specifically encouraged in the Government's mineral planning guidelines.

Customs are utilising audit trails which already exist within business accounting records and are targeting resources in accordance with perceived risk. Where fraud is detected, Customs will use their powers to recover the revenue due and impose penalties.

Aerospace Industry

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to help alleviate the problems experienced by the aerospace industry since 11 September 2001. [68216]

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Dawn Primarolo: In Budget 2002, the Chancellor announced the extension of the R&D tax credits to all companies, following the introduction of an R&D tax credit for small companies in Budget 2000. The credit will be worth £400 million per annum. Aerospace manufacturers, which undertake 10 per cent. of the UK's R&D, will be significant beneficiaries of this measure.

Tax Returns

Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason the electronic filing of tax returns requires a password to be sent by post. [68369]

Dawn Primarolo: To electronically file a tax return using the Internet Service for Self Assessment a user must first register. There are two methods by which a customer can register, they can register on-line by choosing a password and a user ID will be sent to them by post or by using a digital certificate. For security purposes we need to be confident of the identity of the user and our registration process enables us to do this.

Tax Offices

Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason tax offices do not offer e-mail contact points. [68370]

Dawn Primarolo: Most tax offices do not offer e-mail contact points but as part of an external e-mail trial, 10 Inland Revenue offices are offering e-mail contacts to customers.

The trial findings will be used to inform the Department's strategic solution for improving electronic customer contact.

Regional Funding

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff within his Department are allocated to consideration of regional funding mechanisms. [67930]

Mr. Boateng: There are 10 people in the team responsible for advising Treasury Ministers on regional policy in England, EU structural funds, the Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales Offices, and funding arrangements with the devolved Administrations. Devolved funding arrangements are set out in the Statement of Funding Policy.

Barnett Formula

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the 2002–03 Scottish Executive budget is affected by the Barnett formula. [67931]

Mr. Boateng: Around 83 per cent. of the 2002–03 Scottish Executive total managed expenditure is the Departmental Expenditure Limit assigned budget, increases in which are determined by the Barnett formula.

Network Rail

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether loans provided by the Strategic Rail Authority and drawn upon by Network Rail under the arrangements announced by the Secretary for Transport on 27 June will be included in the net cash requirement for the year in which they are drawn down. [68215]

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Mr. Boateng: Yes. Lending to the private sector by Government is a determinant of the public sector net cash requirement. So lending by the SRA to Network Rail would increase the public sector net cash requirement in the year the loans were made.

Departmental Spending

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the levels of departmental spending. [69035]

Mr. Gordon Brown: I propose to make a statement to the House on Monday 15 July.

Double Taxation Agreement (Taipei)

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the British Trade and Cultural Office, Taipei, has concluded a Double Taxation Agreement with the Taipei Representative Office in the United Kingdom. [68863]

Dawn Primarolo: The Double Taxation Agreement was concluded between unofficial representative offices because Her Majesty's Government do not recognise Taiwan as a state and so do not enter into treaties with the Taiwanese Government. The agreement was signed on 8 April. The text has been deposited in the Library of the House and made available on the Inland Revenue's website. It will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid for consideration by the House at the earliest convenient opportunity.

Retail Investment Review

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Sandler review of retail investment will be published. [68662]

Ruth Kelly: Ron Sandler's report is being published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office and in the Library of the House. It is also accessible on the Treasury website.

Ron Sandler's recommendations have the potential to bring benefits for consumers, for the retail investment industry and to improve the workings of the market. They will mean more competition, greater efficiency and more productive investment.

Simpler, safer investment products of the kind Mr. Sandler proposes would be easier for consumers to understand. Greater focus on product design could clear the way for a more streamlined sales process. This would make it profitable for providers and distributors to sell to a wider range of less well-off people. That will encourage people to save.

Building on Mr. Sandler's suggestions, we will be consulting consumers' representatives, the industry and the FSA on these stakeholder products and how they might be designed. We will be working closely with the FSA who will separately want to consult on how a regime for their sale might be implemented.

The proposals also represent a real opportunity for the industry and others to think radically about the provision of financial advice. They offer the potential to extend access to low cost, good quality, generic advice to the mass market.

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Mr. Sandler has tackled long-standing concerns about with profit policies, while at the same time recognising the value that many people give to being able to smooth out investment returns. He has recognised that change in this market cannot come over night. Mr. Sandler's balanced approach represents an opportunity to move to a new stable future for with profits.

The FSA will be consulting on Mr. Sandler's proposals on with profits—which build on earlier work they have carried out—as part of their own continuing consultations on with profits.

Mr. Sandler's proposals on distribution of investment products, consumer education and investment will produce a more transparent, better-informed and hence more competitive market.

We will consider Mr. Sandler's proposals on tax as part of the Budget process in the usual way.

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