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Imported Goods (VAT)

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the consultation on the VAT treatment of imported goods, announced in the Budget. [71292]

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John Healey: Customs have today issued a consultation document entitled "Easing the Impact of VAT on Business: Consultation on the Delayed Accounting for VAT at Import Scheme (DAVIS)". Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. Responses to the consultation are invited by 31 October 2002.

Corporate Accounting

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what plans he has to reform corporate accounting measures; [69753]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

The White Paper on Modernising Company Law, published on 16 July 2002, sets out the Government's proposals for modernising company accounting. Copies are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Fourth Council Directive 78/660/EC, the Seventh Council Directive 83/349/EEC, Directive 86/635/EEC and directive 91/674/EEC set out the requirements in respect of the preparation of annual and consolidated accounts of companies, banks and insurance undertakings. On 3 June 2002, the European Commission issued a draft directive designed to modernise the first three of these directives; negotiations commenced this month.

The European Regulation on International Accounting Standards was adopted on 7 June 2002. It requires companies admitted to trading on regulated markets in the EU to prepare their consolidated accounts on the basis of accounting standards issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, from January 2005. The regulation gives member states the option to extend its application to other companies; the Government intend to consult on this in due course.

Departmental Appointments

Mr. Forth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the appointments made by his Department since 1 May 1997 of chairmen of (a) non-departmental public bodies, (b) commissions, (c) inquiries, (d) agencies and (e) taskforces; and if he will list their (i) term of office, (ii) salary and (iii) known political affiliation (A) past and (B) present. [33879]

Ruth Kelly: (a) The Chancellor is responsible for three public bodies.

Further information about these bodies is available on the Treasury website.

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We have nothing to report under categories (b), (c) and (d). The Bank of England is a public corporation and does not fall into the categories (a) to (d) however the relevant details are:

(e) Information on the number, remit and membership of taskforces, ad hoc advisory groups and reviews has been published by the Cabinet Office on a regular basis. The first report was published on 11 January 2000 and gives information for the period between 1 May 1997 to 31 October 1999.

A second report was published on 27 July 2000, and covered the period 1 November 1999 to 30 April 2000. A third report was published on 27 December 2000 covering the period 1 May 2000 to 31 October 2000. The most recent report: "Taskforces, Ad Hoc Advisory Groups and Reviews", which was issued in October 2001, covers the period of the financial year 2000–01. Copies of these reports are available in the Library.

Since the publication of the last annual report, a number of significant reviews have been commissioned and have issued reports. These include:

Information on the political affiliation of chairs of the bodies listed is not collected. Membership and voting behaviour is a matter on which all citizens have the right to privacy.


Tony Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to letters from the hon. Member for Workington concerning correspondence from Mr. Proctor, a Cockermouth constituent. [57294]

Ruth Kelly: I have replied to my hon. Friend, and apologise for the considerable delay which occurred while we listened to all interested parties and resolved the issue.

ECOFIN Council

Mr. Hood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome was of the ECOFIN Council held on 12 July; what the Government's stance was on each issue discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. [70624]

Dawn Primarolo: I attended the ECOFIN meeting on 12 July.

The Presidency introduced their work programme for ECOFIN. I and a number of other Ministers, stressed the importance of ECOFIN discussing the economic and budgetary aspects of enlargement.

ECOFIN then had an orientation debate on the Commission's Communication on company taxation "Towards an Internal Market without tax obstacles".

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I stressed that we could consider some of the proposed targeted measures based on existing directive but could not accept harmonisation of the corporate tax base or rate. The Presidency asked the Commission to take forward further work, concentrating on the proposed short term targeted measures.

ECOFIN adopted conclusions on financial services, agreeing to extend the Lamfalussy procedures for securities legislation to the banking and insurance sectors. There will be further discussion of this at the October ECOFIN. ECOFIN agreed a mandate for an inter- institutional monitoring group to report on the progress of the Lamfalussy procedures in the securities markets. The Council also noted a brief oral update from the Commission on implications of the current market situation for financial services.

The chairman of the Economic Policy Committee (EPC) gave an oral report to the Council, and presented two EPC papers on the relative merits of different pension systems. ECOFIN invited the Commission and the Economic Policy Committee to continue their work, focusing on the long term sustainability of pensions systems. There will be a joint Commission-Council report on pensions to the spring 2003 European Council.

The Commission made a short presentation to the Council on public finances in EMU.

ECOFIN noted the Commission's annual report on the protection of the Community's financial interests and the fight against fraud, and will discuss this again once the report has been considered by the relevant committees.

ECOFIN agreed conclusions on Council reform as a follow up to the Seville European Council, and on methods of evaluating output gaps.

No votes were taken at this meeting.

EU Committees

(Scottish Executive Representation)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the European Securities Committee is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if he will make a statement. [70903]

Ruth Kelly: The European Securities Committee is next due to meet on 19 and 20 September 2002. The UK is represented by an official from HM Treasury. Financial regulation is not a devolved matter. Representatives of the Scottish Executive have not attended the Committee.

Tax Credits (Advertising)

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the advertising campaigns for (a) the working families tax credit, (b) the disabled person's tax credit, (c) the children's tax credit, (d) the child care tax credit and (e) the baby tax credit, have cost; and what the total annual spend on advertising each of these tax credits has been in each year since 1999–2000. [68478]

Dawn Primarolo: The total campaign costs for tax credits are as follows.

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CampaignTotal campaign costs
Working families' tax credit13,800,000
Working families' tax credit7,184,000
Disabled person's tax credit219,000
Children's tax credit7,161,000
Working families' tax credit2,546,000
Disabled person's tax credit957,000
Children's tax credit364,000


All figures include advertising, VAT and other promotional activity such as freephone helpline.

The 1999–2000 campaign costs for disabled person's tax credit were included within the working families' tax credit total campaign expenditure. The cost of obtaining a further breakdown of the total campaign costs between the two credits for that first year of their launch would be disproportionate.

The child care tax credit is a component of working families' and disabled person's tax credit and the baby tax credit is a component of the children's tax credit. Figures for child care tax credit and baby tax credit expenditure are not, therefore, accounted for separately.

For advertising costs alone I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) on 13 June 2002, Official Report, column 1394W.

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