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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how often the Deregulation Task Force has met in the last 12 months; what recommendations they have made; how many recommendations have been implemented; what savings businesses have made as a result; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: I have been asked to reply.
The Better Regulation Task Force meets every month but August. Since July 2001, the Task Force has produced six reports, on regulatory issues concerning: Local Shops, Economic Regulators; Housing Benefit; Employment Regulations; Local delivery of Central Policy; and Higher Education. These reports together made 54 recommendations. The Government have, to date, responded to three of these reports and has rejected only one recommendation. The Task Force is an advisory body and cannot itself directly reduce costs on business.
23 Jul 2002 : Column 957W
Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will exempt the nuclear energy industry from the climate change levy. 
John Healey: I have been asked to reply.
The climate change levy is designed to encourage energy efficiency across the business and public sectors and to increase the use of sustainable forms of energy. The Government have no plans to exempt nuclear energy from the levy.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the mandate of the Committee for the Adaptation to Technical Progress of the Directive on the Removal of Technical Barriers to Trade in Electromedical Equipment used in Human or Veterinary Medicine 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 she will list the items currently under its consideration; if she will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.
The Committee for the Adaptation to Technical Progress of the Directives for Removing Technical Barriers to Trade in Electromedical Equipment used in Human or Veterinary Medicine was established under Council Directive 84/539/EEC on the approximation of laws of the member states relating to Electromedical Equipment used in Human or Veterinary Medicine to give an opinion on:
any amendments to Annex 1 which are desirable because of adaptation to technical progress where the relevant standards of the organisation has not made the corresponding amendments to the harmonised standard.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to lay before each House the first annual report of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. 
Jane Kennedy: Copies of the Police Ombudsman's first annual report, covering the period from November 2000 when the office was created to March 2002, have today been placed in the Library. It is a general report on the discharge of the Ombudsman's function during this period which is submitted to me for laying before Parliament in accordance with Section 61 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.
23 Jul 2002 : Column 958W
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 9 July 2002, Official Report, column 862W, on regional funding, if his staff are working on potential changes to the way the departmental expenditure level is allocated to the devolved regions. 
Mr. Boateng: No. The Government's funding policies for the devolved administrations were set out in the updated Statement of Funding Policy published by the Treasury on 15 July.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Swiss Government about the reclaiming of the withholding tax on dividends by UK residents; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Government has held no such discussions with the Swiss Government.
Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the UK Debt Management Office's annual report and accounts. 
Ruth Kelly: The DMO's annual report and administrative accounts for 200102 are being laid before the House of Commons and published today. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the 2002 departmental reports were published. 
Mr. Boateng: The publication dates of the 2002 departmental reports are as follows.
|Department for International Development||24 April|
|Department for Work and Pensions||23 May|
|Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs||10 June|
|Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions||10 June|
|HM Treasury||10 June|
|Inland Revenue||10 June|
|Department for Education and Skills and Office for Standards in Education||11 June|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office||11 June|
|Charity Commission for England and Wales||12 June|
|Department for Culture, Media and Sport||12 June|
|Lord Chancellor's Departments||12 June|
|Home Office||13 June|
|Office for National Statistics||13 June|
|Scotland Office||13 June|
|Wales Office||13 June|
|British Trade International||14 June|
|Department of Trade and Industry||14 June|
|Export Credits Guarantee Department||14 June|
|Food Standards Agency||14 June|
|Government Actuary's Department||14 June|
|Law Officers' Departments||14 June|
|National Savings and Investments||14 June|
|Northern Ireland Office||14 June|
|Her Majesty's Customs and Excise||19 June|
|Cabinet Office||26 June|
|Office of Fair Trading||27 June|
|Ministry of Defence||9 July|
|Department of Health||18 July|
23 Jul 2002 : Column 959W
Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what further measures he proposes to take on disclosure of beneficial ownership of companies in attacking criminal finances. 
Ruth Kelly: In response to a recommendation in the report "Recovering the Proceeds of Crime", the Government are today publishing a Consultation Document on the findings of a Regulatory Impact Assessment. This assessment examines ways in which greater disclosure of beneficial ownership of companies could assist law enforcement in tackling serious organised crime and funding of terrorism. The assessment identifies a range of benefits and gauges the potential additional burdens on companies; it concludes that advantages could be derived from enhanced disclosure while imposing limited additional costs on industry. The Government wish to consider the proposals further and welcome responses to the Consultation Document from those with interests in this area.
Publication of the assessment marks the Government's continuing determination that the UK should remain at the forefront of the international fight against organised crime and terrorist funding. At the same time, the Government wish to ensure that UK companies are not subject to disproportionate new burdens and will carefully consider the impact of potential changes in the field of company law.
Copies of the Consultation Document and Regulatory Impact Assessment have been placed in the Library of the House.
Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he intends to submit to the House the double taxation protocol that the Government recently concluded with Lithuania; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Protocol with Lithuania was signed on 21 May 2002. The text of the Protocol with Lithuania has been published today as a schedule to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House. After signature the text was deposited in the Library of the House and made available on the Inland Revenue's website.
Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the new double taxation convention with South Africa. 
Dawn Primarolo: The double taxation convention was signed on behalf of the two governments on 4 July. 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.
23 Jul 2002 : Column 960W
Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the next edition of the Tax Benefit Reference Manual will be published. 
Dawn Primarolo: Copies of the 200203 edition of the Tax Benefit Reference Manual are today being deposited in the Library of the House.
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