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2 Dec 2002 : Column 501W—continued


Advance Corporation Tax

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue has been raised by ACT in each year since its introduction. [84491]

Ruth Kelly: The yield from Advance Corporation Tax, which was charged on distributions by UK companies, can be found in XAnnual Receipts of Inland Revenue Taxes: Table 1.2" at receipts/menu.html This table covers the period from the introduction of ACT in 1973 to its abolition in 1999.

Azerbaijan Pipeline

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the IMF regarding the use of funds from the Azeri Oil Fund for the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. [83727]

John Healey: Treasury Ministers have not had any contact with the IMF about the BTC pipeline. However, the IMF is working with the Azeri authorities to get Azerbaijan's PRGF programme back on track. This involves resolving a number of issues, including the Oil Fund. Once this has happened, the programme will come back for approval to the IMF Board, on which the UK is represented.

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EU Budget Surplus

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has made to the European Commission in respect of the EU Budget Surplus in (a) 2000 and (b) 2001; and if he will make a statement. [84773]

Ruth Kelly: The Council's recommendation on discharge to be given to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2000 included the following comment on EC budget surpluses:

The UK supported this recommendation.

The UK will press for the Council's recommendations to the European Parliament on discharge to the Commission for the 2001 budget to include use of the Supplementary and Amending Budget procedure to revise budgets in year, to prevent large surpluses materialising in future and to implement, in conjunction with member states, more realistic forecasts of projected Structural Fund payments.

EU Draft Savings Directive

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 26 November, ref 83459, if he will list the dates on which the Government have held discussions relating to compliance with the EU Draft Savings Directive with (a) the Cayman Islands and (b) Bermuda, since June 2001. [84487]

Ruth Kelly: HM Government held discussions with the Cayman Islands Government relating to the EU draft Directive on Taxation of Savings, on: 24–26 October 2001, 27 May 2002, 10 June 2002, 24 September 2002, 27 September 2002 and 26 October 2002.

HM Government held discussions with the Government of Bermuda relating to the EU draft Directive on Taxation of Savings, on: 21 May 2002, 24 September 2002, 27 September 2002.

HM Government also has regular contact on this issue with the Governor of the Cayman Islands and the Governor of Bermuda.


Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will announce the (a) names and (b) terms of reference of the independent specialist assessors appointed to judge the tests on euro membership; and if he will make a statement. [84148]

Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon. Member to what I said in the House on 5 March 2002, Official Report, column 268.

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European Union Contributions

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money the United Kingdom has paid to the European Union in total in each financial year since 1997; how much the UK has received from EU sources in each year; and how much has been returned under the terms of the Annual Rebate. [84383]

Ruth Kelly: Details of the United Kingdom's gross contribution to, abatement and public sector receipts from the EC Budget for the financial years 1997–98 to 2001–02 can be found at Table 3.1 (page 12) of the 2002 European Community Finances White Paper (Cm 5547).

Investment Ombudsman

Mr. Walter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints there have been about the Investment Ombudsman's handling of casework in the last two years; how many have been successful; and how many have failed. [84262]

Ruth Kelly: The Investment Ombudsman, together with seven other dispute resolution schemes for financial services, has been incorporated into a single financial services dispute mechanism, the Financial Ombudsman Service. The Financial Ombudsman Service assumed its full powers and responsibilities on 1 December 2001 under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

Ahead of assuming its full powers on 1 December 2001, the Financial Ombudsman Service consolidated and revised the different procedures that the eight predecessor schemes had in place for handling complaints against themselves.

The Financial Ombudsman Service tells me that their Board appointed an Independent Assessor on 1 December 2001, and, in the period since his appointment up to 31 March 2002, he received 50 complaints. Of these, 12 were upheld (in whole or in part), 14 were rejected, eight were determined to be outside the Independent Assessor's terms of reference and 16 awaited a decision.

Since 1 April 2002 to date, the Independent Assessor has received a further 59 complaints. Of those on which he has made a decision, seven have been upheld (in whole or in part), 29 have been rejected and 15 have been determined to be outside his jurisdiction.

Landfill Tax Credit

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason recycling schemes other than pilot projects are not eligible for support under the landfill tax credit scheme. [82851]

John Healey [holding answer 27 November 2002]: When the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme was introduced it was felt to be inappropriate for tax credits to be used for long-term projects. The Chancellor announced in the pre-Budget report on 27 November that the scheme will be reformed with approximately a third of the funding—about £50 million—continuing to be available for spending on community environment projects. The remainder will be allocated to public spending to encourage sustainable waste management.

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Local Government Funding

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the level of central funding by the Government of (a) Cheshire county council, (b) Chester city council, (c) Vale Royal borough council and (d) Crewe and Nantwich borough council for each of the last five years; and what the average funding of city and borough county councils in England was in those years. [81034]

Mr. Boateng: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to him by the Minister for Local Government and the Regions on 26 November 2002, Official Report, column 255–58W.

Lung Cancer

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people died as a result of lung cancer in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) the rest of the United Kingdom in the last year for which figures are available. [82066]

Mr. Pearson: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is as follows:

National Savings and Investments

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the target time is for response by National Savings and Investments to correspondence from members of the public; and what has been the performance of the Department in responding to letters in each of the last three months. [84466]

Ruth Kelly: National Savings and Investments sets a variety of internal targets for differing types of customer correspondence. These range from two to nine days dependant on complexity, with an average target (time from receipt of customer correspondence to despatch) of four days. For the past three months (August—October 2002) the individual targets have been met on 98.2 per cent., 99.2 per cent. and 99.8 per cent. respectively.

National Savings and Investments responded to 2.1 million customer letters or written instructions during the three months in question.

Pensions (Taxation)

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the European Commission's Communication on taxation of pensions. [84400]

Ruth Kelly: In April 2001, the Commission issued a Communication on the elimination of tax obstacles to the cross-border provision of occupational pension. This encourages member states to strike a balance between their Treaty obligation to promote the internal market and their legitimate social policy aims, including occupational pensions. The Commission Communication itself has no legal status and nor does it advocate any Community legislation.

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The Government recognise the Commission's efforts to make the single market operate effectively in provision of cross-border pension schemes, and is willing to work towards making this objective a reality. The Government support, in principle, removal of barriers to provision of cross-border pension schemes.

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