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2 Dec 2002 : Column 501Wcontinued
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 www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/tax receipts/menu.html This table covers the period from the introduction of ACT in 1973 to its abolition in 1999.
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. 
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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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. 
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 origin of these surpluses lies in incorrect estimates of both revenues and expenditure. The Council urges the Commission, with the collaboration of member states, to make more precise estimates of sources of finance and to adapt expenditure estimates to real requirements."
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.
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. 
Ruth Kelly: HM Government held discussions with the Cayman Islands Government relating to the EU draft Directive on Taxation of Savings, on: 2426 October 2001, 27 May 2002, 10 June 2002, 24 September 2002, 27 September 2002 and 26 October 2002.
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. 
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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. 
Ruth Kelly: Details of the United Kingdom's gross contribution to, abatement and public sector receipts from the EC Budget for the financial years 199798 to 200102 can be found at Table 3.1 (page 12) of the 2002 European Community Finances White Paper (Cm 5547).
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. 
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.
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 fundingabout £50 millioncontinuing 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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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. 
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. 
(b) in 2001, in the rest of the United Kingdom there were 32,643 deaths attributed to lung cancer.
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. 
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 (AugustOctober 2002) the individual targets have been met on 98.2 per cent., 99.2 per cent. and 99.8 per cent. respectively.
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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