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XThe Threat to Enterprise Britain"

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to take in response to the report of the Quoted Companies Alliance, The Threat to Enterprise Britain. [85202]

Ruth Kelly: The Government recognise the economic contribution of smaller quoted companies (SQCs) and continueto monitor developments in all capital markets, including those serving the SQC sector. For example, the Government are implementing the

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recommendations of the Myners review of institutional investment, to reduce impediments to rational, well-informed and undistorted investment decisions.

Barristers' Fees (VAT Liability)

Mr. Dismore: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review the scheme which allows VAT liability on barristers' fees only to become due to be paid by the barrister after those fees are paid and received by the barrister and not at the time of provision of the services of the barrister or delivery of the fee note to the barrister's customer. [84582]

John Healey: VAT law governing the time at which VAT is to be accounted for (the Xtax point") provides a number of special tax point regimes that are tailored to meet the needs of specific categories of supply. There are no current plans to review this aspect of the law as it applies to the VAT liability on barristers' fees.

Carbon Trust

Sue Doughty: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total annual budget of the Carbon Trust Low Innovations programme is in (a) 2002–03, (b) 2003–04 and (c) 2004–05. [83541]

Mr. Morley : I have been asked to reply.

The Carbon Trust was launched in April 2001 to support UK business and the public sector in reducing their Carbon emissions while maintaining competitiveness. The Carbon Trust is a private non-profit company that receives funding of around £ 50 million per annum from Defra and the Devolved Administrations. About two-thirds of its current funding comes from recycled receipts from the Climate Change Levy. As a private company the management of its programmes, including its Low Carbon Innovation Programme, and decisions on the allocation of funding, are a matter for the Carbon Trust Board.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Government will recycle a rising percentage of receipts from the Climate Change Levy directly into the Carbon Trust rather than through National Insurance Payments. [83542]

John Healey: Government have recycled revenue from the Climate Change Levy back to business through the 0.3 per cent. National Insurance contributions cut, Enhanced Capital Allowances for investments in energy-saving technologies, and funding for renewables and energy efficiency, principally through the Carbon Trust. The Government set out their spending plans in relation to energy efficiency in Spending Review 2002.


Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many customs officials have (a) had training in respect of and (b) been allocated to the detection of illegal imports of (i) bushmeat and (ii) species and material listed under CITES. [80869]

John Healey [holding answer 20 November 2002]: As part of their normal frontier enforcement activity, customs detection staff undertake work to detect imports which are illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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They are supported by a specialist team. Customs detection staff also support the lead agencies (local and port health authorities and Defra) in detecting illegal bushmeat imports not covered by CITES restrictions.

Training in CITES-related issues is part of the standard training of the approximately 3,800 customs detection staff and others whose work involves CITES issues.

With customs currently not having the lead role in bushmeat detection no specific training is currently provided to customs officials on this.

A recent Cabinet Office study has recommended a future transfer of responsibility to customs for detection of smuggled imports of animals, fish, plants and their products, and foodstuffs (including meat). Work on arrangements to effect this transfer has begun.

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what evaluation he has carried out into the operation of the climate change levy, with specific reference to (a) manufacturing, (b) the service sector and (c) small and medium sized enterprises; [84810]

John Healey: All industries face the same general challenges and opportunities from the climate change levy.

All revenue from the levy is recycled back to business through reductions to employer national insurance contributions (NICs) and support for energy efficiency. While the levy package is broadly revenue neutral to business as a whole, the effects on any specific sector will depend on a number of factors, including:

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the current status of discounts allowable under the climate change levy. [84811]

John Healey: Sectors of industry which are covered by the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations Part A are eligible for an 80 per cent. discount in the rate of levy, provided they enter into an agreement with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to meet energy efficiency targets. The Government have also given a five year 50 per cent. discount to protect the competitiveness of horticulture.

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Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the CBI on the issue of the climate change levy. [84814]

John Healey: As part of the normal process of contact with business, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Treasury Ministers have met a variety of businesses and business organisations and have heard a range of representations. As the Chancellor said in his answer of 11 February 2002, Official Report, columns 114–115W, inline with previous Administrations, it is not this Government's practice to provide details of the meetings they routinely have with a wide range of organisations.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice he is giving to manufacturers who wish to reduce the impact of the climate change levy by introducing combined heat and power. [84815]

John Healey: Currently, all supplies of taxable commodities for use in producing any outputs from good quality combined heat and power (GQCHP) are exempt from the levy. Also, all GQCHP electricity supplies sold direct to customers are free from the levy.

In Budget 2002, the Government announced that exemption would be extended to include all supplies of electricity from GQCHP. The exemption will be introduced after it has received state aid clearance from the European Commission.

Energy Saving Material (VAT)

Mr. Sayeed: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on recent changes to his policy on VAT on energy saving material with special reference to the impact of the judgment in Case 416/85 in the Court of Justice of the European Communities. [84660]

John Healey: On 1 June 2002 the Government extended the scope of the 5 per cent. reduced rate on energy-saving materials to the grant-funded installation of factory-insulated hot water tanks, micro-combined heat and power units, and renewable energy heating systems, in the homes of less well-off people. Case 416/85 in the Court of Justice of the European Communities examined the scope of the UK's zero rates and has no bearing on this change.

European Court of Auditors

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action the Government have taken to mark the 25th Anniversary of the European Court of Auditors. [84819]

Ruth Kelly: The Government value the work of the European Court of Auditors highly and will today have an opportunity to offer congratulations at the ECOFIN Council, when the President of the Court presents its 25th Annual Report.


Mrs. Browning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations Her Majesty's Government has made to the European Commission in respect of the audit system in place at Lloyds of London between 1978 to 1988; [84993]

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Ruth Kelly: The Commission sent a formal letter to the Government on 21 December 2001, raising questions about the implementation of obligations imposed on the UK by EC legislation in respect of the Lloyd's insurance market. The Government replied in full on 30 April 2002. The Commission are still considering this reply. The Government is firmly convinced that we have fulfilled our obligations under Community Law. Correspondence of this sort between the Commission and Member States is regarded as confidential. These arrangements in practice enable cases to be taken forward in the most expeditious manner.

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