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7 Jan 2003 : Column 164Wcontinued
Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take further steps, in addition to those presented in the pre-Budget report, to reduce the division in household income between England's northern and southern regions. 
Ruth Kelly: Measures associated with Public Sector Agreement targets, such as those related to children in low-income households, to regional economic performance, and to the employment rates of disadvantaged areas, are likely to have a positive impact on the regional distribution of household income.
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Mr. Lidington: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many staff posts and how much money is being transferred to HM Customs, and to the Department of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs in view of the transfer to HM Customs of responsibility for controls of ports over the import of plant and animal products; 
(3) what targets he has set for HM Customs and Excise in respect of their new responsibilities to control the import of plant and animal products. 
John Healey: The recent government spending review made available #5 million of new money in 200304 and #10 million per annum in the subsequent two years to address the issue of illegal imports of plant and animal products.
Manpower and other financial resources to be made available to Customs in respect of their new responsibilities in this area, together with the nature of targets to be achieved, are still the subject of discussions between Defra, Customs and other relevant Departments and Agencies.
Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of schemes funded by tax foregone under the landfill levy would be eligible for funding under the terms of the allocation of funds for public spending to encourage sustainable waste management in (a) 200304, (b) 200405 and (c) 200506. 
Mr. Flook: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many environmental projects which are funded by the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme and that contribute to achieving the United Kingdom biodiversity action plan, have a completion date beyond March 2003. 
John Healey: There are no statistics that detail how many environmental projects, funded by the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, contribute to achieving the United Kingdom biodiversity action plan and have a completion date beyond March 2003. Contributions made by landfill site operators for the period up until 31 March 2003 will still be able to be spent after that date on current projects. A reformed tax credit scheme, worth around #47 million a year, will continue to be available for community environment projects, including those that contribute to biodiversity, after 31 March.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Government will make a decision on the criteria or scope of the replacement spending scheme for the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme which runs until March 2003. 
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John Healey: Decisions on the criteria and scope of the replacement spending scheme for waste related projects will be made by Budget 2003, as the Government are aware of the need to make announcements in good time.
The general tax credit scheme will continue for local community environmental projects after 31 March 2003, with around the present level of funding available for these projects. The Government are currently considering the detailed administration and the criteria for the scheme and will be announcing any further changes over the coming months.
Dawn Primarolo: On 23 December 2002 the Inland Revenue issued a press notice setting out measures to be included in the Finance Bill 2003 changing some of the rules for taxing life insurance companies. The proposed package of measures will remove certain anomalies and prevent a small number of companies exploiting particular circumstances to pay much less tax than other companies writing similar business. The changes will therefore protect the tax base and ensure a fairer distribution of tax across the industry. Copies of the Press Notice have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and full details have been published on the Inland Revenue's web site.
|Percentage answered on time|
71.1 per cent. of Named Day questions have been answered on the nominated day in the 200203 session to date.
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Mr. Blunt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the economic measures which he has taken that have as one of their objectives helping the UK meet its Kyoto carbon dioxide emissions targets. 
John Healey [holding answer 19 December 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to previous Budget documentation which detail the taxation policies and the climate change programme which covers other regulatory and spending initiatives that the Government have introduced to the help the UK meet its legally binding commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide under the Kyoto Protocol.
John Healey: The Government is aware of 10 bridges operated by non-public bodies where the tolls will become subject to VAT from 1 February if the bodies are liable to register for VAT. These are Aldwark Bridge, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Dunham Bridge, Rixton and Warburton Bridge, Severn River Crossing, Skye Bridge, Swinford Bridge, Shrewsbury (Kingsland) Bridge, Whitchurch Bridge and Whitney on Wye Bridge.
As I made clear in my written statement of 19 December, the Government's intention remains that tolls will not increase on account of VAT being levied from 1 February. The Department for Transport and the Scottish Executive are consulting with toll operators on the details, and suitable arrangements will be in place by 1 February.
Mr. Chope: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Written Ministerial statement of 19 December, on VAT on privately operated toll roads, how he intends to ensure that tolls will not increase on account of VAT being levied from 1st February 2003. 
John Healey: As I made clear in my statement, the Government's intention remains that tolls will not increase on account of VAT being levied from 1 February. The Department for Transport and the Scottish Executive are consulting with toll operators on the details, and suitable arrangements will be in place by 1 February.
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John Healey: The European Court of Justice has ruled that statutory tolls levied by central and local government bodies are outside the scope of VAT, because these bodies do not engage in business activities when performing their statutory functions. The court has also ruled that tolls levied by other bodies, or levied in other circumstances, must be made subject to VAT. The term Xprivately operated" is a generic term, which refers to this second category of tolls.
Mr. Chope: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his Written Ministerial Statement of 19 December, on VAT on privately operated tolls, if the Central London road user charge will bear VAT; and if he will make a statement. 
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