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14 Jan 2003 : Column 512W—continued


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what her estimate is of the cost of theft and fraud to (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies in 2002. [89867]

Mrs. Liddell: No cases of theft or fraud were reported in my Department, or in the Boundary Commission for Scotland, in 2002.



Mr. Viggers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the profit or loss on sales of gold by the Bank of England since May 1997, calculated by comparing the price achieved on sale with the current price of gold. [89856]

Ruth Kelly: The gold sales programme announced in May 1999 was part of a restructuring programme to reduce the riskiness of the Reserves portfolio.

This was a long-term investment decision and as such it is inappropriate to measure gains or losses resulting from fluctuations in market values on a particular day or over a short-term period. Gains and losses should be measured over the longer term, taking account of all the elements of the restructuring programme. In particular, the returns gained from the foreign currency assets purchased with the proceeds of the gold sales should also be included (see Part 2 of the National Audit Office Report on XThe Sale of Part of the UK Gold Reserves", published on 12 January 2001).

Home Insurance

Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce measures to abolish the switching fees which some home insurance companies charge consumers when they arrange home insurance with someone other than their mortgage providers. [90216]

Ruth Kelly: The Government is giving the Financial Services Authority (FSA) responsibility for regulating mortgage business. I understand that the FSA will shortly be consulting on the basis that fees charged for switching insurances taken out as a condition of the mortgage, such as buildings insurance, are disclosed up front.

Import Controls

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 7 January 2003, refs 88430–88432, Official Report, column 165W, when he expects to conclude discussions between the various Departments and agencies involved and to announce the Government's decisions. [89800]

John Healey [holding answer 13 January 2003]: This matter is being progressed within Government under the leadership of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who are working actively with Customs to effect the transfer as soon as possible.

14 Jan 2003 : Column 513W

Income Tax

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the additional yield of an income tax rate of 50 per cent. on taxable incomes exceeding (a) #100,000 per annum, (b) #125,000 per annum, (c) #150,000 per annum and (d) #200,000 per annum; and if he will make a statement; [90173]

Dawn Primarolo: The additional yield of making the changes is set out in the table.

Income tax yield in 2003–04

# billion
(a) 50 per cent. rate for taxable incomes over #100,0004.9
(b) 50 per cent. rate for taxable incomes over #125,0004.2
(c) 50 per cent. rate for taxable incomes over #150,0003.7
(d) 50 per cent. rate for taxable incomes over #200,0003.0
(a) 45 per cent. rate for taxable incomes over #100,0002.6
(b) 45 per cent. rate for gross incomes over #100,0002.7

The estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with the November 2002 pre-Budget report. These estimates exclude any behavioural response to the tax change.

Public Borrowing

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his latest assessment of public borrowing this financial year; and whether his projections remain in accordance with those set out in the pre-budget report. [90689]

Mr. Boateng: The latest estimate of public sector net borrowing for this financial year, in # billion, is set out in Table B1 of the 2002 pre-budget report. Consistent with the code for fiscal stability, an update of projections for the public finances will be published in the forthcoming budget.


Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 3 December 2002, Official Report, column 680–81W, on self-assessment, if he will update the figures; and if he will make a statement. [90314]

Dawn Primarolo: The statistical data requested is detailed in the table:

Tax Year/DateSA ITRs IssuedSA ITRs ReceivedSA ITRs ProcessedSA ITRs waiting to be processed
1 July 20018,940,5131,323,115864,497458,618
29 July 20018,990,2921,943,9011,350,597593,304
2 September 20018,989,0432,798,1531,966,795831,358
30 September 20019,152,2554,241,9522,677,1451,564,807
4 November 20018,842,5604,682,7673,421,6581,261,109
2 December 20019,360,0995,383,8464,436,261947,585
30 December 20019,299,6235,745,5724,839,285906,287
3 February 20029,552,4338,362,3615,848,3192,514,042
3 March 20029,610,6878,732,1396,892,0841,840,055
31 March 20029,644,3138,805,9498,009,457796,492
5 May 20028,984,089287,22374,244212,979
2 June 20029,081,002751,541323,265428,276
7 July 20029,167,8071,397,759709,556688,203
4 August 20029,300,8252,717,7671,591,5651,126,202
6 October 20029,394,7244,475,8902,438,4052,037,485
3 November 20029,463,0024,948,9893,300,3921,648,597
24 November 20029,511,6805,280,1974,008,7681,271,429
1 December 20029,527,2695,395,9194,265,7821,130,137
5 January 20039,587,4315,955,2244,979,671975,553

14 Jan 2003 : Column 514W

Working Families Tax Credit

Mr. Willis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families with children aged 16 to 19 are claiming Working Families Tax Credit. [90916]

Dawn Primarolo: At August 2002 there were 187,000 families receiving Working Families' Tax Credit who, at the application dates, had one or more children who were aged 16 to 18 and who were in full-time education up to XA" level or equivalent standard. This is subject to seasonal variation; there were 159,000 such families at November 2001, 166,000 at February 2002 and 183,000 at May 2002.


EU Constitution

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Prime Minister if a decision to adopt a constitution for the EU will first be the subject of a referendum in the United Kingdom. [90680]

The Prime Minister: A new constitutional treaty would need to be ratified according to the individual constitutional arrangements in each of the member states. As with all previous EU treaties, any new treaty would be subject to rigorous scrutiny by Parliament before the UK could ratify it.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will seek assurances from the US President that intelligence from the US Security Services relating to the location of WMD in Iraq have been passed to the UN Weapons inspectors; and if he will make a statement; [90692]

The Prime Minister: We regularly discuss with the US Administration issues about the provision of support for the UN inspection teams, including making intelligence material available.

Intelligence material has been made available to UNMOVIC and the IAEA for some time. We shall continue to provide them with such material as appropriate.

14 Jan 2003 : Column 515W


Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart; what recent representations he has made to Israel about possession of weapons of mass destruction; and when he last made representations to Israel on behalf of Mordecai Vanunu. [90233]

The Prime Minister: I wrote to Prime Minister Sharon last week about the Israeli ban on travel to London by Palestinian Authority Ministers. I last spoke to Mr. Sharon on 29 November 2002.

The Government presses on all states the importance that we attach to universal adherence to all international non-proliferation treaties. Foreign Office officials last held non-proliferation talks with Israeli officials in March 2002.

Our Embassy in Tel Aviv last raised our concerns about Mr. Vanunu's imprisonment with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 17 October 2002.

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