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15 Jan 2003 : Column 662W—continued

Lorry Charges

Mr. Wray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made regarding the introduction of a lorry road user charge for non-UK vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [90461]

John Healey: The Government announced that it intends to introduce a lorry road user charge in 2005 or 2006 based on distance travelled. All haulage vehicles on UK roads will be subject to the charge, including UK operators as well as those from overseas. However, we are committed to ensuring that the UK haulage industry will not pay more as a result of the introduction of the charge and will introduce offsetting tax reductions for the industry.

As announced in the recent pre-Budget report, the Government will publish a second progress report in the near future. This will outline the results of the work on how to implement and procure the charge and offsetting tax cuts.

Manufacturing Exports

Sir Archy Kirkwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the value of manufacturing exports from companies in (a) the Scottish Borders, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK in each of the last 10 years. [90371]

Ruth Kelly: The estimates for the value of manufacturing exports to EU and non-EU countries for 1993—September 2002 (year to date) are provided in the following table.

# million

YearUK totalScotlandScottish Borders

(11) Year to date

Note: Regional trade estimates are not available for the period 1993–96. The Scottish Borders relates to the 'Scottish Borders' district council. The UK total figures are reproduced from the Overseas Trade Statistics time series, published by HM Customs and Excise

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Musical Instruments (VAT)

Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much he estimates will be raised in the current financial year from the levying of value added tax on musical instruments. [90360]

John Healey: It is not possible to provide the requested estimate. Customs and Excise do not disaggregate VAT receipts to this level of specific commodity detail.

National Insurance

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employees in Scotland pay national insurance. [90392]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government Actuary's Department is not able to produce reliable estimates of the number of employees paying national insurance in Scotland.

Tax Relief

Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the revenue yield of abolishing taper relief for financial years 2003–04 and 2004–05 and reintroducing indexation and retirement relief; and if he will make a statement. [90174]

Dawn Primarolo: Consistent with the assumptions of the November 2002 Pre-Budget Report forecast, the full year yield in 2003–04 from re-introducing indexation and retirement relief and abolishing taper relief is estimated to be #200 million. Information for 2004–05 is available only at disproportionate cost.

Tobacco Products (Revenue)

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated annual consumption of tobacco products was in each of the last five years. [90274]

John Healey: Estimates of the quantities of cigarettes consumed in each of the last three full financial years are given in Table 3.3 of XMeasuring Indirect Tax Losses", published by HM Customs and Excise in November 2002, and available in the Library of the House. Corresponding consumption estimates for the two years 1997–98 and 1998–99 are 85.5 billion cigarette sticks and 83 billion respectively.


Statutory Instruments

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council how many statutory instruments have been issued by his Department in each calendar year since 1979. [89846]

Mr. Robin Cook: The information requested is as follows:



1. For the period 1979 to 1998, statutory instruments were issued by the President of the Council.

2. Figures from 1999 include those issued by the Office of Leader of the House of Commons. Previously, this task was undertaken by the Cabinet Office.

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Employers' Liability Insurance

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 10 December 2002, Official Report, column 262W, on insurance, what the timetable for the review of the operation of employers' liability compulsory insurance will be. [87793]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I gave on 12 December 2002, Official Report, columns 23–24WS, which said that the review would report to Ministers in spring 2003.

New Deal Costs

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts), Official Report, 9 December 2002, column 140W, on New Deal costs, how much of the windfall tax revenue has been allocated to (a) welfare-to-work programmes and (b) other items; and how much remains unallocated. [89855]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 13 January 2003]: Information on the allocation of the windfall tax is in the Pre-Budget Report published in November 2002, which is available in the Library.

Public Sector Workers (Compulsory Retirement)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking to prevent public sector workers from facing compulsory retirement at age 60; and if he will make a statement. [90218]

Mr. McCartney: In the recent Pensions Green Paper, XSimplicity, Security and Choice: Working and Saving for Retirement" (Cm 5677), we have proposed that the rules of public sector pension schemes should be

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changed over the next few years to make an unreduced pension payable from a normal pension age of 65 rather than 60 in respect of all new members.

Under age legislation to be implemented by 2006, compulsory retirement ages are likely to be unlawful unless employers can show that they are objectively justified. The Department for Trade and Industry will be consulting further, later in the year, on the proposals for age legislation.

In the meantime, we will build on the work already done through promotion of the Code of Practice for Age Diversity in Employment and the Age Positive campaign. The Government will continue to encourage all employers, including those in the public sector, to review their retirement policies to allow people who want to work beyond normal retirement age, and should they wish, beyond state pension age, to do so.

In the Department, staff below the Senior Civil Service are able to choose to remain in employment beyond the age of 60 for any period up to the age of 65. The Department's flexible approach to age retirement allows staff to continue to work in their current grade and, subject to business need, to seek promotion to a higher grade or volunteer to down grade. Subject to business need, staff may also choose to work full-time or part-time. Senior civil servants can apply to work beyond age 60 where there is a business need.


Building Regulations (Home Energy Efficiency)

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what training will be provided for building control officers to enable them to enforce the requirements of Part L of the new Building Regulations for England and Wales. [90803]

Mr. Leslie: Training of building control officers to equip them for the proper discharge of their enforcement duties is a matter for local authorities and approved inspectors. However, the office of the Deputy Prime Minister co-operates closely with these bodies and the professional institutions to facilitate training whenever amendments to the building regulations are made. Regarding Part L, my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich made arrangements for the publication of the new requirements almost a year before they came into effect, and officials gave presentations of the new provisions at many events in months preceding the effective date.

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of new buildings constructed between July and September 2002 were built to the new thermal standards in Part L of the Building Regulations for England and Wales. [90804]

Mr. Leslie: The information requested is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The new thermal standards were introduced by SI 2001:3335 and came into effect on 1 April 2002, subject to transitional provisions. These provided that any planned new building that had received building control approval before 1 April 2002, or which had started on site before that date, could

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proceed in accordance with the previous standards. All planned new buildings notified to the local authority under the Building Act on or after 1 April 2002 must comply with the new requirements. Between July and September 2002, there will thus have been some buildings being constructed to the old standards and some to the new standards. There is no centrally collected information on the proportions of new buildings in each category.

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