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John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the impact which recent violence in the Mayom County of Sudan is having on humanitarian relief efforts. 
Clare Short: No reliable figures have been received on the disruption of humanitarian and relief services following the recent violence in Mayom County, Western Upper Nile. We understand the UN is deploying security and needs assessment teams to the region.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether her Department is sending observers to the Third World Social Forum in Porto Alegre; and if she will make a statement. 
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what response she will make to the World Food Programme appeal of 28 January for (a) Mauritania, (b) Cape Verde, (c) Gambia, (d) Mali and (e) Senegal. 
Clare Short: The World Food Programme appeal to donors on 28 January urged donors to contribute towards its Emergency Operation Appeal for the Western Sahel. We have already responded to this appeal and are providing a contribution of £1,000,000.
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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government expect an increase in the normal retirement age for public sector pension schemes, as proposed on page 106 of the Green Paper on Working and Saving for Retirement (Cm 5677), to be accompanied by a reduction in accrual rates. 
Mr. Boateng: The higher normal pension age proposed in the Green Paper is likely to be introduced in most public service pension schemes as part of a package of changes. It will not be possible until the proposals for each scheme have been worked up to say what impact, if any, these changes will have on scheme accrual rates.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry explained in her statement to the House on 29 January that the Co-ordinating Group on Audit and Accounting Issues had recommended against compulsory rotation of audit firms, and that the Government agreed with that recommendation.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the date by which his Department will have completed its assessment of the five economic tests; what his policy is on holding a referendum on membership of the euro in the current Parliament if the five economic tests are not met by June 2003; and if he will make a statement. 
Ruth Kelly: The Government have made clear that they will complete an assessment of the five economic tests within two years of the start of this Parliament. If, on the basis of the assessment, a decision to recommend joining is taken by the Government, it will be put to a vote in Parliament and then to a referendum of the British people.
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Mr. Lidington : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on the treatment for inheritance tax of working farmhouses; what plans he has to change that policy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 20 January 2003 Official Report, column 5556W, on the Inland Revenue, what his estimate is of the number of staff who transferred over to the Inland Revenue in 1999 from the contributions and benefits agencies; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: The figures requested were published in January 2002 in the Inland Revenue Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2000. On 1 April 1999, around 8,400 full-time equivalent units of staff joined the Inland Revenue from the Contributions Agency and, on 1 October 1999, 3,700 staff joined the Inland Revenue from the Benefits Agency.
Mr. Drew : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what use has been made of the 80 per cent. the Government has held back from the Landfill Tax; and when he will announce its future proposals for the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. 
John Healey: Since the landfill tax was introduced in 1996, revenue from the landfill tax that has not been claimed as tax credits to support projects through the landfill tax credit scheme has been used to finance a 0.2 per cent. point reduction in employers' National Insurance Contributions.
A statement regarding transition funding arrangements during 200304 for ongoing waste projects in England which are currently supported through the landfill tax credit scheme was made to the House on 3 February 2003. This statement also confirmed that in 200304 landfill operators may claim a tax credit of up to 6.5 per cent. of their annual landfill tax liability for contributions to local environmental projects, ensuring that the current level of funding for these types of projects is maintained. The Government is considering criticisms of the current landfill tax credit scheme and aims to set out any plans for reform of the continuing successor scheme.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received from organisations regarding the potential impact of the new Landfill Tax Credit Scheme on their viability. 
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My written statement of 3 February 2003 (Transitional Funding of Landfill Tax Credit Scheme) set out the Government's plans for providing transitional funding during 20034 for current on-going waste and recycling projects in England affected by the change.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, under the reforms to the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, the money earmarked to maintain the current budget for local community environmental projects will continue to support the range of projects which have currently benefited from this sum. 
John Healey: From 1 April 2003, landfill site operators will no longer be able to claim tax credit for contributions to projects under objects C and CC of the scheme. However, the reformed scheme will continue to make funding available for local community environmental projects. The Government are considering criticisms of the current landfill tax credit scheme and aim to set out any plans for reform of the continuing successor scheme on a budget timetable.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he was informed before the agreement to sell the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise offices to Mapeley that they were to be owned by a company based in a tax haven; what allowance for the cost advantages that gave the company was made in the rent agreed; whether bidding was open to British-based companies; and what access he has to the accounts of the new owner. 
Dawn Primarolo: When they appeared before the Treasury Sub-committee on 11 December 2002, the Chairmen of the Inland Revenue and the HM Customs and Excise explained the background to the STEPS contract and made it clear that Ministers were not informed of the offshore nature of this contract. The transcript of this hearing is publicly available. Ministers do not have access to Mapeley's accounts.
Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what research he has commissioned into the effect on the British economy of a decision to grant the licence to build two new aircraft carriers for the Ministry of Defence to (a) BAE Systems, (b) Thales and (c) a joint bid from BAE Systems and Thales; 
(3) what discussions took place between officials from his Department and officials from the Ministry of Defence concerning the division of an order of two aircraft carriers between BAE Systems and Thales; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Boateng: The new aircraft carriers will provide our armed forces with a significant improvement in military capability and will create or sustain 10,000 jobs across the United Kingdom. The Ministry of Defence has not yet completed the assessment phase, but at this stage we believe that the best way forward is to combine the strengths of both bidders in an alliance. The statement made to this House by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 30 January 2003 clearly sets out the rationale for this strategy. Both bidders have agreed with this proposal and discussions are continuing with them. The final decision to place a contract is planned to be taken in 2004. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has consulted Treasury and DTI Ministers at each significant stage of the project. Discussions between Ministers will continue as the programme progresses, as will discussions between my officials and those in the Ministry of Defence.