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13 Feb 2003 : Column 857Wcontinued
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many convictions were secured in cases relating to diversion fraud between 1993 and 2002; and how many of these convictions are considered unsafe because of non-disclosure of relevant material at trial by customs officers. 
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John Healey: HM customs and excise does not collate figures for convictions for diversion frauds separately from other prosecutions, and therefore these figures are not readily available. In relation to diversions of goods that originated from London City Bond between 1995 and 1998 during the use of the informants there, I refer to my answers to the hon. Member for Eddisbury (Mr. O'Brien) on 23 January 2003, Official Report, columns 455457W).
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Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the investments that have been made since 6 July 1999 with the proceeds from sales of gold reserves; and what the value was on 10 February of those investments. 
Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 February 2003]: The proceeds from the sale of part of the United Kingdom's gold holdings, between 6 July 1999 and 6 March 2002, were invested in interest-bearing foreign currency assets in broadly the same proportion as currently held in the net foreign currency reserves (40 per cent. dollars; 40 per cent. euros; 20 per cent. yen). Further information on the investment policy for the foreign currency reserves is detailed in the Exchange Equalisation Account Financial Accounts 200102 published on 16 January 2003 (HC 258 Session 200203).
Details of the currency breakdown of the United Kingdom's foreign currency reserves are published quarterly, with a lag of two months, on the Bank of England's website-bankofengland.co.uk. The latest data available are for the end September 2002.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice he took on investing the proceeds of sale of the gold reserves; and if he will publish that advice. 
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Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 February 2003]: The investment policy for the net foreign currency reserves is detailed in the Exchange Equalisation Account Financial Accounts 200102 published on 16 January 2003 (HC 258 Session 200203). Prior to the decision in 1999 to restructure the reserves portfolio the Bank of England provided advice on the portfolio risks associated with gold and other assets. These portfolio risk issues, and the broader rationale for the restructuring of the reserves portfolio, are discussed in HM Treasury's "Review of the Sale of Part of the UK Gold Reserves" (October 2002)-copies of this document have been placed in the House of Commons Library and it is also available on the Treasury's website-http://www. hm-treasury.gov.uk/media//9EFEF/GoldReserves.PDF.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the revenue loss of (a) extending the basic income tax rate bracket to individuals with an annual income of (i) £38,000, (ii) £39,000, (iii) £40,000, (iv) £41,000, (v) £42,000, (vi) £43,000, (vii) £44,000, (viii) £45,000, (ix) £46,000, (x) £47,000, (xi) £48,000, (xii) £49,000 and (xiii) £50,000 and (b) having a starting income tax rate bracket of (i) £0-£2,500, (ii) £0-£3,000, (iii) £0-£3,500, (iv) £0-£4,000, (v) £0-£4,500 and (vi) £0-£5,000. 
Dawn Primarolo: The full year revenue loss from making the changes in 200304 is set out in the table.
|Starting rate limit on taxable incomes|
|Basic rate limit on taxable incomes||2,500||3,000||3,500||4,000||4,500||5,000|
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.
Andrew Bennett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have applied for conditional exemption from inheritance tax in the last 12 months; and how this tax relief is being amended to take into account the implementation of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. 
Dawn Primarolo: Eight inheritance tax exemption claims concerning land have been received by the Inland Revenue in the last 12 months. Only one case involves "access land" for the purposes of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
As my hon. Friend knows from his longstanding interest in this topic, rights of access are not the only benefits secured for the public by undertakings under the conditional exemption scheme, and the access provided by such undertakings has never been restricted to the matters covered by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, where it applies. The Inland Revenue and their heritage advisers take full account of the Act's potential application in determining what undertakings they will regard as giving reasonable public access. They find that the conditional exemption scheme is able to secure greater and/or better quality opportunities for access than those afforded by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, and they will continue to seek such added benefits.
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Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what inquiries are being made by HM Customs and Excise to ascertain whether goods are on sale in British supermarkets which have been imported to the EU under preference according to the EU-Israel Association Agreement but which originate in settlements in the Occupied Territories; 
John Healey: Details of verification inquiries could lead to the identification of individual importers and cannot be disclosed. Exemption 13 (Third party's commercial confidences) of the Code of Conduct on Access to Government Information applies.
Customs and Excise have made no inquiries in supermarkets. They are targeting at the point of import goods where the Israel preference has been claimed but where there is reason to suspect that they may have originated in the Occupied Territories.
Mrs. Browning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the costs to the public sector of (a) salaries and (b) administration arising from his proposed changes to the landfill tax credit scheme. 
Mr. Meacher: I have been asked to reply.
The cost of running the transition scheme announced by my right hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury on Monday 3 February Official Report. column 5WS, is expected to be covered by the 2 per cent. of total funding currently used for the cost of administering landfill tax credit scheme. No estimate of the cost of running the new public expenditure programmes has yet been made.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total amount of money realised from the sales of UK gold holdings from 6 July 1999 to 6 March 2002 and what would be the value of that gold at the morning fix on 10 February. 
Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 February 2003]: The proceeds from the sale of 395 tonnes of gold over the period 6 July 1999 to 6 March 2002 were approximately $3.5 billion (around £2.1 billion at the exchange rate at close on 10 February 2003). The price of gold at the morning fix on 10 February 2003 was $371.75 per ounce (32,150.747 ounces = 1 tonne).
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to extend VAT exemptions for recognised charities. 
John Healey: Charities already benefit from a range of special VAT reliefs worth around 200 million a year. We regularly discuss taxation issues with the charitable
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sector, and within the bounds of long standing formal agreements with our European partners, we are ready to consider opportunities to modernise and update the VAT system where we can.
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