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3 Jun 2003 : Column 28W—continued

Growth

Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the figures for the assumed trend output growth used to estimate the output gap in (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [115303]

Mr. Boateng: Table B3 of the Financial Strategy and Budget Report 2003 (HC 500) provided estimates of the composition and rate of trend output growth, as used by the Treasury to calculate the output gap.

Illegal Food Imports

Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 14 May 2003, Official Report, columns 261–62W, on food imports, how much will be spent in 2003–04 on (a) mobile anti-smuggling teams, (b) the detector dog programme, (c) intelligence activity and (d) publicity campaigns at ports and airports in the UK and overseas. [114949]

John Healey [holding answer 22 May 2003]: Customs expect that these four areas will consume most of the £4 million allocated in 2003–04. However, the information requested is not available; Exemption 4 (law enforcement and legal proceedings) of the Code of Practice on access to Government Information applies to all such information about Customs law enforcement activities.

Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his Answer to Parliamentary Question, ref 112559 of 13 May, (a) whether the

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personnel for the new mobile anti-smuggling teams will be drawn from existing Customs personnel, (b) which regions the new anti-smuggling teams will operate in, (c) which regions the detector dogs will operate in, (d) what provisions are in place for replacing ill detector dogs and (e) when the publicity campaign at ports and airports in the UK and overseas will be unveiled. [114950]

John Healey: Staff for the new teams will be drawn from existing Customs personnel. The anti-smuggling teams and detector dogs are mobile and the locations of their deployment will be varied according to risk. Where illness or injury seriously impairs a detector dog's long-term effectiveness, the dog would normally be retired from duty. Customs would then arrange for the supply and training of a new dog as soon as possible. DEFRA publicity is continuing while Customs publicity material is developed. This will be rolled out later this year.

Inland Revenue

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of the Inland Revenue's consultants previously worked for the Revenue before taking retirement and being engaged as a consultant. [114376]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue does not hold centrally any information on the previous employment history of those engaged as consultants by its business areas. However, we have identified two retired employees who are currently working directly on a consultancy basis. These are on short-term contracts and for reasons of essential business continuity.

Ministerial Transport

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for his Department was in 2002. [101546]

Dawn Primarolo: For the cost of ministerial cars to all Government departments, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Mr. Alexander) on 20 May Official Report, column 663W).

Expenditure on taxis by the Treasury in the calendar year 2002 was £111,000.

Non-domiciled Residents

Mr. Byers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the amount of tax foregone as a consequence of the tax policy towards non-domiciled residents in each of the last five years. [115112]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not available.

Pension Funds

Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research has been commissioned into the potential impact on the broader economy of the condition of UK pension funds. [115304]

Dawn Primarolo: The Pensions Green Paper published in December 2002 found that the level of privately funded pensions is high by international standards. The performance of private pensions will reflect the underlying performance of the economy, and the fundamental drivers of a successful economy are in

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place. In addition, at the time of the 2002 pre-Budget report, the Treasury published an assessment of the impact of an ageing population on the public finances. The report found that the public finances are sustainable in the long term, and that the UK is in a strong position relative to many other developed countries.

Tax Credits

Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his actions since the statement of 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 53, to overcome delays in the processing of tax credit claims and on the progress of his Department on the matter. [114903]

Dawn Primarolo: Over 4 million claims for the new tax credits have now been received. This is in addition to the 1.3 million families who will get the benefit of the increased generosity of the Child Tax Credit through IS/JSA this year.

Around 3.5 million awards are already in payment. This includes the 2 million families opting to get their money every 4 weeks, who were sent their first payment of tax credits by Friday 2 May as planned.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the administrative cost has been of introducing each tax credit; and what his estimate is of the annual administration cost for each of the current tax credits (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of the payments made. [114973]

Dawn Primarolo: A broad estimate of the annual cost of administering the child and working tax credits appears in the Regulatory Impact Assessment, published on 15 July 2002; it represents approximately 2 per cent. of the total forecast annual expenditure on these tax credits.

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in (a) Montgomeryshire and (b) Wales are eligible to receive (i) child tax credit and (ii) working tax credit; and how many are receiving them. [115065]

Dawn Primarolo: It is estimated that 320,000 families are expected to receive the child tax credit and 80,000 families are expected to receive the working tax credit in Wales (including some who are also expected to receive the child tax credit).

Statistics on awards of these tax credits will be published in August.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employers are paying the working tax credit to one or more of their employees. [114415]

Dawn Primarolo: The total number of employers paying tax credits is expected to be around 300,000 during any one year, broadly the same as for the Working Families' and Disabled Person's Tax Credits.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are receiving the working tax credit. [114416]

Dawn Primarolo: Statistics on Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit awards will be published in August.

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DEFENCE

Afghanistan

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the operation of provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan. [115363]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the Written Ministerial Statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 8 May 2003, Official Report, columns 38–40WS.

Indonesia

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total value is of United Kingdom arms and weapons (a) contracts signed and (b) deliveries made to Indonesia since 1997. [115785]

Mr. Ingram: In the period from 1997 to 2001, deliveries of defence-related equipment to Indonesia were worth some £280 million. The value of export orders placed during this period was some £120 million.

Figures for 2002 are not yet available. The basis for measures of defence exports using deliveries and identified orders is explained on page 29 of UK Defence Statistics 2002, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Armed Forces Pay

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British service personnel serving in the Gulf receive extra (a) pay and (b) allowances for going to war; and if he will make a statement. [109548]

Mr. Ingram: Members of the United Kingdom armed forces have an expectation of world wide service in a wide variety of operations, including war service, and their pay and allowances are structured accordingly and reviewed annually by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB), an independent organisation.

Service basic pay includes an additional element—the X Factor (currently 13 per cent. of basic pay and pensionable, for all ranks up to Lieutenant Colonel and equivalent at the mid pay point, beyond which it tapers) to reflect the differences between conditions of service experienced by members of the UK armed forces over a full career and conditions in UK civilian life. The X Factor was increased from 12 per cent. in the 2000 award. Various allowances are also payable, such as the Longer Separated Service Allowance (LSSA) and Longer Service at Sea Bonus (LSSB) to compensate personnel for time away from their permanent base and separation from their families.

As part of their 2003 Report (published on 7 February) the AFPRB recommended substantial above inflation increases to LSSA and LSSB and their attendant bonuses, as well as a reduction in the qualifying time for LSSA. Given the international situation existing at that time, the AFPRB requested that the changes to LSSA and LSSB be implemented from 1 March 2003, a month in advance of the normal implementation date for armed forces pay awards of

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1 April. These recommendations, along with the remainder of the 2003 Report were accepted in full by the Government.


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