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21 Jan 2004 : Column 1256W—continued

Air Passenger Duty

Mr. Moss: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) percentage rate and (b) actual tax revenue for air passenger duty was in each year since 1994. [149224]

John Healey: (a) Air passenger duty is not set as a percentage rate but as a monetary amount. Current air passenger duty rates are as follows.

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£

EEA DestinationsNon-EEA Destinations
Standard Rate1040
Reduced Rate520

(b) Air passenger duty revenues for 2002–03 were £816 million and are published in HM Customs and Excise's Annual Report (HC52). Historic revenue figures can be found in table 2.1D of Financial Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics.

Barnett Formula

Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what amounts (a) the Welsh Block and (b) the Scottish Block has been changed as a consequence of change in public funding for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew through the operation of the Barnett formula for each of the last six years. [148309]

Mr. Boateng: Changes in the Welsh and Scottish Blocks are determined through the Barnett formula, details of which were published in the Statement of Funding Policy in July 2002. The Barnett formula provides the devolved Administrations with aggregate increases reflecting a population share of overall increases in UK Government Departments' provision.

Charitable Donations (Developing Countries)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of charitable donations from the United Kingdom to developing countries in each of the last five years. [149156]

John Healey: The Government conduct a survey every year of non-Governmental organisations which provide assistance to developing countries. Aid flows from voluntary agencies are estimated from a statistical inquiry conducted annually by DfID in line with current survey control policy. The following table sets out the figures for the years 1998 to 2002.

Expenditure by voluntary organisations in developing countries
£ million

19981999200020012002
Total expenditure397495534456482
of which:
Officially funded143175170207221
Funded by other UK agencies12292426
Privately funded253298354225235

Source:

Voluntary agencies surveys of 1999–2003. The private element is published in DfID's annual publication "Statistics on International Development".


Civil Service (Disabled People)

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the number of employees in his Department who have a disability, broken down by disability type. [148995]

Ruth Kelly: 5,247 of the 98,770 staff employed by the Treasury, Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise have declared a disability.

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Number
HM Treasury
Capacity10
Co-ordination7
Hearing9
Learning4
Mentally ill1
Mobility7
Speech2
Visual4
Total number44
HM Customs and Excise
Hearing Impairment—and other20
Hearing Impairment—alone110
Learning difficulties—alone23
Learning difficulties—and other7
Mental illness—alone32
Mobility impairment—and other48
Mobility impairment—alone126
Physical co-ordination—alone31
Physical co-ordination—and other22
Reduced phys. capacity—and other70
Reduced phys. capacity—alone256
Severe disfigurement—and other1
Severe disfigurement—alone1
Speech impairment—and other2
Speech impairment—alone8
Status unknown43
Unknown disability106
Visual impairment—and other16
Visual impairment—alone61
Total number983
Inland Revenue
Unknown disability1,126
Reduced physical capacity729
Visual impairment668
Mobility impairment651
Hearing impairment625
Mental illness242
Learning difficulties72
Speech impairment46
Physical co-ordination difficulties43
Severe disfigurement11
Obsolete descriptions8
Total number4,220
Grand total5,247

Correspondence

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he intends to reply to the letter dated 5 November 2003 from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan regarding EU children's clothes VAT plans. [149781]

John Healey : I replied to the hon. Member on 14 January.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effects of widening the VAT reduction to 5 per cent. on energy saving materials; [149099]

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John Healey: The Government are committed to improving household energy efficiency, as part of their programme to meet Energy White Paper targets. The Government routinely evaluate the impact of policy initiatives, including environmental tax measures. The Government have a long-standing commitment to pursue EU changes to permit a reduced rate of VAT for the DIY installation of energy saving materials, and have already applied a reduced rate of VAT for the installation of materials in certain other circumstances. The Government consulted on further measures to improve household energy efficiency in 2003, including a tax allowance for private landlords investing in energy efficiency. The Government also invited views on other possible policy initiatives. Responses were published and are being taken into account in further policy development. In the pre-Budget report (Cm 6042) we confirmed that we believe that there is a case for the further use of economic instruments as part of a package of measures to promote energy efficiency. A further announcement will be made around Budget 2004.

Excise Taxes

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the European Commission on combating the evasion of excise taxes within the European Union. [148479]

John Healey: Treasury Ministers and officials from the Chancellor's Departments hold discussions with the European Commission and their counterparts from other EU member states on a wide range of issues, including the effective operation of the EU excise system.

Fuel Tax

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to increase the duty on liquefied petroleum gas; and if he will make a statement. [149417]

John Healey: In his Pre-Budget Report in December 2003 (Cm 6042), the Chancellor announced that the Government will gradually increase the duty rate for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) over the next three years, setting duty differentials on a path towards a level commensurate with the fuel's environmental benefits. Consistent with the Government's commitment to give three-year certainty on duty differentials for alternative fuels, the duty differentials for LPG for the next three years will be announced in Budget 2004.

Inland Revenue Code of Practice 26

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Inland Revenue's Code of Practice 26 will be made available to members of the public at local tax offices. [146331]

Dawn Primarolo: Code of Practice 26, "What happens when we have paid you too much tax credit?", is available to claimants via Inland Revenue Enquiry Centres. It is also available online at: www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/leaflets/credit.htm.

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World Debt

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the terms and conditions relating to (a) loans made by the International Monetary Fund to third world countries and (b) debt cancellation. [149471]

John Healey: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lends to low-income countries through the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), a lending instrument offering softer terms than conventional IMF lending. Loans under the PRGF are based on a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), which is prepared by the country in co-operation with civil society and other development partners, in particular the World Bank. The UK believes that IMF loan conditions should reflect only what is necessary for the success of a program, to ensure the protection of IMF funds, and to meet the core requirements of the Fund's mandate. Conditions should be appropriate for a particular country. This is upheld in new guidelines on conditionality introduced by the IMF in September 2002 and the UK will work to ensure these guidelines remain appropriate and that they are upheld in practice.

The UK continues to be fully committed to the rapid and full implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative to ensure that it delivers a robust exit from unsustainable debt for the world's poorest countries. To change the underlying dynamics of those countries in which debt indicators are deteriorating, it is important that—in addition to receiving debt relief—countries implement the reforms necessary to allow them to grow faster, to increase poverty reduction expenditure and to enable them to diversify their export bases and better absorb macroeconomic shocks, such as a decline in specific commodity prices. So far 27 countries have started to receive debt relief under the initiative, worth over US $70 billion. To be eligible for the HIPC Initiative, countries must be eligible for highly concessional assistance from the World Bank and the IMF, face an unsustainable debt situation after the full application of traditional debt relief mechanisms (such as application of Naples terms under the Paris Club agreement), and must make a commitment to poverty reduction through the implementation of a Poverty Reduction Strategy.

The HIPC Initiative has an important role to play in maximising the resources available for poverty reduction in developing countries. However, unless there is an increase in the volume of resources available from donors to poor countries, additional debt relief would simply reallocate resources from one form of financing to another, and from non-HIPC poor countries to HIPC countries, without adding to the overall financing available for poverty reduction. Furthermore, all HIPC countries would still need additional aid to meet the Millennium Development Goals even if all of their debt from the World Bank and IMF were cancelled. That is why the UK's proposal for an International Finance Facility is so important. It could provide the much-needed substantial increase in resources which debt relief alone would not achieve and which could be disbursed by way of grants and additional debt relief.

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