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Mr. Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list for each Department the numbers of (a) consultants and (b) temporary staff engaged; and the number of full-time civil servants at (i) 31 March and (ii) 30 September. 
Mr. Timms: Data concerning civil service numbers in general has been published in "Civil Service Statistics". The Current information for 2004 can also be found online at: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/index.asp. Specific data concerning the number of consultants and temporary staff are not collected centrally, and are a matter for each Department.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in his Department were employed to deal with Freedom of Information Act 2000 issues in (a) 2001, (b) 2002, (c) 2003 and (d) 2004; and how many staff are budgeted to deal with Freedom of Information Act 2000 issues in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006. 
John Healey: The Government's statutory, tax free approved mileage rates for cars and motor cycles were determined by considering many factors including: fuel, fuel efficiency, depreciation, repair, maintenance costs, insurance and vehicle excise duty across the spectrum of all makes and models. Fuel prices constitute only one element taken into account in setting the rates, which were set to encourage the use of smaller, more environmentally friendly cars.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on Government policy towards hypothecation of taxes; and if he will list all current cases of hypothecated taxation. 
Dawn Primarolo: All changes to taxation are set out in the relevant Financial Statement and Budget Reports, which are available in the Library of the House. In some cases, where the Government is raising revenue for a specific purpose, it is appropriate to reinforce the purpose of the tax measure by linking it to the spending which it finances.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what funding was allocated to Customs and Excise in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002, (d) 2003 and (e) 2004; and how much is budgeted for (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006 for the detection of illegal meat imports; 
Dawn Primarolo: No specific funding was allocated prior to April 2003 when Customs took over enforcement responsibility for illegal imports of products of animal origin from countries outside the European Union. Customs have been allocated £4 million; £7 million and £7 million respectively over the three financial years 200304 to 200506 and this represents the effort expended by Customs.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many individuals have been prosecuted for illegally importing meat in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002, (d) 2003 and (e) January to November 2004. 
Dawn Primarolo: Since HM Customs and Excise assumed responsibility for enforcement responsibility for illegal imports of products of animal origin in April 2003 four people have been prosecuted of smuggling offences under the Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) (England) Regulations 2003 and the Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) (England) Regulations 2004. All of these prosecutions, which took place between January and November 2004, resulted in convictions.
(2) what funds were allocated to identifying new technology to detect illegal meat imports in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002, (d) 2003 and (e) 2004; and how much is budgeted for this purpose for (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006; 
Dawn Primarolo: Customs already uses existing x-ray technology for illegal meat when appropriate and continually monitors the market place for new technology that could further assist in its law enforcement role. Customs has been involved in a number of trials of equipment designed to aid the detection of illegal imports and smuggled goods of all kinds.
One of those trials involved use of advanced remote detection systems at overseas airports. Customs decided for a number of reasons not to continue with the trials and that it was more practical to install x-ray equipment at specific UK ports and airports to help detect illicit goods including illegal meat. Customs has no plans for further field trials involving advanced remote detection systems.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many dogs were employed in detecting illegal meat imports in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002, (d) 2003 and (e) the months January to November 2004; and how many will be employed in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the quantity of meat illegally imported by sea to UK sea ports in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002, (d) 2003 and (e) January to November 2004; 
These were published on 6 March 2003 ("Risk Assessment for the Import of Meat and Meat Products Contaminated with Foot and Mouth Disease Virus into Great Britain and the Subsequent Exposure of GB Livestock") and 19 July 2004 ("Risk Assessment of the Import of Contaminated Meat and Meat Products into Great Britain and the Subsequent Exposure of GB Livestock").
Dawn Primarolo: Customs' role is to deter and detect illegal imports of meat and other products of animal origin imported from outside the European Union and thereby reduce the risk of disease from such imports. The strategy delivers this aim through:
increasing passengers' awareness of the rules and regulations, encouraging the voluntary surrender of any illegal meat on arrival and discouraging the public from embarking on their journey to the UK with illegal meat in their possession;
In the absence of detailed outcomes that Customs believe are the most effective ways of measuring their performance, Customs and Defra have identified a number of areas such as public awareness surveys and benchmarking that could serve as useful performance indicators.
At this early stage, most emphasis is placed on the number of seizures, which are monitored by Customs and Defra and overseen by Departmental Ministers and in progress reports to the Cabinet Committee on illegal imports. However, Customs and Defra recognise the limitations of using such output data in determining overall impact.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what research into available technology for improving the detection of diseased meat at airports his Department has (a) conducted and (b) evaluated; 
With the exception of those commercial consignments seized by Customs that can be restored on condition that they are re-exported in compliance with Regulation 24 of the Products of Animal Origin (Third Country Imports) (England) Regulations 2004, all illegal meat seized by Customs is sealed and transported under approved conditions to an approved incinerator for disposal without delay. As the Government have concluded that all such seizures should be treated as a potential animal or human health risk. Customs have not conducted or evaluated any studies into detection technology specifically related to diseased meat.
21 Dec 2004 : Column 1590W
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