Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of Airport Passenger Duty on passenger numbers; and what assessment he has made of the merits of adjusting the level of such duty. 
John Healey: HM Customs and Excise analysis indicates that the price elasticity of demand for changes in Air Passenger Duty (APD) duty rates is low, and air travel has proven relatively unresponsive to changes in price. My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a freeze on air passenger duty for the year ahead in his recent Budget report. The Chancellor takes into account a range of social, economic and environmental considerations, including the effects of APD on passenger numbers, when setting levels of taxation.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 4 March 2005, Official Report, column 1402W, on bereavement grants, whether occupational pension schemes are permitted to pay a non-taxable bereavement grant voluntarily on the death of a pensioner member aged over 75. 
Mr. Timms: Under the current pension tax regime an occupational pension scheme can make a tax-free lump sum payment on a pensioner member's death of up to £2,500. There is no age limit on when this payment can be made.
From 6 April 2006, under the new simplified pension tax regime schemes can continue to pay lump sums on the death of a pensioner member unless the member is aged 75 or over when they die. In these cases survivors benefits must be paid in the form of income. Existing rights to a tax-free lump sum on death at age 75 or over on 6 April next year will be protected. Details are contained in the Inland Revenue Pensions Tax Simplification Technical Note that was published on 16 February 2004.
Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will instruct the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to provide substantive answers to Questions concerning decennial censuses after consulting the Registrar General; 
(3) whether the necessary permission to retain the (a) 1981 and (b) 1991 census records for England and Wales in the Office for National Statistics once they are over 30-years-old has already been granted by the Lord Chancellor. 
All Parliamentary questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer are answered substantively. It has been the practice of successive Administrations for many years to delegate questions concerning the census to the Registrar General for answer by letter. All such letter answers are printed in the Official Report.
The Registrar General undertakes his functions under section 2(1) of the Census Act 1920 and of any Census Order or Regulations made under the 1920 Act. His powers to carry out the census are subject to the control of, and in compliance with, any Ministerial direction by virtue of Section 2(2) of the 1920 Act. The Registrar General has regular meetings with the relevant Minister to discuss census-related issues. The Government's proposals for the 2001 Census were published in a White Paper (The 2001 Census of Population", Cm 4253) in March 1999. Parliamentary authority for the 2001 Census was subsequently given by virtue of the Census Order 2000 (SI 2000/744), the Census Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/1473), the Census (Amendment) Order 2000 (SI2000/3249), and the Census (Amendment) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/3351).
I understand that no application has yet been made by the Registrar General to the Lord Chancellor, under the provisions of section 3(4) of the Public Records Act 1958, for him to retain the records from the 1981 or 1991 Censuses once they are over 30-years-old.
Mr. Timms [holding answer 4 April 2005]: Child benefit is payable to every family in the UK in respect of each child. The Government believe it is right that society should recognise the importance of family life by providing financial support for every family with a dependent child.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assumptions of long-term employment rates for (a) men and (b) women underpin the Treasury's published figures on long-term fiscal trends. 
As required by the Code for Fiscal Stability", the Treasury publishes illustrative long- term fiscal projections as part of the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report (EFSR). The long-term
5 Apr 2005 : Column 1309W
macroeconomic assumptions are stated in Annex A of the EFSR. Regarding long-term employment rates, Annex A of the 2005 EFSR states that:
By assumption, employment is driven entirely by demographic trends. Specifically, with the overall employment rate assumed to remain constant from 200910 onwards, changes in employment levels reflect changes in the working-age population" (Budget 2005, page 178).
In addition to the illustrative long-term fiscal projections, the Treasury also publishes the Long-term Public Finance Report (LTPFR) alongside the pre-Budget report. The baseline results of the 2004 LTPFR are also based on the assumption of an unchanged total employment rate beyond the medium term. In addition, the 2004 LTPFR (pages 3337) presents results based on an alternative approach to projecting employment trends.
John Healey: The Government assesses the impact of environmental taxes against a range of social, economic and environmental factors, including impacts on competitiveness and energy prices, in the annual Budget process. As part of this, the Government have published an independent evaluation by Cambridge Econometrics of the climate change levy. This considers the environmental impact of the levy as well as its impact on the economy and energy prices. Copies are available from the House of Commons Library or the Customs and Excise website.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times during the (a) Italian, (b) Irish and (c) Dutch presidency of the EU the Joint Committee (ECC-Switzerland) on the simplification of inspections and formalities (and working party) met; when and where these meetings took place; which UK Government expert was present; and if he will make a statement. 
The EEC-Switzerland Facilitation of Controls and Formalities in Goods Transport Joint Committee meets annually in October. It met once under the Italian presidency, and once under the Dutch, both times in Brussels. The European Commission represented the European Community. No UK Government expert was present.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times during the (a) Italian, (b) Irish and (c) Dutch presidency of the EU the EECEuropean Free Trade Association Joint Committee and working parties met; when and where these meetings took place; what UK Government expert was present; and if he will make a statement. 
There is no Committee with such a title. However, the Joint Committee of the European Economic Area, which is responsible for the ongoing management of the EEA Agreement, met on the following dates during the Italian, Dutch and Irish presidencies: in 2003 on 11 July, 26 September, 7 November, and 5 December. In 2004 it met on 6 February, 19 March, 23 April, 4 June, 9 July, 24 September, 29 October, and 3 December.
The Joint Committee is assisted by four sub-committees. Subcommittee I met in 2003 on 1 July, 16 September, 14 October, and 25 November. In 2004 it met on 27 January, 2 March, 30 March, 11 May, 22 June, 14 September, 19 October, and 16 November. Subcommittee II met in 2003 on 2 July, 17 September, 15 October, and 26 November. In 2004 it met 29 January, 4 March, 1 April, 13 May, 24 June, 16 September, 21 October and 18 November. Subcommittee III met in 2003 on 4 July, 19 September, 17 October and 28 November. In 2004 it met on 29 January, 4 March, 1 April, 13 May, 24 June, 16 September, 21 October and 18 November. Subcommittee IV met in 2003 on 3 July, 16 September, 16 October and 27 November. In 2004 it met on 29 January, 4 March, 1 April, 13 May, 24 June, 16 September, 21 October and 18 November.
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