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To detect and prevent the smuggling of firearms HMRC deploy resources according to risk, through intelligence-led and targeted activity with teams, including national and regional strike forces, that work flexibly to match any changing threat and whose training includes recognition of firearms and their component parts. HMRC target all types of traffic arriving at UK ports and airports both from other EU member states and from non-EU countries.
HMRC work closely with NCIS and police forces to share information and to improve the intelligence available on firearms smuggling. They have agreed operational arrangements to follow-up detections of smuggled firearms, parts and ammunition.
In all cases where such goods are detected HMRC will seize them, share the information with NCIS and police and agree with police the arrangements for any follow up investigation. HMRC will normally seek to prosecute in any case involving a deliberate attempt to smuggle a firearm into the UK.
As part of the Government's commitment to reduce gun crime, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 included a provision to increase the maximum term of imprisonment for smuggling prohibited weapons (other than stun guns and self defence sprays) from seven years to 10.
Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received from Customs and Excise in the last 10 years regarding cases of alleged fraud by insurance companies using the Insurance Premium Tax; 
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions his Department has had with the Government of Jersey on the introduction of a zero-ten tax rate; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The proposed introduction of a zero-ten rate in Jersey is a result of a program of modernisation of the Jersey tax system designed to be in compliance with international standards, including those set up by the OECD and by the EU Code of Conduct for business taxation.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the relative performance of the UK by comparison with other EU member states in respect of the Lisbon score card measures of (a) innovation, (b) liberalisation, (c) enterprise, (d) employment and social inclusion and (e) sustainable development. 
John Healey: There are over 100 Lisbon structural indicators in the full set of economic, social and environmental categories. A full set of structural indicators can be found on the Eurostat Structural Indicators website: (http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/portal/page?_pageid=1133,1400891,1133_1402816& dad_ portal&_schema=PORTAL ). A selection of the higher-level indicators relevant to the areas requested are set out in the table.
|Gross domestic expenditure on R and D (GERD)as a percentage of GDP (20)||1.87||1.93|
|Broadband penetration ratenumber of broadband lines subscribed in percentage of the population||7.4||6.5|
|Price of telecommunicationsnational callsprice level and evolution in the telecommunications market (in Euro per 10 min call)||0.44||0.9|
|Electricity priceshouseholdsprice level and evolution in the electricity market (in Euro per kWh)||0.08||0.10|
|Venture capital investmentsearly stageas a percentage of GDP(21)||0.039||(22)0.02|
|Total state aidas a percentage of GDP(20)||0.26||(22)0.57|
|(d) Employment and social inclusion|
|Total employment rateemployed persons aged 15 to 64 as a percentage share of the total population of the same age group||71.6||63.3|
|Life-long learningpercentage of the adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training (in the four weeks preceding the survey)||21.3||9.9|
|At-risk-of-poverty rate after social transfersthe percentage share of persons with an equivalised disposable income below the risk-of-poverty threshold (23)||19||15|
|(e) Sustainable development|
|Total greenhouse gas emissionspercentage change since base year and targets according to Kyoto Protocol/EU Council Decision for 2008201 2 (in CO(21) equivalents) indexed on actual base year=100(21)||85||91.1|
The Government understand the concerns of people who purchased shared appreciation mortgages in the mid-1990s. However, to date no evidence of mis-selling has been found by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the effect is on (a) UK nationals and (b) non-UK nationals access to benefits conditional on payment of national insurance contributions of their employer's decision to register offshore. 
Dawn Primarolo: The UK social security system does not distinguish between UK and non UK-nationals working in the UK. In general, having an employer thatis a company registered outside the UK will make little practical difference to an employee's access to contributory benefits. If the employee works in the UK and meets the conditions as to residence or presence in the UK he or she will still have to pay NICs and therefore will qualify for benefits.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the (a) Scottish Executive and (b) the management of Caledonian MacBrayne on offshore crewing; what assessment he has made of the effect of offshore crewing on (i) national insurance revenues paid by Caledonian MacBrayne and (ii) rights and entitlements for crew arising from changes in their national insurance contributions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Des Browne:
The Chancellor has had no discussions with the Scottish Executive or the management of Caledonian MacBrayne on these matters or made an assessment of the impact on national insurance revenues paid by Caledonian MacBrayne offshore crewing. Crew members will be liable for the
4 Jul 2005 : Column 91W
employee's share of the NICs and will be able to have them taken into account in the normal way in claims for contributory benefits.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2005, Official Report, columns 39192W, on offshore facilities, what discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive about the consequences for the (a) proposed competitive tendering process for the West Highland and Hebridean ferry services and (b) off shoring for tax purposes of Caledonian Macbrayne crew of the position outlined. 
John Healey [holding answer 28 June 2005]: The Chancellor has had no discussions with the Scottish Executive on these matters. The competitive tendering process for the West Highland and Hebridean ferry services is a devolved matter for the Scottish Executive. It is a matter for Caledonian Macbrayne to decide whether to introduce offshore crewing arrangements.
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