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Mr. Pelling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received from the construction industry on the timing of the introduction of the new Construction Industry Scheme. 
John Healey: HM Treasury uses competency-based recruitment and as such focuses on skills rather than qualifications. Therefore no records are kept on the specific qualifications which new recruits have achieved.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the duty free allowance per person was for (a) visitors to the United Kingdom and (b) British citizens in (i) 1975, (ii) 1977, (iii) 1979, (iv) 1983, (v) 1987, (vi) 1992, (vii) 1997 and (viii) each year since 2001; 
John Healey: European Council Directive 69/169/EEC sets a tax and duty free allowance for all travellers bringing goods for personal use (excluding wine, spirits, tobacco and perfume) from outside the EU into the UK. This allowance applies equally to visitors to the United Kingdom and to British citizens.
When the directive was first agreed in 1969, the allowance was set at 45 Euros (£36). In 1994 it was increased to 175 Euros (£136), and the UK conversion was revalorised from £136 to £145 in 1995 to reflect exchange rate fluctuations. Since then the allowance has not been revised.
In order to change the tax and duty free allowance, the European Commission would have to make a proposal and unanimous agreement among member states would have to be reached. The Chancellor of the Exchequer wrote to the Commission at Budget 2005 proposing that the allowance be increased to £1,000. The Commission has expressed support in principle for the Government's proposal that the allowance should be raised, and it is hoped they will soon come forward with draft legislation to increase the allowance and thereby reduce unnecessary restrictions on travellers bringing goods into the EU for their own use.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many vehicles were confiscated by customs officers as a result of the driver carrying goods above the duty free allowance in each of the last 10 years. 
John Healey: HM Revenue and Customs records of the number of vehicles seized do not differentiate between the nature of the offences in each case. Details of the total number of vehicles seized across the UK in the years 199495 to 19992000 are as follows:
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles statistics of employment and unemployment from the Labour Force Survey following International Labour Organisation definitions. Estimates of employment and unemployment are not available for wards as the survey sample size for such areas is too small.
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