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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to ensure that people buying goods from abroad on the internet pay the appropriate customs duties; and if he will make a statement. 
HM Revenue and Customs operate import controls at UK ports of entry, and international postal depots on consignments containing goods entering the UK from outside the European Union.
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These controls are applied to all consignments using well-established risk assessment techniques to identify those for examination.
For consignments imported via the Royal Mail, HMRC examines declarations affixed to packets to ensure that the correct customs duty, excise duty and import VAT is charged and collected. This process includes examining the contents of packets with incomplete or missing declarations.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in his Department are assigned to work on the potential integration of the UK with European economic and monetary union; and what the salary of each is. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Budget 2005 noted that the Government did not propose a euro assessment be initiated at this time. The Chancellor's statement to the House on 9 June 2003 on UK membership of the single currency set out a reform agenda of concrete and practical steps to address the policy requirements identified by the assessment of the five economic tests. A range of officials from across the Treasury contribute to this work. Disaggregated information relating to the salaries of the officials concerned is not available.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: This year we have faced the highest sustained oil prices for a quarter of a century and a slow-down in our main export markets. In any previous decade anyone of these would have pushed the UK economy into recession. In contrast, this year the economy has not only continued to grow, but grown faster than any other major European economy.
The Treasury paper on Global Europe: Full employment Europe" set out the need for Europe, with growth at 1.2 per cent. this year and unemployment approaching 10 per cent., to become outward not inward looking, focused on external competition, and to combine flexibility with fairness.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The latest estimate of Government spending on preparations for possible entry to the single currency is set out in paragraph 2.5, on page 8, of the report on Euro Preparations, December 2004.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average change in UK house prices since May 1997 was in (a) cash and (b) percentage terms; and what the change in inheritance tax threshold in (i) cash and (ii) percentage terms over the same period was. 
Since 1997, household sector net wealth has risen by around 50 per cent. in real terms. Despite this significant rise in net wealth during this period, only around 6 per cent. of estates paid any IHT during the last tax year94 per cent. of estates were not subject to any IHT. And in order to provide certainty for hardworking families with estates valued at around the threshold, in the Budget earlier this year the Chancellor announced that the IHT tax-free threshold would rise from £263,000 to £275,000 in 2005/06, £285,000 in 200607 and £300,000 in 200708, a faster rise than statutory indexation.
Mr. Newmark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many private finance initiative (PFI) contracts have a duration of more than 25 years; and whether the value of these contracts is included in the 2005 Budget Red Book estimated PFI expenditure of £138.4 billion. 
John Healey: The Treasury does not hold specific information on how many signed PFI contracts have a duration of more than 25 years. The estimated unitary charges of all PFI projects are included in table C19 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report 2005. The format of this table is in line with the Dear Accounting Officer letter Reporting PFI Contracts to Parliament" published by the Treasury Officer of Accounts in 2000.
The quoted figure of £138.4 billion represents an aggregation of estimated nominal payments that cannot be interpreted as Government's present liability. Payments that have been made within signed PFI projects are included within departmental accounts.
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in respect of which private finance initiative projects the obligations on either party have failed to be met and consequently (a) the contract has been renegotiated and (b) the contract has failed and the project has been taken back into public hands. 
Stephen Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the 2005 Budget Red Book estimates for payments under private finance initiative contracts between 200506 and 203031 include payments for (a) capital and interest payments and (b) maintenance and service contracts. 
John Healey: Table C19 of the 2005 Budget Red Book sets out the estimates for payments under private finance initiative contracts between 200506 and 203031. These figures are an aggregation of the projected annual unitary charge payments on PFI projects signed to date. Unitary charge payments under an individual PFI project are the public authority's payments for the service it has contracted for to deliver the specified outputs. The contractors' aim to recoup their costs over the life of the contract through the unitary charge, including capital, operating and finance costs.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the transcript of the recent interview given by Mr. David Varney, Chairman of HM Revenue and Customs, to the Financial Times on 5 July 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The FT story of July wrongly asserted that David Varney had said the structure of tax credits may have to change". A transcript of his remarks to the FT is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether an individual with a second home held within a self-invested personal pension which is let rent free to (a) a grandparent, (b) a sibling, (c) a son or daughter and (d) a spouse will have to pay a commercial level of rent into the pension fund from 6 April 2006; 
(2) if an individual who currently lets a second property rent free to (a) a grandparent, (b) a sibling, (c) a son or daughter and (d) a spouse and who transfers ownership of the property to their self-invested personal pension on 6 April 2006 will have to pay capital gains tax; 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
From April 2006, if a commercial level of rent is not paid on a residential property held within a SIPP, the SIPP member will face a benefit in kind charge if the property is available for their own use or if certain family members stay in the property cheaply. Additionally, if a lease is granted to any connected person, whether a family member or not on less than commercial terms, this will trigger the unauthorised payment rules which impose a tax charge of 40 per cent. on the SIPP member and 15 per cent. on the SIPP provider. And any individual transferring a second property to a SIPP on or after 6 April will be subject to capital gains tax under the normal rules, regardless of the current letting arrangements.
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