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7 Dec 2005 : Column 1334W—continued


Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was paid in direct and indirect taxation by companies with (a) fewer than 200 employees and (b) fewer than 100 employees in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [34674]

Dawn Primarolo: Figures on receipts from individual taxes are available in tables 2.1A to 2.1E in Financial Statistics published by the Office of National Statistics.

It is not possible to apportion total tax receipts between corporate and individual taxpayers because a number of taxes (for example fuel duty) are paid by both companies and individuals.

VAT (Demolition Costs)

Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the revenue cost in (a) 2005–06 and (b) 2006–07 of exempting demolition costs from value-added tax. [35076]

Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs does not collect data on VAT from individual goods and services. Supplies of demolition services are standard-rated for VAT. However, where demolition services are provided as part of a single supply contract for the construction of new zero-rated buildings and are supplied immediately before construction starts, the liability of the entire supply contract (including the demolition services) follows that of the zero-rated buildings. VAT charged in relation to demolition on most commercial developments will be reclaimed.
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HMRC has no data on the amount of VAT charged on demolition services and is unable to identify developments where recipients are unable to reclaim VAT charged. As such, it is not possible to make such an estimate.

Vegetable Oil

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what fiscal measures his Department is taking to encourage the use of vegetable oil as an alternative fuel; [34611]

(2) what legal advice his Department has received on whether pure vegetable oil should qualify for the lower biodiesel rate of duty; [34612]

(3) if he will list the fuels that are classed as biofuels. [34613]

John Healey: A reduced rate of duty for biodiesel was introduced in July 2002 in recognition of its environmental benefits and its higher production costs than conventional diesel. Fuel produced from vegetable oil is eligible for this lower rate (currently 27.10 pence per litre) if it meets the legal definition of biodiesel for tax purposes set out in section 2AA of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979. As with all legislation, this definition was drawn up taking account of legal advice from the Government's legal advisers.

The term biofuels" is not defined in legislation for tax purposes. It is a generic term covering energy products derived from biomass. A lower duty rate of 27.10 pence per litre is also applied to bioethanol (a petrol substitute).


Academy Schools

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of existing heads of school were re-appointed when their school gained academy status. [35325]

Jacqui Smith: There are currently 27 open academies. Of these, seven appointed as principal a head from the predecessor school, or one of the predecessor schools, on opening. Two academies were built as brand new schools. The proportion of heads re-appointed is therefore 28 per cent. In many cases, appointing a new principal when the academy opens is an important part of bringing about the educational transformation needed.

Adult Education/Vocational Courses

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received on the impact of funding changes by the Learning and Skills Council on (a) the numbers enrolling and (b) the level of fees charged for adult and community learning courses. [24373]

Bill Rammell: On the 21 October, I made an announcement, setting out the Government's strategic direction for the learning and skills sector for 2006/7 and 2007/8. Although more public funding will be going into the sector, we will focus funding even more strongly on key priorities of raising participation and achievement
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14–19 and driving down the skills deficit in the adult workforce. I reaffirmed our commitment to safeguard the funding for personal and community development learning in mainstream further education and local authority funded adult education (adult and community learning) with a budget of £210 million in 2006/7.

I and ministerial colleagues have received representations on a number of issues, including enrolments and fees, from hon. and right hon. Members. We have also met with and received comments from the sector including principals and chief executives of colleges, other post-16 providers and from learners and representative organisations, including the Association of Colleges, the Local Government Association, the National Federation of Women's Institutes and the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

We expect to have information available in the new year about the initial take-up of learning in 2005/06, and the Learning and Skills Council will publish this through a statistical first release in March 2006.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will increase funding for (a) adult education and (b) vocational courses. [35509]

Bill Rammell: The Government's Skills Strategy, reaffirmed in the White Paper published on 22 March, sets clear priorities for public funding to support the drive to ensure that employers have the skills they need to be successful, and individuals have the skills they need to be employable and personally fulfilled. Funding for Further Education (FE) increased by 4.4 per cent. in 2005/06 Funding for non-vocational learning opportunities for adults, delivered mainly through local authority adult education services, has also increased. In 2004/05 we provided over £207 million to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in support of this learning. This has risen to £210 million in 2005/06.

This funding will enable colleges and other providers to deliver a wide range of learning opportunities to meet the needs of adults in local communities but those who are able to do so will need to pay higher fees in the future. I set out the Government's priorities for the learning and skills sector and the impact on funding in 2006–07 and 2007–08 on 21 October and full details can be found in 'Priorities for Success' on the LSC's website.

Child Care

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she expects to be able to provide regulations to accompany the Childcare Bill. [33061]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 29 November 2005]: We aim to publish some illustrative regulations on the key provisions in the new year. We are aiming to publish papers describing our intentions in respect of the early years foundation stage and the registration requirements for the general childcare register so that the Childcare Bill Standing Committee has them available when it looks at the relevant provisions of the Bill. We will undertake a full consultation before regulations are finalised.
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Children Act

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she expects to publish information collected under the provisions of section 12 of the Children Act 2004. [34657]

Beverley Hughes: Section 12 of the Children Act 2004 gives the Secretary of State the power to make regulations to require the establishment and operation of an information sharing index or indexes. The purpose of an index is to improve early intervention by children's services to help children with additional needs. An index helps professionals to quickly identify the child they are working with and the services the child is receiving. This enables the professional to contact others working with the child, so they can then, where appropriate, share information to improve the provision of services for that child. An index would also enable quicker identification of children not receiving services they are entitled to such as education and primary health care.

In implementing any index approach, no information about any individual children would be published. The index would provide anonymised statistical information which might be used to assist with service planning and analysis at local and national level. Such information, when produced, would be publicly available, but we have no plans to produce or publish such information by a specific date.

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