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Mr. Hurd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether all benefits paid to UK nationals since 1991 from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's pension schemes have been subject to UK income tax. 
A payment made by the bank from the bank's funds to enable a retiring employee to purchase a pension is, as an emolument of his employment, exempted from UK income tax by paragraph 14 of
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Statutory Instrument 1991 No. 757 (The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1991). Retirement income arising from the investment of the payment is liable to income tax in the normal way.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the research commissioned externally by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in the last year for which information is available; which external contractor was commissioned in each case; what the cost was of each research project; how long it took to complete each project; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: Historic duty revenue for diesel and petrol can be found on page three of the HM Revenue and Customs Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin, a copy of which can be found on a HMRC website at: http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bullhydro
John Healey: Historic rates of duty for low sulphur diesel and rebated diesel fuel can be found on page 4 of the HM Revenue and Customs Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin, a copy of which is available on the HMRC website at: http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bullhydro.
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the illegal trade in rebated diesel fuel (a) in each year since 1997 and (b) in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of the UK oils fraud strategy; whether he will publish his findings; what measures he uses to determine the impact of the strategy; how often he reviews the impact of the strategy; and; if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: The UK Oils Strategy is assessed annually and estimates of the illicit market share, revenue loss and methodology are published in Measuring Indirect Tax Losses", which is published alongside the PER.
When the UK Oils Strategy was introduced in 2001 the illicit market was estimated at 6 per cent. (the majority of which is attributed to the illegal trade in rebated diesel fuel) and without the strategic measures the problem would increase by 1 per cent. year on year.
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The latest estimates indicate that in 2004 illicit market share was 4 per cent. and that HMRC is on track to meet the PSA target of 2 per cent. by 2006.
John Healey: Historic duty receipts for gas oil and fuel oil can be found on page 3 of the HM Revenue and Customs Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin, a copy of which is available on the HMRC website at: http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm7task-bullhydro
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely impact of the introduction of home information packs on (a) the housing market and (b) the UK economy. 
There is no reason to believe that the introduction of home information packs will have an adverse effect on the housing market. These reforms are designed to improve the home buying process by making it more transparent and reducing the current high rate of transaction failure. A more efficient system will have clear benefits for the housing market and the UK economy. The information in the pack will help achieve the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's goal of sustainable home ownership, by ensuring that buyers are not faced with unexpected repairs and other commitments they cannot afford. A more efficient housing market will also facilitate greater flexibility and labour mobility. The partial regulatory impact assessment on home information packs shows that the cost of the new system will be broadly neutral and a copy of this has been deposited in the Library of the House. The only new cost being imposed on the system overall is the cost of a home condition report in a proportion of transactions. Any new and additional costs will be offset by savings from a reduction in wasted costs that are currently running at over £1 million per day.
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking for the infant mortality rate in each Primary Care Organisation in England since 2002. I am replying in her absence. (38320)
Mr. Devine: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies in Livingston were reported via the National Minimum Wage Helpline for failing to comply with national minimum wage legislation in 2004. 
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment his Department has made of the effects of an increase in the supplementary North sea charge to 20 per cent. on future exploration in the North sea continental shelf; 
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the effects of an increase in the supplementary North sea charge to 20 per cent. on the volume of gas extracted from the North sea continental shelf in the (a) short, (b) medium and (c) longer term. 
John Healey: The changes announced in the pre-Budget report were subject to detailed analysis to ensure that the North sea tax regime delivers the Government's objectives of striking the right balance between oil producers and consumers, by promoting investment and ensuring fairness for taxpayers.
Adam Afriyie: To ask Chancellor of the Exchequer (1)whether a racial impact assessment was carried out before the Office for National Statistics (ONS) changed the mid-year population methodology in 2002; and what consultation was undertaken by ONS before making this change; 
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions asking (a) whether a racial impact assessment was carried out before making changes to the mid-year population estimates methodology in 2002; and what consultation was undertaken before making these changes and (b) whether any changes are planned to the methodology used to determine migration for use in the mid-year population estimates. I am replying in her absence. (38552 & 38558)
No significant changes were made to the methodology used to calculate mid-year population estimates in 2002. The estimates published in 2002 were the mid-2001 population estimates and these were the first mid-year population estimates to use the 2001 Census results. The standard 'cohort component' methodology was used, in that Census data were updated to reflect births, deaths, migration, and ageing of the population between the date of the Census and the mid-year point (approximately 9 weeks). In a Census year the mid-year estimates are rebased on the most recent Census before the method is applied.
The most recent significant change to the way that the mid-year population estimates are compiled was made in 2000, and applies to the mid-1999 and subsequent estimates. This was in respect of the internal-migration component of the population estimates. This change was widely consulted on before introduction. It was extensively peer-reviewed both within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and by external academic and local authority experts. The then Liaison Group on Population Statistics (now the Central Local information Partnership (CLIP) Population Subgroup) was also fully consulted on the change. This change, in simplified terms, introduced the use of patient records to allocate migration within (former) health authorities instead of electoral roll information. This was widely thought to be a more reliable method for calculating internal migration. This change was documented in Population Trends 101. No specific racial impact assessment was carried out as part of this methodological change. However, consultation confirmed the recommendation that the methodology should be implemented to improve the quality of population estimates.
A detailed description of the current methodology used to estimate population and the methodology used in a 'Census year' is published in Making a Population Estimate in England and Wales". This document also describes the principal changes that have been made to the methodology over time. The document is published here:
ONS is currently undertaking a major project to research improvements to migration and population statistics (IMPS). Some of the major strands included in this project are the estimation of international migration at the national level, thesub-national distribution of international migration, and the estimation of internal migration. Currently ONS has no plans to implement significant changes to the methodology used in the calculation of mid-2005 population estimates as research and evaluation is ongoing. (Mid-2005 population estimates are due to be published in August 2006.) However, this current position is subject to possible change. Before any changes are implemented, they will be carefully researched, evaluated and where possible assessed for impact. Any changes will be introduced in a planned manner and they will be announced in advance, in accordance with the National Statistics Code of Practice.
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