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Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment the Government have made of the effect of the abolition of the home computing initiatives on its digital strategy; and what further stepsthe Government are taking to increase access to computers and improve IT skills. 
(2) which factors led him to conclude that suppliers in the Home Computing Initiative should not be given greater notice of the decision to terminate the scheme at the end of the 200506 financial year; 
(5) what discussions he had with (a) the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, (b) the Office of Fair Trading and (c) representatives of the computer industry about his decision to abolish the Home Computing Initiative; 
(7) if he will list each of the (a) meeting, (b) correspondence including electronic mail and (c) other contact between (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in his Department and their counterparts in the Department of Trade and Industry on the future of the Home Computing Initiative in the 10 days before the Budget; 
(8) if he will place in the Library the evidence of abuse collected by HM Inland Revenue and Customs that led to the decision to abolish the tax exemption that underpinned the home computer initiative; 
(9) if he will place in the Library communications from his officials to the Department of Trade and Industry on the Home Computing Initiatives relating to the abolition of the tax exemption in the Budget; 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions he had with businesses in Southend West constituency before he made the decision to abolish the Home Computer Initiative; and if he will make a statement; 
Dawn Primarolo: The Government keep all taxes under review and have been looking at how they can focus their support on groups with the poorest access to technology, following the publication of the Digital Strategy paper in April 2005 which indicated that the Home Computer Initiative was poorly targeted.
In addition, HM Revenue and Customs has evidence to suggest that in some cases employees were buying the computer not borrowing it, and that some employees were being offered equipment that is clearly not a computer" within the spirit of the legislation.
In view of these risks to the Exchequer, the Government took action at Budget 2006 to remove the exemption from benefit-in-kind tax charges and national insurance contributions for employer-provided computer equipment from 6 April 2006, and an RIA on this and the amendment to the tax exemption for mobile phones has been published.
HM Revenue and Customs has put in place transitional arrangements to ensure that where the employer and employee had agreed in writing before
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6 April 2006 the terms on which the computer was to be made available the tax exemption would apply even if the employee had not physically taken possession of the computer by 6 April 2006. The Office of Fair Trading will continue to issue directions under the Consumer Credit Act, providing it is in the hirer's interest to do so, until 5 September 2006.
Further to the Digital Strategy, the Government published its 'Inclusion through Innovation' report in November 2005, which looked at where Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) might deliver most benefit to excluded groups and considered how that might be achieved. In addition, the Government have written to representatives from industry inviting suggestions on the best way of refocusing our support on these target groups. Over the next few months the DTI will review the options put forward and consider how they would meet the Government's objectives.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many fraudulent claims have been submitted under the Home Computing Initiative; and how many consequent court cases (a) have been concluded and (b) are pending. 
Dawn Primarolo: Employees do not claim tax relief under the Home Computer Initiative. The exemption applied to remove any benefit in kind charge arising when an employer loaned a computer to an employee for private use. Evidence collected by HMRC shows that the HCI was being used to enable employees to buy equipment out of their pre tax income, including in some cases leisure equipment such as game consoles and MP3 Players.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many passengers have been found to be in possession of illegal meat imports after being detected by meat detector dogs since 2001; and how many such passengers have been (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted of importing illegal meat. 
Dawn Primarolo: Dogs trained to detect products of animal origin were introduced in September 2002. Since then they have been responsible for 597 detections in 200203, 1,532 detections in 200304 and 3,375 detections in 200405.
Central records do not show the number of passengers associated with each detection. There has been one prosecution as a result of a detection by the dogs. In November 2005 the importer was convicted of the illegal importation of 100 kilos of crayfish and fined £100.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which locations each meat detector dog has visited in each month since 2001; how many hours each UK (a) seaport, (b) airport and (c) border crossing point
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has had a meat detector dog working in each month since 2001; and how many hours each meat detector dog has worked in each month since 2001. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs detector dogs are deployed on a flexible, mobile basis according to risk and where they will have the most impact. They may be deployed at any port, airport or border crossing point in Great Britain that handles traffic from outside the European Union. The meat detector dogs work full time and flexible hours according to operational requirements. Further information is not available: release of detailed information about deployment of anti-smuggling resources would put in the public domain information that would be valuable to those seeking to circumvent customs controls thereby prejudicing the prevention and detection of crime.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many tonnes of meat have been voluntarily handed over by passengers at each UK (a) seaport, (b) airport and (c) border crossing point in each year since 1997; 
Dawn Primarolo: Revenue and Customs began to record illegal meat seizures when they took on responsibility for tackling illegal imports of products of animal origin in April 2003. In the financial year 200304 HM Revenue and Customs seized 70,083 tonnes of meat at all seaports, airports and postal depots in Great Britain of which 3,066 tonnes had been voluntarily surrendered by passengers. In 200405 they seized 77,087 tonnes of meat of which 2,523 tonnes had been voluntarily surrendered. More detailed information is not available as disclosure of results at different locations would put in the public domain information that would be valuable to those seeking to circumvent customs controls thereby prejudicing the prevention and detection of crime.
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