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The security situation is still confused and volatile. At the moment no British officials can travel to Somalia. But we hope the Transitional Federal Government and the Transitional Federal Institutions will be able to move from Baidoa to Mogadishu
shortly. We are working with Somalias Transitional Federal Institutions, and our international partners, to help stabilise Somalia through the early deployment of a regional security force, restore governance through an inclusive political process, and rebuild Somalia through increased international assistance.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the first round of talks between the UK and the United Arab Emirates on regional security will take place; how often such meetings will be held; at which ministerial level the UK will be represented; and whether any other countries will be involved. 
Margaret Beckett: Exchanges with our partners in the United Arab Emirates on regional security have long been an important element of our dialogue, at both ministerial and official level. But in view of the importance of our relationship with them, we have decided to put even more resource into this element and will now be holding regular, dedicated talks on the subject. At this stage we have yet to decide on which Minister will attend the talks, but hope to hold the first round in March/April in Abu Dhabi.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government intend to hold talks on regional security with countries in the Gulf in addition to those to be held with the United Arab Emirates. 
Margaret Beckett: Exchanges on regional security are an integral part of our dialogue with all our partners in the region. We naturally envisage that such exchanges will continue. Equally, naturally their precise format may vary according to the circumstances of the day and the partner concerned.
NATO, of which the UK is a member, offers individual co-operation to Gulf states under their Istanbul Co-operation Initiative. The UK will, with effect from 11 February 2007, be acting as NATOs contact point through our embassy in Bahrain for the period 2007-09.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the UK Government were informed that the United States was operating a secret prison programme; and if she will make a statement. 
In 2005 the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) reported that the agencies had told them: Clearly the US is holding some Al Qaida members in detention, other than at Guantanamo, but we do not know the
location or terms of their detention and do not have access to them. These comments were published in the ISCs report The Handling of Detainees by UK Intelligence Personnel in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq of March 2005.
John Healey: As the HMRC pre-Budget report note published on 6 December makes clear, the new rates will come into effect on 1 February 2007 and apply to the carriage of a passenger on an aircraft which begins on or after that date.
John Healey: As the Chancellor made clear in his pre-Budget report statement, the increase in air passenger duty will secure extra resources in the coming spending round for the Government's priorities such as public transport and the environment.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what preparatory work his Department undertook to assess the effects of the increase in passenger duty announced in the pre-Budget report on (a) airlines and (b) passengers. 
The Chancellors 2006 pre-Budget report announced that increases to air passenger duty would deliver carbon savings of 0.3MtC a year by 2010-11. When the effects of non-carbon dioxide emissions are taken into account this has a climate change impact equivalent to saving around 0.75MtC per year by 2010-11.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people who will refuse to pay additional amounts of air passenger duty at airports after 1 February if required to do so by airlines for tickets booked before that date. 
John Healey: As has been the case since the air passenger duty was introduced in 1994, air carriers (i.e. scheduled airlines and other air transport operators) are responsible for ensuring they pay the correct amount of duty to HM Revenue and Customs. How, or whether, they choose to pass that cost on to their customers is a matter for them.
Mr. Paul Goodman:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of
people who will pay the higher rates of air passenger duty announced in the pre-Budget report in the 12 months after 1 February. 
John Healey: HM Revenue and Customs' econometric analysis suggests that between 1 February 2007 and 1 February 2008 a projected 115 million passengers eligible for air passenger duty will fly from the UK.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what services BMRB International was paid by his Department in 2005-06; and what the total value of payments to the company has been in 2006-07. 
John Healey: In 2005-06, the Financial Inclusion Taskforce, an independent advisory body whose budget falls within HM Treasury, commissioned BMRB Social Research to conduct research into financial exclusion. The total value of payments by the Treasury to BMRB in 2006-07 was £68,385 including VAT.
Dawn Primarolo: Approximately 1,000 extra staff were allocated to HM Revenue and Customs as part of the overall VAT Compliance Strategy (VCS) in 2002-03 which included VAT Missing Trade Intra-Community Fraud as one of its priorities.
However, HMRC applies a risk-based approach to the deployment of its existing resources and has responded to the increased threat of MTIC fraud during the past year. A total of 1,500 staff are now engaged in countering MTIC fraud across the Department following an additional redeployment of 700 compliance staff since Budget 2006.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures are taken by HM Revenue and Customs to ensure innocent companies are not unduly affected by lengthy investigations into carousel fraud. 
HM Revenue and Customs response to the increased threat from MTIC fraud has been proportionate, targeted and risk-based. In response to the rapid increase in MTIC activity last year, HM Revenue and Customs are actively checking a greater number of claims but as soon as they are satisfied that even part of a claim is properly payable, it is immediately repaid. The traders whose claims are subject to this extended verification represent a tiny proportion of over 1.9 million VAT-registered traders and the money withheld a fraction of the £50 to £55 billion that is repaid every year. HM Revenue and Customs recognise
the importance of VAT repayments to legitimate businesses and have therefore deployed additional resources to ensure that verification of these claims can be carried out as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Dawn Primarolo: Details of the investigations and prosecutions conducted each year by HM Revenue and Customs are published in the departmental annual report and, prior to the creation of HM Revenue and Customs, were published each year in the annual reports of both the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. Copies of the annual reports are available in the Library of the House. Where the specific information requested is not published, it is not collated in that format.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) administration, (b) consultancy and (c) IT costs were incurred in each year since 2002-03 in relation to the Child Trust Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
|Administration||Consultancy( 1)||IT costs||Total|
|(1)Consultancy costs refers to IT consultancy to oversee the IT development of the CTF.|
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was paid out by the Child Trust Fund through accounts opened by (a) individuals and (b) the Government in each three-month period since records began; and if he will make a statement. 
Ed Balls: The figures for the payments made by the Government on the opening of Child Trust Fund accounts, split by those accounts opened by parents and those opened by HM Revenue and Customs, are set out in the following table:
|Initial Government payments to accounts opened by parents||Initial Government payments to accounts opened by HMRC||Additional Government payments to children in lower income families and all payments to looked- after children|
The bulk of accounts opened by HM Revenue and Customs started in early 2006 when the first vouchers issued began to expire. However, there were a very small amount of accounts opened previous to this for looked-after children and under age-parents.
The figures for additional payments to children from lower income families cannot be broken down into those paid into accounts opened by parents and those opened by HM Revenue and Customs as this information is not necessary for the purposes of HM Revenue and Customs business and is therefore not held.
Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to letters from the right hon. Member for North-East Hampshire of 19 June, 31 August, 20 September and 13 December 2006 about Nicola Maxfield, a constituent of the right hon. Member. 
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