|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Breed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much duty and other taxes he estimates have been lost due to the smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
The estimated revenue loss to the Exchequer (duty plus VAT) on cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco due to fraud, smuggling and counterfeiting for 2000-01 to 2004-05 are given in Table 3.3 and Table 3.5 respectively of Measuring Indirect Tax Losses-2006 published by HMRC in December 2006 and available in the House of Commons Library.
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) introduced the new simplified self assessment statement of account in August 2006. Usability testing with members of the public was carried out as part of the design stage. A consultative group, including The Federation of Small Businesses, Tax Aid, Consumers Association and the accountancy bodies representatives, were closely involved in the development and redesign.
John Healey: High blend bioethanol (E85) already enjoys support through the 20 pence per litre duty differential for biofuels guaranteed until 2008-09. In addition E85 vehicles are included within the alternative fuel car rates of graduated vehicle excise duty and will pay £10 less per year than the equivalent petrol car.
In the 2006 pre-Budget report the Chancellor announced that the Government would consider the case for an incentive in company car tax to support the take-up of flex-fuel vehicles, capable of using E85.
Statutory provisions allow HM Revenue and Customs to provide information to trading standards officers in circumstances that would facilitate inland control of certain prohibited or restricted goods. This would not automatically include the names and addresses of the holders of VAT registration numbers.
Mike Wood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost of administering the working tax credit and child tax credit systems was in 2005-06; and what proportion of this sum related directly to the updating of claims. 
|(1) Number withheld for privacy reasons: it is low enough to enable individuals to be easily identified|
We do not normally grant promotion, including temporary promotion, into the SMS to staff who have not met the normal requirements at an Assessment and Development Centre. The few temporary promotions we have made into the SMS are exceptional: they are usually time-limited appointments to cover temporary vacancies during the reorganisation of a Post or Department.
assess, and consult on, the likely impact proposed policies will have on promoting race equality;
monitor policies for any adverse impact on promoting race equality;
publish the results of assessments, consultation, and monitoring;
make sure the public have access to information and services; and
train staff to carry out the general duty and the specific duties.
more robust data. We carried out ethnicity surveys in 2003 and in 2006 to ensure that the arrangements we have in place for monitoring the ethnicity of staff are comprehensive and in line with our obligations under the RES. Our monitoring has shown that our employment policies and processes are in line with best practice;
in 2003 we set up a Partnerships and Networks Development Unit to engage with a wider range of external communities in the UK. This helped to meet the requirement of the Race Equality Duty to promote good relations between people from different ethnic communities. Individual Directorates and overseas Posts also engage with minority ethnic communities on a regular basis;
in 2006 we drew up a new recruitment strategy to encourage greater diversity in our recruitment and to consolidate our outreach efforts. We held a Recruitment Open Day on 25 July 2006 and ran four work experience schemes in the financial year 2006-07. We are also forming partnerships with universities with excellent academic records which are socially and ethnically diverse.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many items of furniture were (a) lost and (b) stolen from her Department in each year since 1997; and what the value was of those items in each year. 
Individual items of furniture valued at more than £3,000 are recorded in the Departments fixed assets register and any losses or thefts of such furniture would be noted there. No such losses or thefts
have been recorded in any year since 1998-99, the earliest year for which the register is held.
Items of furniture valued at less than £3,000 are not recorded separately, and we do not maintain a central record of furniture valued at less than that amount reported lost or stolen. So it would not be possible to obtain this information on items below the £3,000 threshold without incurring disproportionate cost.
The FCO has two categories of bonus awards. The majority are awarded during the annual pay round based on appraisal evidence of performance during the year. The appraisal rating and the rank of the individual determine the size of the bonus. The median bonus payment for delegated grades in 2006 was £900. The average award for staff in the Senior Management Structure (SMS) was £5,146.
The remainder are awards under a Devolved Bonus Scheme, which allows Directorates to nominate staff in the delegated grades, particularly the most junior, for smaller bonuses during the year for exceptional contributions above and beyond normal responsibilities. In financial year 2005-06 the average bonus under this scheme was £395.
Our policy is to differentiate reward to staff and link it directly to performance. We therefore spend a high proportion of annual reward in the form of non-pensionable bonus payments designed to help drive high performance in the FCO. The framework for bonus payments to staff in the SMS/Senior Civil Service is set centrally by the Cabinet Office for all Whitehall Departments.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what items valued at above £100 were reported as stolen from her Departments buildings or premises in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Hoon: We do not record the monetary value of items that have been stolen. We are aware of six items reported as stolen during the past 12 months that are likely to be above £100 in value. These are one computer monitor, one MP3 player, one mobile phone, one docking station for a personal computer and two cameras.
Our Security Managers investigate all thefts from Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) premises and appropriate preventative measures are put in place.
Our staff are advised that they retain liability for all their personal items while within FCO buildings.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions her Department had with other EU member states on allowing Sikh constituents wearing the Kirpan access to the European Parliament. 
Mr. Hoon: On 31 May 2006 Sikhs from all over Europe came to the European Parliament on a march to protest against the French turban issue. Since the request to enter the European Parliament was submitted just a few days before, only 12 representatives of the group, from many different nationalities, were permitted entry to the Parliament with their Kirpans. The representatives of the group were able to speak to some Members of the European Parliament. If the group had applied further in advance then entrance for all would have been facilitated. There have been no EU discussions of this issue.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions her Department has taken steps to provide a double-decker bus to a foreign government as part of a campaign since May 1997; at what cost on each occasion; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: Red buses are recognised internationally as a symbol of the UK and of London. As such, they may in the past have been used in sponsored events arranged locally by our embassies. Any such use would be in support of the Government's public diplomacy objectives. It would not be possible to discover how often this may have happened from our central records and it would incur disproportionate cost to conduct a survey for this purpose.
Mr. McCartney: The Government of Zimbabwe can be in no doubt about our position on this key governance issue. Our ambassador in Harare raised human rights issues with the Permanent Secretary at the Zimbabwean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November 2006. I also called in the Zimbabwean ambassador in September 2006 to express our concern at the Government of Zimbabwe's abuse of human rights.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what investigations have been undertaken to identify the assets outside Zimbabwe of the members of the Mugabe regime who are subject to an EU assets freeze. 
Mr. McCartney: Within the UK, the Bank of England, as agent for HM Treasury, publishes the details of individuals and entities subject to the Zimbabwe assets freeze on its website. Anyone holding funds on behalf of listed financial sanctions targets has a duty to freeze those funds and report to the Bank of England. To date, this has resulted in 42 accounts being frozen in the UK under the Zimbabwe financial sanctions regime.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions since the EU travel ban was imposed on Mugabe regime members such individuals have travelled to the UK; what measures are taken to detect such travel; whether the transit of such individuals via a UK airport would be detected in the normal course of events; what guidance the Department has issued to border authorities in respect of these individuals; and how many times a visa request has been received from such a person. 
Mr. McCartney: Zimbabwean nationals require entry clearance if they wish to come to, or transit, the United Kingdom, and all entry clearance posts and border control staff have details of those listed under the travel ban. If an individual named on the list was to apply for entry clearance, that application would be refused, unless one of the exceptions applied, and any carrying company bringing such a person to the UK without the requisite entry clearance would face a financial penalty.
We do not keep records of the number of entry clearance applications made by the 126 individuals on the list. However, those in the list are unlikely to apply, as they know they will be refused. I can confirm that none on the visa ban list has been admitted to the UK. There has been one instance of a Zimbabwean on the EU travel ban list, who had a UK visa that predated the targeted measures, arriving at Gatwick and wanting to travel onwards to the USA. He was not allowed to transit the UK and was returned to Zimbabwe.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|