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4 Nov 2008 : Column 307W—continued

Trident Missiles

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether a design review of the Trident nuclear warhead has taken place in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [232360]

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Mr. Quentin Davies: No. As part of a comprehensive programme of routine safety monitoring procedures, a formal design review of the Trident Re-entry System is undertaken approximately every seven years. The last such review was undertaken in 2006.

USA: Nuclear Weapons

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the purpose of the Enhanced Collaborations projects between the UK and the US in support of the nuclear weapons programme is; which projects (a) have been and (b) are being undertaken; and when each project started. [233147]

Mr. Hutton: The enhanced collaborations form part of the technical exchanges between the United Kingdom and the United States of America conducted under the auspices of the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement, which support the UK's nuclear stockpile stewardship programme and contribute to the ongoing review of warhead options announced in the 2006 White Paper—The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent (Cmd 6994). As was made clear in the White Paper, decisions on whether and how we may need to refurbish or replace our current warheads are likely to be made in the next Parliament and to inform these decisions we are undertaking a detailed review of the optimum life of the existing warhead stockpile and analysing the options that may be available.

In the interests of national security I am not prepared to discuss the detailed nature of these enhanced collaborations which commenced following an exchange of letters between Prime Minister Blair and President George W. Bush in December 2006.


Banks: Correspondence

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will (a) place in the Library and (b) post on his Department's website copies of his Department's correspondence with (i) chief executives, (ii) chairmen and (iii) other executives of (A) British and (B) foreign banks which have received financial support from the public purse since July 2008. [232156]

Ian Pearson: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Coinage: Forgery

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many prosecutions were brought against forgers of £1 coins in each of the last five years; [233048]

(2) what guidance his Department and its agencies provide to consumers on how to identify whether a £1 pound coin is genuine or counterfeit; [233049]

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(3) how many counterfeit £1 pound coins were removed from circulation in each of the last five years. [233099]

Angela Eagle: The Royal Mint includes information on ways that a counterfeit £1 coin might be identified on the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section of its website

The following counterfeit £1 coins have been returned to the Royal Mint:












The Royal Mint does not hold central data regarding the number of prosecutions brought against forgers of £1 pound coins.

The Metropolitan Police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency closed down an illicit Mint producing
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counterfeit £1 coins in December 2007. This resulted in a conviction and a sentence of five years imprisonment.

Corporation Tax

Stephen Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of private employers off-setting expenditure on training and trainee wages against their corporation tax liability. [232400]

Mr. Timms: Employers are allowed to deduct expenditure on training and trainee wages in computing their taxable profits. Estimates of the impact on corporation tax receipts are not available.

Departmental Television

Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what premium Sky, digital terrestrial or cable television channels (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies subscribes to; and at what cost in the most recent year for which figures are available. [210847]

Angela Eagle: The following premium television channels were subscribed to in 2007-08:


Sky Parliamentary TV Select Committee TV

HM Treasury(1)




Debt Management Office




(1) Sky subscription shared with the Office of Government Commerce

OGC.buyingsolutions do not subscribe to any premium television channels.

Drug Seizures

James Brokenshire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated monetary value of illicit drugs seized by HM Revenue and Customs was in each of the last 10 years. [232129]

Angela Eagle: The approximate values of illicit drugs seized by HM Customs and Excise and HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last 10 financial years are set out in the following table. Values for the financial years 1998-99 to 2004-05 inclusive relate to heroin and cocaine seizures only. HM Revenue and Customs central records do not hold information on the values of other drugs seized in those years.

£ million
Financial year Value of illicit drugs seized





















Excise Duties: Aviation

Ian Stewart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what modelling has been undertaken in assessing the likely impact on the economic viability of the aviation industry of the introduction of aviation duty. [232255]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Gentlemen to the answer I gave to my hon. Friends, the Members for Manchester, Blackley (Graham Stringer) and for Derby, North (Mr. Laxton) and to the hon. Member for Manchester, Withington (Mr. Leech) on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 789-90W.

Excise Duties: Fuels

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the rate of duty to apply to waste- derived fuel oil from 1 November 2008 on the complete recovery of waste oil to produce product equivalent fuel; [232245]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 14 October 2008, Official Report, column 1059, on excise duties: fuel oil, what considerations informed the Government's decision to (a) apply to the EU for an extension of the derogation from the Energy Products Directive and (b) apply a rate of 9.29 pence per litre to waste-derived fuel oil, rather than the 15 euros per 1,000 kilograms minimum required under the Energy Products Directive; [232246]

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(3) what assessment he has made of (a) the likely annual tax revenue from the application of hydrocarbon oil duty to waste-derived fuel and (b) the likely annual administrative costs to the Government of the application of hydrocarbon oil duty to waste-derived fuel. [232247]

Angela Eagle: The Government have considered the effects of the rate of duty on the management of waste oil as a whole.

In applying for a renewal of the derogation on waste oil reused as fuel the Government were concerned about the impact of ending the derogation at a time when the future of the waste oil market was uncertain due to the introduction of the EC waste incineration directive and review of the EC waste framework directive. Also that the benefits to be gained from ending the derogation would be disproportionate to the compliance and administrative costs involved.

The UK is required to impose duty on waste oils reused as fuel and the duty rate to be applied is consistent with the relevant EU directive.

Our assessment of the revenue and administrative cost implications is set out in the “Impact Assessment of the implementation of the Energy Products Directive (EPD) on the use of waste oils reused as fuel”, published on 20 February 2008.

Financial Services: Curriculum

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with (a) the Department of Children, Schools and Families and (b) Ofsted on Ofsted’s evaluation of financial education as part of the preparation of the Joint Financial Capability Action Plan. [232383]

Ian Pearson: Ensuring that children have access to a planned and coherent programme of personal finance education in school is key to raising levels of financial capability in the UK. Studies by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and Ofsted have shown that further support is required to improve the effectiveness of finance lessons in schools. The joint Government and FSA financial capability action plan, published in July, set out measures for supporting financial education through the Government’s ‘My Money’ programme led by DCSF, which will help to embed financial capability into the curriculum, and the FSA’s ‘Learning Money Matters’ programme. It also set out how financial education would be evaluated through a DCSF independent review and a further schools survey by the FSA.

HM Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

Ian Stewart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) plans to respond to the letter of 9 July sent from the hon. Member for Eccles to its offices at 100 Parliament Street concerning a constituent; and for what reasons HMRC have not responded to the hon. Member's answerphone messages. [232238]

Mr. Timms: The acting chief executive officer replied to the hon. Member on 29 October 2008 and apologised for the delay.

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HMRC also very much regret the delay in replying to a message left by the hon. Member's office. HMRC have taken steps to ensure that such delays do not reoccur.

Landfill Tax

Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether an impact assessment has been undertaken on the effects of the landfill tax escalator. [232687]

Angela Eagle: No impact assessment was undertaken on the effects of the landfill tax escalator. According to Government guidance, impact assessments are not required for changes to taxes or tax rates where there are no associated administrative costs or savings.

Low Incomes

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the guaranteed weekly income for working households of (a) a single individual, (b) a couple with no children, (c) a couple with (i) one, (ii) two and (iii) three children and (d) a single person with (A) one, (B) two and (C) three children was in (1) 1997 and (2) at the most recent date for which information is available. [232406]

Mr. Timms: Minimum income guarantees for in-work families have only existed since 1999, when they came into existence as a result of the introduction of the national minimum wage. Table 4.1 of the 2008 Budget document sets out the relevant figures for April 1999 and October 2008.

Non-Domestic Rates: Ports

Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bromley of 9 October 2008, Official Report, column 802W, on taxation, what account was taken of the taxation criteria of (a) fairness, (b) proportionality, (c) public interest and (d) protecting of public revenue criteria for taxation in the Valuation Office Agency's decisions on retrospective application of business rates to ports; and if he will make a statement. [232710]

Mr. Timms: Valuation Officers apply statutory provisions which determine the effective date for any list alteration.

Police: Pensions

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions his Department has had with members of the Scottish Executive on the funding of changes to police pensions. [232497]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 3 November 2008]: The Treasury has discussions with the Scottish Executive from time to time on a number of issues. The Scottish Executive have recently announced changes which they plan to make to police pensions, funded out of their existing budget.

Tax Credit

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to paragraph 2.17 of his Department’s document Tax Credits: improving delivery and choice, what the evidential basis is for the Exchequer cost of a fixed system being generally higher than that of a responsive system; and if he will make a statement. [232405]

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Mr. Timms: Annex A of “Tax credits: improving delivery and choice—a discussion document”, published by HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs in May 2008, and currently available on the Treasury website, examines in detail the issues surrounding a fixed system of tax credits.

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