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Fuel Supply

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): We have no plans to do so.

Rural Bus Subsidy Grant

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: We announced in February of this year that the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant scheme would continue at least at its current level until March 2004. In July the 10-Year Plan for Transport announced the extension of the scheme to include support for services in and around market towns. The plan also provides additional resources for rural transport which will enable the extension of the Rural Transport Partnership scheme to every rural county and will make possible further support for innovative schemes. Further details will be announced shortly.

Heathrow: Air Quality Studies

Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Such studies have been undertaken for over 25 years. BAA Heathrow publishes details of air quality at Heathrow annually. A number of local authorities in the vicinity of Heathrow have also studied emission in and around Heathrow Airport as part of their reviews and assessments of local air quality under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995.

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The most recently published study that identified pollution from aircraft and cars separately was in BAA's evidence to the Heathrow Terminal Five planning inquiry in 1996. This showed that aircraft were the main source of oxides of nitrogen and carbon dioxide within the airport boundary; but that outside the airport, the main source of both was road traffic. Present and projected levels of air quality around Heathrow will also be examined as part of the South East and East Regional Air Service Study.

British Registered Companies

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the criteria by which a company is considered to be British.[HL4209]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): A company incorporated in England, Wales or Scotland is considered to be a British registered company.

Military Wreck Protection

Lord Trefgarne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy with regard to the protection of naval wrecks as war graves and the issue of unauthorised access by divers.[HL4163]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): A review of policy on wrecked military vessels is being undertaken and I will write to the noble Lord when this review is complete and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Submarine Fleet

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the current operational availability of the United Kingdom's submarine fleet.[HL4360]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: A flaw has been found in pipework that forms part of the cooling system in some Trafalgar and Swiftsure class hunter/killer submarines. Initial indications are that this may have arisen from the original construction of this component. The repair of this flaw, if needed, is straightforward but, because of the stringent safety procedures that we employ for any work involving repairs to our nuclear submarines, the repair process will take some months. As responsible nuclear operators, we take even the slightest flaw to our submarines very seriously. It is for this reason that our

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deployed hunter/killer submarines are being brought alongside to be inspected. Until all inspections have been completed it is not possible to determine fully the requirement for repair work and operational implications, but they will be significant. The submarines remain safe, and at no time has there been any risk to their crew or the general public. Vanguard Class Trident submarines, which are of a very different design, are not affected.

"Duty Free" Sales

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the latest information available to Ministers on the impact, in the first full year following the abolition of Intra-European Union Duty-Free, on sales which were previously duty-free by European Union operators (airlines, airports and ferries); what review HM Customs and Excise are undertaking of the impact of abolition; and what representations they have had from the United Kingdom Travel Retail forum on the impact on United Kingdom operators.[HL4258]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Paymaster General has approved the terms of reference for a post-implementation review of the duty free successor regime. The terms of reference are available in the Library of the House. The Paymaster General expects to publish the findings of the review early in the New Year.

The review will concentrate on how well the successor regime is working and whether there are any further technical changes which can be made to improve its operation. The review will also assess the effect of the abolition of intra-EU duty free sales on the Exchequer receipts of excise duty and VAT.

The United Kingdom Travel Retail Forum have written to the Paymaster General and to Customs about the review, and their views will be taken during the course of the review.

Luncheon Voucher Tax Concession

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What justification there is for exempting the first 15 pence of the value of luncheon vouchers from income tax and National Insurance.[HL4112]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Employment benefits provided by voucher are generally chargeable to income tax and national insurance contributions. The exception for the first 15p per day of a luncheon voucher is a long-standing concession that successive Governments have not withdrawn but whose value has not been increased. Only a tiny proportion of employees now receive such vouchers.

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Capital Gains Indexation and Taper Abolition

Lord Newby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the revenue yield from reintroducing a system of indexation of capital gains from 6 April 2001 and simultaneously abolishing taper relief from the same date for (a) non-business assets and (b) business assets for each of the next five financial years on an assumption of unchanged asset values in real terms.[HL4091]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Consistent with the assumptions of the March 2000 Budget forecast, the net revenue yield from reintroducing indexation and abolishing taper is estimated to be £400 million for the first year, most of which would be received in the following year. Further information in the form requested on the yield, in total and by type of asset, for subsequent years can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

National Insurance

Lord Newby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people who were in employment in 1999-2000 paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions for less than 52 weeks; for how many weeks on average those people paid National Insurance contributions; what was their average annual income from employment; and what was their average National Insurance contribution; and[HL4092]

    How many employees who were in employment in 1999-2000 paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions for more than one job simultaneously; and what was the total number of jobs held by employees who held more than one job simultaneously; and[HL4093]

    What would be the estimated revenue yield if Class 1 National Insurance contributions were charged on the basis of total income rather than weekly income per employer.[HL4094]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am afraid that it is not possible to provide answers to these questions as the Inland Revenue does not collate data on this basis.

Economic Cycle

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the date when the current business cycle which began in the second half of 1998 is likely to end.[HL4143]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Updated information on the Government's estimate of the current economic cycle will be provided in the forthcoming Pre-Budget Report.

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National Lottery Licence Award

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Minister for the Arts, Mr Alan Howarth, has had access to papers relating to the award of the next National Lottery licence; and, if so, whether he still continues to have such access.[HL4145]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The award of the next National Lottery licence is a matter for the National Lottery Commission. No Minister has had access to the applications or papers relating to the assessment of the applications.

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