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Mr. Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the compensation scheme for those people with personal pensions who have suffered from delayed payment of their rebate from the National Insurance Fund. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 11 December 2000]: The Secretary of State for Social Security announced on 26 October 1998, Official Report, column 32, special compensation arrangements commencing at the beginning of November 1998 for delayed age-related rebates in respect of the 1997-98 tax year.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the estimated loss of duty to the Inland Revenue as a result of spirit, beer and tobacco purchases in France by UK residents during the last 12 months. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Customs and Excise have responsibility for excise duties. For the latest published overall estimates of cross-border shopping I refer my hon. Friend to my answer given on 26 November 1999, Official Report, columns 254-55W. Customs do not have figures for revenue lost from purchases in individual countries.
Mr. Pearson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost of providing capital allowances (1) for IT assets, using the definition of IT used in the Finance Act 2000, leased by SMEs, with first year allowances at 100 per cent., over a five-year period; and if he will set out the basis used in the costing; 
(3) for assets leased by SMEs, with first year allowances at (a) 40 per cent. and (b) 100 per cent., over a five-year period; and if he will set out the basis used in the costing. 
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will list the number, purpose and total value of contracts with external advisers and consultants that (a) have been let and (b) are due to be let, by his Department to further the implementation of the
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Modernising Government White Paper, indicating those contracts that relate specifically to management consultancy; 
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many flights including helicopter flights were taken by Ministers within his Department for UK and overseas visits in each year since 1995; on how many occasions (a) charter flights were used and (b) first and club class tickets obtained; and who accompanied the Ministers on each trip. 
Mr. Timms: Ministers are under a duty to make efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements. This Government have given a commitment to publish an annual list of visits overseas by Cabinet Ministers costing more than £500 as well as an annual figure on spend by all Ministers on overseas visits. The list for 1999-2000 was published on 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 969W.
Miss Melanie Johnson: As required under the Stability and Growth Pact, an updated, annual Convergence Programme is being submitted to the European Commission today. Copies of the Programme are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Miss Melanie Johnson: A description of credit risk management for the Exchange Equalisation Account is given in the Credit Risk section (paragraphs 21-23) of the Foreword to "Exchange Equalisation Account: Accounts 1997-98".
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Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the system of prior scrutiny of arms sales by the United States and Swedish legislatures. 
Mr. Hain: The systems of prior scrutiny of arms exports by the legislature in the US and Sweden are very different, and in each case reflect the particular circumstances in those countries. In both cases, only a small minority of licence applications are subject to prior scrutiny.
Mr. Hain [holding answer 18 December 2000]: To develop the United Kingdom's bilateral relations with the countries the Prime Minister asks him to visit, and to exchange views on key regional issues with leaders in those countries.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what ministers and Heads of Government Lord Levy met on his last visit to the Middle East as the Prime Minister's personal envoy. 
Mr. Hain [holding answer 18 December 2000]: Lord Levy's last visit in the region as the Prime Minister's envoy was to the Palestinian Authority on 8 October, when he passed a message on the Prime Minister's behalf to President Arafat.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the visits undertaken by Lord Levy since February as representative of Her Majesty's Government, indicating in each case the (a) dates, (b) destinations, (c) cost to public funds and (d) purpose of the visits. 
Mr. Hain [holding answer 18 December 2000]: I refer the right hon. Member to the answers given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister: to him on 20 December 2000, Official Report, column 236W; to the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs. Gillan), on 20 December 2000, Official Report, column 235W; and to the hon. Member for Lewes (Mr. Baker) on 1 November 2000, Official Report, column 510W.
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Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on which dates Lord Levy has had meetings with (a) Ministers and (b) senior officials in his Department since 1 May 1997, giving in each case the purpose of the meetings; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hain [holding answer 18 December 2000]: Lord Levy liaises regularly with the Foreign Secretary, Ministers and a limited number of officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Foreign Secretary last saw him on 6 December and I last spoke to him on 14 December.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what practical support was given by his Department to Lord Levy during his recent visits to Middle Eastern states on official business as the Prime Minister's personal envoy. 
Mr. Hain [holding answer 18 December 2000]: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on behalf of the Prime Minister on 30 March 2000, Official Report, column 262W. Similar practical support was given during Lord Levy's recent visits to Middle Eastern states as the Prime Minister's Envoy.
Mr. Hain [holding answer 18 December 2000]: My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, Lord Levy and I have encouraged the parties to maintain their dialogue, to take steps to bring the violence to an end, and to resume negotiations. I am encouraged at the recent news that negotiations have resumed.
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