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6 Feb 2001 : Column: 496W
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about the effect of aggregate tax on the quarry industry; what changes he plans to make in respect thereof; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The Government have received a number of representations regarding the aggregates levy from a range of organisations, including the aggregates industry, local authorities and environmental groups. Most of these were in response to HM Customs and Excise's consultation on the administration of the levy in 1998 and the subsequent publications of the draft clauses. These representations will be taken into account as the legislation is finalised.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the environmental impact of the recovery of petrol vapour for (a) use as furnace fuel and (b) use in the production of electricity. 
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what factors underlay the decision of the Financial Secretary not to allow a rebate on petrol vapour recovered by vapour recovery systems and used to produce electricity. 
Mr. Timms: There is no scope within the provision of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979 to allow such a rebate, and I am not persuaded that such a change is necessary or desirable given that recovery of vapour is required by environmental regulation.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the incidence of double taxation in the imposition of duty on petrol vapour recovered by vapour recovery systems and used to produce electricity. 
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Mr. Straw: In 1996 Siemens Business Services Ltd. and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) of the Home Office agreed a specification and contract for the development and operation of an integrated casework system. For a number of reasons delivery in the time scale originally anticipated did not occur.
Officials have however worked closely with Siemens to ensure that the Information Technology (IT) provided by them supports the expansion of immigration casework and current priorities. The systems already operating as an interim solution, with which the Directorate has achieved 110,000 asylum decisions this year, provide the practical support needed. The original full casework application now seems over-complex and out of touch with current working practices. IND has accordingly agreed with Siemens that they should stand down the resources they are using to develop the full casework application.
Siemens continue to work actively in partnership with IND on a programme of further improvements to IND's current IT, to be completed over the next year. IND and Siemens will together work through the consequent changes to the contract and payment schedule. At present, there is no change to the current contract, which runs to October 2003.
Mr. Pond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will extend the application of the civil penalty for carrying clandestine entrants to rail freight trains; when he will set the amount of such a penalty and bring into operation a code of practice for rail freight; and if he will publish a report on the consultation process. 
Mrs. Roche: Following a formal consultation period, which ran from 13 November to 25 December 2000, the main set of Regulations extending the civil penalty to rail freight, the Carriers' Liability (Clandestine Entrants)
6 Feb 2001 : Column: 498W
(Application to Rail Freight) Regulations 2001, were laid before Parliament today along with a draft Code of Practice. The main Regulations come into force, for the purposes of making and laying two related instruments, namely, the Carriers' Liability (Clandestine Entrants and Sale of Transporters) (Amendment) Regulations 2001 and the Carriers' Liability (Clandestine Entrants) (Code of Practice for Rail Freight) Order 2001 on 7 February 2001. The remaining provisions of the main Regulations, and the two related instruments will come into force on 1 March 2001.
The purpose of the main Regulations is to enable penalties to be imposed in respect of clandestine entrants who arrive in the United Kingdom concealed in a rail freight wagon. The other two instruments provide respectively for the amount of the penalty (and certain procedural matters), and for the coming into operation of the Code of Practice.
I am placing a copy of the report, summarising the main responses to the consultation process, in the Library. Copies will also be available on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate website at www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the total number of police officers who have joined the Essex constabulary as a result of the recent recruitment campaign initiated by his Department. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The National Recruitment Campaign was launched on 30 August 2000. By 31 January 2001, 22,209 Expressions of Interest had been forwarded to forces from the National Recruitment Campaign call centre, including 370 to Essex police.
In addition to Expressions of Interest forwarded from the national call centre, I have been informed by Essex police that the force has received a further 220 requests for application forms directly from individuals as a result of the national campaign.
Essex police have advised that it is too soon for any of the applications generated as a result of the National Campaign to have progressed to the point of recruitment, but that all the applications received are being progressed by the force in the usual way.
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Sir Brian Mawhinney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for North-West Cambridgeshire of 5 September 2000 on behalf of his constituent Mr. Smith. 
The letter dated 15 January was transferred on 26 January to the Minister responsible for the issue of travellers in the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Ainsworth) I understand that my hon. Friend will reply as soon as possible.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Richmond Park dated 25 October 2000, regarding Miss Rosebell Kirungi (ref. K10003442). 
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