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Motorcycling (VAT)

Mr. Todd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer, 10 April 2001, Official Report, column 527W, on VAT, if he will list the EU statutory provisions on which his response was based. [158576]

Dawn Primarolo: The list of supplies of goods and services which may be subject to reduced rates of VAT is at annexe H of the Sixth Council Directive of 17 May 1997 (77/388/EEC) as amended.

Departmental Policies

(Plymouth Unitary Authority)

Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to (a) Plymouth, Sutton constituency, (b) Plymouth, Devonport constituency and (c) South-West Devon constituency, the effects on the Plymouth Unitary Authority area of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [158031]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Plymouth, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, is benefiting from the long-term action we have taken to build economic stability and secure high and stable levels of growth and employment. Since the general election, the levels of claimant, youth and long-term unemployment in the three constituencies have changed as follows:

Percentage changes: April 1997 to March 2001

ConstituencyClaimant unemploymentYouth unemploymentLong-term unemployment
Plymouth, Sutton-58-91-77
Plymouth, Devonport-59-88-81
South-West Devon-62-88-85

Macroeconomic stability is being complemented at the microeconomic level by the Government's policies to ease the transition from welfare into work and make work pay. To the end of January 2001, the total number of young people who have started the New Deal for 18-24-year-olds and found employment in each of the three constituencies was as follows:

ConstituencyTotal startsTotal into employment(93)
Plymouth, Sutton1,8071,006 (56)
Plymouth, Devonport1,454824 (57)
South-West Devon460284 (62)

(93) Percentage of starts in brackets.

The working families tax credit (WFTC), introduced in October 1999, is helping to make work pay for low and middle income families. In November 2000, 2,000 families in Plymouth, Sutton, 3,500 in Plymouth, Devonport and 1,300 in South-West Devon constituencies were benefiting from WFTC.


23 Apr 2001 : Column: 189W

The Government are also committed to policies that enable pensioners to share in the country's rising prosperity. All pensioners, including 16,000 in Plymouth, Sutton, 17,500 in Plymouth, Devonport and 17,200 in South-West Devon, have received an above-inflation increase in the basic state pension from April 2001. Single pensioners receive an extra £5 a week, and couples receive an extra £8 a week. All pensioners aged 75 or over have also been entitled to a free TV licence since November 2000--including around 7,600 in Plymouth, Sutton, 6,500 in Plymouth, Devonport and 7,200 in South-West Devon.

MRSA

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many death certificates have given MRSA as (a) the primary and (b) a contributory cause of death in each of the past five years. [158285]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. David Wilshire, dated 23 April 2001:



Public Spending

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) limits and (b) restraints are placed upon UK (i) public spending and (ii) public capital expenditure by arrangements with the European Union; what formulae apply; what are the total sums in each case; and what are the actual planned spending totals in each case. [158349]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Under Council Regulation (EC) No.1467/97, the UK should


European Agency for the Evaluation of

Medicinal Products

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff employed by the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products are eligible for Chapter II funding. [158327]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Details of the staff of the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA) can be found on its website: www.emea.eu.int.

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 190W

Euro

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will issue guidance to businesses on the legal status of the euro in the UK after 1 January 2002. [158393]

Miss Melanie Johnson: On 29 March the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that, in consultation with business, the Government were authorising an enhanced small business information campaign, to include an updated website, so that British business is prepared for the introduction of euro notes and coins in 2002. The material available includes case studies and factsheets, all available through the website: www.euro.gov.uk.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what position he will adopt on the Solidarity Initiative During the Changeover to the Euro Currency (European Parliament Session Document BS-0029/01) in the Council of Ministers; and if he will make a statement. [158325]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Solidarity Initiative is a motion for a European Parliament resolution, and is a matter for the European Parliament.

Equitable Life

Mr. Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his Department was warned before Equitable Life Assurance Society closed itself to new business that the company was potentially unable to meet its contractual commitment to its policy holders; and if he will make a statement. [158567]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Financial Services Authority made it clear when the Equitable Life Assurance Society closed to new business that the society continued to meet statutory solvency requirements. The FSA is continuing to monitor closely the operations of the Equitable.

Annuity Pension Arrangements

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will make a statement on the Government's policy towards annuity pension arrangements; [158423]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I refer my hon. Friend to Section 5.66 to 5.69 of the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report published on Budget day, copies of which are in the Library. This sets out the Government's views on annuity pension arrangements.

Customs and Excise

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the figures for each year since 1985 for the numbers of Customs and Excise officers specialising in border control operations. [158447]

Dawn Primarolo: HM Customs and Excise does not collect data in the form specified. Figures are, however, available for the number of staff years spent by Customs and Excise Officers undertaking Customs duties (which would include a range of both frontier and inland activity). These figures are available in the annual reports of the Board of Customs and Excise in the Library of the House.

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 191W

IR35

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Professional Contractors Group since the recent court judgment on the IR35 case. [158446]

Dawn Primarolo: A meeting is currently being arranged between the Inland Revenue and representatives of the Professional Contractors Group to discuss practical issues arising out of the application and operation of the IR35 legislation.

European Commission (Tax-raising Powers)

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals have been made by the Belgian Government through (a) the Council, (b) the Finance Ministers of the European Community and (c) otherwise, for providing powers to the Commission to raise tax revenue by direct levy, (A) as part of and (B) additional to existing means of providing resources for the Union. [158394]

Dawn Primarolo: We have received no such proposals.

Appointments (Age Limits)

Tony Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what age limit is placed on appointments to public bodies in his Department; if this limit is mentioned in advertisements for such posts; and what the basis for this limit is. [158114]

Dawn Primarolo: There are no upper or lower age limits for appointments to public bodies of the Chancellor's departments. Appointments are made on merit by matching the abilities, experience and qualities of applicants with the needs of the bodies concerned. The Chancellor's departments have set plans with goals and objectives for increasing the representation of under-represented groups on public bodies as part of the Government's commitment to equality of opportunity and to increasing the diversity of those appointed to public bodies.

23 Apr 2001 : Column: 192W


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