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VAT (Cycle Helmets)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact on the demand for

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adult cycle helmets in the United Kingdom of his policy of removing VAT from the purchase of such helmets from 1 April; and if he will make a statement. [1390]

Mr. Boateng: No such assessment has been made.

Child Poverty

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his plans to halve child poverty within 10 years, indicating the benchmarks against which this is to be measured. [1372]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government's annual publication "Opportunity for All" sets out a full range of indicators against which we will monitor progress on our commitment to halve child poverty in 10 years and abolish it in a generation. Copies of the first two "Opportunity for All" reports are available in the Library. The next publication is due this autumn.

Spending Plans

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the annual rate of growth of total managed expenditure, in real terms, for each of the years 1999–2000 to 2003–04; what the assumptions are for such growth in real annual total managed expenditure for 2004–05 and 2005–06 contained in the March 2001 Financial Statement and Budget report; and if he will make a statement. [1381]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The latest Treasury projections for total managed expenditure for 1999–2000 to 2003–04 were published in Table C11 on page 199 of the March 2001 "Financial Statement and Budget Report".

The assumptions underlying the real growth in total managed expenditure for 2004–05 and 2005–06 contained in the March 2001 Financial Statement and Budget Report are set out in paragraph C17 on page 186 of that document. Firm spending plans for these years will be set in the 2002 spending review.

Beer Duty

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the costs and benefits of introducing a reduced rate of duty on the beer produced by small breweries; and if he will make a statement. [1391]

Mr. Boateng: The last Budget announced the Government were minded to introduce a reduced rate of duty on the beer produced by small breweries and will be considering the scope for doing so in the course of this year. The costs and benefits of such a scheme will be considered as part of that process.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Challen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the per capita spending of all Government Departments in each of the regions and nations of the United Kingdom was in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [2163]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Chapter 8 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2001–02 (Cm 5101) offers a full analysis of public expenditure by country and region.

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Company Cars

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 26 June 2001, Official Report, column 59W, on company cars, what assessment he has made of the impact of the loss to employees of company car tax concessions. [2084]

Mr. Boateng: The new company car tax system from April 2002 is designed to achieve lower levels of harmful emissions from cars. It does away with the reductions for driving higher levels of business mileage as this can be an incentive to drive unnecessary business miles. The reforms have been projected to have a broadly neutral effect on tax revenues, so in overall terms there is no loss to employees.

Many company car drivers will be paying less tax for the benefit of their company car under the new system. Having a company car with relatively low carbon dioxide emissions would help to ameliorate tax liabilities under the new system for any driver.

It is worth noting that we expect more drivers to take the opportunity of having a company car under the new rules. In fact the Inland Revenue has estimated that the reforms will lead to a net increase of around 200,000 company cars in the long term.

Foot and Mouth (Tourism)

David Maclean: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the loss in tax as a result of lost tourist industry income arising from the foot and mouth outbreak. [2192]

Dawn Primarolo: No robust estimates for the changes in tax revenues resulting from the impact of the foot and mouth outbreak on the tourist industry are available.

Contracts (Advertising)

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what obligation is placed on public bodies in respect of (a) PPP, (b) PFI and (c) other financial arrangements, for advertising the relevant contracts in the (i) Official Journal and (ii) other publications of the European Community; under what article of which treaty and associated legislation any such requirement is made; what publication sets out the rules which must be followed in such agreements; and whether they apply equally to charitable and profit-making enterprises. [2133]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Contracting authorities/entities are required to call for competition for procurement contracts, above certain financial thresholds, in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJEC). This includes PFI/PPP contracts where appropriate. Advertising in other publications is not mandatory, but must not pre-empt advertisement in OJEC.

This requirement arises from the EC procurement directives (which are based on principles of the EC Treaty). The principal legal basis was Articles 30, 57(2), 66 and 100a and the Directives have been implemented in the UK by the following Regulations (as amended):





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The application of these Directives/Regulations to charities and profit-making enterprises depends on whether they fall within the definition of state, regional or local authority or "body covered by public law" for the purposes of the Regulations. The Directives do not normally apply to charities and profit-making bodies unless they propose to award a works contract funded for the most part by a public body.

Business Costs

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the size of the changes in (a) costs and (b) taxes applying to business since 1997. [1698]

Dawn Primarolo: Assessments of the risks, costs and benefits of new legislative proposals are made within Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs); information on taxation is in the Financial Statement and Budget Reports, both of which can be found in the House of Commons Library.

VAT (Empty Homes)

Mr. Shaw: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many empty homes will qualify for a reduction in VAT as announced in his Budget Statement 2001. [1948]

Mr. Boateng: Customs estimate that the reduced VAT rate for renovating empty homes should help to bring back into use up to 2,400 empty homes each year. Additionally, the Budget made a minor adjustment to the zero rate for the sale of renovated long-term empty houses, which from 1 August will benefit from relief if they have been empty for 10 years or more. This is expected to bring back into use up to 25 empty houses a year.

The measure has been warmly welcomed by the Empty Homes Agency.

Mr. Shaw: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what criteria owners of empty properties will qualify for a reduction in VAT when renovating their properties. [1955]

Mr. Boateng: A reduced 5 per cent. VAT rate applies to renovation work on an empty home that has not been lived in for three years or more.

The Government did not, however, want to disadvantage people who have to live in a house while renovating it. So if someone buys a house after it has been empty for three years or more and lives in it during the renovation work, the reduced rate applies to the building work provided it is completed within one year from the date the owner bought the house.

In addition, from 1 August, no VAT applies to the sale of a renovated house which has been empty for 10 years more.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Smuggling

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people have been (a) arrested, (b) charged and (c) given a custodial sentence for

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smuggling goods across the Irish border in each of the past 10 years. [1072]

Mr. Boateng: I have been asked to reply.

This information is not available in this format.

Human Rights

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the job description and personal specification are for the post of Senior Legal Adviser on Human Rights to the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and what bodies and institutions were consulted about (a) the terms of reference of this post and (b) the text and placement of the advertisement. [1100]

Mr. Browne: A copy of the application pack sent to applicants expressing an interest in the post has been placed in the Library. It contains the job description and personal specification. The Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission for Northern Ireland was consulted and the competition is being conducted in line with best practice.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will reply to the report of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission under section 69(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. [1717]

Mr. Browne: The Government were pleased to receive the report from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission under section 69(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. We are currently considering the recommendations and will respond substantively as soon as possible.


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