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Trainee Teachers (Tests)

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total cost is of introducing the teacher trainee tests. [3115]

Mr. Timms: The cost of the introduction of the ITT skills tests up to April 2001 was £4.7 million. This included the development and delivery of the paper-based numeracy skills tests in summer 2000; the development and delivery of the computerised ITT skills tests in numeracy and literacy introduced in February 2001; and the development of the skills tests in ICT, which will be introduced in September 2001.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many teachers who completed their trainee skills tests last year and are now in their induction year in schools have (a) not passed the skills tests and (b) applied for an extension to their induction period in order to retake the tests. [3117]

Mr. Timms: The requirement to take a numeracy skills test during the induction period was only introduced for teachers awarded qualified teacher status last summer. These newly qualified teachers have not yet completed their induction periods.


Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received on the modularisation of GCSEs. [3118]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have not received any representations about the modularisation of GCSEs. Modular specifications represent approximately 8 per cent. of the total of new GCSE specifications to be taught in schools from September 2001.

School Inspections

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to introduce 10-yearly inspections for successful schools. [3121]

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Mr. Timms: We have no plans to amend the present arrangements in which the interval between school inspections varies between two and six years, consistent with the principle that intervention should be in inverse proportion to success.


Construction Industry Training Board

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to introduce a tax through the Construction Industry Training Board; and if he will make a statement. [1852]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 3 July 2001]: The Government keep all taxes under review, and changes to the tax system are considered as part of the normal Budget process.

Crime Prevention Devices (VAT)

Dr. Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the fiscal impact of lifting VAT on security and crime prevention devices and equipment. [2025]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 4 July 2001]: In Budget 2000, the Government reduced the rate of VAT to 5 per cent. on the grant-funded supply and installation of window and door locks, bolts and security chains, spy holes and smoke alarms in homes of those aged over 60 who are in receipt of specified benefits. The reduced rate was targeted at these grant-funded supplies to ensure that extra help goes where it is most needed.

VAT relief for security and crime prevention goods purchased for DIY installation would be incompatible with EU VAT law.

Economic Stability

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what forecast he has made of future economic

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stability; and what contingency plans he has made for changes to his economic policy in the event of a serious slowdown in world activity. [2999]

Ruth Kelly: The Government will continue to steer a course of economic stability by maintaining fiscal discipline, consistent with the fiscal rules, and by supporting the decisions of the Monetary Policy Committee in continuing to meet the inflation target. Budget 2001 (HC 279) included latest forecasts for the economy and the public finances.


Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy not to increase VAT rates during this Parliament. [2294]

Mr. Boateng: Decisions on individual areas of taxation are considered on an annual basis as part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's overall Budget judgment. The Government have renewed their pledge not to extend VAT to food, children's clothes, books, newspapers and public transport fares for the duration of this Parliament.

National Insurance

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to compensate the National Insurance Fund for the loss of contribution income from employers resulting from the introduction of (a) the Landfill Tax, (b) the Climate Change Levy and (c) the Aggregates Levy. [2386]

Mr. Andrew Smith: None. The reductions in employers' National Insurance contributions were and are to be recycled through the proceeds of the Landfill Tax, the Climate Change Levy and the Aggregates Levy, thereby protecting UK competitiveness and employment while helping the UK to achieve its environmental objectives.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the National Insurance Fund balance at the end of the year 2000–01 exceeded the minimum level recommended by the Government Actuary. [2387]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The estimated balance of the National Insurance Fund at the end of 2000–01 is likely to have exceeded the minimum level recommended by the Government Actuary by around £10.6 billion.

Drug Deaths

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many deaths were attributable to the use of (a) paracetamol, (b) dothiepin, (c) co-proxamol, (d) all antidepressants and (e) ecstasy in each of the past five years. [2376]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from John Pullinger to Paul Flynn, dated 9 July 2001:

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Number of deaths from drug-related poisoning(8) for selected substances England and Wales, 1995–99


(8) Deaths are coded according to the WHO International Classification of Disease, Ninth Edition (ICD9). Deaths are regarded as resulting from drug-related poisoning if the underlying cause is classified to ICD9 codes, 292, 304, 305.2–9, E950.0–5, E980.0–5 and E962.0

Telecoms Companies

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of revenues telecoms companies in the UK paid in tax and licence fees in 1997; and what proportion they pay in the current year. [1615]

Dawn Primarolo: In 1997–98 annual licensing payments and the corporation tax liability of telecommunication companies represented 0.28 per cent. of UK central Government receipts. The corresponding figure for 1999–2000, which is the latest available on a comparable basis, but which pre-dates the auction of the third generation mobile telephone licences, was 0.23 per cent.

Child Care Tax Credit

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent on the child care tax credit during 2000–01; how many families received it; what the average amount was per family; and what his forecasts are for each category for (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03. [2269]

Dawn Primarolo: It is provisionally estimated that the net extra expenditure in 2000–01 due to the child care tax credit element of Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) was about £200 million.

The number of families in receipt of the child care tax credit within WFTC at May, August and November 2000, and the average extra weekly amounts received per family at those dates, are shown in Table 1.3 of the November 2000 WFTC Quarterly Enquiry, a copy of which is in the Library. Figures for February 2001 are due to be published on 10 July.

Projected figures for other years are not available.

Corporate Bribes

Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department has taken to ensure that British companies spending money on corrupt practices overseas are not able to claim such expenditure as legitimate business expenses for tax purposes. [2710]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government are committed to their responsibilities under the OECD Convention of the Bribery of Foreign Officials in International Business transactions. Section 577A of the Income and Corporation

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Taxes Acts 1988 denies tax relief for any payment, the making of which constitutes the commission of a criminal offence. This effectively denies relief for any bribery which is contrary to the Prevention of Corruption Acts.

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