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Housing Wardens

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his plans to extend VAT to services provided by housing managers or wardens; and what estimate he has made of the revenue that will be used. [4092]

Mr. Boateng: There are no plans to change the VAT treatment of services provided by housing managers or wardens.

Asbestos Compensation

Tony Worthington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to ensure that the financial services industry is adequately prepared for meeting future claims for compensation relating to the asbestos industry. [3514]

Ruth Kelly: As part of its normal supervisory role, the FSA considers all material risks which can have a serious adverse impact upon individual insurance companies. Due to the uncertainty of future asbestos-related claims costs,

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it monitors developments relating to the insurance of asbestos, paying attention to companies with significant liabilities in this area.

Biodiesel

Mr. Beith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the cost per tonne of carbon saved in biodiesel production. [4016]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 13 July 2001]: The cost of saving a tonne of carbon from the promotion of biodiesel varies considerably depending on the type of feedstock used for biodiesel production and its additional production cost relative to mineral diesel.

DTLR estimates that the cost of saving a tonne of carbon from biodiesel could potentially range from about £900 to over £2,300.

Green Ministers

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) on what date a Green Minister was first appointed in his Department; when subsequent appointments were made; and if he will make a statement; [3967]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 13 July 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to him by the Minister for the Environment on 13 July 2001, Official Report, column 690W.

Drug Seizures

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value was of illegal drug seizures at points of entry to the UK in each of the past five years; and what the observed effect was on the street prices of illegal drugs. [2370]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 9 July 2001]: It is not possible to provide data on the total street value of all drug types seized by HM Customs and Excise at points of entry to the UK over the last five years which could be directly compared with the data available on street prices. The most comprehensive available data are for heroin and cocaine. Information relating to seizures for 2000–01 is not yet available.

The total value of heroin and cocaine seized by HM Customs and Excise in the four financial years from 1 April 1996 to 31 March 2000 is as follows:

£ million

1996–971997–981998–991999–2000
Heroin£66.9£156.8£66.7£96.7
Cocaine£294.1£242.1£279.7£150.7
Total£361.0£398.9£346.4£247.4

Between 1996 and 2000 the UK average street price for cocaine varied between £65 and £77 per gram, while the average price for heroin varied between £65 and £74. There is no direct correlation between variations in street price and the value of seizures.

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Street prices can vary for a number of reasons. While law enforcement activity can have an impact, factors such as variances in the yield of drug crops, consumption trends, drug purity levels and stockpiling by distributors can also affect the price of drugs on the street.

Manufacturing Growth

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his predictions are for manufacturing growth over the 2001–02 financial year. [4657]

Ruth Kelly: The Government publish a forecast for manufacturing output twice a year, at Budget time and in the pre-Budget report. The most recent forecast was published in March 2001 in the Financial Statement and Budget Report (HC 279), and this forecast will next be updated in the pre-Budget report in the autumn.

Community Investment Tax Credits

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to introduce (a) pilot schemes for community investment tax credits, (b) independent monitoring of the effectiveness of community investment tax credits and (c) internal monitoring of the effectiveness of community investment tax credits; and if he will make a statement. [4137]

Mr. Boateng: The Government intend to bring forward legislation on community investment tax credits in the Finance Bill 2002. We published a consultation document on the tax credits ("Enterprising Communities: a tax incentive for community investment") in March. The consultation period closed on July 2 and generated a largely positive response. The Government will announce decisions on the outcome of the consultation in due course. There will be robust processes for monitoring the effectiveness of any scheme.

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Revenue Losses

Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to obtain a more accurate account of the revenue losses outlined in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General published on 9 February. [2995]

Dawn Primarolo: HM Customs and Excise Trust Statement for 1999–2000, which has been certified by the Comptroller and Auditor General, provided details of the estimated revenue losses due to excise diversion fraud of £668 million with further losses of £216 million involving goods diverted onto overseas markets where duty would have been due. Notes 9 and 10 to the Trust Statement, which is published with Customs Annual Report 1999–2000 (CM 5064), give further details.

In his report, the Comptroller and Auditor General also undertook to produce a further report to Parliament on diversion frauds and on the action planned by Customs. He will be reporting to the Public Accounts Committee. The report of the independent investigation conducted by John Roques, commissioned by the Paymaster General and the Chairman of Customs, will be published at the same time as the Comptroller and Auditor General's report is made available to the House.

Roques Report

Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Roques report, referred to in section 5.3 of Comptroller and Auditor General's report published on 9 February, will be published. [3064]

Dawn Primarolo: The Roques report will be published at the same time as the Comptroller and Auditor General's further report on excise diversion is made available to the House (referred to in section 5.4 of his report published on 9 February).