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Mr. Boateng: The Government's approach to environmental taxation was set out in their Statement of Intent on environmental taxation in the July 1997 Budget and restated in the November 1999 pre-Budget report, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that decisions on future changes in fuel duty would be taken in the light of environmental, social and economic factors.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to Article 9 of the Council Decision on the system of the European Communities' own resources on 29 September 2000, what his interpretation of the word
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autonomous is in the phrase "new autonomous own resources"; and if he will outline the measures which will be considered as new autonomous own resources. 
Ruth Kelly: Article 9 of the Council Decision, of 29 September 2000, on the system of the European Communities' own resources replaces Article 10 of the Decision of 28 October 1994. Like the Article it replaces, this simply allows the European Commission to undertake a review of their own resources system and to put forward proposals for modifying the system if necessary. What modifications the European Commission will choose to consider at the time is, of course, a matter for them. However, it will remain the case that any proposals for modifying the system of own resources which they decide to put forward would then have to be considered, and agreed, by all member states unanimously.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what work his Department has undertaken to assess progress on meeting his five economic tests; which independent economists have been invited to contribute to the assessment; how many officials are involved; and when the assessment will be (a) completed and (b) published. 
Ruth Kelly: The Government's policy on membership of the single currency remains as set out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in October 1997. The determining factor underpinning any Government decision on membership of the single currency is the national economic interest and whether the economic case for joining is clear and unambiguous.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is his policy to publish an assessment of the consequences for UK fiscal policy of (a) joining and (b) preparing to join the euro, in advance of a referendum on British membership of the euro. 
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Joint Treasury/Bank of England/FSA Standing Committee met in 2001; who the Treasury representative on the Committee was; what the titles are of the papers submitted by the Treasury representative; and if he will make a statement on the present work and future programme of the Joint Committee. 
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Ruth Kelly: HM Treasury, the Bank of England and the FSA meet approximately once a month under the aegis of the UK Standing Committee on Financial Stability. The meetings are chaired by the Treasury's Managing Director, Financial Regulation and Industry. Much of the Committee's work is confidential, and discussions are often subject to statutory protections of information under the acts that govern financial regulation.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Financial Stability Forum met in 2001; who were the Treasury representatives; what issues were raised at the forum; and if he will make a statement. 
Ruth Kelly: The Financial Stability Forum met this year in London on 67 September and in Washington, D.C. on 2223 March. The Treasury's Forum member is the Managing Director, Financial Regulation and Industry. Information on these meetings can be found at the Forum's website at http://www.fsforum.org/Press/ P20010323.html
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made towards delivering all of his Department's services electronically by 2005; and what services are provided online by HM Treasury and its executive agencies. 
Ruth Kelly: Services currently provided online by the Treasury are: the provision of information and publications via the Internet, correspondence with Treasury Ministers, and responding to public inquiries via email.
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC), which is an office of the Treasury, publishes information and best practice guidance on its website, and through OGCbuying.solutions provides electronic catalogues for the procurement of goods and services by Government Departments, their Agencies and NDPBs. The catalogues are available to the wider public sector. OGC also facilitates the use of the Government Procurement Card across all Government bodies.
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Ruth Kelly: The Government make regular assessments of trends in productivity. The most recent assessment was given in Budget 2001. The Government set out a further statement of policy in "Productivity in the UK: Enterprise and the Productivity Challenge", published in June 2001. An updated assessment will be given in the pre-budget report 2001.
Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the UK's savings ratio on the imbalances in the UK economy between consumption spending and internationally exposed sectors. 
Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the reasons for Britain's changed position between 2000 and 2001 in the growth competitiveness index published by the World Economic Forum. 
Ruth Kelly: The Government make regular assessments of UK productivity and competitiveness, drawing on a wide range of indicators. For example, the Department of Trade and Industry has a Service Delivery Agreement to publish regularly a comprehensive set of Competitiveness Indicators for the UK, designed to monitor progress in closing the productivity gap.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his written answer of 23 October 2001, Official Report, column 203W, on pensions policies, if he has asked Lord Penrose to investigate. 
Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the latest trends in Labour Force Survey unemployment; and how he expects these trends to develop in the next two quarters. 
Ruth Kelly: This year the ILO unemployment rate, as measured by the Labour Force Survey, has been at its lowest since the 1970s. While the Government are conscious of the fact that no country can insulate itself from world economic events, our new macroeconomic framework has delivered low inflation and sound public finances, leaving the UK better placed than in the past to cope with global developments, following the tragic events in America.
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