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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what requests were submitted to the Treasury from the MOD for funds for equipment upgrade for desert conditions relating to exercises in Oman; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money was raised by Customs and Excises in 200001 from penalties imposed upon VAT-registered traders for late returns of VAT forms; and what is the estimate for 200102. 
Mr. Boateng: During 200001, penalties totalling £87 million were incurred by traders defaulting on their VAT payments. The amount incurred in 200102 will be lower, reflecting the sympathetic approach taken by Customs towards businesses affected by the foot and mouth outbreak, the reform of the penalty regime for businesses with a turnover of up to £100,000, and other recent initiatives to help small businesses to manage their VAT payments.
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surplus or deficit; what his assessment is of the typical lengths of an economic cycle; and what assessment he has made of the (a) start and (b) end date of the last economic cycle. 
Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the 65 per cent. indicative targets for diverting landfill tax credits towards sustainable waste management are mandatory; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: The indicative targets for diverting landfill tax credits to sustainable waste management are not mandatory. In May this year the Government set the waste industry a challenging target of 65 per cent. of landfill tax credits to be allocated to sustainable waste management projects. The Government will review progress in forthcoming Budget reports.
Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the performance of organisations seeking to divert 65 per cent. of landfill tax credits towards sustainable waste management projects will be measured. 
Mr. Boateng: Data on the allocation of contributions to projects under the landfill tax credit scheme are reported by environmental bodies to Entrust, the regulator of the scheme. The Government will review progress based on this information in forthcoming Budget reports.
Mr. Boateng: The Government are grateful for all representations and the Road Haulage Association's submission was read with interest. This will be considered in the context of the Chancellor's Budget judgment.
Mr. Boateng: The climate change levy package, including the reduction in employer NICs and support for energy efficiency investments, is expected to be broadly revenue neutral to manufacturing industry and to the service sector.
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|Estimated number of employees paying NICs|
For 200001 and 200102, there should be a reduction in the number of employees paying NICs as the starting point for paying NICs has been increased and aligned with the income tax personal allowance. The benefit entitlement of employees who no longer pay NICs because of this change has been protected.
Mr. Dobson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the Information Technology contracts in excess of £500,000 let by his Department or its predecessor since April 1991, giving in each case the original estimated cost and original estimated completion date, the actual cost and actual completion date and the names of the contractors involved and consultants retained by his Department. 
Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money was raised by the Inland Revenue in 200001 from penalties imposed for late returns by taxpayers of self-assessment forms; and what is the estimate for 200102. 
Dawn Primarolo: For the Inland Revenue's accounts year November 1999-October 2000, receipts from self- assessment penalties totalled £33 million. Figures for subsequent accounts years are not yet available.
Dawn Primarolo: The Government's view is that fair tax competition is the way forward for Europe not proposals for tax harmonisation. The Government will not support any action at European level that will threaten jobs or the competitive position of British business.
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Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of problems that recipients of the tax credit system have in understanding the system; and what steps he will take to ensure that further reforms to the system are easily comprehensible to intended recipients in the lower earning quintiles. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Government have established a comprehensive programme to monitor and evaluate the existing system of tax credits. Recipients' experiences with the current system are a part of this process and are being considered in the design of the new tax credits.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the balance of the national insurance fund was (a) in total and (b) above the Government Actuary's recommended margin (i) in April 2000 and (ii) in April 2001; and what is the forecast on the basis of plans for April 2002. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 5 November 2001]: I refer my hon. Friend to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor Generalnational insurance fund account 19992000 (HC446)and the report by the Government Actuary on the drafts of the Social Security Benefits Up-rating (No. 2) Order 2000 and the Social Security (Contributions) (Re-rating and National Insurance Funds Payments) Order 2001 (Cm 4933).
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in the Inland Revenue were devoted to (a) tax evasion in general and (b) offshore and international tax evasion in each year since 1996; and what his estimate is for 2001 and his plans for 2002. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 5 November 2001]: A substantial number of staff in the Inland Revenue work on countering tax evasion, but for very many of them this is only a part of their job. Similarly, staff dealing with offshore and international tax evasion may also handle domestic issues. I regret therefore that information is not available in the form in which my hon. Friend has asked for it.
Ruth Kelly: Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd. would be required to pay a levy were one to be raised under the Policyholders Protection Act 1975. However, on 1 December 2001 the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will supersede the Policyholders Protection Scheme (established under the Policyholders Protection Act 1975). The Financial Services Authority has consulted on the rules for the FSCS and will be issuing the rules shortly.
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