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Ruth Kelly: The aggregates levy will provide an incentive to use recycled aggregate and alternative materials, as these will be exempted. Levy revenues will also fund a £35 million sustainability fund one of whose objectives will be to encourage recycling objectives of the levy.
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the environmental (i) costs and (ii) benefits of the supply of aggregates from coastal super quarries compared to that from other types of quarry. 
Ruth Kelly: The independent research which underpins the aggregates levy considered all aspects of the environmental impacts of aggregate extraction. The levy will be introduced at a single rate in order to keep it simple and send a clear signal to encourage purchasers of primary aggregate to use alternative materials where possible.
Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the direct environmental (a) costs and (b) benefits arising from the introduction of the aggregates levy; 
Ruth Kelly: Independent research shows there are significant environmental costs associated with aggregates extraction that are not already covered by regulation including noise, dust, visual intrusion, loss of amenity and damage to biodiversity.
The aggregates levy will encourage the efficient use of natural aggregates and the greater use of alternative materials, such as recycled aggregate and certain waste materials, thereby reducing the environmental costs of aggregates extraction.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with representatives of the aggregates industry regarding the proposal for a green discount on the introduction of the aggregates tax. 
Ruth Kelly: The Government have been exploring with interested parties, including the aggregates industry, the options for a differential rate of the aggregates levy for quarries with better environmental performance.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with his US counterparts regarding an increase in their development assistance budget in relation to their gross national product. 
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Dawn Primarolo: Repair work to churches is liable to VAT at the standard rate. There are no special VAT rules for churches in designated conservation areas. However, the Government have introduced a UK-wide grant scheme, the effect of which will be to reduce the VAT cost to 5 per cent., for works of repair, maintenance and improvements to listed places of worship undertaken from 1 April 2001.
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 26 November 2001]: Payment direct to bank accounts is the most efficient, secure and flexible way of delivering direct payments. The consultation document 'New Tax CreditsSupporting families, making work pay and tackling poverty' made clear that it is proposed to make all direct payments of tax credits to claimants' bank accounts.
The Government are currently spearheading a drive to tackle financial exclusion. Work to ensure that those without bank accounts will be able to open a suitable account into which tax credits can be paid is being taken forward together with the Post Office and major banks.
Mr. Boateng: These estimates and the supporting methodologies are set out in documents published today by HM Customs and Excise entitled 'Tackling Indirect Tax Fraud and Measuring Indirect Tax Fraud'. Copies of both papers have been placed in the House of Commons Library.
Dawn Primarolo: The Treasury will today be publishing a document containing the estimates of the effects of various illustrative tax changes on tax receipts in 200203 and 200304 (plus 200405 for indirect taxes)
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Mr. Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultations with businesses were carried out by his Department with regard to the (a) Excise Duty Points Regulations 2001 and (b) HM Customs' revised financial security policy. 
Dawn Primarolo: Customs consulted extensively on these issues with businesses involved in the production, warehousing and distribution of excise goods from as early as 1998. This included discussions with key trade associations at Customs' long-standing Joint Alcohol and Tobacco Consultation Group.
Ms Buck: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate how many children have been lifted out of poverty in each region of England since 1997; and what this represents as a percentage of children in each region. 
Dawn Primarolo: Personal tax and benefit measures introduced since 1997 have lifted 1.2 million children in the UK as a whole out of poverty, defined as 60 per cent. of median income after allowing for housing costs. Because of the margins of error, it is not possible to model the precise effects in individual counties or regions.
It is possible to provide figures for the numbers of families in different regions benefiting from the key measures introduced during the last Parliament to tackle child poverty. The table shows, by region, the number of families benefiting from the Working Families Tax Credit, the number of lone parents on Income Support benefiting from the real terms increases in child credits, and the number of families with children benefiting from the real terms increases in child benefit.
|WFTC recipients(19)||Lone parents receiving income support(19)||Families receiving child benefit(20)|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||137||79||618|
|East of England||87||64||639|
(19) May 2001
(20) 27 April 2001
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Declaration of the Heads of State and Government Review of the Economic Situation (SN 4298/2/01, 19 October 2001), with reference to spending projects by the EIB to be encouraged by the European Council. 
Ruth Kelly: The Government support the European Council's encouragement of the European Investment Bank (EIB) for its lending to infrastructure projects, to support the knowledge-based economy and to help foster long-term investment. The Government are working to ensure that the EIB builds on its historic strengths in these areas and provides the maximum value added to the
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market, levering in private finance where there would otherwise be gaps and furthering the Lisbon economic reform agenda.
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