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Illegal Meat Imports

Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with other Government departments on the (a) level of illegal meat imports to the UK and (b) effectiveness of port controls and enforcement measures to tackle illegal meat imports, in respect of his role in assessing the work of HM Customs and Excise. [19544]

Mr. Boateng: Treasury Ministers regularly have discussions with ministerial colleagues across Government on a wide variety of matters.

Customs officials frequently consult officials in other Government Departments, particularly the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, about the operation and effectiveness of controls on meat imports.

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In accordance Exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information it would be inappropriate to provide details of such inter-departmental discussions.


Mr. Burnett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will explain the VAT treatment given to VAT invoices rendered for work done for the Treasury by outside contractors. [19137]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 29 November 2001]: Invoices in relation to taxable supplies of goods or services should include the appropriate amount of VAT.

Port Officials

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements exist for (a) Customs and Excise and (b) immigration officials to be present at a port which does not have a permanent presence of such officials when a request is made for foreign tourists to disembark at that port; and if he will make a statement on what restrictions geography imposes on such officials being present. [18924]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 29 November 2001]: HM Customs and Excise conducts risk assessments of all traffic and locations in the United Kingdom. Resources are deployed flexibly to address that risk. The absence of a permanent presence at a location does not mean that Customs does not deploy there to address specific risks.

Immigration officers routinely attend ports which do not have a permanent presence, in order to examine passengers arriving on services originating from outside the European economic area. Other services are closely monitored and carriers are required to fax passenger manifests to a designated local immigration office. Immigration officers also make regular unannounced visits to unmanned ports in order to ensure that the correct procedures are being followed.

Customs and Immigration maintain close links, sharing intelligence and undertaking special exercises where these are appropriate.

Departmental Expenditure Limits

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the total unallocated funds within his departmental expenditure limit (a) at the start of the financial year and (b) to date; and what was the month seven forecast on outturn underspend against his departmental expenditure limit in (i) real and (ii) percentage terms. [19441]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Treasury's Departmental Unallocated Provision (DUP) set for the present financial year is tabulated on page 162 of its departmental annual report for 2001–02 (Cm 5116). Draw-down of the DUP has been reported to Parliament in Supplementary Estimates. Outturn against six-month forecast for each Request for Resources will be published in the Winter Supplementary Estimates Summary Request for Supply as usual.

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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the implications for the Public Sector Borrowing Requirement for financial years (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03 of Railtrack remaining in administration; and if he will make a statement. [19607]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Loans made to the administrator by DTLR of £1.17 billion so far, and any additional lending in the future, will not score on the Public Sector Net Borrowing. Such loans will add to the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement when given, and reduce it when repaid. Repayment is anticipated before the end of this financial year.

Working Families Tax Credit

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in receipt of one or more of the various components of working families tax credit have a final income of (a) more than twice, (b) more than two and half times and (c) more than three times their initial net income. [19833]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 4 December 2001]: It is estimated from the Family Resources Survey that, under the working families tax credit regime applying to awards starting from June 2001, the numbers of such families are about (a) 70,000, and (b) 40,000. The sample size is too small to yield a reliable estimate for (c).

Family Credits

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate how many families are (a) eligible for and (b) receiving (i) the children's tax credit and (ii) the working families tax credit, at the latest date for which figures are available. [20128]

Dawn Primarolo: The numbers of recipients of working families tax credit (WFTC) are shown in the WFTC Quarterly Enquiries, copies of which are in the Library. No reliable estimate of the number of families eligible for WFTC can be attempted until the Family Resources Survey for 2000–01 is available for analysis.

It is estimated that around 5 million families are eligible for the children's tax credit (CTC). About 3.6 million application forms have been received at the latest count. A large number of families eligible for the CTC will be able to claim it via self assessment.

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Teenage Pregnancies

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many girls resident in the Buckingham constituency registered (a) the conception and (b) the birth of a child before the age of 16 years in each year since 1997. [20133]

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

Letter from John Pullinger to Mr. John Bercow, dated 30 November 2001:

Numbers of conceptions and livebirths under age 16: Residents of Buckingham parliamentary constituency: 1997–2000

Conceptions under 16Livebirths under 16

(15) Figures not yet available


Office for National Statistics

Specialist Tobacconists

Mr. Barron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many specialist tobacconists there are in the UK, defined as a shop selling tobacco products, more than half of whose sales on the premises in question derive from the sales of cigars, snuff, pipe tobacco and smoking accessories; and what proportion of total UK sales as a percentage of turnover are sold through these shops. [20165]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 3 December 2001]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from John Pullinger to Mr. Kevin Barron, dated 30 November 2001:

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