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Taxation

26. Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the proportion of revenue raised by (a) direct and (b) indirect means. [27578]

Mr. Andrew Smith: No such estimates are available, however a detailed breakdown of current receipts is published in Table B11 of the November 2001 pre- Budget report.

30. Kevin Brennan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he is taking to relieve the burden of taxation on the poorest families. [27582]

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Dawn Primarolo: As a result of personal tax and benefit measures introduced since 1997, families with children in the poorest fifth of the population are on average £1,700 a year better off. The new working tax credit and child tax credit, the rates and thresholds of which will be announced in the Budget, will do more to help families on low incomes.

Low-income Families

27. Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he is taking to support families on low income. [27579]

Dawn Primarolo: Over the course of the last Parliament, the Government introduced a number of changes to help provide decent family incomes, including:


WFTC now benefits nearly 1.3 million families and on average these families are receiving £35 a week more than they did under family credit.

Building on success of WFTC, the Government will be introducing from 2003 a new credit for families with children, the child tax credit. We will provide a seamless stream of support for families, paid direct to the main carer, building on the foundations of universal child benefit. The child tax credit will be complemented by the working tax credit, which aims to improve work incentives and make work pay.

Deprived Areas

28. Derek Twigg: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to increase the levels of public expenditure on public services in areas of deprivation. [27580]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Government are committed to narrowing the gap in outcomes between the most deprived parts of the country and the rest. The National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal, published last year, sets out the Government's approach to renewing poor neighbourhoods.

Central to that approach is the harnessing of mainstream spending by Government Departments, to ensure improved basic standards of service provision in all areas of the country. Supporting this mainstream spending are a number of additional programmes, targeted toward helping the poorest off.

Aggregates Levy

32. Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the aggregates producers and construction industries in (a) Scotland and (b) the rest of the UK on the implementation of the aggregates levy. [27584]

Mr. Boateng: A number of discussions have recently been held at both ministerial and official level with representatives of the aggregates industries throughout the UK, including Scotland, about the implementation of the aggregates levy.

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Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of (a) the benefit of the proposed reduction in national insurance contributions as a result of the introduction of the aggregates levy in Scotland and (b) the yield of the levy. [29361]

Mr. Boateng: The reduction in employers' national insurance contributions associated with the introduction of the aggregates levy, along with the new sustainability fund, is designed to ensure that the aggregates levy does not result in an increased burden to business as a whole. The expected yield from the aggregates levy was published in November 2001 in the pre-Budget report.

Heavily Indebted Countries

34. Roger Casale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what further steps he is taking to reduce the foreign debt of the world's poorest countries and to eliminate global poverty. [27586]

Mr. Boateng: The UK continues to work hard to ensure that the Heavily Indebted Country (HIPC) initiative delivers a sustainable relief from debt for eligible countries. We also call on other countries to follow our leads on bilateral policies, such as 100 per cent. relief at Decision Point, and in holding payments in trust for those countries yet to receive debt relief. Already 24 countries have qualified for debt relief, and they will benefit from over $56 billion in debt reduction, which will bring their debts to below the average of developing countries.

The objective of the UK's development assistance programme is to help reduce global poverty. We recognise the need to increase the overall level of finance for development in order to achieve this and have been active in mobilising increased international resources. In his speech to the Federal Reserve bank on 16 November, the Chancellor proposed the creation of an international development trust fund and called upon donor nations to substantially increase their development assistance budgets.

Tourism

35. Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the level of value added tax applied to tourism services; and if he will make a statement. [27587]

Mr. Boateng: The Government have received various representations about the level and impact of VAT on the tourism industry, generally from businesses affected by the foot and mouth outbreak. The Government are aware of the serious financial difficulties some of these businesses are facing and have put in place a package of measures specifically aimed at helping them. This includes flexible VAT payment arrangements for all those experiencing genuine difficulties and a joint helpline, set up by Customs and the Inland Revenue, to help resolve tax matters.

Budget

36. Tim Loughton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with business leaders in advance of his forthcoming Budget. [27588]

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Mr. Boateng: The Chancellor and his Ministers have numerous meetings with business leaders on a wide range of issues.

Internet Use

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library the information in the National Statistics Omnibus for (a) 2000 and (b) 2001 on internet use, broken down by (i) age and (ii) gender, in each region and nation of the United Kingdom. [29695]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Jim Cousins, dated 24 January 2002:





Private Sector Capital

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the private sector net capital flow to and from the United Kingdom in each of last five years, indicating flows to (a) the USA, (b) South and Central America, (c) sub-Saharan Africa and (d) India and Pakistan. [29700]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Jim Cousins, dated 24 January 2002:



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