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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the increase in business investment due to taper relief in each year since its introduction; and if he will make a statement. 
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guidance given to civil servants in his Department on how to define PPPs as finance or operating leases; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: Copies of the Treasury document "Technical Note No.1 (revised)How to Account for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) transactions" have been placed in the Library. The document sets out additional practical guidance on how to apply the Accounting Standards Board's Application Note "Amendment to Financial Reporting Standard (FRS) 5Private Finance Initiative and Similar Contracts" and the requirement in the Treasury's "Resource Accounting Manual" that all complex transactions should be accounted for under the overriding principles of FRS5.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what criteria the Inland Revenue determines which firms in the construction industry are subject to an investigation of the employment status of their work force. 
Dawn Primarolo: The criteria are the same as they are for firms who do not operate in the construction industry. The Inland Revenue select firms in three different ways: a proportion is selected randomly, a proportion is selected using pre-selected criteria, and a proportion is selected using risk analysis. The Inland Revenue do not publish the pre-selected and risk criteria they use, as publication may undermine their compliance strategy.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many visits have been made by the Inland Revenue compliance staff to firms in the construction industry to investigate the employment status of their workforce; and how many investigations have been deemed successful, in each year since 1997, broken down by region. 
Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not available. Employment status examinations will often form part of a general review of employer compliance issues. Details of the employment status examinations may not be recorded separately.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will ask the Parliamentary Secretary for her Department in the House of Lords, to answer the letters of 13 August and 13 September, Reference H/DEFRA/FM/Snell/130901 from the hon. Member for Hereford; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will reply to the correspondence from the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed to the Minister for the Environment dated 19 July and 14 September relating to representations from Mr. A. Hodgson of Berwick-upon-Tweed. 
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 3 December 2001]: A response to Mr. Hodgson's letter of 11 July was sent on 21 January. A copy of this response was sent to the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed on 23 January. I apologise for the long delay in replying.
Mr. Morley: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to all Members of Parliament on 14 November 2001 setting out her assessment of the current problems on correspondence. The Department suffered severe disruption last year due to allocating top priority to defeating the food and mouth epidemic. On top of this the sheer volume of correspondence received since the creation of DEFRA has had a major impact on the Department's performance. I accept this is not an adequate excuse for not giving hon. Members timely responses, and now that normality is returning to the Department one of our key priorities is to rectify weaknesses in our service delivery. The size of our correspondence section has increased threefold and the line management strengthened; our IT systems have been updated and are in the process of being further improved and new guidance has been circulated throughout the Department. These actions are already beginning to bear fruit and it is hoped that the last of the backlog cases will be dispatched over the next few weeks.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many letters from hon. Members to her Department did not receive substantive replies within (a) one month, (b) three months and (c) six months in 2001; and if she will make a statement on her Department's performance against targets in relation to response times to letters from hon. Members. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 January 2002]: Unfortunately our system is currently not sophisticated enough to produce these figures, although we are in the process of having it upgraded. However staff have conducted an extensive manual trawl which put the total for (a) at approximately 4,000 letters and the total for (b) at approximately 1,800 letters. For (c) 110 letters had not received a response after six months.
The Secretary of State wrote to all Members of Parliament on 14 November setting out her assessment of the Department's current problems on correspondence. The Department suffered severe disruption last year due to allocating top priority to defeating the foot and mouth epidemic. On top of this the sheer volume of correspondence received since the creation of DEFRA had a major impact on the Department's performance, resulting in a large backlog of letters. I accept this is not an adequate excuse for not giving hon. Members timely responses, and now that normality is returning to the Department one of our key priorities is to rectify weaknesses in our service delivery and to meet our response time targets. The size of our correspondence section has increased threefold and the line management strengthened; our IT systems have been upgraded and are in the process of being further improved; and new guidance has been circulated throughout the Department.
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Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to her answer of 21 November 2001, Official Report, column 315W, if she will adopt a policy on fly tipping similar to that adopted by the National Assembly for Wales. 
Mr. Meacher: Fly tipping is a blight on our countryside and towns and is an antisocial activity wherever it takes place and whoever is responsible for it. The stringent controls in place to ensure that waste is dealt with properly apply both in England and Wales.
The National Assembly for Wales (NAW) initiated a special drive against fly tipping. As part of this, the NAW voted £400,000 for a two year project, (running in the financial years 200001 and 200102) to support targeted waste enforcement. Three targeted enforcement teams were established. These teams work closely with other agency staff and other enforcement agencies such as the police, local authorities and the benefits agency. This has involved an intelligence led approach to enforcement, selectively targeting those activities that are of greatest impact to the environment.
This campaign was in part a response to concerns that fly tipping was becoming a particular problem in Wales and as a result, the number of successful prosecutions has increased from 24 in 1999 at the start of the project to 48 in 2000. Similar improvements are expected for the year 2001 to 2002.
The Environment Agency continues also to give the need to combat fly tipping a high priority in England. The agency is currently working to establish a central unit to co-ordinate the agency's approach to environmental crime.
Furthermore, the Fly Tipping Stakeholders' Forum, which comprises local authorities, business and landowners representatives, and is chaired by the Environment Agency, has produced a fly tipping guidance document, which provides information and guidance for all those who are affected and/or concerned by fly tipping. The document is available on the web at: http:// www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/wasteman/ flytip/
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