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Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will state the reasons for the size of the variation between HM Customs and Excise's upper and lower estimates of revenue lost from frauds on petrol and diesel, as reported in paragraph 7 of the National Audit Office report, HC614; 
(3) what his estimate is of the revenue loss from frauds on petrol and diesel in (a) 200001 and (b) 200102; 
(4) what his estimate is of the revenue lost from frauds on diesel in Great Britain in (a) 200001, and (b) 200102; 
(5) if he will place in the Library a description of the methodology used by HM Customs and Excise to calculate the revenue lost from frauds on petrol and diesel. 
Mr. Boateng: The methodology used by HM Customs and Excise to estimate the revenue lost from frauds on petrol and diesel, and details of those estimates currently available, can be found in "Measuring Indirect Tax Fraud", a paper published alongside the pre-Budget report, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) for how many minutes of a working day the VAT Department Trader Register has been unavailable on average over the last 12 months for which figures are available; 
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Mr. Boateng: The VAT Departmental Trader Register has been unavailable on average for 36 minutes per day over the last 12 months. Almost half of this related to pre-planned downtime for system upgrades. On such occasions staff were notified in advance enabling them to plan their work accordingly.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what plans he has to press for the amendment of the Sixth VAT Directive following the decision of the European Court of Justice in 'Commission v. the Netherlands' (C-338/98); 
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what requirements HM Customs and Excise impose on the suppliers of digital certificates for VAT in order for those certificates to be accepted. 
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Additionally, the service must be approved by a Government recognised approval body, or the trust service provider must have committed to achieve such approval.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what method of selection he used to determine the organisations accepted by HM Customs and Excise as suppliers of digital certificates for VAT. 
Mr. Boateng: The Government welcome digital certificates as evidence of identity issued by any trust services that meet Government guidelines for identification of individuals and businesses, provided:
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is the Government's policy to seek amendments to European VAT directives to allow HM Customs and Excise to refuse applications from traders to register for VAT in cases where they have continuing concerns about possible fraud. 
Mr. Boateng: Tackling VAT missing trader fraud is a Customs VAT fraud priority. In "Tackling Indirect Tax Fraud", published at the pre-Budget report, the outline of customs strategy to tackle the fraud was set out. It includes a commitment to evaluate new legal and system options for tackling this fraud.
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VAT returns electronically. The review aims to achieve the optimum balance between ease of use while maintaining the necessary level of security. The review will take into account any latest advice from the Office of the e-Envoy on Government policy in this area.
Customs currently allows any digital certificate approved by the Office of the e-Envoy to be used with the electronic VAT return. Two organisations have approved products: Equifax and the British Chambers of Commerce.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many cases since July 2001 HM Customs and Excise (a) removed a National Lottery terminal from a trader convicted of selling unmarked tobacco products, (b) objected to the renewal of a liquor licence and (c) asked a franchise-owner to take action against a franchisee. 
Mr. Boateng: Customs notify Camelot when a lottery terminal holder has been convicted of an excise offence. Any decision to remove the lottery terminal remains with Camelot. Since April 2001, Customs have not sent any notifications to Camelot.
Customs notify the police when a person holding a liquor licence has excise goods seized, or is convicted of an excise offence. The police are responsible for lodging any objections to the renewal of a liquor licence. Since April 2001, Customs have notified the police on one occasion.
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