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Tim Loughton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children have died as a result of asthma symptoms in each of the last 10 years. [47458]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Tim Loughton, dated 10 April 2002:

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Number of deaths occurring to children aged under 16(60) with an underlying cause of death of asthma(61) in England and Wales in the calendar years 1991 to 2000

Calendar year(62)Number of deaths

(60) Excludes deaths under 28 days.

(61) International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD9), code 493.

(62) Figures up to 1992 relate to death registrations in each calendar year. From 1993 they relate to deaths occurring each year.


Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he proposes to publish illustrations of the effect of direct and indirect taxes in the Budget on various specimen households. [48032]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Budget documentation will contain relevant and meaningful analyses showing the impact of the Budget on different types of households.

Indirect Taxes

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what improvements in risk targeting he has initiated in 2001–02 in HM Customs and Excise in order more effectively to tackle serious non-compliance in the payment of indirect taxes. [47668]

Mr. Boateng: As part of Customs' recent restructuring, greater emphasis is being placed on risk assessment, both at national and regional levels. During 2001–02 National Risk Managers have been appointed for VAT, Excise and International trade, supported by Risk Managers in each of the seven Customs geographical regions.

Special teams have also been established to tackle risks in relation to VAT Missing Trader Intra-Community fraud and VAT Avoidance, while 20 joint teams have been set up alongside the Inland Revenue and the Department for Work and Pensions specifically to identify and tackle businesses operating in the informal economy.

Following the independent investigation conducted by John Roques into excise diversion fraud, regional and national teams have also been set up to target risk in relation to excise warehouses, complementing the risk-based controls applied to goods entering the country under duty suspense.

Aggregates Levy

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department undertook to ascertain the effects of the aggregates tax on the (a) rate proposed in the UK and (b) rates levied in other European Union countries. [48167]

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Mr. Boateng: The independent research which underpins the aggregates levy considered all aspects of the environmental damage caused by aggregate extraction. These environmental costs are reflected in the levy's rate of £1.60 per tonne.

Aggregate taxes in other EU member states are a matter for the individual states themselves.

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department undertook to ascertain the effects of the aggregates tax on (a) individual quarries in parts of the UK, (b) local government finance and (c) employment in the construction industry. [48050]

Mr. Boateng: A Regulatory Impact Assessment for the aggregates levy was published at the time of Budget 2000. It is available from the Customs and Excise website.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the (a) Scottish Executive and (b) Welsh Assembly on the subject of the aggregates levy. [48036]

Mr. Boateng: The Government has received a large number of representations regarding the aggregates levy, and has held discussions regarding its implementation with a wide range of organisations both within and outside of Government.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the total amount that will be received from Scotland in each of the next five years from the aggregates levy at the proposed rate. [48037]

Mr. Boateng: No such estimate has been made.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the introduction of the aggregates levy on the implementation of public sector infrastructure projects. [46705]

Mr. Boateng: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) on 10 December 2001, Official Report, column 687W.


Mr. Yeo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the number of subscriptions to (a) digital terrestrial, (b) digital satellite and (c) digital cable television held by his Department for services in any departmental building from which Ministers work, stating for each subscription its (i) cost and (ii) purpose. [48363]

Ruth Kelly: None.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the (a) number and (b) total cost of television licences paid for by his Department. [48362]

Ruth Kelly: The Treasury holds a multiple form TV licence at a cost of £327 covering its three buildings—Parliament street, Allington towers and Downing street.


Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage and how many seizures by

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HM Customs of illegal wildlife items under the Control of Trade in Endangered Species System resulted in successful prosecution in each year since 1997; [48003]

Mr. Boateng: HM Customs and Excise is responsible for enforcement of the restrictions on import and export from or to countries outside the European Union on goods covered by the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species and EU regulations made to implement the Convention. It is not responsible for the enforcement of controls on trade within the UK or European Union. Maximum penalties for illegal import or export are seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. There are no plans to increase these penalties.

Details of the number of seizures in each year since 1997 and the number of successful prosecutions are:

Calendar yearNumber of seizuresPersons successfully prosecuted

(63) To date

(64) Not available

The financial value of illegal wildlife items seized is not recorded since there is no legal trade in prohibited goods to provide a basis for valuation.


Mr. Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters he has received from the public since June 2001; what his target time is for reply; what percentage of letters were replied to within that time; and of those exceeding it, what the range is of time spans in which he has replied. [48173]

Mr. Boateng: Between 1 June 2001 and 28 February 2002 13,459 letters were received of which 79 per cent. were replied to within the 15 working day target. A breakdown of time spans for those exceeding target is not known and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to improve the response time to Parliamentary questions. [47712]

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Mr. Boateng: An increasing proportion of parliamentary questions has been answered on time by the Treasury in each session since PSA targets were introduced in 1998–99, and the Department is on track to meet its targets again in the present session.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average number of days, in excess of the day the question was put down for answer, that it has taken him to answer questions from (a) Opposition party hon. Members and (b) Government party hon. Members since 1 January; and if he will make a statement. [46445]

Mr. Boateng: 5.2 and 5.5 days respectively. However, 1,205 of the 1,522 written Parliamentary questions (79.1 per cent.) answered by Treasury Ministers between 1 January and 26 March received replies on or before the due date for answering.

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