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World Poverty

23. Tony Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on progress in international efforts to relieve world poverty. [53565]

Mr. Boateng: There has been positive progress made recently. In March, the United Nations conference on financing for development held in Monterrey helped to mobilise substantial increased aid commitments

In March EU member states agreed to increase their aid volumes in the next four years so that collectively an EU average of 0.39 per cent. of national income is reached by 2006—a seven billion dollar a year increase in aid from 2006, and potentially cumulatively 20 billion dollars before then.

Furthermore, the United States has committed to increasing its aid by five billion dollars a year from 2006—a 50 per cent. increase in the US aid budget.

The Monterrey Consensus—which sets out a balanced agenda of partnership and mutual accountability—was formally adopted by UN members; particularly welcome are the emphasis to good governance and the rule of law.

The recent spring meetings on the IMF and World bank discussed progress made at Monterrey, and both institutions have given their full support. Aid increases and a global agreed agenda set out in the Monterrey consensus, will help provide a stronger international foundation on which to relieve world poverty.

Combating Crime

26. Dr. Palmer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ensure that sufficient funds in the comprehensive spending review are allocated for combating the causes of crime. [53568]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Announcements about budgets for all Departments will be made at the conclusion of the 2002 spending review.

Health Inequalities

28. Derek Twigg: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the impact the Budget will have on reducing health inequalities over the next five to 10 years. [53570]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Key measures in Budget 2002 that will contribute to meeting the Government's targets on health inequalities are:

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Renewable Energy

29. Ian Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he made of the needs of manufacturers of renewable energy equipment when preparing his Budget. [53571]

Mr. Boateng: The Chancellor considers a wide range of representations when preparing his Budget. The Budget announced that solar water heating systems will be eligible for enhanced capital allowances, while most forms of renewable energy are exempt from the climate change levy. The Government are also providing direct support for renewable energy worth over £260 million between 2001 and 2004, and renewable energy is also supported through the renewables obligation, which requires all electricity suppliers to source a minimum percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.

Aggregates Levy

30. Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the operation of the aggregates levy. [53572]

Mr. Boateng: The levy came into effect on 1 April 2002.

488 businesses have registered for and are operating the levy.

Stamp Duty

31. Hugh Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the level of stamp duty on commercial property transactions. [53573]

Ruth Kelly: Stamp duty on property currently raises around £4 billion per annum, about 40 per cent. of which derives from commercial transactions. We regularly review the impact of stamp duty on all aspects of the commercial market.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor confirmed in the Budget his intention to lift the cap on stamp duty relief for non-residential property transactions in disadvantaged areas, subject to state aids approval, giving a boost to commercial development in these areas.

Halifax (Ombudsman's Ruling)

32. Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ask the Financial Services Authority to issue a formal statement on (a) how the Halifax has handled the dual variable rate mortgage issue since the Ombudsman made his ruling and (b) what steps consumers should take to claim compensation. [53574]

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Ruth Kelly: It is for the FSA to take any action it deems appropriate as part of its on-going supervision of banks. The FSA has already published a guide to making a complaint and this is available free from its help desk (0845 606 1234).

Tax Credits

35. Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the take-up rate is of each of the tax credits. [53577]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Mr. Cousins) on 24 April 2002, Official Report, column 336W.

Community Investment Tax Credit

36. Ms Walley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his timetable in respect of the introduction of the community investment tax credit. [53578]

Mr. Boateng: We will bring forward legislation for the community investment tax credit in the Finance Bill. Organisations will then be able to apply for tax credit status during 2002–03, subject to State Aids approval for the measure.

Film Tax Relief

37. John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of film tax relief in 2004–05 after the Budget 2002 measures have been implemented. [53579]

Mr. Andrew Smith: It is estimated that the gross amount of relief given under section 48 Finance (No.2) Act 1997 given in 2004–05 will be £320 million. When compared with tax relief that would be available in the absence of section 48 reliefs the net tax cost is £70 million. The net tax cost of other film tax reliefs in that year is estimated at a further £70 million. The decision in Budget 2002 to restrict eligibility to British feature films intended for cinema release will reduce the amount of relief in 2004–05 by £295 million.

Family Income (South-west)

40. Jim Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people in the south-west who will be affected by his measures to support lower and middle income families. [53582]

Dawn Primarolo: There are 575,000 families with children in the south-west. Around 90 per cent. of these families will be eligible for the child tax credit, which together with child benefit will deliver up to £54.25 in support for the first child from April 2003. There are currently 105,000 families with children in the south-west benefiting from the working families' tax credit.

Landfill Tax

Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost to the Treasury will be (a) at the outset of its introduction and (b) projected in the next three years of the landfill tax. [53720]

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Mr. Boateng: The landfill tax was introduced on 1 October 1996 and raised £0.4 billion in its first full year. The projected revenue from the landfill tax was published on 17 April in the Financial Statement and Budget Report 2002. The administrative cost of collecting the landfill tax is less than £2 million per annum.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the percentage of (a) alcohol, (b) tobacco and (c) pornographic material that escaped detection and was imported illegally into the United Kingdom in each of the past three years. [54817]

Mr. Boateng: Customs latest figures for the revenue value of detected alcohol and tobacco fraud and smuggling are for 2000–01 and are contained in Customs annual report for that year.

Customs latest estimates for the revenue loss and illicit market shares arising from all forms of alcohol and tobacco fraud were published in the documents "Tackling Indirect Tax Fraud" and "Measuring Indirect Tax Fraud" at the time of the pre-Budget report in November 2001. They also contain the most recently published figures for Customs cigarette seizures.

Customs have no estimates of the total amount of pornographic material illegally imported into the UK.

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