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Beer Duty

Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his statement of 17 April 2002, Official Report, column 584, on the decrease in beer duty for smaller brewers, what plans he has to monitor the effect on consumer prices. [56506]

Mr. Boateng: The impact of all Budget measures is closely monitored.

European Union

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list for each year since 1997, (a) contributions and (b) receipts between each member state and the European Community, and figures relating thereto, as were published in (i) the Official Report, 19 February 1997, columns 573–76W and (ii) those of 17 December 1998, Official Report, columns 757–60W. [56635]

Ruth Kelly: Updated versions of the tables provided on 17 December 1998 are as follows. Information relating to UK gross contributions to, abatement and public sector receipts from the EC Budget from 1996 to 2000, broken down by the various elements asked for on 19 February 1997, in current prices, can be found in Table 3 of the White Paper, European Community Finances (Cm 5173).

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Table 1—Net contributions by member states 1997–2000
euro million

Member state199819992000
Belgium(26)1,427.51,275.51,457.1
Denmark192.3144.687.8
Germany10,465.711,359.011,708.4
Greece-4,566.3-3,640.9-4,145.2
Spain-6,482.6-6,656.1-4,315.1
France1,718.31,164.42,407.6
Ireland-2,134.8-1,822.6-1,524.2
Italy2,110.61,751.7289.7
Luxembourg(26)133.7114.0105.4
Netherlands3,046.63,358.03,303.1
Austria822.4836.0721.7
Portugal-2,824.4-2,677.4-1,934.6
Finland228.6310.1-137.9
Sweden1,122.51,226.91,469.1
UK5,659.05,290.06,181.2

(26) A negative figure indicates the member state is a net recipient.

The table above has been compiled from the annual reports of the European Court of Auditors and the European Commission's publication, Allocation of 2000 EU Operating Expenditure by Member State. These reports do not attribute all EC spending between members states and do not provide a full picture of net contributions. In particular, the effects of administration spending are understated. Most EC administration spending is disbursed in Belgium and Luxembourg. The figures for these countries must therefore be treated with considerable caution.

Source:

Court of Auditors Reports and European Commission publication, Allocation of 2000 Operating Expenditure by Member State.


Table 2—Percentage of member states GDP accounted for by the net contribution or receipt

Member state199819992000
Belgium*0.640.550.59
Denmark0.120.090.05
Germany0.540.570.58
Greece-4.21-3.11-3.41
Spain-1.24-1.18-0.71
France0.130.090.17
Ireland-2.77-2.08-1.48
Italy0.200.160.02
Luxembourg*0.820.630.51
Netherlands0.870.900.82
Austria0.440.420.35
Portugal-2.83-2.50-1.70
Finland0.200.26-0.10
Sweden0.530.540.60
UK0.450.390.40

* See note in Table 1 regarding Belgium and Luxembourg net contribution.

Note:

A negative figure indicates the member state is a net recipient.

Source:

GDP figures taken from European Commission publication: European Economy No. 72 (2002).

Net contributions as in Table 1.


Table 3—Net contribution per capita by member state
£ sterling

Member state199819992000
Belgium*93.982.186.6
Denmark24.417.910.0
Germany85.791.186.9
Greece-291.5-227.6-239.6
Spain-110.5-111.2-66.6
France19.112.624.1
Ireland-386.8-320.3-245.3
Italy24.620.03.1
Luxembourg*210.4173.5146.3
Netherlands130.2139.8126.5
Austria68.368.054.2
Portugal-190.2-176.4-117.8
Finland29.839.5-16.2
Sweden85.191.2100.9
UK64.158.563.1

* See note in Table 1 regarding Belgium and Luxembourg net contribution.

Note:

A negative figure indicates the member state is a net recipient.

Source:

Population figures taken from European Commission publication: European Economy No. 72 (2002).

Conversion to £ sterling using the annual average £/C= exchange rate.

Net contributions as in Table 1.


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Committee Mandates

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mandate of the European Securities Committee is; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [56765]

Ruth Kelly: The role and responsibilities of the European Securities Committee are set out in the resolution of the European Council on more effective securities market regulation in the European Union of 23 March 2001 and Commission Decision COM 2001/1493.

Since the start of May 2001 the European Securities Committee has met five times. Each member state has appointed a representative and alternate to the Committee. Officials from HM Treasury represent the UK.

The information regarding the annual cost of the Committee's work to public funds can be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

The items currently under consideration by the European Securities Committee include: implementing the Lamfalussy process; post-Enron issues; and the activities of the Committee of European Securities Regulators.

The regular EU scrutiny process ensures transparency to Parliament; where the Commission issues a depositable text as a result of the Committee's work, the document along with an Explanatory Memorandum are examined by the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committees.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mandate of the Advisory Committee on value added tax is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [56792]

Mr. Boateng: The legal base of the Advisory Committee on value added tax is set out in Article 29 of the Sixth VAT Directive (EC Directive 77/388). The Committee has a mandate to discuss any questions relating to the application of the Directive.

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Since the beginning of May 2001 the Committee has met on three occasions.

The UK is normally represented by one or two officials from HM Customs and Excise.

Travel expenses for one official are reimbursed by the Commission. The usual cost of overnight accommodation and subsistence per day per official is 217.95 euro (£134.70).

Items under consideration concern any questions on the application of the Community provisions on value added tax.

Accountability and transparency to Parliament is ensured by the regular EU scrutiny process.

Together with member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of the committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (COM (2001)783) Final.

As part of the review process, the UK Government has encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agenda and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mandate of the Committee on Excise Duties is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [56716]

Mr. Boateng: The legal base of the Excise Committee is set out in Article 24 of Council directive 92/12/EEC on the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty and on the holding, movement and monitoring of such products.

The committee has met twice since May 2001.

The UK is normally represented by two officials of HM Customs and Excise.

Travel expenses for one official are reimbursed by the Commission. The usual cost of overnight accommodation and subsistence per day per official is 217.95 euro (£134.70).

Items under consideration concern interpretation and application of the EC provisions on excise duties and procedures.

Accountability and transparency to Parliament is ensured by the regular EU scrutiny process.

Together with member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line

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with Council decision 1999/468/EEC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of the committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (Com(2001)783 Final).

As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mandate of the Customs 2002 Committee is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [56789]

Mr. Boateng: The legal base for the Customs 2002 committee is set out in Council decision 105/2000/EC. It has a mandate to manage the application of the Customs 2002 programme.

The committee has met twice in the last 12 months.

Representation is normally two officials from HM Customs and Excise.

Travel expenses for one official are reimbursed by the Commission. The usual cost of overnight accommodation and subsistence per day per official is 217.95 euro (£134.70).

Items under consideration at present are the evaluation of the current programme, which ends in December this year, and the establishment on a replacement Customs 2007 programme.

Accountability and transparency to Parliament is ensured by the regular EU scrutiny process.

Together with member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of the committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (COM(2001)783) Final.

As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agenda and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the mandate of the committee on administrative co-operation in the field of indirect taxation, including the Fiscalis programme (SCAC), and considering anti-fraud (SCAF) measures is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what

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the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement; [56794]

Mr. Boateng: The legal base for the Standing Committee on Administrative Co-operation (SCAC) is set out in Article 10 of Regulation 218/93. It also operates as the committee referred to in Article 9 of Council Directive 77/799/EEC and in Article 11 of Decision 888/98/EC.

The committee has the authority to establish sub-committees and working parties to assist it with its work. Three sub-committees have been established:


The main committee has met twice since the end of May 2001 and each of the subcommittees between one and three occasions.

Depending on the agenda, the UK is represented by either one or two officials from HM Customs and Excise.

Travel expenses for one official are reimbursed by the commission. The usual cost of overnight accommodation and subsistence per day per official is 217.95 euro (£134.70).

Accountability and transparency to Parliament is ensured by the regular EU scrutiny process.

Together with member states, the commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this decision, the commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of the committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (COM(2001)783) Final.

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As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agenda and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mandate of the Contact Committee on certain schemes for collective investment in securities is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [56764]

Ruth Kelly: The role and responsibilities of the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS) Contact Committee are set out in Article 53 of Council Directive 85/611/EEC.

Since the start of May 2001, the UCITS Contact Committee has met on two occasions. In accordance with Article 53 of Council Directive 85/611/EEC, member states each appoint representatives to the Committee; the UK is represented by officials from HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority.

The information regarding the annual cost of the Committee's work to public finds can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The items currently under consideration by the UCITS Contact Committee are harmonised implementation of Directives 2001/107/EC and 2001/108/EC amending Directive 85/611/EEC.

The regular EU scrutiny process ensures transparency to Parliament; where the Commission issues a depositable text as a result of the Committee's work the document along with an Explanatory Memorandum are examined by the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committees.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mandate of the Insurance Committee is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [56750]

Ruth Kelly: The role and responsibilities of the Insurance Committee are set out in Council Directive 91/675/EEC. While the Committee has comitology powers these have never been used to date.

Since the start of May 2001, the Insurance Committee has met on two occasions. In accordance with Article 1 of Council Directive 91/675/EEC, member states each appoint representatives to the Committee: the UK is represented by an official from HM Treasury and an official from the Financial Services Authority.

The information regarding the annual cost of the Committee's work to public finds can be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

The items considered at the last meeting of the Insurance Committee in April 2002 included reinsurance supervision; issues relating to financial conglomerates, insurance groups and credit risks; terrorism; environmental liability; and enlargement. The Committee also considered its own rules of procedure, and the

20 May 2002 : Column 99W

application of the new rules on public access to documents under Regulation (EC) 1049/2001. The regular EU scrutiny process ensures transparency to Parliament; where the Commission issues a depositable text as a result of the Committee's work, the document along with an Explanatory Memoranda are examined by the Scrutiny Committees.

Together with member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (Com (2001) 783 Final).

As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mandate of the Committee on mutual assistance for the recovery of claims is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [56793]

Mr. Boateng: The legal base for the Committee on mutual assistance for the recovery of claims is set out in Article 20 of Directive 76/308 as amended by Directive 2001/44 EC. The committee may examine any matter concerning the application of this directive.

The committee has met three times since May 2001.

The UK is typically represented by two officials of the Revenue Departments.

Travel expenses for two officials are reimbursed by the Commission. The usual cost of overnight accommodation and subsistence per day per official is 217.95 euro (£134.70).

The main item under discussion is the implementation of the revised Mutual Assistance for the Recovery of Debts Directive.

Accountability and transparency to Parliament is ensured by the regular EU scrutiny process.

Together with member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February (Com(2001)783 Final).

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As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the mandate of the Customs Code Committee dealing with customs valuation is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement; [56773]

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Mr. Boateng: The legal basis for all sections of the Customs Code Committee is set out in Article 247 of the Community Customs Code (Council Regulation EEC 2913/92). The mandate of the committee is to examine any questions relating to the implementation of this regulation.

The following table shows the frequency of meetings for all sections of the Customs Code Committee.

Name of section(27)Meetings in last year
Tariff Quotas3
Customs Warehouses and Free Zones12
Duty Free Arrangements1
Customs Valuation7
Customs Procedures with Economic Impact7
General Rules2
Counterfeit and Pirating4
Tariff and Statistical24
Transit12
Movements of Air and Sea passengers(28)

(27) There is no such section of the Custom Code Committee dealing with recovery of claims.

(28) No meetings.


The UK is normally represented by one official from HM Customs and Excise.Travel expenses for one official are reimbursed by the Commission. The usual cost of overnight accommodation and subsistence per day per official is 217.95 euro (£134.70).

Items considered by the sections of the committee all relate to the implementation, interpretation and application of Community Customs Code.

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Accountability and transparency to Parliament is ensured by the regular EU process. EC documents which fall within the Scrutiny Terms of Reference are deposited with Parliament along with an Explanatory Memorandum for examination by the Scrutiny Committees.

Together with member states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".

As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (Com(2001)783 Final).

As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the mandate of the Banking Advisory Committee is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if she will make a statement. [56748]

Ruth Kelly: The role and responsibilities of the Banking Advisory Committee are set out in Title VI of Council Directive 2000/12/EC. While the Committee does have comitology powers these have not been exercised for some years.

Since the start of May 2001 the Banking Advisory Committee has met on four occasions. In accordance with Article 57 of Council Directive 2000/12/EC, member states each appoint representatives to the Committee: the UK is represented by an official from HM Treasury and two officials from the Financial Services Authority.

The information regarding the annual cost of the Committee's work to public funds can only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

The items considered at the last meeting of the Banking Advisory Committee in March 2002 included issues relating to the work of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision; Bank accounting and auditing; accession countries (enlargement) and financial stability. The Committee also considered its own internal rules including the application of the new regulation on public access to documents under Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 of 30 May 2001, and the comitology function of the Committee.

The regular EU Scrutiny process ensures transparency to Parliament; where the Commission issues a depositable text as a result of the Committee's work, the document along with an Explanatory Memorandum are examined by the Scrutiny Committees.

Together with members states, the Commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of comitology committees into line

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with Council Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission". As an obligation to this Decision, the Commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (Com(2001) 783 Final. As part of the review process, the UK Government has encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.


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