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Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to assist Bank of England officials in making an analysis of whether the five economic tests for euro membership have been met; and if he will make a statement. [63120]

Ruth Kelly: The Government have said that they will complete an assessment of the five tests within two years of the start of this Parliament. It is clear that the assessment will be a Government assessment and that the work will be undertaken by the Treasury. Once the assessment is complete, the Government will publish the conclusions and the report.

20 Jun 2002 : Column 460W

Consultation Exercises

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many consultation exercises the Treasury has launched in each year since 1997. [59403]

John Healey: Details of HM Treasury consultation papers released since 2000, including their opening and closing dates, are available on the Treasury's website (

Since 1997, the Treasury has issued 79 consultations on its website. The totals by year were:

Public Appointments

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what public appointments he has made since 7 June 2001. [62188]

Ruth Kelly: The Chancellor announced on 1 June 2002 that Laurel Powers-Freeling had been appointed to the Court of the Bank of England and that Bridget Blow, Sir Howard Davies, Sir Ian Gibson and Kathleen O'Donovan had been reappointed.


Mr. Moore: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage of full-time workers in (a) Scotland, (b) each of the unitary local authority areas in Scotland and (c) Great Britain earned gross pay (i) including and (ii) excluding overtime less than (A) £302.12 per week, (B) £277.24 per week, (C) £203.85 per week and (D) £155.39 per week who were (1) male manual (2) male non-manual, (3) male, (4) female manual, (5) female non-manual, (6) female, (7) manual and (8) non-manual workers; [62914]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Michael Moore, dated 20 June 2002:

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Road Taxes

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money was collected in taxation from motorists in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [62674]

John Healey: Details of revenues collected from excise duties on road fuels, and from vehicle excise duty, are published annually in the Financial Statement and Budget Report (FSBR). A collated series of annual duty receipts from road fuels is included in HM Customs "Hydrocarbon Oils Factsheet", a copy of which is available from the House of Commons Library.

Details of income tax on benefits in kind relating to company cars and free fuel are given on the Inland Revenue's website.

Data are not available on the total VAT from the purchase of road fuels, nor on the VAT raised on the purchase of all motor vehicles.

Information regarding insurance premium tax on motor insurance premiums is not available, as Customs and Excise do not require insurers to identify the specific types of insurance policies on which insurance premium tax is paid.


Mr. Todd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has asked that products which offer an alternative to natural resources be considered in the 2003 EU review of products qualifying for reduced VAT; and if he will make a statement. [62905]

John Healey: The UK intends to play a full and active part in the forthcoming review of the EU's VAT reduced rate provisions. The Government are considering carefully the merits of changes to the existing list of products to which a reduced rate may be applied, and will be making representations, as appropriate, in due course.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to reduce VAT on domestic repair and maintenance. [63051]

John Healey: A reduced rate of VAT on domestic repair and maintenance would be a major change to the VAT base. Such a change would require careful consideration of all social, environmental and economic effects.

Unpaid Advisers

Mr. Willis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 246W, on unpaid advisers, if he will list the steps that were taken to ensure that no conflicts of interest arose as a result of this appointment. [62969]

Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by the Prime Minister on 19 June 2002, Official Report, column 332W.

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Tax Credits

John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are in receipt of (a) the working families tax credit and (b) the disabled persons tax credit in (i) the Edinburgh, West constituency, (ii) the City of Edinburgh local authority area, (iii) Scotland and (iv) the UK; and what percentage these figures represent of the estimated numbers of the people who are eligible for the credits in these respective areas. [63193]

Dawn Primarolo: For the numbers in receipt of the tax credits, I refer the hon. Member to my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Hepburn) on 16 January 2002, Official Report, column 293W.

No reliable estimate of the take-up rate of the working families' tax credit can be attempted until the Family Resources Survey for 2000–01 is analysed; and no reliable estimates can be made below the national level, or for the disabled person's tax credit.

Interest Rates

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the annual savings to the Exchequer which would result from lower debt interest costs if United Kingdom interest rates were (a) 0.5 per cent., (b) 0.75 per cent., (c) 1 per cent., (d) 2 per cent. and (e) 3 per cent. lower across the yield curve for (i) 2001–02, (ii) 2002–03, (iii) 2003–4, (iv) 2004–05, (v) 2005–06 and (vi) 2006–07. [63210]

Ruth Kelly: Each percentage point reduction, across all years, in short and long term interest rates, would lead to savings in debt interest payments of approximately £0.6 billion in 2002–03 and £0.8 billion in 2003–04. No projections have been published for years beyond 2003–04.

Children's Tax Credit

Mr. Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families are receiving children's tax credit in the London borough of Wandsworth. [63589]

Dawn Primarolo: Information about the children's tax credit (CTC) is not available by local authority. However, the number of families who are eligible for the CTC in London is estimated to be 475,000.

Margaret Moran: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the children's tax credit on Luton. [60336]

Dawn Primarolo: In this tax year families with children in Luton are up to £529 better off, and if they have a new baby, up to £1,049 better off as a result of the children's tax credit.


Official Visits

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Prime Minister (1) on how many occasions his (a) Chief of Staff, (b) Director of Communications and Strategy and (c) other members of his office travelled abroad on official business between 31 March 2001 and 31 March 2002; what places were visited; and how much each visit cost; [58732]

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The Prime Minister: In the period 31 March 2001 to 31 March 2002, my Chief of Staff, my Director of Communications and Strategy and other members of my office have travelled overseas on official business, including accompanying me on official visits, on 93 occasions.

The costs of all officials who accompanied me on overseas visits are included in the detailed list of Cabinet Ministers' visits overseas and information on expenditure by all Ministers on travel overseas. The list for the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002 will be published as soon as possible.

The average cost of all other official travel was approximately £1,516 per visit.

All visits have been made in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Civil Service Management Code. These arrangements follow the practice of successive Administrations.

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