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MPs (Personal Data)

Mr. Forth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information is held by his Department on each hon. Member in relation to (a) personal relationships, both

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current and past, (b) financial status and dealings, (c) connections with companies and interest groups, (d) connections with Governments and (e) published works; and what was held in January 2002. [61819]

Ruth Kelly: Information that may be held by the Treasury, Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise is limited to what is available from published reference sources, information which the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise hold in connection with the tax affairs of individuals and companies and information that HM Customs and Excise may also hold in connection with other matters such as customs investigations. Aside from information from published sources, the Departments are debarred from releasing such information to third parties either by statute or as a result of their duty of confidence to the individuals concerned.

Landfill Tax

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will set out the timescale for changing the landfill tax rules to make contaminated soil disposed of to landfill liable to the full rate of landfill tax; [63489]

John Healey: The Government are satisfied that the exemption from landfill tax for waste arising from the clear up of contaminated land is continuing to play an important role in encouraging the redevelopment of brownfield sites, and have no plans to withdraw it. HM Customs and Excise will, however, review the exemption in 2004, in the light of developments in waste management techniques.


Mr. Beggs: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assets belonging to Saddam Hussein have been seized and are held by the UK Government; and if he will make a statement. [63552]

Ruth Kelly: The most recent (first quarter 2002) statistical returns to the Bank of England indicate that UK banks' liabilities to Iraq amount to $634 million. These funds are frozen under the terms of Article 3 of The Iraq (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2000. There are restrictions in the Order on the disclosure of details relating to individual accounts. The Government is committed to maintaining UN controls on its international obligations against the Government of Saddam Hussein until Iraq complies with UN Security Council resolutions.

Black Economy

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is his policy to include the black economy activity in EU countries when assessing convergence; and what his assessment is of the effect of so doing in respect of each EU economy. [63864]

Ruth Kelly: The Government has said that it will complete an assessment of the five economic tests within two years of the start of this Parliament.

Tax Credits

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 10 May 2002, Official Report,

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column 396W, on tax credits, whether the figure for the number of recipients of child tax credit in paragraph 3.2 of "The Child and Working Tax Credits: The Modernisation of Britain's Tax and Benefit System", represents the number of families expected to (a) claim and (b) be eligible for CTC. [64210]

Dawn Primarolo: In the publication, "The Child and Working Tax Credits: The Modernisation of Britain's Tax and Benefit System", families receiving the child tax credit are defined as those expected to both claim and be eligible for the credit.

Endowment Mortgages

Ian Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to compel the publication of the commissions earned by sellers of endowment policies. [64314]

Ruth Kelly: Independent financial advisers who advise on the sale of endowment policies are required to disclose the cash value of commissions they would earn on those sales before a policy is effected.

Equivalent disclosure, of the costs of the sale, is required where a tied salesman makes a sale.


Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received concerning anomalies and disincentives in the tax system facing individual and corporate landlords. [63910]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have received a number of representations from a variety of organisations regarding taxation.

Economic Growth

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the accuracy of UK economic growth figures prepared by the Office for National Statistics. [61975]

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

Letter from John Kidgell to Mr. Nick Gibb, dated 25 June 2002:

Customs and Excise

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many mobile detection teams are employed by Customs and Excise in Scotland; how many staff are employed in each team; what the shift-work pattern is of

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each team; what the budgetary provision is for each team; and what the budgetary provision was for each team in each year since 1997. [63710]

John Healey: For operational reasons it is not Customs policy to disclose specific information on the number of staff in teams, their work patterns or their specific budgetary provision.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the expenditure by the Customs and Excise on advertising was in each fiscal year since 1997–98; and if he will make a statement. [63632]

John Healey: HM Customs and Excise did not run any advertising campaigns between April 1997 and March 1999.

Between April 1999 and March 2000, £83,000 was spent on a campaign to raise awareness of the Custom's confidential hotline and to encourage people to phone with information to help Customs.

£1.6 million was spent on an advertising campaign between April 2000 and March 2001 to support the Tackling Tobacco strategy. This was the first burst of a three year campaign and aimed to raise awareness of the links to organised crime and of the penalties for those who are caught smuggling or dealing in illicit tobacco. Among all our audiences there was a steady increase in awareness of Government action and the penalties. Research has shown 41 per cent. awareness of the advertising among the general public. Within trade groups, awareness increased significantly among HGV drivers (at 83 per cent.) and retailers (81 per cent.).

Between April 2001 and March 2002, £830,000 was spent on campaigns including burst two of the Tackling Tobacco smuggling campaign (spend £560,000) and an information campaign for the Joint Fashion Industry Teams (spend £29,000). This was a regional campaign in London and Leicester to raise awareness of the information line for the fashion industry to help them understand the rules on VAT, benefits, taxes and employment to help them to operate in the formal economy.

All expenditure quoted excludes VAT. Figures include advertising and related campaign costs, such as production and research.

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage of dogs used by Customs and Excise in (a) Manchester and (b) Hull are (i) drugs detector dogs and (ii) cash detector dogs; [63705]

John Healey: There are currently 11 dogs operational in Manchester and Hull and five vacancies. When filled, these will bring the total to 16 operational dogs, comprising nine drugs dogs, four currency dogs, and three multi-skilled drugs/tobacco dogs, each with one handler.

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The consolidation of detector dog resources in large units based in Manchester and Hull has enabled Customs to provide the full range of dog skills (drugs, tobacco and cash) in support of frontier activity across northern England and Scotland. The deployment of the detector dogs is flexible, intelligence led and focused on the delivery of operational impact.

The Rosyth/Zeebrugge ferry service started on 17 May 2002. Customs staff will be deployed regularly at Rosyth on a risk free basis, both from flexible multi-functional teams currently located in Scotland and, as required, from UK national strike force teams, including detector dogs from the Manchester and Hull units.

The consolidation of dog resources to Manchester and Hull followed reviews on the usage and outputs of detector dogs, including those based at the former Aberdeen and Glasgow units. The number of dog handler posts in Manchester has remained at eight from 1997 to date. From 1997 to 2001, four posts were based at Hull, increasing to eight posts this year.

Aberdeen dog unit had three posts in 1997–98 and 1998–99, and the dog unit closed in the summer of 1999. Glasgow dog unit had four posts in 1997–98 and 1998–99 and five posts in 1999–2000. This reduced to four posts in 2000–01 and the unit closed in summer 2001. When the dog unit at Glasgow Airport was closed in the summer of 2001, the facility was dismantled and the land returned to the British Airports Authority.

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