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David Maclean: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 19 July 2001, Official Report column 412, to the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs (Mr. Flight), on what date officials of HM Customs and Excise first met to consider the charging of VAT on climate change levy liabilities; and how many times they have subsequently met. 
Mr. Boateng: Customs officials did not meet on this specific issue. The law requires that the value on which value added tax is calculated is the total amount of money to be given in exchange for a supply. This amount includes tax, and since the inception of VAT it has been calculated on the excise duty inclusive value of sales of goods such as petrol, alcohol and tobacco. The levy follows this long-established principle.
Mr. Boateng: The latest published forecast of the yield for climate change levy in 200102 is set out in the Financial Statement and Budget report published on 7 March 2001. A routine forecast will be published in this autumn's pre-Budget report.
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Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the guidelines are for Government bodies, including and distinguishing between Departments, Next Steps agencies and non-departmental public bodies, with regards to purchasing leases for properties. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: Guidelines for the acquisition of properties can be found in the Estates Services Guide (ESG), which is published by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). The ESG offers Government users on the Civil Estate good practice guidance on estate management, including the acquisition of office accommodation by leasing and other means. It does not provide advice on residential or agricultural property. The ESG is made freely available to Government Departments, Next Steps agencies and non-departmental public bodies.
Ruth Kelly: We have no plans to do so. The Government believe that the right course of action is to have an independent inquiry to ensure that the lessons are learned from what has happened. That is why we have asked Lord Penrose to examine the circumstances leading to the current situation at Equitable Life and to identify any lessons to be learned for the conduct, administration and regulation of life assurance.
Ruth Kelly: Decisions about the value of with-profits policies are a matter for the Board of Equitable Life. I understand that the FSA and the society have regular meetings to discuss a range of regulatory issues.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Penrose inquiry will investigate allegations of maladministration by the DTI and Treasury in relation to regulation of Equitable Life; and if he will make a statement. 
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Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he takes to ensure (a) pheasant- rearing operations and (b) pheasant shooting do not avoid (i) business rates and (ii) VAT through misclassification as agricultural practices; what estimate he has of the revenue each year from these sources; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: The Valuation Office and Customs and Excise are responsible for ensuring compliance with the tax rules on business rates and VAT respectively. A valuation tribunal recently confirmed that pheasant-rearing operations are not agricultural and are therefore rateable, but shooting rights have not been
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treated as rateable since 1997. The sale of pheasants reared in a game hatchery is zero-rated for VAT. The granting of shooting rights is standard-rated, except when included with land sold exempt from VAT.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much would the Government have to increase (a) Working Families Tax Credit and (b) child benefit to achieve each of the Government's targets on child poverty using the Government's macro-economic assumptions and assuming that the proportion of children living in households below 60 per cent. of median household income otherwise remained the same. 
The Government's strategy is both to tackle current issues and to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage for the long term. This requires action beyond the WFTC and child benefit. The strategy includes: ensuring a decent family incomewith work for those who can and extra support for those who cannot; access to excellent public services; targeted interventions for those with additional needs and at key stages in life; and harnessing the power and expertise of the voluntary and community sector.
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