§ Mr. Lidington
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the original target date was for the replacement of the LORDS computer system; what the latest target date is; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what the original budget for replacing the LORDS computer system was; what the estimated cost of the project is; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Boateng
The replacement of the LORDS computer system for VAT registration is one component of a series of fundamental changes under consideration to the way Customs process applications for all their taxes and duties. The total cost of these changes, which are far wider than a straight replacement for LORDS, would be in the region of £12.6 million. The original target date for implementation of the new computer system was July 2002.
As part of this, a small number of high priority improvements to the LORDS system are planned for delivery in summer 2002. Plans for a full replacement of the LORDS system will be considered in due course as part of Customs' strategic review of their IS projects and priorities.