HC Deb 31 January 2003 vol 398 cc1085-7W
Matthew Taylor

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will place in the Library the information on release of posts from support for redeployment which was the basis of the report in the Customs and Excise Spring 2002 report, column 5427, on PSA 2000 target 7; and if he will make a statement. [90981]

(2) if he will place in the Library the formula for aggregating the underlying data into the performance indicator of the Customs and Excise Spring 2002 report; and if he will make a statement. [90982]

John Healey

The Customs target to release posts from support to activities which directly contribute to PSA/SDA outcomes covers the three years of the SR2000 period. It therefore applies until 31 March 2004. The Spring 2002 Report was based on support activity remaining at around 17 per cent. of total activity, even though additional support posts had been added to baseline to begin implementation of the Department's e-Business programme. An update on the target was provided in the Department's "Annual Report and Accounts" for 2001–02 (Cm5671). I am placing the formula for aggregating underlying output and input data in the Library.

Mr. Laws

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of total public spending on HM Customs and Excise in each year from 1990–91 to 2004–05 (planned) in real terms using 2000–01 prices; and if he will make a statement. [91725]

John Healey

Information on past total public expenditure on HM Customs & Excise is in the Department's Annual Reports (specifically—in the Financial Statements until 1998–99, and from 1999–00 in the Departmental Resource Accounts) covering each year 1990–91 to 2001–02. Copies are available in the Library. Planned out-turn for 2002–03 and 2003–04 was published in June 2002 in the Department's Spring Report. High level data for the period through to 2005–06 was published in the 2002 Spending Review White Paper. Prices can be adjusted to 2000–01 levels by applying the GDP deflator, which can be found on the Treasury's website under Economic Data and Tools. More up to date and detailed information on the Department's spending plans will appear in the Departmental Spring Report 2003.

Mr. Nick Hawkins

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to the public purse will be, including compensation payments, of the collapsed prosecutions by Customs and Excise referred to in the Economic Secretary's statement of 23rd January, including cases to be withdrawn in the immediate future. [93960]

John Healey

[holding answer 28 January 2003]: Following the decision of the prosecution to offer no evidence in the London City Bond abuse of process hearing in November last year, the Commissioners of Customs & Excise and the Prosecution Group of Customs' Solicitors Office (who are now accountable to the Attorney General) commenced a review of the safety of the convictions in all LCB- connected cases. The decision of the prosecution not to oppose the appeal in the case of R v Grant and others (known as the 'Stockade' case) in the Court of Appeal was the outcome of part of that review.

As I explained to the House in my Statement of 23 January, twenty further cases are being reviewed, and there have been eight in which no evidence was offered against defendants, or in which convictions have been overturned by the Court of Appeal. The cost of instructing Prosecuting Counsel in these eight cases was 4.3m, out of the total prosecution legal costs in all the LCB cases of £7.4million.

Estimates are not available for other costs, such as legal aid costs for defendants. Claims for compensation under the statutory miscarriage of justice scheme are for the Home Office, and it is not known whether any such claims will be made, or whether they will be successful. Claims for common law damages against Customs will be resisted, and are not expected to be successful.