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Disabled People (Contributions)

Mr. Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many disabled people and people with a long-term illness in work he expects to pay (i) no contributions and (ii) contributions of less than 25 times the lower earnings limit in each of the next five years; and if he will give this figure as a proportion of the total number of this group in work. [85510]

Dawn Primarolo: The only information available is based on the Family Resources Survey for 1997-98, covering Great Britain, and shows that about 550,000 people with a long-term illness, disability, or infirmity were working but not paying national insurance contributions. This represents about 12 per cent. of the total number of this group in work.

Working Families Tax Credit

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the increase in demand for childcare places as a result of the introduction of the childcare tax credit within the working families tax credit. [84958]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have commissioned work into the demand for childcare places within the context of the National Childcare Strategy. Results from this analysis are due to be published later in the year, and follow-up work is envisaged in 2001 which should help inform our understanding of existing and future demand for childcare.

26 May 1999 : Column: 182

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the impact on parents' ability to pay higher childcare fees of the introduction of the childcare tax credit element of the working families tax credit. [84957]

Dawn Primarolo: The ability of parents to pay childcare fees at the prevailing rates following the introduction of the childcare tax credit will depend on a range of factors. It is not practicable for the Government to estimate reliably whether, or to what extent, the introduction of the childcare tax credit component of the Working Families Tax Credit will have an effect on childcare charges.

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the Inland Revenue will take account of differences in the cost of childcare during holiday periods, compared to term time, when calculating the childcare element of the working families tax credit. [84960]

Dawn Primarolo: The calculation of the childcare element within the Working Families Tax Credit will take account of differences in the cost of childcare in holiday periods, compared to term time, in the same way that Family Credit takes account of these variations currently.

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence parents will be required to produce to support a claim for the childcare tax credit element of the working families tax credit. [84955]

Dawn Primarolo: Parents will be required to obtain confirmation of their costs, or expected childcare costs, from their childcare provider in the same way that they would currently for Family Credit.

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information childcare providers will have to provide to the Inland Revenue to show how much those parents claiming working families tax credit are charged for childcare. [84959]

Dawn Primarolo: Childcare providers will be asked to verify parents actual or expected childcare costs for WFTC using a form similar to the one they are currently asked to complete for Family Credit.

Ms Harman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the working families tax credit will be assessed when the snapshot of income immediately preceding an application comes out at a time when the applicant is on parental leave without pay. [84751]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 20 May 1999]: The rules for the assessment of WFTC where one or both parents are on unpaid parental leave will be the same as those used currently for Family Credit where the parent, or parents, are on any other sorts of unpaid leave. The exact treatment will depend entirely on the individual circumstances of the family.

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which social security benefits will be excluded from the calculation for entitlement to working families tax credit. [84950]

Dawn Primarolo: The same social security benefits will be excluded from the calculation for entitlement of WFTC as are currently excluded from the calculation of entitlement to Family Credit. These are Child Benefit, Child Benefit (Lone Parent), Guardian's Allowance,

26 May 1999 : Column: 183

Maternity Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Personal Council Tax Transitional Relief or Reduction, Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, £10 Christmas Bonus, Constant Attendance Allowance, war pensioner's mobility supplement, supplementary pensions for war widows, Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance, any Social Fund payment, Severe Disablement Occupational Allowance, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. And in addition, the first £10 of the total income is disregarded (up to a maximum disregard of £20) where it comes from War Widow's or Widower's Pension, War Disablement Pensions, or equivalent payments made by foreign social security schemes.

Tax Law Rewrite Project

Ms Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if there have been further developments on the Tax Law Rewrite project. [85668]

Dawn Primarolo: I am pleased to be able to tell the House about yet another publication from the Tax Law Rewrite project. The Inland Revenue will shortly publish the project's sixth Exposure Draft, which contains draft clauses on employment income. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

This Exposure Draft is the third to be published in the last three months. The work of the project is gathering pace and we can look forward to further publications later in the year.

Air Passenger Duty

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Government were first informed of the European Commission's intention to pursue infraction proceedings against the application in the United Kingdom of the domestic flight return-leg exemption from air passenger duty. [82638]

Mrs. Roche: The European Commission issued a Reasoned Opinion on 23 June 1998 in this matter.

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to make an announcement on the Government's response to the European Commission's infraction proceedings against the application in the United Kingdom of the domestic return-leg exemption from air passenger duty; and if he will make a statement. [82637]

Mrs. Roche: We are still considering how to respond to the European Commission's challenge to the domestic return-leg exemption.

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what supplementary revenue will be obtained from air passenger duty if the current domestic flight return-leg exemption from this duty were to be abolished. [82645]

Mrs. Roche: At current passenger numbers, and assuming no behavioural effects, it is estimated that the additional revenue from abolishing the domestic return-leg exemption would be in the order of £60 million.

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the impact on accessibility to low-cost domestic air travel if the current domestic return-leg air passenger duty exemption were to be abolished. [82643]

26 May 1999 : Column: 184

Mrs. Roche: I have not received any representation on this particular issue.

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the rate of air passenger duty which would have to be levied on flights within the EU, should air passenger duty be applied to both legs of domestic return flights in the UK, to ensure the income to the Treasury from air passenger duty remains as forecast in the document Budget 99. [82644]

Mrs. Roche: The precise figure will depend on the proportion of domestic flights within the UK which contain a return leg. Depending on the proportion of return journeys, a rate of between £8 and £9 would be consistent with broad revenue neutrality if Air Passenger Duty were applied to both legs of domestic return flights. This estimate assumes current passenger numbers and no behavioural effects.

Small High-tech Businesses

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has received to the consultation document, Financial Promotion; and what steps he is considering to help eliminate the equity gap in respect of the funding of smaller high-technology new businesses. [85656]

Ms Hewitt: The consultation paper includes consideration of ways to facilitate informal capital raising to assist small and medium-sized firms, including those in the high-technology sector, gain access to investment funding. A number of responses have been received and are being considered.


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