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Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 2 May 2000]: The number of groups using offshore companies to mix high and low taxed income varies year to year depending on the level of their UK and foreign profits, the need to pay dividends to their shareholders and their profit repatriation policies.
10 May 2000 : Column: 423W
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many new national insurance numbers sent out have gone missing since January 1999; what action has been taken to investigate missing national insurance numbers; and how many missing national insurance numbers have been traced to asylum seekers. 
Dawn Primarolo: Working with the DSS we have in place a substantial programme of work involving continual routine activities and new projects, which between them aim to keep the risk and incidence of NINO abuse to the minimum.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many calls have been received by (a) the Working Families Tax Credit helpline and (b) the Disabled Person's Tax Credit helpline, in each month since January 1999; and what the salary levels are for those who work on each helpline. 
Dawn Primarolo: The following table shows calls handled by the helplines. For Great Britain, they cover calls about Family Credit (FC) and Disability Working Allowance (DWA), as well as Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) and Disabled Person's Tax Credit (DPTC). For Northern Ireland, the helplines were brought into operation for WFTC and DPTC in September 1999. No counts of earlier calls about FC or DWA are available for Northern Ireland.
The table also shows calls handled by the response line, which was open from September 1999 to January 2000, and again in April 2000. For months up to January 2000, these calls were handled by the private contractors engaged, or by recorded voice. (All but 10,000 of these calls were about WFTC.) For April 2000 the figure is of calls handled by recorded voice; no private contractors were engaged.
|Month||Family Credit/ Working Families Tax Credit||Disability Working Allowance/Disabled Person's Tax Credit||Response line|
(6) Excludes Northern Ireland before 7 September 1999. For October 1999, Northern Ireland accounted for about 4 per cent. of the total
10 May 2000 : Column: 424W
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his oral statement of 21 March 2000, Official Report, column 858, on the Budget, if he will list projections of aggregate receipts from asset sales by Department in (a) 1999-2000, (b) 2000-01 and (c) 2001-02. 
Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 4 May 2000]: The following sets out the estimated outturn receipts from sale of assets by Departments for 1999-2000. Aggregate receipts from asset sales of £1 billion are projected for both 2000-01 and 2001-02. These represent plans and are not broken down by Department.
|Education and Employment||0.6|
|Department of Health||250.2|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office||32.5|
|Trade and Industry||8.7|
|Agriculture, Fisheries and Food||18.5|
|Culture, Media and Sport||1.8|
Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the average percentage increase in real benefit unit net income between 1997-98 and 2000-01 of the 1.2 million children that his policies have lifted out of poverty. 
Dawn Primarolo: Collating this information requires complex technical modelling. I will write to the hon. Member with the relevant information as soon as possible, placing a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
10 May 2000 : Column: 425W
Mr. Portillo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has altered his projections for the revenue yield from changes to double taxation relief and controlled foreign companies following representations from business since the Budget. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 5 May 2000]: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 19 April 2000, Official Report, columns 577-78W. The full year yield is not affected by the changes announced by the Inland Revenue Press Release 92/00 on 3 May 2000.
Mr. Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the value of error by (a) officials and (b) claimants in respect of the working families tax credit in the last three years for which figures are available. 
Dawn Primarolo: The overall value of known WFTC recoverable overpayments resulting from mistakes made by WFTC applicants for the period 1 October 1999 to 31 March 2000 is £93k. The overall value of known Family Credit recoverable overpayments resulting from mistakes made by Family Credit applicants for the corresponding period 1October 1998 to 31 March 1999 is £1.8 million.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the United Kingdom's reserves have been reduced in value since the decision in July 1999 to sell gold and purchase euros, due to the fall in the value of that currency; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the net change in the value of the United Kingdom's reserves as a result of his decision to sell gold and buy euros. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The UK's programme of gold sales were part of a prudent medium term programme to restructure the reserves which aims to achieve a better balance in the Government's portfolio. There will be times when currencies depreciate and times when they appreciate. Having a diversified portfolio avoids being too exposed to any one asset.
10 May 2000 : Column: 426W
Miss Melanie Johnson: Table 2 of the Quarterly Report on UK Official Holdings of Foreign Currency and Gold for the period October to December 1999, published on 2 March 2000, provides a breakdown of the size and composition of the United Kingdom's reserve holdings, including a currency breakdown. The Quarterly Report for the period January to March 2000 will be published on 2 June.
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