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BEST Pensioners

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the dispute between the Inland Revenue and Standard Life in respect of the BEST pensioners. [130058]

Dawn Primarolo: We are unaware of any such dispute.

Children's Tax Credit

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many forms have been sent out inviting people to apply for the Children's Tax Credit; how many completed forms have been returned; and what proportion of completed and returned forms have been completed (a) incorrectly and (b) by someone who is ineligible for the Children's Tax Credit. [130222]

Dawn Primarolo: The Children's Tax Credit will reduce the tax bills of 5 million families by up to £442 a year. Taken with other reforms such as the record levels of Child Benefit and increases in the amounts of Working Families Tax Credit, 1.2 million children will be lifted out of poverty by April 2001.

Claim forms for the credit were sent at the end of June to around 8 million PAYE taxpayers whom our records suggest may be eligible. Over 1.5 million forms have already been returned. No figures are available on the number of forms filled in incorrectly.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost to date is of the administration of the new Children's Tax Credit including the costs of (a) producing and distributing the forms, (b) advertisements and (c) the telephone helpline. [130221]

Dawn Primarolo: The Children's Tax Credit will reduce the tax bills of 5 million families by up to £442 a year. Taken with other reforms such as the record levels of Child Benefit and increases in the amounts of Working Families Tax Credit, 1.2 million children will be lifted out of poverty by April 2001.

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We estimate the costs to date of implementing the credit at around £4 million, including £1.5 million for publicity and £1.7 million for the issue of claim forms. No separate figures are available for the cost to date of the helpline.

Ms Buck: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if entitlement to Working Families Tax Credit will be affected by the Children's Tax Credit. [130381]

Dawn Primarolo: Families who are eligible to claim both credits will be entitled to do so.

Call Centres

Mr. Etherington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many call centre jobs there were in (a) 1992, (b) 1997 and (c) 2000 in (i) England and Wales and (ii) the City of Sunderland; [130201]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Bill Etherington, dated 17 July 2000:









Public Appointments

Mr. Allan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what percentage of the (a) paid and (b) unpaid appointments which he has made to non- departmental public bodies since 1 May 1997 were women. [129839]

Dawn Primarolo: [holding answer 11 July 2000]: This Government are committed to increasing the

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representation of women in public life. In support of this, I have drawn up an action plan for increasing the number of women and ethnic minorities holding public appointments in public bodies of the Chancellor's Departments and Agencies.

The same question was tabled by the hon. Member for Taunton (Jackie Ballard) in April 1998 and an answer was subsequently given on 29 April 1998, Official Report, columns 161-62W. Information of appointments made since then is as follows:

Number of appointments since 29 April 1998

PaidUnpaid
Number of women appointed533
Women as percentage of appointments3885

Departmental Payments

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of correctly presented bills were paid by his Department in (a) 1998-99 and (b) 1999-2000 within 30 days of receipt of (i) goods and services, (ii) a valid invoice and (iii) other agreed payment terms. [130031]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 11 July 2000]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Small Businesses and E-commerce on 13 July 2000, Official Report, column 621W.

Taxation and National Insurance

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of GDP is taken in taxation and National Insurance contributions (a) in the UK and (b) in each other EU member state. [130083]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested can be found in the OECD publication, "Revenue Statistics 1965-1998", a copy of which is in the Library.

IR35

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the views expressed by the Professional Contractors Group concerning the effect of the IR35 proposals on (a) the wages paid by large foreign-owned companies and (b) United Kingdom entrepreneurs. [130392]

Dawn Primarolo: There is no reason why the IR35 changes should have any effect on the wages paid by large foreign-owned companies or on genuine UK entrepreneurs.

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received concerning the IR35 tax proposals. [130393]

Dawn Primarolo: We continue to receive correspondence expressing a range of views on this policy.

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Adoption

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will amend the regulations to enable prospective parents of children placed for adoption and awaiting its confirmation to qualify for (a) Working Family Tax Benefit and (b) Sure Start maternity grant. [130425]

Dawn Primarolo: The tax, benefit and local authority support systems will be considered in the light of the recommendations of the recently published report on adoption undertaken by the Performance and Innovation Unit.

VAT (EU)

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what value added tax (a) rates and (b) exemptions are applied by each Government in the EU states; and what court cases have been (i) initiated and (ii) concluded in the European Court of Justice concerning the application of value added tax since 1 May 1997. [130292]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is supplied periodically in the "International VAT Monitor."

European Single Currency

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what studies (a) are being undertaken and (b) have been undertaken by the Government concerning the effect on trade and competition of the United Kingdom entering the single currency. [130247]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 12 July 2000]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 3 February 2000, Official Report, column 687W.

Public Sector

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of (a) public sector net worth and (b) public sector gross worth in financial year 1999-2000; and if he will make a statement. [130275]

Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 12 July 2000]: Forecasts of public sector net worth as a percentage of GDP were published in Table 2.6 of the March 2000 "Financial Statement and Budget Report". Forecasts of public sector gross worth are not available.

Net worth has recently been on an upward trend. This follows a prolonged period in which the poor state of the public finances led to it falling below 15 per cent. of GDP, from over 77 per cent. of GDP in 1980-81.


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