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Working Families Tax Credit

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people from Lancaster and Wyre are claiming Working Families Tax Credit. [145616]

Dawn Primarolo: Copies of the latest quarterly inquiries giving statistics for the Working Families Tax Credit and the Disabled Person's Tax Credit are in the Library. They contain estimates of the number of recipients in each parliamentary constituency, and in each local authority.

Mr. Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of families with children where at least one parent works are receiving Working Families Tax Credit. [146102]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 18 January 2001]: It is estimated that 1,129 thousand families with dependent children were in receipt of the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) awards at the end of August 2000.

No estimates are available for August of the total number of families with dependent children where at least one parent was working for at least 16 hours per week.

Mr. Portillo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how long it has taken on average for a business to be reimbursed by the Inland Revenue those moneys paid to employees as working family tax credits; [145460]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 17 January 2001]: The scheme for paying tax credits through the payroll is designed to ensure that employers have the money they need to pay the tax credit at the right time.

Employers who receive notification to pay tax credits can apply for advance funding from the Inland Revenue if they think that they will have to pay out more in tax credits than the PAYE tax, NICs and student loan deductions which they have to pay to the Inland Revenue for the same period. As long as the application for funding is made at least nine working days before the first tax credit payment is due the Inland Revenue should be able to get funding to employers at least three days in advance of the first day on which they will pay tax credits.

I have seen a copy of representations made by the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry to David Irwin of the Small Business Service who will be replying directly.

22 Jan 2001 : Column: 427W

VAT (Housing)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he proposes to limit the proposed VAT reduction on conversion of dwellings into a different number of dwellings to conversions that follow explicit planning consent and to prevent houses in multiple occupation without the benefit of explicit planning consent from benefiting from any reduction. [146395]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government propose to limit the reduced rate for conversions to those that, where necessary, have obtained planning permission or building regulations approval.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue yield of introducing VAT at (a) 5 per cent. and (b) 17.5 per cent. on rent of (i) commercial properties and (ii) domestic properties. [146254]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the cost of the VAT exemption for the rental of commercial and domestic properties are given in the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs tables published by HM Treasury in November 2000. Revenue estimates of introducing VAT at 5 per cent. on the rents of these properties are not available.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect on the house building industry of introducing a 5 per cent. VAT rate on new construction. [145593]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have no plans to introduce a 5 per cent. VAT rate on new construction.

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect on planning decisions of imposing a 5 per cent. rate of VAT on new building on greenfield land. [145592]

Dawn Primarolo: There is no evidence to show that VAT would have any influence on planning decisions taken by local authorities.

Petroleum Tax Allowance

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue yield for the next five financial years of abolishing petroleum revenue tax oil allowance. [146253]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not available, but the tax cost of oil allowance for 2000 is given in the November 2000 "Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs", and in "Inland Revenue Statistics 2000", copies of which are available in the Library. The cost of oil allowance in future years will depend upon future levels of oil and gas prices and production.

Income Tax

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the yield in 2001-02 of increasing the rate of income tax to 50 per cent. for annual taxable incomes in excess of £50,000. [146840]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Simpson) on 15 January 2001, Official Report, column 126W.

22 Jan 2001 : Column: 428W

VAT Exemptions

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue yield of introducing VAT at (a) 5 per cent. and (b) 17.5 per cent. on (i) private education, (ii) for profit health care and (iii) not for profit health care. [146255]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the cost of the VAT exemption for private education and health services are given in the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs tables published by HM Treasury in November 2000. No separate estimates have been made for profit and not for profit health care. Revenue estimates of introducing VAT at 5 per cent. on private education and health services are not available.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue yield of extending VAT to (a) the United Kingdom portion of international passenger transport, (b) water and sewerage and (c) domestic passenger transport at (i) 5 per cent. and (ii) 17.5 per cent. [146259]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the cost of the zero-rate of VAT for passenger transport and water and sewerage are given in the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs tables published by HM Treasury in November 2000.

Work (Financial Rewards)

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he has put in place to increase the financial reward from work. [146120]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have put in place a series of reforms to increase the financial rewards from work.

The national minimum wage of £3.70 an hour ensures fair minimum standards of pay and has benefited between 1.2 and 1.5 million people since its introduction in April 1999. The introduction of the 10p tax rate in April 1999 halved the marginal tax rate for 1.8 million people in low-paid work. Reforms to National Insurance Contributions and in particular the abolition of the unfair entry fee, and the rise in the Lower Earnings Limit, have taken an estimated 1 million low-paid workers out of paying national insurance, while protecting their entitlement to benefits.

The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), introduced in October 1999, is designed specifically to increase the financial rewards to work for low and middle income families with children. This recognises the particular problems faced by parents in seeking work and includes specific help with child care costs through a new Childcare Tax Credit. On average, families on WFTC are £30 a week better off than under Family Credit. Combined with the minimum wage WFTC ensures a minimum income for a family with someone in full-time work of £214 a week.

Job Losses (North-West)

Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many jobs were lost in the North West of England in each year between 1989-90 and 1999-2000. [145206]

22 Jan 2001 : Column: 429W

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Peter Kilfoyle, dated 22 January 2001:



Widows Bereavement Allowance

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been paid in friendly settlements of claims by widowers of the widows bereavement allowance under the European Convention on Human Rights. [146298]

Dawn Primarolo: One friendly settlement to a widower of under £5,000 (including legal costs) in respect of a claim to widows bereavement allowance has been made. The terms of the settlement were published on 9 November 1999 by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.


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