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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to review the legislation under which community residents who rely upon septic tanks for the removal of sewerage still have to pay the same increase in charges as those on main sewers. 
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: The charges made for the removal, transport or disposal of septic tank waste or cesspit waste are a commercial matter between the customer and the sewerage undertaker or other firm employed to undertake these services. It is not within the scope of the price regulation administered by the Office of Water Services (Ofwat).
The suggestion has been made, in response to the public consultation on the draft Water Bill, that Ofwat should be able to regulate these prices. This suggestion will be considered alongside other comments on the draft Water Bill before its is introduced.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to change the powers of the local government ombudsman with regard to complaints of maladministration, and to ensure more rapid response to complaints. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: We have now completed our consultation on the organisation and operation of the public sector ombudsmen in England, including the Local Government Ombudsman. This consultation was announced to the House on 15 June 2000, Official Report, columns 722-23W by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, and we expect to announce our conclusions shortly on how best to improve public access to the ombudsmen and their efficiency in dealing with complaints.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make extra funds available to local authorities in order to meet the extra demands on resources following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government are concerned to ensure that all relevant bodies who face additional work as a result of undertaking their responsibilities to cope with the outbreak of foot and mouth disease are able to discharge those responsibilities comprehensively. We will be keeping under review all aspects of this, including funding.
6 Mar 2001 : Column: 154W
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate how many earners receive working families tax credit in each unitary metropolitan authority and county of the North East region; and if he will estimate the proportion of earners in the region who are (a) in part-time work and (b) also in receipt of the childcare supplement. 
Dawn Primarolo: For estimates of the number of families in each local authority in receipt of the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), I refer my hon. Friend to my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr. Dawson) on 22 January 2001, Official Report, column 425W.
There is no single definition of what comprises full-time work. The table shows an analysis by hours worked of families in the North East region receiving WFTC at August 2000, split also between those families whose awards include the childcare tax credit and other families.
|Hours normally worked per week by main earner||Families whose awards include the childcare tax credit||Other families||Total|
|16 less than 20||0.8||15.2||16.0|
|20 less than 24||0.8||7.5||8.3|
|24 less than 30||(15)--||4.3||4.6|
|30 less than 36||0.9||8.4||9.3|
|36 less than 40||1.4||13.9||15.3|
|40 and over||(15)--||12.0||12.3|
(15) Estimates based on less than 25 sample cases.
Estimates based on 5 per cent. sample of awards, and therefore subject to sampling error. Estimates based on less than 25 sample cases.
6 Mar 2001 : Column: 155W
Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many firms paying working families tax credit to their employees the payment of credits exceeds the amount they collect in national insurance and income tax; and how many employees in these companies receive the working families tax credit. 
Dawn Primarolo: Employers whose prospective payments of tax credits in any period (up to six months) exceed the PAYE tax and national insurance contributions that they expect to deduct can apply to Inland Revenue for the additional funding required over that period. One sixth of employers paying tax credits at 31 August 2000 received funding for payment periods that spanned that date. Fur such employers, the average number of employees with awards which include payment via the employer is about 1.5.
Dawn Primarolo: An estimate of the number of families in the Warrington, North constituency who will be eligible to claim the children's tax credit (CTC) is unavailable, but an estimate of the number of families in the North West region of England who will be eligible to claim CTC is 625,000.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 10 January 2001 to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb), Official Report, column 568W, on children's tax credit, how many taxpayers would be affected by changing the tapers in each of the options. 
6 Mar 2001 : Column: 156W
|Reduction to CTC threshold||Estimated number of taxpayers affected|
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when, in response to the communication of April 2000 from the EU Commission, Her Majesty's Customs and Excise requested certificates of origin from the Israeli authorities for (a) Ahava cosmetics, (b) dates, (c) carpets from Barkan, (d) wines and (e) any other items; how many such requests were made for each item; how many responses have been received; and if he will list those products on which the European Commission requested a posteriori verification of certificates of origin with the Israeli authorities. 
In addition to the products listed above the EC Commission has requested that the customs authorities initiate inquiries in respect of biscuits and Soda Stream drinks makers, where the products have been imported from Israel into the member state concerned.
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