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Reputational Externalities

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place his Department's internal guidance on the calculation of reputational externalities in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [27602]

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Mr. Andrew Smith: As I said in my letter of 11 December 2001 to the hon. Member, whether and how reputational externalities need to be taken into account varies according to the specific circumstances of each case. Treasury officials have discussions with counterparts on a variety of evaluation issues, as appropriate.

Fuel Duty

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if it is his policy to use the level of fuel duty as an environmental policy tool; [26420]

Mr. Boateng: It is our policy to review all taxes annually as part of the Budget process. In making his judgment, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor considers all relevant economic, social and environmental factors.

We have already announced that, under the Green Fuel Challenge, we will be seeking a derogation under Article 8(4) of the mineral oils structures directive to enable us to introduce a reduced rate of duty for biodiesel later this year; and, subject to European agreement, we will be providing a duty exemption for a pilot project involving biogas.

Tax Returns

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax returns the Inland Revenue (a) issued and (b) processed in tax years (i) 1972–73, (ii) 1980–81, (iii) 1990–91 and (iv) 2000–01. [26947]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue issued 9,469,404 ITSA returns in the year 2000–01 for the return years 1996–97 to 1999–2000.

The Inland Revenue processed 9,354,047 ITSA returns in the year 2000–01 for the returns years 1996–97 to 1999–2000. The number processed will include returns received in the previous year but not processed by the year end.

No details are held for the years 1972–73, 1980–81 or 1990–91.

Mortgage Administration Charges

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce measures to prevent mortgage providers levying an administration charge every time a customer switches their building insurance to an alternative provider. [27260]

Ruth Kelly: Buildings insurance is essential. Without it, it may not be possible for a borrower to pay for repairs. This would affect the value of the property, and consequently the lender's investment. It is not

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unreasonable for the lender to check that the new policy has the equivalent provisions as the old one, and to make a small charge for this purpose.

Scottish Parliament

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the total costs of the (a) construction, (b) equipping and (c) finishing of the new building for the Scottish Parliament will be paid for by (i) the UK Government and (ii) the Scottish Executive. [27153]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The costs of the Scottish Parliament building are a devolved matter and are funded from within the Scottish Executive's budget.

Capital Appraisal

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 13 December 2001, Official Report, column 1003W, on capital appraisal, for what reason the Treasury considered that the project appraisal and capital approval system needed to be reviewed; and if he will make a statement. [26909]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The rationale was set out in the answer referred to.

Advertising Campaigns

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the advertising campaigns commissioned by HM Treasury since May 1997, showing for each (a) its objectives, (b) its beginning and end dates, (c) the media used, (d) the criteria adopted to judge its effectiveness, (e) the extent to which effectiveness criteria were met, (f) any agency involvement and (g) its cost. [26006]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 11 January 2002]: With regards to advertising campaigns by HM Treasury, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Paymaster General to the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley), on 2 April 2001, Official Report, columns 49–50W, and the reply given to the then hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. St. Aubyn) on 18 May 2000, Official Report, column 1256W by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary.

Child Tax Credit

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Northampton, South (Mr. Clarke) of 31 October 2001, Official Report, column 743W, how many families in each region are eligible for the children's tax credit. [24223]

Dawn Primarolo: It is estimated that around five million families will benefit from the children's tax credit. The breakdown requested is as follows.

Estimated number of families benefiting from the children's tax credit

Country/region of EnglandNumber of families
North East225
North West625
Yorkshire and The Humber450
East Midlands400
West Midlands450
East of England450
South East675
South West475
Northern Ireland125
United Kingdom5,000


1. The regions of England are Government Office regions.

2. Based on projecting forward to 2001–02 Family Expenditure Survey data for 1995–96 to 1997–98.

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Benefit Fraud

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of those (a) dealt with by way of penalty and (b) prosecuted as a result of Inland Revenue investigation into working families tax credit and disabled persons tax credit fraud had previously been (i) dealt with by way of a penalty or caution and (ii) prosecuted as a result of benefit fraud. [25024]

Dawn Primarolo: Up until 31 December 2001, of those people dealt with by way of penalty following investigations into their working families or disabled person's tax credit applications, 34 already had a previous penalty or caution. Of the 28 prosecutions heard up to that date in relation to false applications for working families tax credit, 17 had other benefit offences heard concurrently. We do not have figures to show whether any of those people mentioned had any previous prosecutions for benefit fraud.

Contingent Liabilities

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list contingent liabilities accepted by the Government since 1 May 1997. [26131]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The Consolidated Fund and National Loans Fund supplementary statements list, on an annual basis, reportable contingent and actual liabilities which have been taken on by Departments during the financial year and which are outstanding from previous years. They are also noted in departmental estimates and appropriation accounts.

Contingent liabilities may be classified as 'reportable' under rules set out in chapter 26 of "Government Accounting". Under these rules, Departments are required to report contingent liabilities only when they are statutory or, in the case of non statutory liabilities are not incurred in the normal course of departmental business and they are over £100,000.

Information on contingent liabilities is not collected in the way requested and could be done so only at disproportionate cost.

Financial Services Authority

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the Financial Services Authority. [26117]

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Ruth Kelly: The process by which the FSA is accountable for its performance, to Ministers, Parliament and the wider public, was set out in a letter from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of FSA, in December 2001. A key element of the framework is that the FSA will report on its performance against its statutory objectives in its annual report, which the Treasury will submit to Parliament.

A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library of the House and was attached to a press notice, issued on 13 December 2001, which is accessible from the Treasury website.

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