Mental Health Statistics
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people suffered mental health problems by region, expressed as (a) a percentage and (b) the total number, ranked in descending order according to percentage figures for the latest year in which figures are available. 
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
Letter from Len Cook to Chris Ruane, dated 30 January 2002:
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary question about how many people suffered mental health problems by region. (30589)
Estimates of the total number of people suffering from mental health problems in different regions are not available from current statistical sources. However, estimates of the percentage of adults aged 16 to 74 years living in private households who were suffering from a range of mental health problems can be obtained from the results of a survey carried out in 2000. This survey of psychiatric
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morbidity among adults in private households was carried by the Office for National Statistics on behalf of the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales.
Approximately 8,800 people from all parts of Great Britain participated in the survey that involved personal interviews, which provided assessments of a range of mental disorders. An overview of the results of the survey was published last year in the report "Psychiatric morbidity among adults Living in Private Households, 2000" by Singleton et al., which is available from The Stationery Office or can be downloaded from the National Statistics website (www.statistics.gov.uk). The report presents estimates of the proportion of people suffering from neurotic disorders (such as anxiety and depression), psychotic disorders (for example, schizophrenia and manic depression) and alcohol and drug dependence, by NHS Regional Office area in England and in Scotland and Wales.
It should be noted that, because the assessment instruments used covered different time periods and people may have more than one disorder, it is not possible to add the figures together to give a total number of people with a mental health problem.
Mr. Jim Cunningham:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to outsource distraint from the Inland Revenue to the private sector. 
Proposals for any change in relation to distraint action by the Inland Revenue are still under consideration.
Mr. Jim Cunningham:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans there are to outsource information and advice on payments from the Inland Revenue to the private sector; and if he will make a statement. 
The Inland Revenue has no plans to outsource the provision of information and advice on payments to the private sector.
Mr. Jim Cunningham:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures will be introduced to ensure that private companies collecting debts from taxpayers are monitored. 
The details of any proposals to outsource Inland Revenue distraint action are still under consideration.
Public Sector Salaries
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average public sector salary is in (a) London and the south-east and (b) the north-east. 
Mr. Andrew Smith:
The average public sector salaries (gross weekly earnings) in London, the south-east and the north-east are as follows:
The figures are for April 2000 from the New Earnings Survey.
Figures for April 2001 will be published on 28 February 2002.
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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will provide additional public funding to enable the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions to provide financial assistance to NATS; 
(2) when he was advised of the concerns expressed by the CAA about the ability of the Airlines Group business plan for NATS to withstand a major incident. 
Mr. Andrew Smith:
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him today by the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions.
Tax Law Rewrite
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received relating to the Tax Law Rewrite Project. 
I am pleased to say the work of the Tax Law Rewrite Project continues to enjoy widespread support. In particular, the project's first Bill, on capital allowances, which received Royal Assent last March, has been well received by the tax community as a great improvement in clarity and accessibility.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many pages of tax law have been published since the inception of the Tax Law Rewrite Project; and of that number, how many have been drafted as part of the Tax Rewrite Project. 
The Tax Law Rewrite Project began work in 1997 on rewriting direct tax legislation. Since that time approximately 2000 pages of Finance Act legislation has been enacted, covering both direct and indirect taxes, some of which incorporate the rewrite approach. In addition, the project's first Bill, on capital allowances, which received Royal Assent last March, runs to 333 pages. The aim is that the project's second Bill, concerning employment, pension and social security income, will be published in draft later this year.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many pages of tax law were in existence following the Finance Acts of (a) 1980, (b) 1990 and (c) 2000; and what the projected total is for (i) 2010, (ii) 2020 and (iii) 2030. 
Tax law is enacted in annual Finance Acts. Periodically, consolidated acts are also prepared. Copies of Finance Acts and consolidated acts are available in the Library of the House.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many parliamentary draftsmen are employed on the Tax Law Rewrite Project; how many are on secondment from other Government departments; and what the standard period of secondment is. 
There are currently six parliamentary draftsmen on secondment to the Tax Law Rewrite Project. The usual period of secondment is around two years. There are currently no draftsmen on secondment to the project from other Government Departments.
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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff are employed in the Office of Parliamentary Counsel; on average how many are employed to deal with tax matters; and how many are trained in the Tax Rewrite Project. 
I understand that there are 43 draftsmen employed in the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and 21 administrative staff. Draftsmen are trained to be able to work on Bills covering any area, not specifically tax matters. The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel has a total of 10 draftsmen with experience of working for the Tax Law Rewrite Project.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans the Government have for (a) simplifying tax law and (b) reducing the volume of tax law. 
The information is as follows:
(a) The Government keep the whole tax system under review, acting where possible to change tax rules to minimise burdens on business while still meeting the Government's objectives for a fair and efficient tax system. We are currently consulting on a number of measures to simplify and modernise the tax system.
(b) Simply focusing on the volume of legislation is misguidedthe length of legislation is not directly related to complexity. Where we introduce new regulations we offer business and individuals practical help and support and have already introduced a substantial package of measures to help businesses, particularly small businesses, deal with Government.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what time scale was originally set for the Tax Law Rewrite Project; and if this time scale will be met. 
The original estimate was that it would take about five years to rewrite the main primary legislation on direct tax. However, as the work of the project progressed, it became clear that it would take longer to do the job to the necessary standard, and there is general agreement that it is more important for the work to be done properly rather than quickly.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was paid to the Treasury in inheritance tax in actual terms in the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement on inheritance tax and plans he has for reform. 
The yield from inheritance tax in the year 200001 was £2.2 billion. As to the future of the tax, I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget statement.