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Government Debt and Asset Management

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the future organisational arrangements for government debt and asset management. [46643]

Ruth Kelly: Following a detailed review of the current arrangements and future requirements for government debt and asset management, the National Debt Office (NDO) and the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) will be integrated with the UK Debt Management Office (DMO) with effect from 1 July. Both the NDO and the PWLB are part of the National Investment and Loans Office (NILO) and the relevant staff will be relocated to the DMO's offices. This reorganisation, while maintaining provision of existing services, is designed to deliver improved management of the central Government balance sheet, and to offer a more robust, flexible and innovative service to public sector clients.

At the same time the remaining part of NILO, the Office of HM Paymaster General (OPG), will be merged with the Treasury, while also maintaining the provision of its existing services. NILO will thereafter cease to exist.

Tax Credits

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many disabled people have benefited from the fast track to disabled person's tax credit since this provision was introduced. [44459]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 19 March 2002]: The number of recipients of the disabled person's tax credit (DPTC) entering via the fast-track is shown in table 2.3 of each DPTC Quarterly Enquiry, copies of which are in the Library.

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the new working families tax credit unit in Livingston to be operational. [45311]

Dawn Primarolo: The Livingston Contact Centre, which will handle telephone inquiries about tax credits, is expected to be operational from 1 August 2002.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people living on below 60 per cent. of median income who have an entitlement to the working families tax credit and are not in receipt of any payment; [45286]

Dawn Primarolo: No such estimates for working families tax credit will be available until the Family Resources Survey data for 2000–01 have been analysed.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason (a) a widow receiving a widowed mother's allowance is not eligible for working

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families tax credit and (b) a mother receiving maintenance payments from a living ex-partner is eligible for the credit. [45858]

Dawn Primarolo: A widow in receipt of widowed mother's allowance and a mother in receipt of maintenance payments may both be eligible for the working families tax credit.

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the compliance statistics for working families tax credit were in the nine months to 31 December 2001; and what the comparable statistics were in the previous year. [46644]

Dawn Primarolo: Compliance statistics for the nine months to 31 December 2001 show an increased effectiveness in the Inland Revenue's compliance programme. Of the 16,016 inquiries completed in this period, 5,427 cases (34 per cent.) were found to contain discrepancies and these produced a compliance yield of £10.4 million.

I very much regret having to report that the Inland Revenue have advised me that some previous statistics relating to tax credit compliance have proved to be incorrect or incomplete. The correct equivalent figures for the year ended 31 March 2001 are that, of the 31,211 inquiries completed in that year, 5,573 cases (18 per cent.) were found to contain discrepancies producing a compliance yield of £7.7 million.

These errors in the Inland Revenue's tax credit statistics have also resulted in incorrect information being given in responses to some written parliamentary questions, in letters to hon. Members and during debates. I am writing to the Members concerned correcting errors and I will place a copy of the letters in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families living on below 60 per cent. of median income are in receipt of the children's tax credit; and what percentage of the total children's tax credit caseload this represents. [45284]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not available.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he plans to introduce incentives for tax credit towards training personnel employed in small and medium sized enterprises. [45561]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government keeps all taxes under review and any changes will be announced in the Budget report.

The Government is taking forward its Budget 2001 commitment to consider policies, possibly including a tax credit, to encourage low skilled workers to train. The PBR announced pilot schemes to start this year which will test a range of policy options to support and encourage training.

Creche Facilities

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what creche facilities are provided by his Department; and at what cost. [44861]

Ruth Kelly: The Treasury offers staff access to subsidised places on a holiday playscheme and pays £15.60 towards the cost of each place, which represents

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60 per cent. of the total cost. Around eight staff take up places for their children. Staff can also reclaim additional child care costs incurred, including the tax liability, if they have to work longer or later than normal.

Parliamentary Questions

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason officials in his Department draw up background briefing notes concerning the reason that an hon. Member is asking a parliamentary question; and if he will make a statement. [45119]

Ruth Kelly: Ministers would be advised of Members' reasons for tabling particular questions to facilitate the provision of appropriate replies.

Sport

Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many responses to the Treasury Consultation Document, "Promoting Sport in the Community", (a) agreed and (b) disagreed with the need to proceed with a separate Inland Revenue-administered tax package; [45170]

Mr. Boateng: A range of responses have been received. Decisions on the best way forward will be made with regard to these responses and in the context of subsequent meetings with sports' representative bodies and the Charity Commission. A summary of responses will be made publicly available at the time of any announcement.

Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many responses to the Treasury Consultation Document, "Promoting Sport in the Community", called for the Inland Revenue-administered tax package to include mandatory rate relief. [45172]

Mr. Boateng: Ministers are considering responses to the questions for consultation contained in the "Promoting Sport in the Community" document. A summary of responses will be made publicly available at the time of any announcement. The separate Inland Revenue administered tax package that the Government consulted on did not include business rate relief. However, CASCs gaining charitable status—for which they are able to apply immediately—are eligible for 80 per cent. mandatory business rate relief.

Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many responses have been received to the Treasury Consultation Document, "Promoting Sport in the Community". [45168]

Mr. Boateng: The "Promoting Sport in the Community" consultation document attracted over 2,400 responses, for which we are grateful. Ministers are considering responses and decisions will be made as part of the normal Budget process. A summary of responses will be made public at the time of any announcement.

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Correspondence

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the target time will be in 2002–03 for (a) Ministers to reply to letters from hon. Members and (b) officials in his Department to reply to letters received directly from members of the public. [44945]

Mr. Boateng: The target time for replying to all correspondence will be 15 working days from receipt.


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