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National Insurance Records

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many records of individuals stored in the national insurance record system were removed because the identities concerned were found to be bogus in 2000–01. [54724]

Dawn Primarolo: Records of individuals with bogus identities are not removed from the National Insurance Recording System. The process is to flag the accounts via the Department of Work and Pensions National Identity Fraud Unit so that activity on the accounts can be monitored.

Working Families Tax Credit

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent in each year for which figures are available on administering payments of the working families tax credit, broken down by (a) costs associated with direct payment of the working families tax credit and (b) costs associated with payment via employers. [56419]

Dawn Primarolo: During the 12 months to March 2001 the cost to the Inland Revenue of administering working families' tax credit was £133.8 million. In the previous six months the cost was £36.1 million.

The Department does not record separately the costs of payment directly to the recipient and payment via the employer.

Government Statistics (Longevity)

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to revise Government statistics to take account of recent research into human longevity. [56913]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Gordon Prentice, dated 20 May 2002

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Children's Credit

Ms Oona King: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made on developing payment systems to ensure that the main carer of a child, even if she or he does not have a bank account, can be paid children's credit from April 2003 onwards. [57206]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue will provide advice in the tax credits application pack on what types of bank accounts can be used for Child Tax Credit payments. The options are current accounts, basic bank accounts or the card account that the Post Office is currently developing and which should be available from April 2003. The Inland Revenue are also making it clear in the material they issue that main carers who do not wish to use an existing joint or sole account to receive payments of their Child Tax Credit can open another account for those payments if they wish.

Tax Returns

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what help is available for (a) people and (b) people over the age of 75 who experience difficulties in completing their tax returns; and if he will make a statement. [57172]

Dawn Primarolo: There are five main ways in which the Inland Revenue provides help for people who experience difficulties in completing their Tax Returns.

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How to get this help is shown on the front page of each Tax Return and help is available when people need it and not just during office hours. While we do not have help aimed specifically at people aged over 75, local offices will arrange home visits, on request, to help anyone complete their tax return who has difficulty going to a tax office, such as pensioners, the elderly, the sick or disabled.

We also have a range of leaflets that are available to customers on request form the IRECs and we provide separate specialist telephone Helplines for subjects such as Disabled Persons Tax Credit or Trusts.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to simplify (a) the tax system and (b) tax returns; and if he will make a statement. [57171]

Dawn Primarolo: Budget 2002 contained a number of measures to simplify tax including measures to ease the impact of VAT on small business and implementing the recommendations of the Carter Review of Payroll Services.


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his definition of poverty is; and what plans he has to alter his definition. [57190]

Dawn Primarolo: There is no single definition of poverty as it is a complex and multi-dimensional problem. The Government's annual "Opportunity for all" publication sets out the strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and monitors progress against a range of indicators.

On 18 April 2002, the Department for Work and Pensions published a consultation document on child poverty measurement looking at how best to build on the Government's existing indicators for the measurement of child poverty in the long-term, seeking views on a range of approaches proposed by academics and poverty experts from the UK and overseas. The consultation period ends on 10 July 2002.

Commonwealth Education Fund

Jeff Ennis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when he expects to announce the details of the scope and distribution of the Commonwealth Education Fund; [38816]

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Mr. Boateng: The Government launched the Commonwealth Education Fund (CEF) on 12 March to mark Her Majesty the Queen's Golden Jubilee year. The CEF will help Commonwealth developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in education, so that by 2015 every child will be able to enrol in and complete primary school, and by 2005 gender equity in enrolments can be reached.

At present 75 million primary school-age children in the Commonwealth do not attend school.

Since 1997 the Government have committed over £650 million to support the development of sustainable, quality primary education systems, mainly in Commonwealth sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia.

Under the chairmanship of Sir Edward George, the Governor of the Bank of England, the CEF will raise resources from business and individuals to support this objective. The Governor is currently working with the administering NGOs to establish the formal umbrella board of the fund, determine trustees, and will make a number of representations to UK industry over the course of this year.

The CEF will have three financing windows:

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The CEF will be separately administered by the three NGOs according to a framework agreed with Government. The Government's £10 million endowment and matching funds will be channelled as a grant to the NGOs through DFID, whose existing budget will be increased accordingly. The precise cost of the matching funds will not be known until the end of 2002. Tax relief can be claimed by corporate donors and Comic Relief (in respect of donations from private individuals) at the appropriate tax rate.

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