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28 Oct 2002 : Column 608W—continued

Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to hold an investigation into the erroneous figures on the value of United Kingdom pension contributions which have been published by the Office for National Statistics over the last four years; and if he will make a statement. [77001]

Ruth Kelly: The answer requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. David Laws, dated 28 October 2002:




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Pensions (Tax Relief)

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the marginal rate of tax at which all contributors' pension contributions could be allowed if (a) all contributions were to be allowed at a single rate and (b) the cost were the same as that of the present system of tax reliefs. [76787]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the cost of reliefs under the current system are given in table 7.9 of Inland Revenue Statistics. The latest version is on the Inland Revenue website; http://www.inlandrevenue.gov.Uk/stats/pensions/p t09 l.htm

They are subject to a wide margin of error and are not indicative of the effects of changing the system, as there would be significant changes in taxpayers' behaviour.

Population Estimates

Ian Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a list of local authorities in England and Wales ranked by the difference between the Office of National Statistics mid-2000 Population Estimates and the 2001 census (a) in absolute terms and (b) as a percentage. [76619]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from L. Cook to Mr. Ian Lucas, dated 28 October 2002:




Red Diesel

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the rates of duty in each EU member state in respect of red diesel. [77542]

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John Healey: XRed diesel" is gas oil which has been marked with a red dye and a tracer chemical making it eligible for a rebated rate of excise duty. The effective duty rate in the UK is currently 3.13 pence per litre. This rebate is specific to the UK. While many other EU member states operate rebate schemes that are similar to the UK's, they are applied in very different ways so no direct comparison is possible.

Split Capital Trusts

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the actions taken by the Financial Services Authority to address investor concerns about the fall in value of the Split Capital Trust market in the UK over the last two years. [77494]

Ruth Kelly: The Financial Services Authority issued a discussion paper on the split capital investment trust market in December 2001. The results of this discussion paper were published in May 2002. Since then the FSA have been investigating past problems, including possible problems with marketing literature, possible mis-selling and alleged collusive behaviour by some managers of split capital trusts. Looking forward, they have been considering if any changes are needed to the rules of their regulatory handbook or the listing rules. They have also been liaising with the Association of Investment Trusts on their proposals for improved disclosure of the portfolios and borrowings of split capital trusts.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) oral and (b) written communications took place between the Financial Services Authority in the UK and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission between 1st December 2000 and 30th April 2002 on the subject of the (i) risk characteristics and (ii) disclosure and regulation relating to Split Capital Trusts; and if he will make a statement. [77495]

Ruth Kelly: In the course of its duties the FSA liaises regularly with other financial regulators about issues of mutual interest. The details of these discussions is a matter for the FSA itself.

Tax Self-Assessment

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to ensure that the on-line tax self-assessment service complies with the requirements of the Welsh Language Board. [76744]

Dawn Primarolo: There is no facility at present to enable self-assessment tax returns to be filed on-line in Welsh. The Inland Revenue's aim is to have an on-line filing service available in Welsh and is currently working towards this end.

The Welsh Language Board are aware of the situation, have accepted the current position and accepted the Inland Revenue's plan to make this service available.

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the on-line tax self-assessment material is not available in Welsh; and what proportion of this is available in Welsh in another form. [76747]

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Dawn Primarolo: There is no on-line tax self-assessment material available in Welsh. 100 per cent. of tax self assessment material is available in Welsh in paper format or electronically via the Welsh language pages on the Inland Revenue's website. The electronic material can be downloaded, printed and completed manually by individuals.

VAT Inspections

Brian Cotter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints his Department has received in each of the last five years relating to VAT inspection. [76831]

John Healey: Where available, relevant statistics in relation to their complaints procedures will be published in HM Customs and Excise's Annual report, which is due for publication later this Autumn.

Working Tax Credit

Vera Baird: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of (a) families with children and (b) lone parents who will be eligible for working tax credit and will have relevant incomes as defined under section 7 of the Tax Credits Act 2002 of less than #5,060 a year for the purpose of calculating entitlement. [77268]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of families with children expected to benefit from the working tax credit and to have relevant incomes as defined under section 7 of the Tax Credits Act 2002 of less than #5,060 for the purpose of calculating their tax credit entitlement is estimated to be 350,000.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Violent Crime

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many violent crimes were recorded in Cambridgeshire in each of the last three years. [74783]

Mr. Denham: Violent crime is comprised of offences of violence against the person, sexual offences and robbery. The requested figures are given in the table.

Violent crime in Cambridgeshire

Year ending March Number of recorded violent crimes
1999–20007,056
2000–017,419
2001–028,584

It should be noted that recorded violent crime is not necessarily an accurate guide to trends in violent crime, as it is subject to changes in reporting and recording. For example, in the British Crime Survey, for England and Wales as a whole, the number of common assaults showed a statistically significant decrease of 24 per cent. between 1999 and interviews during 2001–02, whereas common assaults recorded by the police in England and Wales increased by 15 per cent. over the same period.

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