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4 Feb 2003 : Column 181Wcontinued
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children lived in one-parent households in
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each year from 197576 to 200203 in (a) numerical and (b) percentage terms; and if he will make a statement. 
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. David Laws, dated 4 February 2003:
|Dependent children living in a one parent family (millions)||Percentage of dependent children living in a one parent family|
Mr. Steen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of pensioners eligible are in receipt of (a) the Minimum Income Guarantee, (b) Council Tax Benefit, (c) Housing Benefit and (d) Attendance Allowance; and what steps he is taking to (i) simplify the system and (ii) encourage a higher take-up of benefits. 
Mr. McCartney: I have been asked to reply.
The information requested for Minimum Income Guarantee, (MIG) Council Tax Benefit (CTB) and Housing Benefit (HB) is available for financial year 19992000 in the DWP report entitled "Income Related BenefitsEstimates of Take-Up". Copies are available in the Library. Estimates covering 200001 are scheduled for publication in March 2003.
We welcome the findings of the recent National Audit Office (NAO) report, "Tackling Pensioner Poverty; encouraging take up of benefits"; which made a number of recommendations to improve the take up of benefits and make them easier to claim. We are pleased that the majority of the actions recommended are already well in train. We have introduced various initiatives to encourage pensioners to take-up the benefits to which they are entitled. As a consequence of one take-up campaign we put an average of £20 a week in the pockets of an extra 140,000 MIG recipients. We are working in partnership with organisations for older people on a
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series of initiatives and have already introduced a shortened claim form to make it easier for pensioners to claim MIG.
It is not possible to be precise about the number of pensioners who might be entitled to Attendance Allowance (AA) if they claimed it. This is because entitlement to AA is determined on the customer's specific circumstances which can only be determined after a claim has been made. Up to date estimates of the take up of Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
The Disability Benefits Modernisation Programme has been set up to improve the information given to people about AA and the way claims are made. It is working on a range of initiatives including designing a new AA claim form and process, redesigning forms seeking medical evidence and the introduction of improved IT.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place the technical note underlying the Inland Revenue's Public Service Agreement in the Library; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue's technical note will be published shortly, and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place the technical note underlying Customs and Excise's Public Service Agreement in the Library; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: The technical note will be published shortly and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Cameron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the case for a differential tax regime for returnable bottles in order to help reduce the amount of domestic and commercial waste in the UK. 
John Healey: No assessment has been made.
As announced in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report, the Government will be considering how the use of economic instruments can be extended to provide a more comprehensive and coherent framework for waste management.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions officials from his Department have had with (a) the EU Competition Authority, (b) representatives of the Royal Mail and (c) representatives of Business Post, TPG and Hays DX concerning the Royal Mail's exemption from charging value added tax. 
John Healey: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 11 February 2002, Official Report, column 114W.
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Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions officials from his Department have had with representatives of the Cayman Islands regarding the EU Savings Tax Directive. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Chancellor's Departments have discussed the draft Savings Directive with representatives of the Cayman Islands Government on a number of occasions.
HM Government have also been in regular contact with the Governor of the Cayman Islands on this issue.
Mr. Caton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to abolish stamp duty on industrial property. 
Ruth Kelly: Ministers have made a clear commitment to a fair tax system, and they keep all aspects of it, including stamp duty rates and thresholds, under regular review. In the 2002 Budget the Chancellor announced a major reform of certain aspects of stamp duty on land and buildings in the UK. A consultative document was published on 17 April 2002, seeking views on the detail of the modernised regime. This document contained no plans to abolish stamp duty on industrial property.
All commercial propertynot just industrial propertywill be exempt from stamp duty in 2,000 enterprise areas. The European Commission has now approved this relief under the State Aid rules. An announcement will be made shortly on implementation.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimates he has made of the (a) economic effects and (b) impact on investment stamp duty on share transactions; and if he will make a statement. 
Ruth Kelly: There is no convincing evidence that stamp duty on shares significantly affects either UK companies or the UK markets. As with all taxes, stamp duty on shares has to be understood in the context of the revenue raised, which would otherwise have to be found elsewhere.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect of the removal of Advance Corporation Tax relief on the value of the FTSE 100 share index. 
Ruth Kelly : It is not possible with any certainty to attribute movements in share prices to the effects of particular Government tax measures. The Government remains committed to modernizing Corporation Tax in order to raise productivity and encourage long-term investment.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library the research on tobacco consumption and smuggling undertaken by
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Customs and Excise outlined on page 19 of the NAO report, Measuring the performance of Government Departments; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: The research on tobacco consumption and smuggling undertaken by Customs and Excise outlined on page 27 of the NAO report, "Measuring the Performance of Government Departments" can be found in "Tackling Tobacco Smuggling", published by HM Customs and Excise and HM Treasury in March 2000, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
Customs' more recent published research on tobacco smuggling and consumption can be found in chapter 2 of "Protecting indirect tax revenues" and chapter 3 of "Measuring indirect tax losses", both published by Customs and Excise in November 2002.
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