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10 Feb 2003 : Column 612W—continued

Special Advisers and Press Officers

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers have been employed by his Department in each year from 1994–95 to 2002–03; and at what cost in each year. [92436]

Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 31 January 2003 by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office.

The number of press officers employed by HM Treasury has remained broadly constant since 1994–95. There are currently seven, in addition to the Head of Communications.

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As to cost the total basic salaries for 2000–01 were £196,990 and for 2001–02 were £201,502. Figures for other years are unavailable.

Sustainable Investment

Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library communications between the Treasury and the International Monetary Fund regarding the interpretation of the sustainable investment rule, following the request for clarification contained in the concluding statement of the IMF Article IV consultation, published on 9 December 2002. [96239]

Ruth Kelly: The Government have published the IMF's concluding statement. The final IMF report will be discussed at the IMF Board towards the end of February and will be published shortly afterwards.

The sustainable investment rule has been fully described in successive Budget and PBR documents and the HM Treasury book, "Reforming Britain's Economic and Financial Policy" edited by E. Balls and G. O'Donnell.

Tax Compliance Work

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the yield/cost ratio for tax compliance work by the (a) International Business Tax Group and (b) Large Business Office, at the Inland Revenue in each year from 1990–91 to 2002–03; and if he will make a statement. [96610]

Dawn Primarolo: The available information about the Inland Revenue's work tackling non-compliance is set out each year in the Inland Revenue Annual Report, copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library.

Tax Credit Helpline

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are employed by the tax credit helpline; and of that number, how many are employed as claim line operators. [94236]

Dawn Primarolo: A helpline was set up in August 2002 to handle detailed inquiries about the two new tax credits—Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. The number of people employed at the helpline in Great Britain is set out in the table.

SiteAdvisersTeam LeadersManagers/Support StaffTotal
Peterlee4734320536
Livingston2562417297
Merry Hill2702517312
Dundee4834623552
Liverpool1701410194
Total1,652152871,891

Notes

1. All figures are for staff in post, whether they work full-time or part-time. The equivalent number of full time staff will be lower.

2. All advisers and team leaders handle calls.

3. Telephone advisers are available to help process claims too, and some use has been made of that flexibility


10 Feb 2003 : Column 614W

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases have been dealt with by the tax credits helpline in each month since it was established. [94239]

Dawn Primarolo: A helpline was set up in August 2002 to handle detailed inquiries about the two new tax credits—Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. The number of calls handled by the helpline in Great Britain in each month since then is set out in the table.

Calls handled
August 200228,225
September 2002177,347
October 2002320,400
November 2002374,553
December 2002264,671
January 2003633,717

Mr. Webb : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many calls have been received by the tax credit helpline in each month since it was established. [94243]

Dawn Primarolo: A helpline was set up in August 2002 to handle detailed enquiries about the two new tax credits—Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. The number of calls received at the helpline in Great Britain in each month since then is set out in the table.

Calls received
August 200228,453
September 2002179,484
October 2002324,381
November 2002394,205
December 2002267,757
January 2003673,036

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which days of the week, and for how many hours on each of those days, the tax credit hotline is operational. [94244]

Dawn Primarolo : A helpline was set up in August 2002 to handle detailed enquiries about the two new tax credits—Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. The helpline in Great Britain is open from 8 am until 8 pm seven days a week (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday). The freephone response line, set up to take calls generated by the publicity for the new tax credits, is open from 7 am until 11 pm seven days a week.

Mr. Webb : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the tax credits helpline has cost to operate since it was established. [94240]

Dawn Primarolo: A helpline was set up in August 2002 to handle detailed enquiries about the two new tax credits—Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. Since it was set up until 31 December 2002, operating costs for the helpline in Great Britain are estimated to have been as follows:

£ million

Operating cost for tax credits helpline
Pay9.46
Other costs4.6


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Mr. Webb : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what specialist training is given to tax credit helpline operators on the (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit. [94242]

Dawn Primarolo: Helpline operators receive training covering all aspects of eligibility for and entitlement to Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit (including the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit), as well as the mechanics of claiming and paying the new tax credits.

Tax Evasion

Mr. Laws : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Inland Revenue in tackling tax evasion and avoidance from 1999 to 2002; and if he will make a statement. [95824]

Dawn Primarolo: Deterring and countering tax evasion and avoidance is a major part of the Inland Revenue's work to ensure that everyone understands and pays what is due. This work ensures that everyone contributes to the UK's needs. The National Audit Office has recently concluded an investigation into the Inland Revenue's effectiveness at countering fraud and will be publishing its report in due course.

Tax Rates (Dividends)

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the revenue on an accruals basis from increasing the basic rate of tax applicable to dividends by 1 per cent. [96306]

Dawn Primarolo: An increase of 1p in the ordinary rate of tax on dividends that was not matched by a corresponding increase in the dividend tax credit, would result in additional accruals yield of £140 million in 2003–04.

This estimate is based on the Survey of Personal Incomes and is consistent with the November 2002 pre-Budget report. This excludes any behavioural response to the tax change.

Tax Returns

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many self-assessment tax returns were (a) issued, (b) received, (c) waiting to be processed and (d) processed in each month since 3 February 2002; and if he will make a statement. [95005]

Dawn Primarolo: The statistical data requested are set out as follows.

Tax year/dateSA ITRs issuedSA ITRs receivedSA ITRs processedSA ITRs waiting to be processed
2000–01
3 February 20029,552,4338,362,3615,848,3192,514,042
3 March 20029,610,7878,732,1396,892,0841,840,055
31 March 20029,644,3138,805,9498,009,457796,492
2001–02
5 May 20028,984,089287,22374,244212,979
2 June 20029,081,002751,541323,265428,276
7 July 20029,167,8071,397,759709,556688,203
4 August 20029,232,6372,020,4831,135,313885,170
1 September 20029,300,8252,717,7671,591,5651,126,202
6 October 20029,394,7244,475,8902,438,4052,037,485
3 November 20029,463,0024,948,9893,300,3921,648,597
24 November 20029,511,6705,280,1974,008,7681,271,429
1 December 20029,527,2695,395,9194,265,7821,130,137
5 January 20039,587,4315,955,2244,979,671975,553
26 January 20039,658,0877,104,9655,757,3791,347,586

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