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10 Dec 2003 : Column 493W—continued

Income Tax

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average cost of collecting income tax was as a percentage of the amount collected in 2002–03; and what the average administrative cost of paying tax credits has been as a percentage of the amount paid. [142708]

Dawn Primarolo: The cost/yield ratio for collecting income tax and the cost of administering tax credits as a percentage of the amount paid will be shown in the Inland Revenue Annual Report for 2002–03, to be published shortly.

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide an estimate of the additional revenue that would accrue to the Exchequer annually if the top rate of income tax were 50 per cent. [142920]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer my hon. Friend to table 1.6 "Direct effects of illustrative tax changes" on the Inland Revenue website www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/tax expenditures/g t06 1.htm. The figures exclude any estimate of behavioural response to the tax change.

Lorry Road User Charge

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the proposed (a) minimum and (b) maximum toll charge is under the Lorry Road User Charge scheme; [142913]

John Healey: The proposed rates of Lorry Road User Charge have not yet been set. We are still considering a variety of options for how the scheme might work and have yet to go to the market to invite bids, so the estimated capital and administrative costs are not yet known. The Government are committed to reducing fuel duty for those hauliers who pay the Lorry Road User Charge so that overall they will pay no more tax as a result of the introduction of the charge. In our proposals for the charge, we have the broad support of the main haulage trade associations.

Research and Development Tax Credit

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many research and development tax credit claims for the year ended 31 March 2002 are being investigated. [143350]

Dawn Primarolo: Records of the number of inquiries into corporation tax returns do not separately highlight the number of those returns which include a claim for the R&D tax credit.

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Mr. Robathan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many applications for research and development tax credit for the year ended 31 March are awaiting a result of inquiries into those or previous applications. [143352]

Dawn Primarolo: Records of the number of inquiries into corporation tax returns do not separately highlight the number of those returns which include a claim for the R&D tax credit.

Tax Avoidance

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to propose legislation to require companies to register details of tax avoidance schemes with the Inland Revenue. [142706]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have made no specific proposals along these lines, but will keep under consideration its overall approach for tackling tax avoidance, paying attention to the experiences of other fiscal authorities.

Tax Credits

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters, phone calls and direct contacts he has received from (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public on the action to be taken in the case of overpayment of tax credits. [142256]

Dawn Primarolo: The records kept of written correspondence, calls received and direct contacts are not classified in a way that permits the extraction of these numbers.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claims for interim payments relating to child and working tax credit claimants have been made in each month since the tax credits were introduced; how many payments have been made; and if he will estimate the (a) average and (b) total value of these payments. [143077]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of individual same day interim payments made through local offices to claimants of child and working tax credits in each month is shown in the following table. Also shown is the number of automatic direct payments made centrally to tax credit claimants in each month.

2003Number of same day interim payments made through local officesNumber of automatic direct payments (million)
April25,0008.5
May175,0009
June75,0009.5
July25,00011.5
August10,00010.5
September8,00011
October6,00011.5
November6,00011

Notes:

1. The numbers of interim payments to July are rounded to the nearest 25,000, and for later months to the nearest thousand. The numbers of automatic direct payments are rounded to the nearest 0.5 million.

2. No figures are available for the number of claims for interim payments that have been refused.


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It is estimated that in excess of £100 million tax credits were paid out by the end of November using the interim payments system.

VAT

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many enterprises were registered for VAT at the start of each year since 1997; and if he will list (a) the number of enterprises registering for VAT, (b) the number of businesses deregistering from VAT, (c) the number of closures involving bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings and (d) the net gain or loss in the stock of registered enterprises for (i) each year since 1997 and (ii) each month in 2003 broken down by (A) standard industrial classification and (B) region. [143123]

John Healey: HM Customs and Excise do not produce detailed statistics of VAT registrations or de-registrations or of insolvencies. The statistics requested at (a), (b) and (d) are published by the Small Business Service; the statistics requested at (c) are published by the Department of Trade and Industry. [More information is available on their respective websites at www.sbs.qov.uk and www.dti.gov.uk].

HOME DEPARTMENT

Community Punishments

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial resources have been allocated for community punishments in the current financial year; and what proportion is directed towards women offenders. [141624]

Paul Goggins: Resources are not specifically allocated to local probation areas for community punishment. The Boards receive a general allocation that they are permitted to spend on the range of activities they carry out. Financial information collected from the 42 Boards indicate that they collectively will spend about £75 million on community punishment orders in 2003–04 and a further £20 million on community punishment and rehabilitation orders. The number of women offenders in receipt of community punishment orders is estimated at about 12 per cent. of the total.

Criminal Cases Review Commission

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many referrals to the Royal Courts of Justice Citizens Advice Bureau Miscarriage of Justice Project have been made by the Criminal Cases Review Commission; and what the working policies and practices of the Commission are for a referral to the project. [141807]

Paul Goggins: The Commission does not refer cases to the Royal Courts of Justice Citizens Advice Bureau. However when sending an applicant the statement of reasons, which accompanies the Commission's decision to refer his or her case to the Court of Appeal, a copy of the Royal Courts of Justice Miscarriages of Justice Project leaflet is enclosed. The provision of the Royal Courts of Justice Citizens Advice Bureau's service is also

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referred to in the letter, which accompanies the statement of reasons. It is then up to the individual to decide whether he or she wishes to utilise the service.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for permission to judicially review a decision not to refer have been made against the Criminal Cases Review Commission; and of those how many (a) were refused leave by a single judge on the papers, (b) refused leave by the court at oral hearings and (c) were granted leave by either the single judge or the court. [141808]

Paul Goggins: A total of 67 applications for judicial review have been made. Of these 26 applications for permission for a judicial review have been refused by the Single Judge on the papers. These applications were not renewed. Twenty-four applications have been refused at oral hearing.

Seven applications have been granted permission, of which one was remitted to the Commission for a further review and two await a decision.

Six cases were concluded by the consent of the parties and four applications for permission are currently waiting for a decision by the Single Judge or on oral renewal to the full court.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many re-applications for review of alleged wrongful conviction upon indictment have been received by the Criminal Cases Review Commission in each of the last six years; how many of those have been reinvestigated and completed; and of those how many have (a) resulted in a decision not to refer and (b) been referred. [141817]

Paul Goggins: Data are available only for the last three complete years and there have been 25, 52 and 79 re-applications in each of these years. There have been 102 re-applications in the financial year to 30 November 2003.

One hundred and eighty-four of these re-applications have been completed; 176 of these upheld the original decision and eight re-applications have been referred to the appropriate court of appeal.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for review of alleged wrongful convictions in Northern Ireland have been received by the Criminal Cases Review Commission; and of those how many (a) were ruled ineligible, (b) were reviewed and a decision not to refer made and (c) were reviewed and referred. [141820]

Paul Goggins: The Commission has received a total of 93 applications from Northern Ireland, of which 15 are still open, 14 were closed as ineligible, 52 were closed with a decision not to refer and 12 were referred.


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