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26 Jan 2004 : Column 117W—continued

Tax Collection

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff are employed by the Inland Revenue to administer the collection of unpaid tax. [R] [149809]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue's Receivables Management Service is responsible for the collection of unpaid tax and national insurance. As at 1 January 2004 the Receivables Management Service had 5,800 staff directly employed in collection of tax and national insurance.

Tax Credits

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the most recent standard mailing issued to all tax credits recipients by the Inland Revenue. [148967]

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Dawn Primarolo: A copy of the most recent general mailing to tax credits recipients, the first issue of Tax Credits Update, has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the child elements of Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support will transfer to Child Tax Credit payments; and whether modifications to the new tax credits IT system will be needed to facilitate the transfer. [150532]

Dawn Primarolo: I will make a statement shortly on our plans for bringing IS/JSA claimants with children into the Child Tax Credit.

Teenage Pregnancies (Yorkshire)

David Davis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the number of teenage pregnancies has been in (i) Haltemprice and Howden and (ii) East Riding of Yorkshire in each of the last five years. [149669]

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. David Davis dated 26 January 2004:

East Riding of Yorkshire
2001 (Provisional)173


Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money is being awarded to Wales above the Barnett block to cover the costs of Objective One projects in 2003–04. [150654]

Mr. Boateng: The additional funding was set out in the 2002 Spending Review: New Public Spending Plans, 2003–2006 (Cm 5570).


Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment his Department has made of the change in unreclaimable tax for small businesses following the recent increase in the starting threshold for VAT; [149767]

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John Healey: With the increase in the VAT threshold to £56,000 at Budget 2003, 2,000 small businesses were removed from compulsory VAT registration. Businesses who wish to continue to be VAT registered may, of course, continue to do so voluntarily.

There is therefore no impact on unreclaimable costs for small businesses.


Assistance Funding (Tower Hamlets)

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding will be available to fund organisations helping parents in Tower Hamlets in the next 12 months; and what proportion of funding will be allocated to (a) national organisations and (b) local organisations. [146232]

Margaret Hodge: Funding in the next financial year—to support parents both nationally and locally—will be available from a number of sources within my department. Our best estimates of the funding options available in Tower Hamlets are as follows:

In the financial year 2004/05 £331,909 is available in Tower Hamlets for groups to apply to the Local Network Fund for Children and Young People.

The Local Network Fund (LNF) provides community groups with small grants to support local projects and activities for 0 to 19-year-olds experiencing disadvantage and social exclusion. The fund enables local people to identify solutions to local issues affecting children and young people through grants ranging between £250 and £7,000 to community groups under four themes: Aspirations and experience; Economic disadvantage; Isolation and access; and Children's voices. Groups whose activities support parenting, involve or target parents, providing there is a clear outcome for children and young people are eligible to apply for a Local Network Fund grant.

Decisions on allocating funding are made by assessment panels comprising local people with knowledge of issues faced by children and young people in the communities served by the funds.

Funding for Sure Start local programmes and children's centres in Tower Hamlets over the next financial year is as follows:

Programme nameRevenue funding 2004/05 (£)
Ocean Estate764,650
Chrisp Street and Teviot761,063
Around Poplar750,000
St. Peter's and Redcoats750,000
Bromley to Burdett 680,000

In addition each local programme has been allocated a capital grant of just over £1 million bringing the total capital investment to £7.7 million.

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For children's centres Tower Hamlets has been given indicative funding to March 2006. Revenue funding is £1,621,304 and capital funding is £4,472,384. The local authority is now planning their proposed profile of spend between now and March 2006.

In the financial year 2004/05, £75,000 is available to Tower Hamlets from the Sure Start Plus pilot programme to provide personal support and advice for teenagers who discover that they are pregnant, so that they can make responsible and well-informed decisions according to their individual circumstances.

In the financial year 2004/05, approximately £35,000 from all Tower Hamlets Sure Start local programmes will provide a teenage pregnancy midwifery lead for teenage parents offering one-to-one case worker support, running teenage parent ante-natal classes and developing working protocols for maternity services in supporting this group.

Tower Hamlets received a Teenage Pregnancy Local Implementation Grant of £25,258 to enable adjustments to George Greens Children's Centre to support teenage parents with babies in returning to education, training and employment and support positive parenting.

Tower Hamlets Children's Fund spent £200,649 on services delivering parental education during July to September 2003. Further funding will be available in 2004–05 to enable the Children's Fund to continue to deliver preventative services for children, young people and their families.

Tower Hamlets also has an allocation of over £62 million for children's social services in 2004–05 through the local government finance settlement, some of which may be available to support organisations helping parents.

Projects in Tower Hamlets may also benefit from national programmes such as the Family Support Grant and Parenting Fund. Parents in all parts of England are able to use Parentline Plus's helpline which receives core funding from the Family Support Grant.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what powers social services departments will have to assist children and families from whom welfare benefits are withdrawn under clause 7 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Bill. [143800]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 15 December 2004]: Local authorities may exercise any of their Children Act 1989 powers and duties to assist the children of such families. They may use section 20 to accommodate the children or section 17 to provide other support. They may not use section 17 to assist any adult member of the family unless it is to prevent a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

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Carer Breaks

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he has issued to local authorities regarding the provision of short breaks for families caring for children with severe learning disabilities. [146484]

Margaret Hodge: "Guidance and Regulations Volume 6 Children with Disabilities" was issued following the Children Act 1989. The guidance clearly sets out local councils' responsibilities for the provision of short-term or respite care.

In August 1995 LAC(95)14 "Respite Care: Services Short-Term Placements of Children" was issued setting out Regulations where services of pre-planned short-term placements could be treated as a single placement.

In previous circulars issued under the Quality Protects Programme, short breaks were identified as a priority area for the Children's Services Grant.

More recently, Guidance was issued to accompany the Carers Grant 2004/05 setting out the Grant's objective to encourage councils to provide breaks services for disabled children and their families.

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