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15 Nov 2004 : Column 950W—continued


Teenage Pregnancy Rates

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the teenage pregnancy rates in (a) Wales and (b) England were in each year since 1996. [197410]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from John Pullinger to Mr. Bill Wiggin, dated 15 November 2004:

Under 18 conception numbers and rates, 1996–2002


(2) provisional

Child Tax Credit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many child tax credit claimants he has written to with details about the process of finalising their 2003–04 claim and renewing a claim for 2004–05 reassessments; and how many have responded; [184687]

(2) what the (a) total and (b) average value is of tax credits (i) overpayments and (ii) underpayments that (A) have been repaid and (B) are outstanding; [185062]

(3) how many tax credits awards for 2003–04 have been finalised; of these, how many families have had their subsequent rewards (a) reduced and (b) increased
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because of overpayments or underpayments; and what the value was of (i) overpayments and (ii) underpayments of (A) child tax credit and (B) working tax credit. [185063]

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit renewal forms were received back for the 2004–05 year by 30 September; and if he will make a statement. [191780]

Dawn Primarolo: Tax credit awards are initially set using latest circumstances and previous year income. Families are encouraged to report changes in both income and circumstances in year; any changes not notified in year will be picked up at the end of the year when tax credit awards are finalised. In this way the tax credits strike a balance between a system that provides certainty of support, and a system that responds to changes in family need. Furthermore, the first £2,500 of any income rise is ignored.

As I announced on 19 November 2003, Official Report, columns 1099–1100W, in a written answer to the hon. Member for Birmingham Northfield (Richard Burden) from April, Inland Revenue wrote to all families who had had a 2003–04 tax credit award to explain the action they needed to take to finalise their 2003–04 award and to renew their award for 2004–05. Families were sent reminder letters and as the 30 September deadline approached, those that had not returned their annual declaration were telephoned as a further reminder. Many families contacted the helpline, both for help and to provide the information necessary to finalise and renew their awards. All of this activity was supported by an extensive publicity campaign involving television, radio and newspaper advertisements which began in April and ran across the summer.

Families benefiting from the Child Tax Credit through IS/JSA continue to receive their support in this way and are not part of the renewals process. And families receiving the family element only were told that they needed to contact the Inland Revenue only if their income had changed significantly or their circumstances had changed. This has meant that 1.3 million families did not need to contact the Inland Revenue and these families will have their awards renewed automatically. A further 3.7 million have returned their annual declaration enabling their 2003–04 award to be finalised and their initial award for 2004–05 to be set. At the start of October, around 200,000 families had neither renewed their award nor contacted the Inland Revenue and stood to have their awards cut off.

For 2003–04 tax credit awards were set using 2001–02 income. As set out in "The Child and Working Tax Credits. The Modernisation of Britain's Tax and Benefit System Number Ten April 2002", the first £2,500 rise in income will be disregarded for tax credits. This disregard means that many families will not see their tax credits reduced as their incomes rise. The Code of Practice 26 sets out what happens when tax credits have been over or under paid. Analysis of the numbers of families with over or underpayments and the values of these will only be available once all awards have been finalised. This will only be after the deadline of 31 January for reporting of final 2003–04 income for those families only able to provide an estimate by
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the 30 September deadline. Statistics on over and underpayments will be published in Spring 2005 under National Statistics.

Mr. Keith Bradley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in Manchester, Withington have received child tax credits. [197884]

John Healey: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. friend the Paymaster General to the hon. Member for Wansdyke (Dan Morris) on 12 July 2004, Official Report, columns 992–23W.

Figures for early December 2004 will be published on 23 December.

Chronic Pain

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate has been made of the number of days lost from work as the result of chronic pain in each of the last 10 years. [197611]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl to Mrs. Iris Robinson, dated 15 November 2004:

Number of working days lost due to sickness or injuryUnited Kingdom 12 months ending in August each year from 2002 to 2004


ONS Labour Force Survey

Civil Service Jobs

Mr. Best: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the impact on public services resulting from the proposals to reduce the number of civil service jobs. [197418]

Mr. Boateng: Civil Service workforce reductions are an integral part of the efficiency programme that will generate over £20 billion of savings to invest in essential, frontline services. The programme is based on rigorous and detailed evidence as set out in releasing resources to the front line—Independent Review of Public Sector Efficiency published by Sir Peter Gershon in July 2004.
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Tony Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Chair of the Inland Revenue expects to reply to the letter dated 24 August from the hon. Member for Workington regarding Mr. and Mrs. S. Hully. [197758]

John Healey: I understand that the Inland Revenue has made a thorough investigation of Mr. and Mrs. Hully's case and wrote to the hon. Member on 11 November 2004.

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