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Inland Revenue

Mr. Gale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of Inland Revenue mail is outsourced to a Swedish postal company; and what the average annual value of that contract is. [206707]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue has a contract with the carrier, Lynx, who subcontract to Royal Mail, to carry international mail overseas. The value of this contract is approximately £900,000 per annum. It is currently being re-tendered and a new contract is due to be awarded in February 2005.

Mail is collected by Lynx and consolidated (with items from other public and private sector organisations) to maximise volumes and secure competitive prices. It is then despatched by Royal Mail from its Heathrow sorting centre. When the mail arrives in the country of destination it is handled by the relevant national postal authority. From 1 October 2004, under the terms of the current contract, the Revenue has allowed Lynx to monitor the postal market and select the mail issuing authority offering the most economically advantageous delivery route and competitive pricing. This means that during October, for example, 104,217 items of IR international mail were despatched directly by Sweden Post, bearing their indicia, but were still delivered by the relevant national postal authority. Similarly, 24,117 items were sent by Royal Mail. The savings secured by use of Sweden Post are around £5,700. During the same period, 8,731,425 items of IR post (both domestic and international) were sent by Royal Mail. The percentage despatched by Sweden Post is therefore 1.2 per cent.

Miss Begg: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance is issued to Inland Revenue decision-makers on how to interpret the tests for non-recovery in Code of Practice 26 cases; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance. [206254]

Dawn Primarolo: Guidance for staff is contained in the tax credits manual. The Inland Revenue plan to publish the manual on the Department's website early in the New Year (and a copy will also be placed in the Library of the House at that time).

Isle of Wight

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the level of migration (a) to and (b) from the Isle of Wight was in the most recent two five-year periods for which information is available, broken down by (i) age, (ii) qualification level and (iii) socio-economic status. [206077]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Andrew Turner, dated 21 December 2004:

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Table 1: Movements to and from the Isle of Wight and the rest of the UK during the period 1994–98 by quinary age group

All ages24,58918,7435,846

Table 2: Movements to and from the Isle of Wight and the rest of the UK during the period 1999–2003: by quinary age group

All ages27,54519,6617,884

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Low-income Households

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in the Coventry area are living in low-income households; and how his Department defines a low-income household. [206379]

Mr. Pond: I have been asked to reply.

Poverty is about more than low income, it also impacts on the way people live-their health, housing and the quality of their environment. The sixth annual "Opportunity for all" report (Cm 6239) sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and presents information on the indicators used to measure progress against this strategy. In December 2003, we published "Measuring child poverty" which outlines the Government's new measure of child poverty which will be used from 2004–05. Both of these documents are in the Library.

Data for the number of families living in low income households is not available below regional level. Other information regarding low income is available in "Households Below Average Income 1994–95 to 2002–03," a copy of which is in the Library. This publication reports on a range of absolute and relative low-income counts, including the most commonly used threshold of below 60 per cent. of contemporary median income, adjusted for household size.

MPs' Tax Credit Hotline

Mr. Luff: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what training is provided to staff on the MPs' Tax Credit hotline. [204649]

Dawn Primarolo: All staff on the Tax Credits MPs' hotline staff receive:

In addition, off-line technical specialists are available to support staff on the hotline.

Pre-Budget Report

Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of producing the summary leaflet for the pre-Budget report; what the costs were of distributing it; and if he will list the locations to which it has been circulated for distribution. [206007]

Mr. Timms: The total printing cost for the 2004 pre-Budget report summary leaflets was around £55,000. The total distribution cost was around £85,000. All costs have been met from within the Treasury's departmental expenditure limits. Copies of the 2004 pre-Budget report leaflet were distributed to around 30,000 addresses,
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including individuals and public organisations such as libraries, post offices, GP's surgeries, schools and universities.

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