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|Name||Percentage within Band A|
|Stoke on Trent||63|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||60|
|Barrow in Furness||60|
|Chester le Street||55|
|North East Lincolnshire||53|
|Berwick upon Tweed||50|
John Healey: The Government are committed to introducing a distance-based lorry road-user charge, with offsetting tax cuts for those who buy their fuel in the UK. We have been developing proposals in consultation with the haulage industry and, as announced in the pre-Budget report (Cm 6408), we have today issued a discussion paper, which considers various details of how the charge might operate in practice. The discussion paper is available in the Library of the House.
Land borders always provide challenges for distance-based road charging systems, both in determining UK distances travelled to which any charge should be applied, and in ensuring that vehicles crossing the boundary are complying with the charging requirements.
The UK land boundary in Northern Ireland presents particular challenges, with over 300 open crossing points between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. A number of cross-border routes also include roads which pass into and out of the UK a number of times, in some cases without visibly identifiable crossing points.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many deficiency notices he (a) has issued and (b) expects to issue in order to ensure that all individuals are notified of gaps in their national insurance contribution (NIC) record since 199798; what data he
19 Jan 2005 : Column 987W
collects on the (i) age, (ii) marital status and (iii) gender of recipients; how many people have so far responded by making voluntary NIC payments to fill gaps in their record; how many notices have been issued to (A) women aged 63 years or above and (B) men aged 68 years or above; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 17 January 2005]: In September 2004, the Inland Revenue completed the exercise to issue Deficiency Notices to people of working age for the six-year period from 199697 to 200102. A total of 10.02 million notices were issued.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency (NISSA) are writing to about 483,000 people who reached state pension age on or before 24 October 2004 and who have deficiencies on their national insurance account for 199697 to 200102. About 93,000 of these Deficiency Notices have been issued.
|Age band/gender||Number of recipients of Deficiency Notices|
|Women under 40||3.19|
|Women 40 to 49||1.62|
|Women over 49||1.00|
|Men under 40||2.32|
|Men 40 to 49||0.94|
|Men over 49||0.94|
To date, about 220,000 payments have been received. This will be greater than the number of individuals making payment since they can make more than one payment. An estimate of the number of individuals making payments is not available.
Mr. Timms: The costs of all measures announced in the 2004 pre-Budget report which involve an addition to total Government expenditure can be found in table 1.2 of the 2004 pre-Budget report, which is available in the Library of the House.
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Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with representatives of small and medium sized businesses regarding tax credits for research and development. 
John Healey: Treasury Ministers regularly receive representations from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and their representatives on a range of tax issues, including the Research and Development (R and D) tax credit for SMEs. Where possible, Ministers and officials meet with representative bodies to discuss these representations.
Since the introduction of the R and D tax credit in 2000, the Government have continued to consult with small and medium sized enterprises and their representatives. Recent improvements to the credit have resulted from consultation with and suggestions from SMEs and their representative groups. The Government will continue to consult with SMEs on future improvements to the tax credit to ensure its effectiveness.
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