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21 Feb 2005 : Column 224W—continued

National Insurance Contributions

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate how many people who pay national insurance contributions would not do so if the threshold for payment were to be raised to £10,000 per annum, in the first year following the raising of the threshold. [215785]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of people who are currently projected to pay national insurance contributions in the UK, who would not do so if the primary threshold and lower profits limit were raised to £10,000 per annum in the year 2005–06 is estimated to be 4 million. The estimate is based upon the Report by the Government Actuary on the drafts of the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2005 and the Social Security (Contributions) (Re-rating and National Insurance Funds Payments) Order 2005".

Office for National Statistics

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the estimated expenditure by the Office for National Statistics on producing and compiling statistics relating to England at Government Office for Region level was in the last period for which figures are available. [216035]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Mr. Colin Mowl, to Mrs. Caroline Spelman, dated 21 February 2005:


 
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Public Expenditure

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the influence of public spending increases on the state of the economy. [216069]

Mr. Boateng: The Treasury's latest projections for public expenditure and the Treasury's latest economic forecast are set out in the 2004 pre-Budget report, which is available in the Library of the House. Updated projections will be provided with the Budget.

Royal Marriage

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the costs to public funds which will arise from the proposed marriage between His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles; whether rules exist in respect of public expenditure on such matters; and if he will make a statement. [217193]

Mr. Timms: Since the wedding will be a private event, I have made no such estimate.

Government Departments manage their own budgets in line with their statutory responsibilities, objectives and priorities.

Stamp Duty

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the reduction in stamp duty yield from residential property which would result from raising the threshold at which 1 per cent. stamp duty starts from £60,000 to £150,000. [216683]

Dawn Primarolo: The estimated revenue cost, in 2005–06, of restructuring stamp duty on residential property sales by raising the threshold from £60,000 to £150,000 is £480 million. This does not include any allowance for behavioural changes.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the cost of reliefs from stamp duty for transfers in designated disadvantaged wards was accounted for by (a) residential transfers and (b) non-residential transfers in the most recent year for which figures are available. [216681]

Dawn Primarolo: In 2003–04 the proportion of disadvantaged areas relief claimed in respect of residential transfers was estimated at 15 per cent. of the total relief claimed, and the amount claimed in respect of non-residential transfers was estimated at 85 per cent.

Tax Credits

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many families in Morecambe and Lunesdale have received (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit; [216769]

(2) what the average monetary value is of (a) working tax credit and (b) child tax credit awards. [216770]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the number of in-work families receiving tax credits (broken down by families with and without children) in each constituency appear in Child and Working Tax Credit Statistics, Geographical analyses." This can be found on the
 
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Inland Revenue website at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/menu.htm. The estimates are based on a sample of cases, and are subject to sampling uncertainty.

Information on average awards is not available.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons the Tax Credit Office does not reimburse members of the general public for overpayments until the end of the financial year. [216430]

Mr. Timms: The Inland Revenue's Code of Practice 26 (COP26) 'What happens if we have paid you too much tax credit?' sets out the Department's approach to handling tax credits overpayments.

It is only after the end of the year, once all the information about income and circumstances is available, that the Revenue will compare tax credit entitlement with what they have paid. They will then finalise the award and send claimants a finalisation notice. If there is an underpayment a lump sum payment is then made. Alternatively, if the finalisation notice shows an overpayment for the year, it will wherever possible be recovered from a continuing award.

When a person's circumstances change during the year the Revenue will adjust the payments for the remainder of the year with the aim of paying the right amount of tax credits for the year as a whole.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer under what circumstances individuals who have made overpayments to the Tax Credit Office due to errors by the office are eligible to claim financial hardship payments. [216431]

Mr. Timms: The Inland Revenue's Code of Practice 26 (What happens if we have paid you too much tax credit?") sets out their approach to handling overpayments of tax credits.

Additional tax credits payments may be made by the Inland Revenue to prevent hardship where payments are reduced following the adjustment of an award.

Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of families who will benefit from the extension of the subsidy in the child care element of the working tax credit in 2006 announced in the pre-Budget report in December 2004; and what he estimates the average gain per family per year will be. [217130]

Mr. Timms: Assuming that the number of beneficiaries and average child care costs remains at December 2004 levels, around 330 thousand families will benefit from the increase in the percentage of child care costs covered in the child care element of tax credits. The average (mean) gain is assumed to be £400 per year.

Angela Eagle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in each ward of Wallasey constituency claim working tax credit. [217312]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the number of in-work families receiving tax credits (broken down by families with and without children) in each constituency appears in Child and Working Tax Credit Statistics. Geographical analyses. December 2004" This can be found on the Inland
 
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Revenue website at www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/menu.htm. The estimates are based on a sample of cases, and are subject to sampling uncertainty.

Estimates for smaller areas are not available.

VAT

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many VAT registered businesses there were on average in the area of (a) Selby district council and (b) City of York council in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2004. [216321]

Dawn Primarolo: Customs and Excise do not collect data on the number of VAT registered businesses by geographical area. Information on VAT registered businesses by area is available via the Small Business Service website www.sbs.gov.uk. The following table shows the number of enterprises registered for VAT at the start of the year for the unitary authorities and local authority districts within the Yorkshire and the Humber Government office region.
Number of VAT registered enterprises at the start of 1997 and 2004

Area typeArea19972004
RegionYorkshire and the Humber GOR121,975129,645
UAEast Riding of Yorkshire9,70510,115
UAKingston upon Hull city of4,4554,505
UANorth East Lincolnshire3,3003,435
UANorth Lincolnshire3,9854,235
UAYork4,0554,670
CountyNorth Yorkshire county23,11524,775
LACraven2,6702,845
LAHambleton3,9954,155
LAHarrogate6,0256,715
LARichmondshire2,0252,095
LARyedale2,8603,010
LAScarborough3,2003,270
LASelby2,3402,690
CountySouth Yorkshire metropolitan county24,17025,910
LABarnsley3,9004,365
LADoncaster4,9405,580
LARotherham4,2704,690
LASheffield11,05511,275
CountyWest Yorkshire metropolitan county49,19052,005
LABradford10,27010,780
LACalderdale5,4955,890
LAKirklees9,47510,400
LALeeds18,10518,230
LAWakefield5,8456,705




Source:
Small Business Service www.sbs.gov.uk



Mr. Swayne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is his policy, in cases where the Inland Revenue is persuaded that a VAT registration is unnecessary and mistaken, that (a) penalties for non-payment and (b) backdated tax claims should be withdrawn; and if he will make a statement. [216535]

Mr. Timms: Where a person makes taxable supplies and is registered for VAT voluntarily, the registration cannot be cancelled retrospectively. The person is liable to account for VAT on taxable supplies made and may be liable to penalties during the period of the registration.
 
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Where Customs and Excise register a person for VAT and they subsequently discover that the person was neither required nor entitled to be registered, they will remove the person from the register and withdraw any assessments made for arrears of tax or penalty. Customs are, however, able to recover from that person any amount he has charged to customers as VAT and he may be liable to a penalty on this amount.


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