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15 Jun 2005 : Column 395W—continued

Offshore Facilities

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequerwhat his policy is on UK publicly-funded companies moving services offshore to avoid tax or national insurance payments; and if he will make a statement. [3340]

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Dawn Primarolo: It is Government policy that Departments and non-departmental public bodies should not seek to minimise tax liabilities through transactions or activities for which there is no genuine justification in economic terms, and should apply restrictions on the use of offshore jurisdictions by successful bidders to procurement contracts, where such restrictions are justified in terms of the objectives of the project and consistent with international obligations and stated objectives on tax transparency and openness. This is made clear in the Dear Accounting Officer" letter sent by HM Treasury to Departments on 22 May 2003 (DAO Gen/03). Public corporations follow the same rules for managing tax liabilities as private companies.

Private/Public Finance Initiative

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) which circumstances would (a) qualify private finance initiative to be considered for and (b) exclude it from being considered for public borrowing requirements; [3665]

(2) how much public finance initiative funding has been written off since its inception. [3666]

John Healey: The Government follow rules based upon internationally agreed standards of commercial accounting practice, policed by the independent accounting watchdog, the FRAB (Financial Reporting Advisory Board), when accounting for PFI transactions.

All PFI deals are subject to audit by the NAO or another UK audit body. Where they judge that assets in PFI deals should be on a public authority's balance sheet the value of those assets is scored as public sector net borrowing.

Approximately half of all signed PFI deals are judged under this process to be 'off-balance sheet'.

Stamp Duty

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 26 May 2005, Official Report, column 201W, on stamp duty, what the forecast revenues from stamp duty on (a) residential properties and (b) commercial properties are in (i) 2004–05 and (ii) 2005–06. [4217]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: Estimated and projected revenues for total stamp taxes in 2004–05 and 2005–06 are published in Table C8 of the Budget 2005 report. The Stamp Duty Land Tax component of these figures is estimated at £6.3 billion in 2004–05 and £6.7 billion in 2005–06.

Separate estimates for Stamp Duty Land Tax receipts for 2004–05 from both residential and commercial property will be published later this year.
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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average stamp duty paid for a residential property purchase in (a) each Government Office region, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland has been in each year since 1997. [4278]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Estimates of average stamp duty on land and property by Country and Region are given in the following table. Reliable estimates are only readily available for Scotland for 2003–04.
Averages : £

North East3203004104507307901,060
North West3504305405807309701,310
Yorkshire and the Humber3703705104905709501,300
East Midlands3304505907007701,1501,780
West Midlands4705607008301,1101,4001,830
East of England7509401,0901,4801,9702,2602,990
South East1,0801,4501,7802,1502,7603,1103,770
South West6807901,0301,3301,5701,9902,560
Northern Ireland2403204707301,0008001,080

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total amount raised in stamp duty on (a) residential property and (b) commercial property in (i) each Government Office region, (ii) Wales, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland has been in each year since 1997. [4279]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Estimates of the amount of stamp duty raised on residential land and property transactions are available at

Estimates for stamp duty raised on commercial transactions are given in the same format in the following table:
Yield : £ million

United Kingdom6651,0751,3601,5401,4451,4851,190
England and Wales6159951,2551,4051,2851,350960
North East20253025253525
North West507095105100145100
Yorkshire and the Humber35507585758580
East Midlands311307060658050
West Midlands4585909011012085
East of England558011011515513590
South East110170225290250215175
South West4565901009513585
Scotland and Northern Ireland5080105135160135230

Tax Credit

Mr. Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes have been made to the HM Revenue and Customs prosecution policy against fraudulent tax credit claims. [4376]

Dawn Primarolo: There have been no changes to criminal sanctions policy for tax credit offences caused by the creation of HM Revenue and Customs. The same policy operates as used by the former Inland Revenue.

Mr. Jack: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the administrative cost of dealing with all aspects of tax credit overpayments made since April 2003. [1166]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer the right hon. Member to my reply to him and the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) of 6 June 2005, Official Report, column 298W.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 6 June 2005, Official Report, column 293W, on Inland Revenue, for what reasons information on the number of complaints on tax credit received is not collected; if he will take steps to ensure the number of complaints is (a) recorded and (b) published; and if he will make a statement. [2873]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 9 June 2005]: My hon. Friend's original question asked how many complaints have been made (a) directly and (b) through hon. Members in the last 12 months on how the Inland Revenue office in Preston deals with tax
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credit queries. The Department does not keep records of the number of complaints made specifically about the way the Tax Credit Office deal with queries, so it was not possible to provide a figure.

For the numbers of complaints for 2003–04, I refer my hon. Friend to the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General published with the Annual Report and Accounts of the Inland Revenue for the year 2003–04. For 2003–04, the Inland Revenue counted the number of complaints rather than the number of people who complained. For 2004–05, to be consistent with the rest of the Department, the Tax Credits Office counted the number of people who made written complaints.

In 2004–05, complaints were received in around 42,000 cases directly from claimants. Around 9,000 complaints were also made through Members of the House of Commons.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ask the Comptroller and Auditor General to carry out a review of the tax credit office in Preston and to make recommendations for improvement. [4187]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 14 June 2005]: The Comptroller and Auditor General and the National Audit Office have their own programme of work. They will report on the separate 2004–05 accounts of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise in the autumn. The report on the Inland Revenue will include consideration of tax credits.

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