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29 Jun 2005 : Column 1548W—continued

Property-based Loans

Tom Levitt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what contribution to the cost of participation in central Government schemes and services came from equity release or other property-based loans to service users in (a) absolute and (b) percentage terms in the latest period for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of how this proportion will change over the next 10 years. [6583]

John Healey: The Treasury does not hold this data centrally.

Tax Avoidance Schemes

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many tax avoidance schemes have been withdrawn or otherwise ceased to operate since legislation was brought into force requiring sellers to secure prior clearance from his Department; [7583]

(2) if he will bring forward legislation to require (a) providers and (b) purchasers of tax avoidance schemes to provide a complete inventory of their schemes to his Department. [7584]


 
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Dawn Primarolo: The Government are committed to protect the tax system against tax avoidance when and where necessary, ensuring that all taxpayers pay their fair share, and protecting revenues for essential public services. The disclosure rules for direct tax and VAT are a success, informing a number of anti-avoidance measures in the summer Finance Bill.

However, the disclosure rules do not require promoters of schemes to notify HMRC if a tax avoidance scheme has been withdrawn or otherwise ceased, so this information is unavailable.

The Government continue to keep the disclosure rules under review, and will bring forward any further proposals at the appropriate time.

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action his Department has taken against PricewaterhouseCoopers for selling tax avoidance schemes; and if he will make a statement. [8128]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government are committed to protect the tax system against tax avoidance when and where necessary, ensuring that all taxpayers pay their fair share, and protecting revenues for essential public services. The Government introduced the disclosure rules for direct tax and VAT in 2004. The disclosure rules are a success, informing a number of anti-avoidance measures in the summer Finance Bill. Among other things, the direct tax rules require promoters to disclose to HMRC that they have made available a scheme or arrangement as defined in the rules. This legislation applies to PricewaterhouseCoopers as it does to any other promoter.

Tax Credit Fraud

Mr. Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many prosecutions the Inland Revenue has brought for fraudulent tax credit claims in each year since 1997. [4377]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government introduced tax credits (working families tax credit, disabled person's tax credit and children's tax credit) in 1999. These were replaced in April 2003 by the new tax credits of working tax credit and child tax credit. There has been a steady increase in prosecutions brought by the Inland Revenue in each year since 1999 as shown in the table. A number of factors contribute to the significant increase in prosecutions:

Since the introduction of tax credits in 1999, the Inland Revenue (now HM Revenue and Customs) has prosecuted the following numbers of suspects.
Number
1999–20000
2000–012
2001–0228
2002–0335
2003–0459
2004–05211

 
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Valuation Office Agency

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many full-time equivalent staff of the Valuation Office Agency will be employed for the purposes of the council tax revaluation in (a) 2005–06 and (b) 2006–07. [7435]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of full-time, equivalent staff, employed by the Valuation Office Agency for the council tax revaluation process in England is:

Work-related Stress

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases of work-related stress have been reported in his Department in each of the last three years; how much compensation was paid to employees in each year; how many work days were lost due to work-related stress in each year; at what cost; what procedures have been put in place to reduce work-related stress; at what cost; and if he will make a statement. [7874]

John Healey: The figures for reported cases of work-related stress in the department for the last three years are;

There are no recorded cases of compensation being paid to employees for work-related stress.

A stress audit was carried out in the Treasury in 2000 at a cost of £20,000. To measure progress against the 2000 stress audit, a follow up well being survey was carried out in 2003 at a cost of £15,000. A staff group was set up to assess its recommendations and to take forward an action plan.

TRANSPORT

A39

Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the funding of the new section of the A39 at Camelford; and if he will make a statement. [7921]

Dr. Ladyman: The A39 Camelford Distributor Road was provisionally approved by the Department in December 2000 at a cost of £6.8 million subject to the completion of the relevant statutory procedures and final approval by Ministers.

We are aware that costs for the scheme have increased significantly and are now estimated to be £14.4 million.
 
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We therefore asked Cornwall county council to critically review the current benefit and cost assessment of this scheme in order to satisfy themselves that the scheme can be delivered to minimal additional cost and with a robust BCR. They are currently undertaking this work and future progress of the scheme will depend on the results of this assessment.

A49

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce road accidents on the A49 between Ludlow and Shrewsbury. [7925]

Dr. Ladyman: A number of initiatives have been taken to address safety on the A49 and a Route Management Strategy (RMS) was published in December 2004.

The Highways Agency has recently completed two schemes:

A further scheme has been proposed to install a pedestrian crossing facility on the Ludlow Bypass.

In addition, studies have been proposed for 2005–06. These include:

Air Services/Travel

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assistance the Government provide to regional airports to establish scheduled services. [7358]

Ms Buck: The Department for Transport does not directly provide any financial assistance to regional airports to establish regional air services. However, funding contributions can be made by the devolved Administrations and appropriate regional authorities in certain carefully defined circumstances, provided such funding complies with relevant EU state aid guidelines.

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the environmental impact of increasing capacity for air travel. [7729]

Ms Buck: The Air Transport White Paper, published in December 2003, set out an approach, agreed across Government, which provides a strategic framework for development of airport capacity, supporting economic prosperity, while managing and mitigating the environmental impacts of aviation. The Department for Transport and DEFRA keep in regular contact on aviation and environment issues.

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of how many extra aircraft (a) per day and (b) per night would (i) fly in and out of Heathrow airport and (ii) pass over Hammersmith and Fulham if the third runway is built at Heathrow. [5893]


 
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Ms Buck: Assessments of the additional capacity of Heathrow airport with a short third runway were made in connection with the preparation of the Air Transport White Paper and are set out in the supporting paper Passenger Forecasts—Additional Analysis" available on the DfT website. It is not possible to be specific about how many additional daily flights would pass over Hammersmith and Fulham, since arrival and departure patterns are subject to air traffic control and meteorological conditions. Night-time traffic would be constrained by the night flying restrictions applying at the time at Heathrow.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many passengers transferred or transited at Heathrow between (a) two overseas destinations and (b) an overseas destination and a UK destination in each of the last five years. [6464]

Ms Buck: The following table shows passengers transferred at Heathrow between two overseas destinations, an overseas destination and a UK destination in each of the last five years.
Transfer and transit passengers at Heathrow 2000–04
Million

20002001200220032004
Transfer
International to International13.713.716.416.417.3
International to Domestic2.82.73.03.13.0
Domestic to International2.42.32.93.42.9
Transit
International to International0.30.30.30.30.2


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