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John Healey: The excise duty paid on marine fuel (red diesel) used by crewed charter vessels with paying customers is fully repayable under the terms of the Energy Products Directive (2003/96/EC Article 14(1)(c) ).
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many applications were received by the Registrar General during the period 1997 to 2004 in response to the concession announced on 21 April 1993 whereby personal information could be extracted from the 1911 decennial census if it would enable the applicant to establish a legal entitlement such as an inheritance. 
As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many applications were received during the period 1997 to 2004 in response to the concession announced on 21st April 1993 whereby personal information could be extracted from the 1911 decennial census if it would enable the applicant to establish a legal entitlement such as an inheritance. (13577)
Peter Luff: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire of 16 May requesting a meeting with the appropriate Minister to discuss the closure of the Revenue and Customs office in Droitwich Spa. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs are engaged in the handling, processing and analysis of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) returns; and what proportion of that staff time is attributable to returns in respect of transactions below the SDLT threshold. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: On average, 276 staff in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are currently engaged in the handling, processing and analysis of SDLT returns. This encompasses guidance and supportby telephone and through correspondencefor customers submitting returns. We do not keep records for the proportion of staff time spent on transactions below the SDLT threshold.
In routine statistics, ONS defines suicides as deaths from both intentional self-harm and 'injury of undetermined intent'. The most recent available figures are for the calendar year 2003. The figures in the attached table show the numbers of deaths for intentional self-harm and injury of undetermined intent by sex for the calendar years 1975 to 2003.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have been in receipt of the incorrect level of working tax credit, broken down by constituency; how many of these could not have been reasonably expected to know that a mistake had been made; and if he will make a statement. 
It is not possible to give separate information on underpayments and overpayments for working tax credits and child tax credits, nor is it possible to identify the cause of these overpayments or underpayments at constituency level.
(3) what the average length of time taken to process appeals for tax credits has been (a) when the case has been settled by agreement, (b) when the case has proceeded to a tribunal, (c) in all other cases and (d) in all cases in total for each of the last two years; 
The Department aims to settle tax credits appeals by agreement with the claimant wherever possible. If agreement is not reached in this way, the Department refers the appeal, an explanation of their
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decision and any relevant papers to the Appeals Service who arrange for appeals to be heard by an independent appeals tribunal.
No information is available on the average length of time taken to process appeals for tax credits or on the length of time taken on the longest tax credit appeal case, as this is not data that the Department collates. The Appeals Service aims to consider an appeal referred to them within 12 weeks of receipt of the submission, and in 200405 achieved an average of less than eight weeks.
Until recently the Department did not collate figures relating to the number of people with an open appeal. However, the Department holds recent information on this, and figures for the last three months are:
|Month end||Total number open of appeals|
No figures are available of the number of appeals settled by agreement each month. But for the year to 31 March 2005 the Department had dealt with around 37,000 appeals, and of these around 1,650 were resolved at an appeals tribunal. So around 95 per cent. of tax credits appeals are settled by agreement.
Mr. George Osborne:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if HM Revenue and Customs will send all customers who have received an overpayment, a letter setting out (a) the total amount they owe, (b) the reasons why the overpayment or excess payment in-year occurred and the date or dates it happened and (c) the applicable repayment arrangements enclosing a copy of Code of Practice 26 and drawing particular attention to the circumstances when recovery can be waived and the availability of additional tax credits in cases of hardship; 
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(2) whether, when in-year recovery of excess tax credits is justified, the Revenue will take steps to pay additional tax credits automatically to families in receipt of income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance; 
(3) if he will take steps to ensure that all HM Revenue and Customs staff who have contact with tax credit customers are alert to the circumstances when additional tax credits might be appropriate so that they can invite an immediate claim; 
(4) whether, when it has been decided that an excess payment in-year is recoverable in accordance with Code of Practice 26, recovery will be at the same rates as those for overpayments in the previous year; 
(5) if he will take steps to ensure that (a) customers are alerted on the payments page of an award notice to the fact that the recovery of an overpayment of tax credits can be challenged if the overpayment was due to official error and in circumstances where a customer reasonably thought they were being paid the correct amount and (b) customers' attention will be drawn on the same page to Code of Practice 26 and the fact that, if they want to dispute an overpayment, they need to complete form TC846; 
(6) if he will ensure that HM Revenue and Customs do not seek to recover either an excess payment made in the current year, or an overpayment from the previous year, until it has come to a decision, based on all the relevant facts, as to whether or not the excess payment should be recovered in accordance with Code of Practice 26; 
(8) if he will (a) print details of the availability of additional tax credits prominently on the payments page of an award notice and (b) give greater prominence to the issue of financial hardship and how HM Revenue and Customs can help in the guidance notes which accompany an award notice; 
(9) if, whenever a Revenue error is identified which has led to an overpayment of tax credits, the customer will be immediately notified of what has happened and informed of the circumstances when recovery can be waived; 
(11) if his Department will consider adoption of a statutory test for recovery of excess payments and overpayments of tax credits, consistent with the test that is applied to social security benefits, with a right of appeal to an independent tribunal. 
The hon. Gentleman's questions relate to the recommendations in the report of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Tax Credits: Putting Things Right". I am considering the report and, as my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury
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said in the debate on 12 July 2005, Official Report, column 723, I shall be providing the Parliamentary Ombudsman with my response shortly.
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