13 Oct 2005 : Column 555W

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 13 October 2005


Tax Credits

2. Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many recipients of working tax credit and child tax credit there are in Hastings and Rye constituency. [17038]

Dawn Primarolo: The average number of in-work families in Hastings and Rye with a 2003–04 finalised tax credit award was 7,300, Of these 6,900 were families with children, while 400 were families without children.

19. Mr. Atkinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the level of overpayment of tax credits in the last 12 months. [17056]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of numbers and values of overpayments or underpayments for 2004–05 awards at 5April 2005 will not be available until after family circumstances and incomes for 2004–05 have been finalised.


13. Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what response he has made to English Heritage's representations for a 5 per cent. value added tax for all building work. [17050]

John Healey: I am aware of English Heritage representations and wrote to them on the subject when they raised it with me in 2003. All representations are considered as part of the Budget process.

Creative Innovation

14. Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what financial incentives he has introduced to encourage innovation in the creative industries. [17051]

Mr. Des Browne: The R and D tax credit for SMEs was introduced in 2000 to encourage commercial innovation. The scheme was extended to all companies in 2002, and to date nearly £1.4 billion of Government support has been claimed.

New Deal and Welfare to Work

15. Mr. Havard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on public investment in the new deal and welfare to work measures. [17052]

13 Oct 2005 : Column 556W

Mr. Des Browne: Since 1997, this Government has invested over £3 billion in New Deal, helping nearly 1.4 million people into work, and contributing to a 600,000 fall in unemployment, and to over 2 million more people in work.

Economic Cycle

16. Mr. Gauke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Treasury's reassessment of the beginning of the economic cycle. [17053]

John Healey: As set out in chapter 4 of the Treasury publication 'Evidence on the UK Economic Cycle' (July 2005), the Treasury's revised judgment, based on new evidence from revised national accounts data, is that the current economic cycle began in the first half of 1997, rather than in 1999. This conclusion is corroborated by other new data and analysis cited in the paper.

International Finance Facility

17. Mr. Bailey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on progress towards an international finance facility [17054]

John Healey: The IFF is supported by more than 80 countries, including France, Italy, Sweden, Brazil, China, and South Africa, as well as the UN and other international organisations, faith leaders and NGOs.

As a first step towards launching a full IFF, on 9 September the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden launched a pilot IFF for Immunisation (IFFIm). Using the frontloading principles and mechanisms of the main IFF to generate new resources, the IFFIm could save the lives of an estimated five million children before 2015.

Government Borrowing

18. Mr. Scott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the level of Government net borrowing on projected levels of taxation over the next five years; [17055]

21. Mr. Harper: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effect of the level of Government net borrowing on the projected levels of taxation over the next five years. [17058]

Mr. Des Browne: Budget 2005 set out the Government's latest projections for tax receipts. Updated estimates will be published in the Pre-Budget Report.

Steel Prices

20. Mr. Simon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects of steel prices on the British economy; and if he will make a statement. [17057]

Mr. Des Browne: Higher steel prices tend to raise production costs and thus have a small adverse effect on economic activity, though UK exporters may have benefited from the strong world demand that has been driving steel prices. Thanks to the domestic macroeconomic stability that this Government's
13 Oct 2005 : Column 557W
macroeconomic frameworks have delivered, the UK economy is much better placed than in the past to deal with challenges posed by the global economy, including those arising from high commodity prices.

Revenue and Customs Merger

22. Mr. Swire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the progress of the merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. [17059]

Dawn Primarolo: The merger of Inland Revenue and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) took place successfully on 18 April 2005 through the legal merger of its two predecessor departments.

Since then HMRC has created and implemented a new organisational structure designed to deliver better service to customers, new approaches to compliance, information and resources and efficiency, through economies of scale and transformational change.

The new structure has more focus on HMRC customers and their needs. It requires more collegiate, interactive behaviours, which the organisation is developing. Early customer service benefits include an improved service to individuals through the introduction of a short tax return issued to 1.5 million individuals this year; the removal of over 1 million people with relatively simple affairs from the self assessment net; the reduction, by half, of the number of tax leaflets; and the rewriting of all leaflets and explanatory notes to make them simpler and easier to understand. Benefits to business customers include the phasing out of payment of tax credits by employers saving those businesses around £103 million in the first year. By next March 120,000 businesses will no longer have to administer tax credits for their employers.

Child Poverty

23. Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to reduce child poverty in the UK. [17061]

Dawn Primarolo: This Government have committed to halve child poverty by 2010 and to eradicate it in a generation.

Between the mid 1970s and mid 1990s, child poverty more than doubled, and in 1997 child poverty was higher in the UK than anywhere else in the EU. We have already, through the new deal, the minimum wage, through the child tax credit and through public services, lifted more than half a million children out of poverty.

Last summer, the Child Poverty Review set out strategy to lift another 1 million children out of poverty by 2010–11:

13 Oct 2005 : Column 558W


Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Paymaster General will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall, North of 5 September regarding a constituent. [17102]

Dawn Primarolo: I have done so.

Insurance Premium Tax/Fraud

Gregory Barker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received regarding the insurance premium tax; and what steps he is taking to combat fraud in the tax system. [17290]

John Healey: In the last year a small number of letters have been received by Treasury Ministers about Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) Including representations about non-payment of IPT which have been Investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

HMRC is continuing to develop a risk-based compliance strategy to ensure that the Department's resources are targeted most effectively at key risk areas.

Next Section Index Home Page