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John Healey: Budget 2005 projections for 200506 for public sector net borrowing and total managed expenditure were respectively £32 billion and £519 billion. Updated estimates will be published in the pre-Budget report.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in his Department are seconded from accountancy houses; and how many of his officials have worked on secondment to outside accountancy houses. 
Hywel Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions he has had with the English regional assemblies regarding the affordability of housing in rural areas after investment in residential property as part of a self-invested personal pension scheme is allowed on A-Day; 
(2) what discussions he has had with the Deputy Prime Minister regarding the affordability of housing in rural areas in England after investment in residential property as part of a self-invested personal pension scheme is allowed on A-Day; 
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(3) what discussions he has had with the Building Societies Association regarding changes in the level of investment and savings in building societies as a consequence of allowing investment in residential property as part of a self-invested personal pension scheme from A-Day on 6 April 2006; 
(4) what discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Executive regarding the affordability of housing in Wales and Scotland after investment in residential property as part of a self-invested personal pension scheme is allowed on A-Day; 
(6) what assessment he has made of the potential loss of tax revenue as a consequence of allowing investment in residential property as part of a self-invested personal pension scheme from 6 April 2006; 
(7) what discussions he has had with the pensions industry on his proposal to allow investment in residential property as part of a self-invested personal pension scheme from A-day on 6 April 2006. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government have consulted on the rules for pension simplification twice. The December 2002 consultation Simplifying the taxation of pensions: Increasing Choice and flexibility for all", and the December 2003 consultation Simplifying the taxation of pensions: the Government's proposals" set out the framework and the detail of how the simplification of the taxation of pensions would be implemented. Simplification has been widely welcomed by savers and the financial services and pensions industry.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Relief from stamp duty land tax already applies to purchases of residential property in designated disadvantaged areas where the price paid (or the lease premium) does not exceed £150,000. Qualifying areas include some 40 per cent. of electoral divisions in Wales.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of progress towards implementation of measures outlined in the last departmental sustainable development action plan; and what progress has been made against each target. 
Dawn Primarolo: The tax credits IT system went live in April 2003, under an outsourcing contract with EDS. On 1 July 2004 a new contract commenced with Capgemini and they took over the running of the IT system. The identifiable costs paid to these suppliers for running the IT tax credits system up to 31 August 2005, including costs in the pre 'go-live' stages, was £236 million, exclusive of VAT.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has stopped sending out unnecessary duplications of award notices to tax credit claimants; and when changes to stop this happening came into effect. 
Dawn Primarolo: An award notice is sent to a claimant in response to their initial claim, each time a change in their circumstances is reported, when their award is finalised and also when their award is renewed for the next year. A copy goes to both members of a joint household.
HM Revenue and Customs improved the guidance provided to helpline advisers in June 2005. These improvements should ensure that the reporting of multiple changes of circumstances is handled in one process, resulting in the issue of one award notice to cover all the changes reported in the claimant's call.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average time taken from HM Revenue and Customs issuing instructions to an employer to stop paying the working tax credit element of the tax credit award and the payments stopping has been in (a) 200304, (b) 200405 and (c) the 200506 tax year; and what the value of overpayments that have been accrued as a result has been in each year. 
Employers normally have 42 days to implement a stop notice. However, employers pay working tax credit with, and for the same period as, pay, so the timing of the final payment will depend on the individual employer's payroll arrangements. And where the employee has left the employment before the stop date, the employer may have stopped payment of working tax credit before he receives the stop notice.
Dawn Primarolo: The tax credits hotline numbers in tax credit office attract local or national rates depending on where the call is made from. Costs will vary depending upon the caller's service provider.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many changes of circumstances were reported to HM Revenue and Customs sections dealing with tax credits in each of the last two financial years. 
John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the National Audit Office Report on the Accounts of the Inland Revenue 200405, with particular reference to the potential for tax credit overpayments in 200405. 
John Barrett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the analysis of the household survey data for 200304 to provide an estimate of families eligible for, but not claiming, child tax credits will be concluded. 
Dawn Primarolo: Work to produce an estimate of the number of families eligible for, but not claiming child tax credit in 200304 is continuing and we expect this analysis to be completed towards the end of 200506.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what budget provision has been made by HM Revenue and Customs for tax credit overpayments which will not be recovered in (a) 200304 and (b) 200405; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: Budget provisions relating to tax credits are published in the C and AG's Standard Report of the Accounts of the Inland Revenue 200405 (available at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/ir-report2005.pdf). This is a cautious provisionit is not a forecast, and HMRC will be seeking to recover money that is due.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his original estimate was for planning purposes of the level of tax credit overpayments in the new tax credits introduced in 200304; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: The child and working tax credits, introduced in 2003, build upon previous reforms designed to make work pay, including the working families tax credit. Independent evidence showed that the working families tax credit added over 5 per cent. to the lone parent employment rate. The child and working tax credits offer further improvements including:
Since April 1999 the minimum income guarantee for a family with one child, working full time, has increased from £182 to £260 per week. For the same family working part-time, the minimum income guarantee has increase from £136 to £202 per week now. Tax credits have been an important part of this improvement.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were in receipt of tax credits in Northern Ireland on 1 October, broken down by (a) tax credit and (b) parliamentary constituency. 
Dawn Primarolo: The latest snapshot estimates of the numbers of in-work families with tax credits awards at April 2005 are available in Child and Working Tax Credits. April 2005", which can be found at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-quarterly-stats.htm. These are also available broken down by country and constituency in Child and Working Tax Credits. Geographical Analyses. April 2005". This publication is available on the HMRC website at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-geog-stats.htm.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have received an overpayment of tax credits in Northern Ireland in each month since their introduction; and if he will make a statement on steps being taken to address this matter. 
Annual estimates for 200304 of the numbers of in-work families with tax credits awards, including information on overpayments and underpayments by country within the UK, based on final family circumstances and incomes for 200304 are published in Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards. 200304 Geographical Analysis." This publication and provisional estimates for the number of in-work families by country with tax credit awards as at selected dates in 200405 are available on the HMRC website at:
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Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the reports on the new tax credits system prepared by the Office of Government Commerce and provided to the Prime Minister; and on what dates each was received. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Office of Government Commerce provides regular reports to Ministers, including the Prime Minister, on a wide range of issues. Information relating to advice and opinion within Government is not disclosed, as to do so could prejudice internal discussion and advice.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the number of tax credit awards overpaid in 200405; what estimate he has made of how much these overpayments are worth; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what rationale has been applied in determining the level of the provision for doubtful debt relating to tax credit overpayments as reported in the Department of Inland Revenue 200405 Accounts; to what extent the provision is calculated on (a) a specific and (b) a general basis; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit claimants in (a) 200405 and (b) 200506 had their awards reduced by (i) 10 per cent., (ii) 25 per cent. and (iii) 100 per cent. for the recovery of a previous year's overpayment. 
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money has been overpaid to tax credit recipients in (a) the Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the north east and (d) the UK in (i) 2004 and (ii) 2005 to date. 
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