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29 Nov 2005 : Column 340W—continued

Breast Cancer

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many women (a) were diagnosed with and (b) died from breast cancer in each of the last five years. [31380]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Lynne Featherstone, dated 29 November 2005:

Number of newly diagnosed cases of, and deaths from, breast cancer(10) in females in England, 1999–2003(11)

Year of diagnosis/deathNumber of casesNumber of deaths

(10) Breast cancer is defined as code 174 in the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) and as code C50 in the International Classification of Diseases. Tenth Revision (ICD-10). Newly diagnosed cases were defined using ICD-10; deaths were defined using ICD9 from 1999 to 2000, and ICD-10 from 2001 onwards.
(11) Figures for the number of deaths are based on deaths occurring in each calendar year.
(12) The introduction of ICD-10 for coding cause of death in 2001 means that data for breast cancer are not completely comparable with data for years before this date. The data should therefore be interpreted with caution. The effect of the change in classification in 2001 on deaths from cancer by site is described in an article published in August 2004.*
* Brock A, Griffiths C, Rooney C (2004) 'The effect of the introduction of ICD-10 on cancer mortality trends in England and Wales'. Health Statistics Quarterly" 23, 7–17.
Office for National Statistics.

Capital Gains Tax

Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the capital gains tax treatment is for shared ownership schemes in non-charitable housing associations; and if he will make a statement. [32479]

Dawn Primarolo: A non-charitable housing association will be within the charge to corporation tax and is liable to pay tax on chargeable gains, including those arising under shared ownership arrangements. The amount of such gains may be reduced by various forms of relief that are available to companies, including the ability to deduct capital losses.
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Martin Horwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps his Department takes to ensure that consultancies do not claim excessive expenses while working for the Department and its agencies; [29090]

(2) what mechanisms are in place to assess the effectiveness of consultant-led projects in his Department; what sanctions are available to penalise consultants who ran unsuccessful projects; how many projects conducted by consultants were assessed as unsuccessful in each year since 2000; and what sanctions were imposed in each case. [29120]

John Healey: The Treasury assesses the effectiveness of high and medium risk projects via Gateway reviews, managed by the OGC. Low risk projects are assessed via a project appraisal completed by the relevant business manager.

The Treasury ensures there are strongly worded clauses in all consultancy contracts and assignment orders, which are agreed and signed by the supplier before undertaking the engagement. This enables the Department to take action against any defaults in performance, quality issues or other failures of the supplier to perform the agreed service in a timely and appropriate manner.

The remedies can cover anything from re-execution of the services at the expense of the supplier, reduction in the payment in respect of any service that the supplier has failed to provide or has provided inadequately, up toand including termination of the contract. The Treasury also ensures that there is a clause referring to an Alternative Dispute Resolution procedure as recommended by the Centre for Dispute Resolution.

Since 2000 no consultant-led project has been deemed unsuccessful.

All contracts let for consultancy support by the Treasury clearly specify to the supplier that any travel expenses to and from the assignment location will be met from the day rate. Expenses may be payable where travel to other sites is required as part of the assignment, but only with prior approval and within the current maximum limits agreed for civil servants. Any other expenses are only payable solely at the discretion, and with the prior approval, of the relevant Treasury project manager.

Credit Overpayments

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will write off all the credit overpayments caused by official error following the recent decision of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to write off all overpayments to claimants who are subject to immigration control; and if he will make a statement. [30544]

Dawn Primarolo: These payments were made because of an error on the part of HMRC. They were not overpayments. Errors, where the claimant could have reasonably expected not to know, are written off.
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Departmental Relocation

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in his Department have been relocated into London and the South East in each of the last five years for which records are available. [31749]

Mr. Des Browne: No staff in the Department or related agencies have been relocated into London or the South East in the last five years.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to relocate staff in his Department and related agencies into London and the South East. [31750]

Mr. Des Browne: There are no plans to relocate staff in the Department or related agencies in to London or the South East.

Departmental Websites

Charles Hendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure the Department's websites attain the W3C AAA standard of accessibility for people with visual and other disabilities; and if he will set a target date for this standard to be achieved by. [30968]

John Healey: Guidelines for Government websites produced by the Cabinet Office state that Government websites should comply with Single-A level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0; The Treasury's Public website has been designed to comply with Double-A level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.

Nevertheless, a number of Triple-A requirements are met by the Treasury website, including; the use of access-keys, contrast between foreground and background colours, consistent style of presentation across all website pages and our search facility enables different types of searches.

Disability Discrimination Act

Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost would be of applying the definition of disability in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to the tax regime for trusts with a vulnerable beneficiary as defined by section 38(1) of part 2, Chapter 4 of the Finance Act 2005. [31350]

Dawn Primarolo: We are unable to quantify this cost. The Government recognised that the increase in the rate applicable to trusts and the dividend trust rate from 6 April 2004 could have an impact on trusts with vulnerable beneficiaries, especially those set up for disabled and minor children who have suffered the death of a parent. We therefore introduced the special tax regime for such trusts in Finance Act 2005.

We consulted widely before introducing the regime and, in consultation, including with groups representing the disabled, the consensus was to use the existing, generous definition from within the Taxes Acts that already works well within the tax system and relies on qualification for Department for Work and Pensions benefits.
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