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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether (a) his Department and (b) the Valuation Office Agency has made a written submission to the Lyons Inquiry on local government finance. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many payments for maladministration have been made by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies, (c) its non-departmental public bodies and (d) other bodies for which his Department has responsibility in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Des Browne: The funding arrangements for Northern Ireland are set out in the Statement of Funding Policy published by the Treasury in July 2004. Public spending per head in Northern Ireland is higher than in any other region of the UK.
John Hemming: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many calls were made by (a) his Department and (b) Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in 200405 using predictive diallers; how many such calls resulted in contact being made with the recipient without a Government agent available to talk to them; and what assessment he has made of the likely impact of Ofcom's policy on silent calls on the use of predictive diallers by his Department. 
Dawn Primarolo: In respect of the Treasury, I refer the hon. Member to the Financial Secretary's reply of 15 November 2005, Official Report, column 1209W. The Treasury does not use predictive diallers.
It is estimated that the Inland Revenueand contractors acting on its behalfmade around 7.5 million calls using predictive diallers during 200405. Full information is not available on the number of calls where contact was made but operators were not available.
Based on departmental returns, the total value of private finance initiative contracts on the Government Balance Sheet is £23.1 billion. This figure is the aggregate of the initial capital values of on-balance sheet PFI contracts signed.
30 Nov 2005 : Column 525W
Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many race equality impact assessments his Department completed between (a) April 2004 and March 2005 and (b) April 2005 and November 2005; and how many assessments in each period resulted in a change of policy. 
John Healey: The Treasury actively embraces its duties under the Race Relations Act. It works with other departments on a wide range of policies, and in turn those departments are responsible for producing race equality impact assessments (REIAs). In addition, successive Pre-Budget and Budget reports have given explicit commitments to promoting equality, fairness and opportunity and have published the distributional analyses necessary to deliver change.
The Treasury has not led on any REIAs between April 2004 and November 2005. A copy of the Treasury's race equality scheme, which gives information on how the Treasury meets its duties to promote race equality, can be accessed via the following link:
Mr. Newmark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much debt the Government holds on and off balance sheet for London and Continental Railways Ltd.; and whether this debt assumes par value. 
The Government do not hold any debt for LCR. However, the Office for National Statistics currently classifies £1.25 billion of the debt held by LCR as government borrowing in the National Accounts. The remainder of LCR's debt is classified to the private sector.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have been stopped by HM Customs and Excise for importing road fuel in excess of the 10 litres allowed free of excise duty in each year from 2001. 
|Number of seizures of imported oil|
|Calendar year||Under 100 litres||Over 100 litres|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether it is possible for a tax credit award in payment to be fraudulently redirected to a new bank account without detection; and what systems exist to prevent this; 
Dawn Primarolo: Tax credit claimants can notify HMRC of changes to their bank details. This is normally done by telephone to one of the Department's contact centres. Before any change to a person's details are made; however, the caller must satisfy a variety of security questions designed around personal information held about them by HMRC.
Dr. McCrea: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the average time taken to process annual tax credits declarations; what measures have been put in place to speed up current processing times; and whether a new annual tax credits declaration may be submitted before a dispute about an overpayment for previous years has been settled. 
Dawn Primarolo: For average processing times, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Guildford (Anne Milton) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 2 November 2005, Official Report, column 1058W.
Claimants who are required to make a declaration must do so by 30 September, following the end of the year of claim, whether or not they have an ongoing dispute with HM Revenue and Customs about a tax credits overpayment.
David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total estimated cost of dealing with tax credit overpayments made to people in Northern Ireland has been; and what the average cost was of a tax credit overpayment in Northern Ireland in 2005. 
John Healey: Research and development (R&D) tax credits are available for expenditure on qualifying activities, defined under the DTI's guidelines of 5 March 2004. R&D takes place where an activity seeks to achieve an advance in science or technologythrough the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty.
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