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Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to reduce the tax burden on old-age pensioners. [33713]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Around half of pensioners pay no income tax.

For those pensioners who do pay tax, individuals over 65 benefit from the more generous age-related personal allowances up to an income of £19,500. In 2005–06, these allowances are £7,090 for those aged 65 to 74 and £7,220 for those aged 75 and over.

These allowances mean that no pensioner aged 65 or over will be required to pay tax on income of less than £136 a week in 2005–06.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will answer questions 9840 and 13874 on tax credits from the hon. Member for Yeovil due for reply before the summer recess. [33940]

Dawn Primarolo: I have done so.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the bank accounts which have been frozen since 11 September 2001 on the grounds of terrorist associations. [33651]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Since 11 September 2001, 58 accounts have been frozen in respect of individuals and entities suspected of involvement in terrorism. The aggregate value of accounts frozen is just under £400,000.

A consolidated list of individuals and entities subject to UK financial sanctions is available from the Bank of England website at:

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Freezing action also prevents the flow of funds to listed individuals and entities asset freezing is part of theGovernment's overall strategy to create a hostile environment for terrorism and safeguard financial systems. A value cannot easily be put on those wider effects.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what proportion of average household expenditure is (a) taxable at the standard rate of VAT, (b) taxable at the reduced rate of VAT, (c) taxable at the zero rate of VAT and (d) exempt from VAT; and what the equivalent figure was in (i) 2001, (ii) 2002, (iii) 2003 and (iv) 2004; [33647]

(2) what changes in the rate of value added tax havebeen introduced in each year since 1 January 1995;and what the rate of value added tax was in each year. [33648]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the proportions of household expenditure on goods and services subject to different VAT rates are available up to 2003. These estimates and changes in VAT rates and principal goods and services covered by different rates are published by HM Revenue and Customs in the VAT Factsheet which can be found at

Vehicle Excise Duty

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will widen the vehicle excise duty bands to encourage use of more efficient vehicles. [33662]

John Healey: The Chancellor considers relevant economic, social and environmental factors when deciding taxation policy. Any changes will be announced in the context of the Budget.


Departmental Entertainment

Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what expenditure was incurred by the Wales Office on entertaining in each year since 2002–03. [31921]

Mr. Hain: The expenses incurred by the Wales Office on entertainment for the following years were:

Figures for financial year 2005–06 will be available in April 2006.

Departmental Estate

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what (a) land and (b) property his Department (i) owns and (ii) rents in each constituency; and if he will make a statement. [33256]

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Mr. Hain: The Wales Office owns the land and property at Gwydyr House, Whitehall in London—constituency Westminster. The Department also leases office space at Discovery House, Scott Harbour in Cardiff Bay—constituency Cardiff South and Penarth.

Departmental Expenditure

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department and its agencies have spent on (a) the design and production of new logos and (b) employing external (i) public relations and (ii)graphic design agencies in each year since 2000, broken down by project. [33203]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office was established on 1 July 1999. The only expenditure during the financial year 2000–01 was when the Department spent (a) £2,728 on designing of the Wales Office Logo; (b) (i) Nil; and (b) (ii) £13,566 on developing its website.

Departmental Research

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what research projects commissioned by his Department are being undertaken; and what the publication arrangements are in each case. [32988]

Mr. Hain: None.

Homelessness (Cardiff)

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many individuals in Cardiff were homeless in each year since 1995; and if he will make a statement. [33769]

Mr. Hain: Information is not available in the form requested. The number of unintentionally homeless households in each year was:

WHO12 returns, Welsh Assembly Government

Extra priority needs categories were added in 2001, resulting in an increase in the figures from that year.


Magazine Distribution

10. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the recent Office of Fair Trading report on magazine distribution arrangements. [33384]

Mr. Sutcliffe: In response to a request from parties in the industry, the Office of Fair Trading is in the process of providing an opinion on the compatibility with
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competition law of distribution agreements for newspapers and magazines. A provisional opinion was published in May 2005. A final opinion is likely to issue in the early part of 2006.

Energy Prices

11. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the effect of energy prices on high energy users. [33385]

Alan Johnson: The high spot prices for gas in the past weeks have meant very tough times for high energy users such as the chemicals industry, paper and steel. Some have responded by curtailing production or switching to alternative fuels.

Prices for small and medium-sized businesses, and domestic consumers, despite increases over the past year, are still some of the most competitive in Europe.

Science Cities Initiative

12. Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding he proposes to allocate from the science budget for the Government's science cities initiative. [33386]

Barry Gardiner: There are no plans to allocate dedicated funding for science cities from the science budget. However, existing funding streams for science and innovation can potentially support science cities, including the Higher Education Innovation Fund, worth £100 million per annum, supporting universities' collaboration with business; and the Science Research Infrastructure Fund, which provides capital funding of £500 million per annum to renew university infrastructure. These funding streams already require universities to develop their implementation strategies in light of regional priorities. In addition, the Regional Development Agencies, who lead on the development of science cities, have their own science and innovation funding programmes, from which science cities can be supported. The Government will continue to work with the RDAs to consider how local, regional and national policies can best work together to support science cities.

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