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Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many statutory instruments introduced by his Department had to be (a) withdrawn, (b) amended by a further statutory instrument and (c) reprinted because of defective drafting in each session since 1997; and what steps he (i) is taking and (ii) plans to take to prevent further such instances. 
John Healey: Information in relation to instruments which have been amended, replaced and reprinted is restricted to those instruments which have been reported on for defective drafting by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.
Information on statutory instruments withdrawn or reprinted before publication is not held centrally and information in relation to any such instruments for which the Treasury were responsible can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
5 Dec 2005 : Column 915W
25 Treasury and HMRC (previously Customs and Inland Revenue) statutory instruments have been reported on by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments since 1997, although figures from Customs and Inland Revenue relate only to the period beginning 2000. 12 instruments were produced directly in response to a JCSI report and were issued free-of-charge to purchasers of the original instrument. Of the remaining 13 instruments, most were corrected by a later instrument, and others did not require amendment once an explanation had been provided.
The Treasury have arrangements in place to prevent instances of defective drafting. Draft statutory instruments are checked by policy officials and at least one lawyer in addition to the draftsman before they are made. These arrangements are kept under review. In addition, training and guidance are provided for all lawyers who draft statutory instruments.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what training is given to (a) policy officials and (b) lawyers in his Department responsible for draftingstatutory instruments; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: All Treasury statutory instruments are drafted by lawyers. Formal training courses, written guidance and on the job training are provided for all lawyers who draft statutory instruments. Draft statutory instruments are checked by at least one lawyer in addition to the draftsman before they are made. Policy officials do not draft Treasury statutory instruments. Training in turning policy into law is provided for policy officials as well as written guidance.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking to address the recent criticism from the parliamentary ombudsman that the tax credit system is suffering from systemic maladministration"; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 31 October 2005]: Irefer to my letter to the ombudsman on 29 July, a copy of which can be found on the ombudsman's website. On 26 October, I gave an update to the Treasury Sub-Committee on the improvements that HMRC is making.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1)on what dates in 2005 new instructions on tax credit (a) overpayments and (b) administration were given to HM Revenue and Customs; what the changes were in each case; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what happens to the (a) level of an award and (b) rate of recovery when a tax credit overpayment is disputed; what will happen when the interim IT solution is introduced to suspend an overpayment; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether when a tax credit overpayment is suspended the award continues (a) at the same level it was before the overpayment was identified and (b) at a new rate; and if he will give an illustration. 
A couple with one child, working 30 hours a week and earning an annual income of £15,000 informs HMRC of a change in income that will increase their income for the 200506 tax year to £19,500 (of which £2,500 is disregarded). The change in income happens after six months and the family reports the change immediately.
Before the change the family would be entitled to an annual tax credit award of £2,495 or £47 per week. The change in income implies that new annual tax credit entitlement is £1,755 or £33 per week. So, for the first 26 weeks the family has been paid £370 more than they were entitled to. This amount will be deducted from tax credit payments for the remainder of the year, reducing weekly payments to £19.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit award notices have been (a) issued, (b) printed and (c) delivered to tax credit claimants in each month since April 2003. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will revise the rules governing the assessment of self-employed income for evaluating eligibility for tax credits to take into account actual income in the preceding year. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 2 December 2005]: No. The income assessment for the child and working tax credits is already based on income of the previous tax year which is chargeable to income tax. This includes any taxable profits from self-employment. Tax credit awards are finalised after the end of the year of award on the basis of that year's income.
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