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Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the proposal announced in the pre-Budget report 2005 to double the number of security checks in the tax credit system will be implemented; and at what stages of a tax credit claim (a) security checks will be increased and (b) new security checks will be introduced. 
Dawn Primarolo: HMRC have already increased the number of checks carried out on the highest risk claims including those involving suspect payments and those where an undeclared partner is suspected to be living with the claimant. They have also been investigating links between claimants' failure to confirm their entitlement and suspected fraud.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes there have been in the requirements for (a) homes and (b) businesses to provide information to the Valuation Office Agency since May 1997; and what changes there have been to the penalties for non-compliance with these requirements in each category in this period. 
(b) There have been no changes in the requirements for businesses to provide information to the Valuation Office Agency. However, the penalties for non-compliance changed when the Local Government Act 2003 came into effect on 18 September 2003. This Act introduced liability to a civil penalty where information is not supplied within 56 days, allowing a series of escalating financial penalties for continued non-compliance up to a maximum of the rateable value of the property concerned or £500, whichever is the greater. Prior to 18 September 2003, a person who failed to supply information required by a valuation officer within 21 days was liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent meetings (a) he and (b) his Ministers have had with Ministers from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister about (i) the operation of and (ii) departmental responsibility for the Valuation Office Agency. 
Dawn Primarolo: Treasury Ministers and officials discuss a wide range of issues with their colleagues in ODPM and other departments. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 30 November 2005, Official Report, column 529W, on the Valuation Office Agency, whether the Valuation Office Agency (a) is permitted and (b) has access to data held by HM Revenue and Customs to facilitate or assist in the levying, assessment and valuation of properties for council tax or business rates. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 provides that information acquired by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in connection with a function may be used by them in connection with any other function. As the Valuation Office is an executive Agency of HMRC, and has been since 30 September 1991, it is permitted to access data held by HMRC.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 30 November 2005, Official Report, column 529W, on the Valuation Office Agency, whether HM Revenues and Customs has access to data held by the Valuation Office Agency for the purposes of charging taxes to individuals. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 provides for information acquired by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in connection with one function to be used in connection with any other function of HMRC.
As the Valuation Office is an executive agency of HMRC, and has been since 30 September 1991, the use of information and data collected for council tax valuation purposes can be used in connection with any other function of HMRC including the charging of taxes on individuals.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will estimate the cost of amending the qualifying conditions for working tax credit to include hours spent as a carer in the same category as hours spent in employment. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) of 31 October 2005, Official Report, column 738W, on the Parliamentary Information Management System (PIMS), whether (a) the business case has been completed and (b) a decision has been taken on making the PIMS search engine available to the public on the parliamentary internet site. 
The business case for the redesign of the parliamentary internet has been written. It was considered by the Finance and Services Committee on 9 February, and will receive further consideration when the Committee next meets on 9 March. The redesign is not dependent on and does not replace the PIMS implementation. It does seek to build on the knowledge and systems generated by that project where these will provide the best value for money for Parliament. Subject
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to the necessary approvals, detailed plans will be drawn up for the search facilities that will be available to the public on the parliamentary internet site.
Mr. Woodward: There are no plans to introduce an air ambulance in Northern Ireland. A helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) feasibility study published in 2004, which was commissioned by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Republic of Ireland's Department of Health and Children, concluded that, other than for inter-hospital transfers, there was no clear advantage in helicopter emergency medical services.
The priority for DHSSPS is to ensure that the Northern Ireland ambulance service uses its resources to achieve improved response times to life threatening calls, both in urban and in more remote and isolated rural communities. In this context, the available evidence suggests that an air ambulance would not constitute the most effective use of resources, compared with other approaches. DHSSPS is working closely with the Northern Ireland ambulance service and the four Health and Social Services Boards to improve ambulance services in terms of speed and appropriateness of response and clinical quality.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many emergency calls were received by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service in each service district in each year since 2000; how many of these have later been categorised as hoax calls; and what estimate has been made of the cost to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service of hoax calls during this period. 
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