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28 Feb 2006 : Column 684W—continued


Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much has been raised in tax revenue from tobacco products in each of the past five years; [53847]

(2) what the rate of tax on tobacco products was in each of the last 10 years. [53848]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The rates of excise duty and the duty receipts for tobacco products can be found in the HM Revenue and Customs "Tobacco Bulletin", which is available from a HM Revenue and Customs website address at:

HM Revenue and Customs do not collect data on VAT from individual goods and services.

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the net tax revenue effect of the amendments to the Health Bill in respect of smoking passed by the House on 14 February 2006. [54104]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government take all factors into account when forecasting tax revenues, including changes in consumption resulting from Government measures to reduce smoking prevalence. The Government will be publishing an updated forecast of tobacco tax revenues in the Budget as usual.

UK Film Production

Mr. Jack: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the titles of those films which have claimed the tax reliefs designed to promote the production of UK films since 1997. [54268]

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Dawn Primarolo: This information cannot be provided, as it is confidential to individual taxpayers who have claimed such relief on their tax returns.

Valuation Office Agency

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list foreign trips made by representatives of the Valuations Office Agency at public expense in each of the last three years; and what the (a) purpose and (b) destination was in each case. [49810]

Dawn Primarolo: Regarding the cost of foreign visits, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given, to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman), on 19 January 2006, Official Report, column 1502W. The additional information now requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The expertise of the Valuation Office Agency, in the field of property valuation, is respected around the world. The Valuation Office Agency receives a number of requests to provide advice to overseas Governments, to assist in the training of the staff employed by overseas Government valuation agencies and to share its expertise in the valuation of particular types of property. Sometimes these requests involve Valuation Office Agency staff providing advice to delegations visiting the United Kingdom from other countries, sometimes they involve Valuation Office Agency staff travelling abroad.


Olympic Games

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has made within Government about securing benefits to Wales from the 2012 Olympics. [53628]

Mr. Hain: The Government have made clear that hosting the Olympic games should have a positive impact in terms of regeneration, investment and tourism, and that benefits should be spread across the whole of the UK.

The Welsh Assembly Government have established a Wales Steering Group, made up of key stakeholders in public, private and voluntary sectors to maximise the potential sporting, economic, social and cultural benefits to Wales that will arise from the London Olympic and Paralympic games. I fully support those efforts.

Clean Coal Technology

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and (b) Welsh Assembly Government on increasing the use of clean coal technology in the coal industry in Wales. [53717]

Mr. Hain: I have regular discussions with Cabinet and Assembly colleagues about the opportunities that clean coal technologies could provide to UK's future energy mix.
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In Wales, new technology is already being used to mitigate the environmental impact of coal. The coal-fired power stations at Uskmouth and Aberthaw are either already utilising or plan to fit flue gas desulphurisation, which reduces pollutants from coal fired power stations. Tower colliery is also making use of captured coal methane to generate electricity. The Government also support research to explore how carbon emissions from coal might be reduced or even eliminated in the longer term.

Government funding worth £35 million has been announced for the demonstration of carbon abatement technologies (CAT) such as carbon capture and storage. The DTI expect to receive proposals from industry for projects in late spring 2006.

In addition to this, CAT projects have been included as part of the November 2005 call for R&D proposals under the DTI's Technology programme supporting collaborative R&D. Around £13 million is being made available for energy based technologies with some of this being allocated to successful CAT projects.

Departmental Staff

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans his Department has to change the London allowance of its staff; and if he will make a statement. [50000]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office does not pay staff a London allowance, and there are no plans at present to change this.

Railway Stations (Disabled Access)

Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with (a) rail companies, (b) the Disability Rights Commission in Wales and (c) Ministers in the Welsh Assembly Government on improvements to disabled access to rail stations in Wales. [53611]

Nick Ainger: I have regular meetings with Welsh Assembly Government colleagues and I have recently met senior managers of First Great Western, Virgin Trains and Arriva Trains Wales when access for the disabled was one of the matters discussed. Arriva Trains Wales manage 235 stations in Wales and I understand that the majority are accessible for customers with disabilities including wheelchairs. Following a disability audit of their stations, I understand that Arriva will be liaising with disability groups to prioritise the results.

The Government have announced a £370 million Access for All fund, specifically to deliver a programme of access improvements across the rail network over the next 10 years. Towards the end of March, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will be publishing details of how this fund will be targeted.

Wales (Overnight Visits)

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) nights he has stayed overnight and (b) days he has spent in Wales on official business in each month since taking up his post. [53627]

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Mr. Hain: Due to disproportionate costs, this information is not available for the period October 2003 to May 2005 in the format requested.

Since taking up my post as Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland in May 2005 I have spent 62 days in Wales on official business.

In addition to the time spent in Wales, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and I undertake Wales business in Parliament and in the Wales Office at Gwydyr House, London.



Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the claimant on-flow rates to (a) incapacity benefit and (b) severe disablement allowance were in each of the last 15 years. [50723]

Mrs. McGuire: Incapacity benefit was introduced in April 1995. The first full year for which figures are available is 1996. The available information is in the following table.
Incapacity benefit (IB) and severe disablement allowance (SDA) on-flows; Great Britain

2005 (part)(35)(5508840036)441,600440,1001,500

(34) New commencements to SDA ceased in April 2001. Some commencements still appear after this date due to the case being re-built. This occurs when the case is removed from the system for amendment and then subsequently replaced with a new date of commencement.
(35) Figures for 2005 only include the three available quarters; February, May and August and are not comparable with previous years.
(36) Figures for the latest year do not include some late notifications and are subject to major changes in future quarters. For illustration purposes, total commencements for May 2004 increased by 18 per cent. in the year following their initial release.
1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 100.
2. Numbers are based on a 5 per cent. sample, and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation.
3. Annuals figures have been created by adding quarterly data for February, May, August and November.
4. Incapacity benefit (IB) figures include IB credits-only cases.
DWP Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample data.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees of (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which he is responsible were primarily engaged in administering paper-based methods of benefit claims in each year since 1997. [51990]

Mrs. McGuire: The information requested is not available.
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The Department for Work and Pensions, including Jobcentre Plus, keeps staffing records by grade and location, but not by job role.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of incapacity benefit claims which have been turned down on the basis of insufficient national insurance contributions (NIC) as a result of delays in updating NIC records. [52679]

Mrs. McGuire: There is no indication that the delay in updating national insurance contributions records has impacted on the number of incapacity benefit claims that have been disallowed.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 13 February 2006 to Question 44203, whether he plans to withhold incapacity benefit from any person deemed unfit for work by their own medical practitioner but who has yet to be examined under the personal capacity assessment arrangements. [53116]

Mrs. McGuire: There are no plans to withhold benefit from a person where the GP has decided that they should refrain from work due to incapacity. Benefit continues to be paid while the GP/Consultant supplies medical evidence and until the Personal Capability Assessment has been applied.

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