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14 Mar 2006 : Column 2133W—continued

Gershon Review

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Office of Government Commerce spent on consultants in relation to the conduct of the Gershon Review of public sector efficiency. [58526]

Mr. Des Browne: The Efficiency Review Team, led by Sir Peter Gershon was based in the Cabinet Office from August 2003 to July 2004.

OGC had no involvement with the running or resources of this team and therefore did not incur any costs.
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HM Revenue and Customs

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether HM Revenue and Customs is entitled to refuse to give a receipt when requested to do so by a taxpayer submitting a tax return. [58409]

Dawn Primarolo: There is no statutory requirement for HM Revenue and Customs to issue receipts and it is not their policy to issue receipts for tax returns handed into their offices.

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether HM Revenue and Customs is entitled to refuse receipt of a tax return when submitted by an agent acting on behalf of a client. [58410]

Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs would not refuse to receive a tax return submitted by an agent acting on behalf of a client, providing the return was satisfactory (i.e. it has been signed by the taxpayer and all the required supplementary pages are attached).

Income Tax

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many higher rate income tax payers there were in Northern Ireland in (a) 1994 and (b) 2004. [58061]

Dawn Primarolo: There were an estimated 34,000 and 50,000 higher rate taxpayers in 1995–96 and 2004–05 respectively in Northern Ireland.

Similar estimates for 1994–95 can be made available only at a disproportionate cost.

The information is based upon the Survey of Personal Incomes.

Considerable caution is needed in interpreting the figures for the two years owing to changes in survey methodology, changes in the sample size over the period and because each figure is subject to sampling variation.

Inheritance Tax

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much potential income from inheritance tax has been foregone on account of bequests to charities in each of the last five years. [58178]

Dawn Primarolo: The cost of relief from inheritance tax on bequests to charities is published in National Statistics Table 10.2. .

Lisbon Agenda

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Government Department has oversight of initiatives undertaken at national level as part of the Lisbon Agenda. [58534]

John Healey: The Government as a whole takes collective ownership of the Lisbon agenda and individual departments work closely when deciding the initiatives set out in the UK National Reform Programme. HM Treasury agrees and submits the UK's national reform plan.
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Part-time Work

Vera Baird: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide fiscal incentives for businesses to encourage them to make well-paid jobs available for part-time workers. [57885]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have introduced a range of measures to promote flexible working. Parents of children under six already have the right to request flexible working, and this will be extended to carers from April 2007.

The Government believe that flexible working, including providing quality part-time jobs, brings returns to business because it opens up a wider pool of skilled labour. It is considering the range of innovative proposals in the Women and Work Commission's report, Shaping a Fairer Future", but at present has no plans to provide fiscal incentives.


Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the cost of administration for PAYE has been in each of the last five years; [55284]

(2) what the cost of collecting overdue PAYE contributions has been in each of the last three years; and what the mechanism is for doing so. [55290]

Dawn Primarolo: The collection of overdue PAYE contributions is not done in isolation but forms part of the wider cost of administering the PAYE and Self Assessment systems. The former Inland Revenue's estimated gross expenditure on these PAYE and SA systems in each of the last three financial years was around:
£ billion

The Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003 provide the detailed rules which govern the operation of the PAYE system. Regulation 21 requires an employer to make deductions from employees' wages and Regulation 69 requires the employer to pay over the amounts deducted to HMRC within 14 days of the end of the relevant income tax month (or 17 days if the payment is made by an approved electronic method). The circumstances of individual cases may vary, but where an employer has failed to make payment HMRC may contact the employer by letter and on the telephone to request payment. HMRC will try to help businesses facing temporary financial difficulties and may agree to give them extra time to pay in certain circumstances. In the continued absence of payment HMRC will take formal enforcement proceedings via the Courts or via distraint action.


Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 November 2005, Official Report, column 775W, to the hon. Member for
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Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond), on pensions, what allowances were made for future improvements in mortality in estimating the total liability for unfunded public sector pension schemes. [54518]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 24 January 2005, Official Report, column 2047W.

Single-parent Households (Wales)

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children in Wales were living in single-parent households in (a) 1979, (b) 1997 and (c) 2005. [58461]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the national statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 14 March 2006:

Dependent children(27) in lone-parent families(28), Wales

Number of dependent children in lone- parent families (Thousand)(29)73.4144.1143.1
Proportion of dependent children in lone- parent families (Percentage)
Base: Number of dependent children in all families (Thousand)659.3652.2633.4

(27) Dependent children are defined as children under 16 years of age, or those aged 16 to 18 who are never married and in full-time education.
(28) A family is defined as a married or cohabiting couple with or without child(ren), or a lone-parent with child(ren).
(29) The number shown is the number of dependent children living in families in households containing one family. The numbers do not include dependent children living in lone-parent families in households containing two or more families, so will be a slight under-estimation.
(1981) 1981 Census 10 per cent. sample data, (1997 and 2005) Labour Force Survey (LFS), Office for National Statistics. Note that 1997 is an average of LFS spring and autumn quarters, 2005 is from LFS spring quarter only.

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