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26 Apr 2006 : Column 1171W—continued

Child Tax Credit

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the savings to the Exchequer from tapering away the family element of the child tax credit for incomes between £30,000 and £38,000; and if he will make a statement. [63406]

Dawn Primarolo: The current second income threshold is £50,000. The estimated saving from reducing the second income threshold to £30,000, holding all other rates constant, is £0.8 billion. Around 1.5 million families would see their tax credit award reduced as a result of such a change.

Combined Cadet Forces

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with Defence Ministers on plans to create branches of the Combined Cadet Force in state schools which he announced in February 2006. [65829]

Mr. Des Browne: Treasury Ministers have discussions with Defence Ministers on a variety of issues on a regular basis.

Council Tax

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 9 February 2006, Official Report, column 1419W, to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman), on council tax, on what dates each of the current 66 value significant codes were first collected [54530]

Mr. Woolas: I have been asked to reply.

Value significant codes (VSCs) record the existence of a feature that may affect value—but whether a particular feature does affect value in any individual case is a question of fact or degree.

The capability to input VSCs electronically was introduced from March 2003, at which time there were 13 codes. These were expanded to 66 in January 2005. Information about features that are value significant" has always been collected as part of the process of arriving at fair bandings for council tax purposes, but has not previously been recorded electronically. However there is no mass data collection process under way, nor are VSCs being used to amend existing council tax bands.

EU Budget

Mr. Cash: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will be in a position to introduce the legislation necessary to implement the EU budget agreed on 15 and 16 December 2005. [65811]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given on 31 January 2006, Official Report, column 400W, to the hon. Member for Castle Point (Bob Spink).

Gold Sales

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the loss on gold sales by the Bank of England since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [65097]

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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The decision to rebalance the reserves portfolio by selling gold was a long-term investment decision not a short-term attempt to play the market. Reducing the riskiness of the portfolio can only be assessed meaningfully in the medium to long term because short-term fluctuations in assets prices could mask the benefits of risk reduction.

Income Tax

Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people with (a) salaries and (b) income generating business who did not earn enough to pay income tax in each of the last 10 years for which records are available. [63876]

Dawn Primarolo: The estimated number of people with self-employment income who have no income tax liability is shown in the following table for the period 1996–97 to 2005–06. Data on the number of employees who did not earn enough to pay income tax are not held.

Year(21)Number of self-employed non-taxpayers(22)

(21) Estimates obtained from the survey of personal incomes. Estimates for later years should be more accurate and subject to less sampling variation, due to the sample size of the survey increasing from around 50,000 in 1996–97 to over 400,000 by 2002–03.
(22) A person can be both employed and self-employed in the tax year.
(23) Estimates from the 2003–04 survey of personal incomes and projected forward in line with March 2006 Budget assumptions.

London Olympics

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what systems are in place to collect tax from foreign contractors used for work on the 2012 Olympics. [64818]

Dawn Primarolo: The systems and rules for foreign contractors used on Olympics related projects are the same as those for foreign contractors working on non-Olympics related projects.

Lung Cancer

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many new cases of lung cancer there have been in each of the last six years, broken down by region. [64614]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 26 April 2006:

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Region for the years 1998–2003 are given in the attached table.
Newly diagnosed cases of lung cancer(24) by Government office region, 1998–2003

Government office region199819992000200120022003
North East2,4542,4482,2922,3562,3352,214
North West5,3645,3655,3265,1134,9975,171
Yorkshire and The Humber3,7653,6403,7183,6113,6503,635
East Midlands2,4972,6322,6212,5352,4632,505
West Midlands3,2913,3383,1613,1053,1463,128
East of England2,9543,0282,8412,8852,9652,810
South East4,4954,4544,3654,2984,1774,081
South West2,7213,0682,7832,9032,7082,688

(24) International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes C33-C34.
Office for National Statistics

Ministerial Flights

Nick Harvey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether air passenger duty is payable on ministerial flights on official business. [64968]

John Healey: Air passenger duty (APD) is payable by aircraft operators that are defined as Air Transport Undertakings under the Air Navigation Order 1982. APD is charged on the number of passengers on board a chargeable aircraft on departure from a UK airport. This includes ministerial flights on official business when commercial flights are used.

Full details of eligibility to pay APD are set out in HM Revenue and Customs Public Notice 550, which is available on their website (

Online Goods Declaration

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people used the free online service by which traders can declare goods to HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last five years for which records are available. [65858]

Dawn Primarolo: HMRC provide a range of on line communications channels for which we do not charge, enabling our customers or their representatives to submit declarations to us in a way that best suits their business needs. CHIEF is our main frame computer for the processing of third country import/export declarations, it is used by 150,000 customers or their representatives and processes in excess of 20,000,000 declarations per annum—trade take up of our electronic CHIEF services is 99.9 per cent.. Channels to CHIEF include EDI/e-mail, a web service and XML for exports. We also maintain a manual presentation facility for those that are not e-enabled.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment was made of commercial companies already operating in the same field before HM Revenue and Customs launched the free online declaration service. [65860]

Dawn Primarolo: HMRC have an established and comprehensive customer consultation programme. HMRC have actively engaged with individuals and representatives of all those working in the online services area and customers who use the services provided. Ongoing consultation is an essential element of the HMRC online and EU Change programmes, providing suppliers and users with the opportunity to comment on and shape our technical products. Communications mediums/routes are implemented in accordance with our Channels Strategy, focussing on meeting customer needs and making it easier for our customers to comply whilst driving take up of online services.

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