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2 May 2006 : Column 1455W—continued

Tax Credits

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are taken to avoid causing hardship in the recovery of tax credit overpayments. [67257]

Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs' approach to handling overpayments, including the procedures in place where recovery might cause hardship, is set out in their Code of Practice 26 What happens if we have paid you too much tax credit?"

Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will withdraw the concessions under section 225 of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992. [65237]

Dawn Primarolo: The whole tax system, including capital gains tax, is kept under review by the Government.

Trader Intra-community Fraud

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the levels of VAT missing trader intra-community fraud for each of the last five years for which data is available; and what steps he is taking to combat such fraud. [66146]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the level of missing trader intra-community (MTIC) VAT fraud for the years 2000–01 to 2004–05 were published at PBR 2005 in Measuring Indirect Tax Losses—2005, a copy of which is available from the House of Commons Library. Estimates for 2005–06 will be published at PBR 2006.

The Government remain determined to tackle MTIC VAT fraud, and the criminals perpetrating it, and a comprehensive strategy involving both operational and legislative measures has been developed. As announced at PBR 2005, this strategy has been strengthened further to counter changes in the fraud.

The operational strategy is designed to identify, disrupt and prevent the fraud and involves targeting the key players involved. It includes:

Three legislative measures have also been introduced in the Finance Bill to further strengthen the tools available to HMRC to tackle the fraud:
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Mr. Soames: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the merits of levying a zero rate of VAT on new build houses and a 17.5 per cent. rate on repairs and conversions. [66902]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 11 July 2005, Official Report, column 700W. We continue to keep the impact of VAT on different types of building work under review.

Welsh Speakers

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Wales speak Welsh, according to the latest census data. [66138]

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

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 2 May 2006:


All people aged three and overNumber
All people2,805,701
Speaks Welsh582,368
Does not speak Welsh2,223,333

Table T39 in the Census 2001 National report for England and Wales.

Unexpected Payments Worklist

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are on the unexpected payments worklist for credits; how many people in HM Revenue and Customs are working through this list; and how many people on this list have been taken to court. [64823]

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Dawn Primarolo: As at 20 April 2006 there were around 34,000 items on the worklist but HMRC does not have information regarding the number of claimants involved. Several entries may relate to the same claimant.
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There are 10 members of staff working through the list.

HMRC is not aware of any case where a court action has been taken against a claimant who appears on the list.
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Rail Network (East London)

15. Meg Hillier: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans the Government have for further spending on the rail network in Hackney and East London. [66815]

Derek Twigg: The funding of further rail enhancements across the country will be considered as part of the development of the High Level Output Specification for the railway to be published in summer 2007.

A number of improvements to the rail network in Hackney and East London are already under way. This investment includes the current preparatory rail bridge building work for the East London Line extension to Dalston. The project will provide new stations for Hackney. Further investment is planned for improvements to the North London Line which have been confirmed by the Mayor when he takes control of the line in 2007. These include new, higher capacity, accessible trains replacing the existing fleet and a £25 million station enhancement programme of North London Line stations.

17. Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Treasury about the allocation of funding to complete both phases of the East London Line in time for the London Olympics. [66817]

Derek Twigg: The first phase of the East London Line extension is an Olympic undertaking. This commitment was given to the International Olympic Committee by the Mayor of London, taking into account the Spending Review 2004 financial settlement for TfL. The decision over whether to go ahead with the second phase of the East London Line extension is for the Mayor. Phase 1 of the extension is scheduled to be completed by June 2010, in time for the 2012 Olympics. Phase 2 is not an Olympic commitment and is not planned to be completed by 2012.


16. Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet the Highways Agency to discuss the installation of signs for Shrewsbury on the M6. [66816]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency has been negotiating with both Shropshire county council and Shrewsbury and Atcham borough council about signing for Shrewsbury on the M6. Both councils have now agreed in principle to the cost involved and a formal agreement is currently being prepared. This will result in Shrewsbury being signed on theM6.

19. John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to increase capacity at junction 21 of the M5. [66819]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency is working closely with North Somerset council (NSC) and developing a joint scheme to improve the operation of the junction by improvements on the local road approaches, together with upgrading the M5 southbound off-slip road.
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Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to change Junction 5 of the M25 further to the proposed road-widening scheme. [67294]

Dr. Ladyman: The M25 Orbit Multi Modal Study recommended that consideration be given to the construction of additional slip roads between the M26 and A21. The Secretary of State accepted this recommendation and the Highways Agency is in the early stages of developing an appropriate scheme.

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