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Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax credit fraud has been perpetrated by HM Revenue and Customs' employees; and how many HM Revenue and Customs' employees have been prosecuted for tax credit fraud. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has robust procedures in place to identify abuse of the tax credits system, and has identified the false use of the names of a number of DWP staff, as outlined in the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 18 January 2006, Official Report, column 1357W.
No fraud has been found to have been perpetrated by HMRC employees as a result of this investigation, but prosecution will always be pursued against the very small number of HMRC's 98,000 staff who abuse their position of trust. There are four HMRC employees who are currently being prosecuted for other alleged tax credit fraud involving amounts totalling £500,000. These cases have yet to be concluded in the courts.
Dawn Primarolo: HMRC takes the morale and well-being of its staff very seriously, including those working at the tax credit office, and takes very seriously the maintenance and improvement of staff well-being.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 30 March, Official Report, column 117W, on tax credits, how many monetary payments have been agreed between HM Revenue and Customs and recipients of tax credits where people have deliberately or negligently made incorrect statements (a) in total and (b) in each compliance office in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in the last year for which information is available; and how many involved payments of (i) less than £250,(ii) £250 to £499, (iii) £500 to £999 and (iv) £1,000 and over. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 18 April 2006]: The following table provides details of the number of penalties imposed in total and in the Claimant Compliance Offices that cover Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
|Penalties: Period 26 March 2005 to 21 March 2006|
|Penalty bands||CCC E.Hants/Wight||CCC Surrey/N.Hants/ Berks||CCC W.Hants||Total|
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many individuals in the Peterborough constituency were overpaid tax credits in the financial year 2004-05; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: Tax credits are awarded to families rather than individuals. For the number of 2004-05 awards to families that have been overpaid, by constituency, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to hon. Friend the Member for West Lancashire (Rosie Cooper) on 24 April 2006, Official Report, column 878W.
Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of tax credits recipients in each constituency are based on a sample of cases. Any estimates of the number of disabled adults in families receiving tax credits in any constituency would be subject to a very large relative sampling uncertainty and therefore no reliable estimates are available.
Dawn Primarolo: The majority of awards are terminated because of a failure to renew the previous year's award. Therefore in 2003-04 very few tax credit awards to couples were terminated after the start of the year. We estimate that about 135,000 awards for 2004-05 were terminated after the start of the year, and about 160,000 awards for 2005-06 were terminated after the start of the year.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Government's response to the Carter Committee's recommendations on bringing forward the tax return filing deadline. 
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment the Government have made of the potential impact of advancing the tax return filing deadline on (a) business and (b) the capacity of HM Revenue and Customs to process returns quickly and without error. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Government are currently assessing the impacts on businesses of implementing the recommendations of Lord Carter of Coles' Review of HMRC Online Services, and HMRC has published a partial regulatory impact assessment which invites comments and evidence to inform the final assessment. The document can be viewed at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ria/pria-online-services.pdf.
The proposed changes to the income tax self assessment return filing deadlines will promote online filing leading to fewer processing errors and cleaner data. The new deadlines will also enable HMRC to calculate the tax for all paper filers and tell them what to pay before the 31 January payment deadline and help to ensure that PAYE coding notices are up to date by the start of the following tax year.
The only additional information that the VOA receives through the Valuebill initiative that was not available previously is the National Land and Property Gazetteer unique property reference numbers (UPRN) and co-ordinates of the property, both of which are used to correctly identify the property concerned.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which representatives from the Valuation Office Agency attended the Property Information Systems Common Exchange Standard (PISCES) home information packs workgroup meeting on 30 March. 
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the potential cost to the Treasury of introducing a zero VAT rating on authors; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer under what fiscal regime a voluntary shop in a rural area operates; and what assessment he has made of the impact on such business of recent changes in corporation tax. 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 3 May 2006]: A voluntary shop in a rural area' has been taken to refer to a shop that is set up and run by volunteers. Such shops will generally pay corporation tax on any profits in the usual manner.
However where such shops operating within the charge to corporation tax donate all or part of their profits to community or other charities under Gift Aid, there will be no tax paid on the profits donated.
The replacement of the starting and non-corporate distribution rates of corporation tax with a single banding for small companies set at the current small companies' rate, announced at Budget, will only impact on voluntary shops that are liable to pay corporation tax, and to the extent that they do not donate their profits to charities under Gift Aid.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) whether the Commission has discussed with Royal Mail (a) a bulk purchase contract and (b) a business mail discount; and if he will make a statement; 
Nick Harvey: Royal Mail offer a range of products that provide bulk purchase and business mail discounts, but these apply only where there is a central point of posting and administration which enables Royal Mail to use their automation of bulk postings to
reduce operational costs. As Parliament's pre-paid envelope service provides the ability to post in constituencies anywhere in the UK, often in small volumes, these services are not applicable. Given a background of increasing deregulation within the mail industry the House authorities keep the possibilities of alternative contracts under continuous review.
A thorough evaluation of the external market through the Official Journal of the European Commission was also carried out in 2005 in respect of Parliament's own mail service. Four firms were short-listed and Royal Mail won a new three year contract after they were able to convince the evaluation panel that they could deliver to a demanding specification and provide value for money.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission
what recent discussions the House authorities have had with stationery suppliers on procuring alternative cheaper stationery for use by Members. 
Nick Harvey: The House authorities regularly re-tender the contract for the supply of stationery. During the contract term they have regular meetings with the contractor in order to monitor the service and costs, most recently in April 2006. Costs are presently lower than they were in 2002 and the contract is due to be re-let in competition in 2007. Members' bespoke stationery is high quality comprising specially designed and milled environmentally friendly paper and envelopes. The stationery contract includes the provision of a next day delivery anywhere in the UK and a unique management system which allows two accounts to be held for each Memberone for their own stationery and one for the bespoke stationery provided separately by the House.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the contribution which the 771 search and rescue squadron at Royal Naval Air Station makes to (a) the protection of lives of those at sea and on the coast in western waters and Cornwall and the south west, (b) the training of and experience available to naval pilots and crew and (c) anti-terrorism activities. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 2 May 2006]: In contributing to Search and Rescue (SAR) in the coastal waters of the south west extending 200 miles out to sea, 771 Squadron of the Royal Navy was scrambled 211 times last year and rescued 154 people.
As the Royal Navy's sole Sea King training unit, 771 Squadron trains aircrew for its own SAR duties at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose and for HMS Gannet SAR Flight at Prestwick Airport. Additionally, through duties within the SAR roster, pilots and aircrew of 771 Squadron gain extensive experience of SAR operations in diverse and challenging weather conditions.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cases have been heard by the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection in each of the last five years; and in how many of those cases the claims were upheld. 
Mr. Watson: The Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection (ACCO) hears appeals against non-approval by the Service Authorities of applications for administrative discharge from the armed forces on grounds of conscientious objection. There have been no appeals to the ACCO in the last five years.
Mr. Watson: The Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objection (ACCO) is only required to meet when an application for discharge on grounds of conscientious objection is put before them. As there have been no cases brought before ACCO in the last five years there has been no requirement for it to meet.
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