|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the merits of a lifetime savings scheme for all individuals which would start with an element of child benefit and develop with significant tax benefits later in working life. 
Ed Balls: The Government seek to promote saving and asset ownership for all, from childhood, through working life and into retirement. In keeping with this lifecycle approach, the Government aim to support:
saving for children, through the Child Trust Fund, which promotes saving and financial education and will ensure that in future all children have a financial asset at age 18;
saving throughout working life, through individual savings accounts, which provide accessible, tax-free savings; and
saving for retirement, in particular through pensions tax relief.
John Healey: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide range of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy analysis, development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such discussion.
Sir Michael Lyons work into the function of local government, its future role and how it is funded in England is independent. Sir Michael published an Interim Report in December 2005 and a paper covering the role and function of local government in May 2006. He is due to make his final report to Ministers by the end of December 2006.
Dawn Primarolo: National insurance deficiency notices for the six-year period from 1996-97 to 2001-02 were issued in a single exercise. A total of 10,021 million notices were issued in the period October 2003 to September 2004. It is not possible to break this figure down into individual years.
Ed Balls: The Treasury does not pay interest to National Savings & Investments (NS&I). NS&I products are liabilities of the Exchequer, which meets its related obligations, including interest payments, to lenders, and which are administered by NS&I.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate the Government have made of the amount of (a) income tax and (b) national insurance contributions that would be paid by the 125,000 people who lost occupational pension rights from schemes that started to wind up before 6 April 2005 if the Government restored 100 per cent. of their lost pensions; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: It is not possible to estimate the amount of income tax that would be paid, as we do not have any information on the income distribution of people affected. No national insurance contributions would be paid.
promoting macroeconomic stability;
supporting work for those who can and ensuring that work pays, through the New Deals, a national minimum wage and the working tax credit;
providing financial support for groups at particular risk of poverty, such as child benefit and the child tax for families, and the pension credit for pensioners.
Across the UK, these measures have helped lift more than a million people out of poverty since 1997. Tax credits are benefiting more than half a million families in the North West region, and in Wirral South claimant unemployment has fallen by half, youth unemployment has fallen by 75 per cent. and long-term unemployment has fallen by 89 per cent.
|Expected annual return for average investor( 1) (percentage)|
|(1) Rounded to account for the fact that the minimum prize value is £50.|
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Departments (a) efficiency reviews, (b) public service agreements and (c) spending reviews are applied to the block grant allocated to the Scottish Executive. 
Mr. Timms: The Scottish Executive is responsible for setting its own targets for efficiency and public service delivery in devolved areas. Changes to the Scottish Executive departmental expenditure limit are determined in accordance with the Treasury publication Funding the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assemblya Statement of Funding Policy. The latest edition was published in July 2004.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) procedures and (b) conventions are applied to the treatment of funds drawn down to the Scottish Consolidated Fund and subsequently (i) underspent and (i) overspent by the Scottish Executive. 
Mr. Timms: Section 10 of the Treasury publication Funding the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assemblya Statement of Funding Policy details the arrangements that are in place for the handling of end year flexibility, breaches of departmental expenditure limits and the management of cash balances.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions (a) officials and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the Scottish Executive on the treatment of underspends in the Scottish Consolidated Fund and its future distribution. 
(1) These will include changes of circumstances and renewal forms.
Performance for 2004-05 was published in the departmental accounts for the year ended 31 March 2005 which are available on the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/reports.htm.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the reasons for the tax credit overpayments in 2004-05; how many of these involved official error; and if he will make a statement; 
The amount of 2003-04 overpayments written off due to official error can be found in the Comptroller and Auditor Generals Standard Report on the Accounts of the Inland Revenue 2004-05, which is available on the HMRC website: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/ir-report2005.pdf
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) which of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Ombudsman in her report on Tax Credits: Putting Things Right had been (a) implemented, (b) accepted but not implemented, (c) rejected and (d) considered for implementation by 31 May 2006; and if he will make a statement; 
HMRC have improved guidance to staff on the availability of interim payments.
Suspension of recovery on disputes was introduced in November 2005.
A revised award notice including a single page check sheet to help claimants with their award notice were introduced from April 2006. The check sheet includes a section on overpayments and highlights the availability of additional tax credits payments.
The Code of Practice on overpayments (COP26) was revised earlier this year and now provides a clearer statement of what is meant by the reasonableness test in official error cases.
From November 2006 the tax credits computer system will limit any in year adjustment to the cross year recovery limits as detailed in COP26. The Tax Credit Office have a manual process to effect requests in the interim.
In respect of recommendation 10, current policy is for overpayments to be written off where there was a mistake by HMRC and it was not reasonable for the claimant to have spotted the error. The Government believe this strikes the right balance between being fair to those claimants who have been paid the incorrect amount and being fair to the taxpayer in general.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff were employed by (a) the tax credits office and (b) the tax credits hotline in each month from September 2005 to March 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: For the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff employed in Tax Credit Office (TCO) at the end of September 2005, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 7 December 2005, Official Report, column 1326W.
|Staff number (FTEs)|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|