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7 Nov 2006 : Column 1017W—continued

Call Centres

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2006, Official Report, columns 1801-2W, on call centres, how many and what proportion of calls to his Department and its agencies in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05, (c) 2005-06 and (d) 2006-07 were (i) handled by an adviser, (ii) received but abandoned and (iii) received an engaged tone in each year, broken down by line of business; [93487]

(2) how many calls to HM Revenue and Customs helplines received an engaged tone in each month from 1 April to 31 October. [98933]

Dawn Primarolo: The requested data are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost

Carers

Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of how many carers between (a) five and 15 and (b) 16 and 18-years-old in (i) England, (ii) Hemel Hempstead and (iii) the Dacorum borough council area are providing unpaid care. [100206]

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

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 7 November 2006:

All people in households—England
All people providing unpaid care

Area

0-17

5-15

England

139,199

90,431

Hemel Hempstead PC

250

166

Dacorum BC

325

215

Sources:
2001 Census data and table S025 in Census 2001 National Report for England and Wales pt 1

Child Benefit

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of uprating child benefit in line with average earnings in each year from 2007-08 to 2012-13; what assessment he has made of the effect that uprating would have on child poverty; and if he will make a statement. [100059]


7 Nov 2006 : Column 1018W

Dawn Primarolo: The cost of uprating child benefit in line with average earnings for each year from 2007-08 to 2012-13 is shown in the table.

Cost of uprating child benefit in line with average earnings: 2007-08 to 2012-13
Cost (£ million)

2007-08

200

2008-09

400

2009-10

600

2010-11

900

2011-12

1,100

2012-13

1,400


The Government do not produce a forecast for average earnings growth to 2012-13, so for this analysis we have assumed earnings growth in line with the estimated trend growth in labour productivity. See “Budget 2006”, Table B2. We have further assumed growth of retail prices in line with the projections published in “Budget 2006”, Table C3.

Uprating child benefit by earnings for a period of six years would amount to a cumulative increase of around 12 per cent. compared with uprating by prices. Based on a 60 per cent. contemporary median income threshold, it is estimated that a similar real terms increase implemented today could lower child poverty by between 130,000 and 160,000, depending on the choice of equivalisation scale for household incomes.

Child Care Vouchers

David Mundell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many child care vouchers have been issued since their introduction in April 2005, broken down by local authority area. [99820]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not available. Employers and employees are not required to report the provision of tax-free employer supported child care vouchers provided to employees since the tax and national insurance contributions exemptions were introduced in April 2005.

David Mundell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which public bodies in Scotland offer their staff salary-sacrifice child care vouchers in accordance with the provisions introduced in the Finance Act 2004. [100056]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not available.

Child Trust Funds

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many child trust fund vouchers have been issued for children born in (a) the UK and (b) Wansbeck constituency; and how many have resulted in accounts being opened in each case. [100053]

Mr. Timms: The latest set of child trust fund statistics showing UK-wide information was published by HM Revenue and Customs on 29 September at www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/child_trust_funds/child-trust-funds.htm. These show that over 75 per cent. of parents are using their child’s voucher to open a child trust fund account.


7 Nov 2006 : Column 1019W

Child trust fund information at constituency level would currently be available only at disproportionate cost. However, it is anticipated that this information should become available later this year.

Climate Change

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost was of the supporting research commissioned as part of the Stern Review into the economics of climate change; and what proportion of the total cost of producing the Stern Review that research comprised. [100142]

John Healey: The Stern Review spent £62,300 on supporting research. This represents five per cent. of the total £1.26 million Review budget. In addition, other Government Departments contributed £136,300 to research commissioned by the Stern Review.

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost was of the review on the economics of climate change; how many paper copies of the report were printed; and to which bodies they have been distributed. [99334]

John Healey: Sir Nicholas Stern’s review of the economics of climate change was an independent review jointly funded by the Treasury and the Cabinet Office. The total budget was £1.26 million. The report was published on the review website at www.sternreview.org.uk

Comprehensive Spending Review

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) dates and (b) locations were of each event he has held as part of the public debate on the Comprehensive Spending Review. [97964]

Mr. Timms: The Chancellor is keen to ensure the Comprehensive Spending Review is fully informed by widespread public engagement on the long-term challenges facing the UK. To analyse these challenges, the Government have undertaken extensive consultation with third sector organizations, services users, frontline professionals, businesses, think-tanks and academics among others. We will be publishing our analysis of the long-term challenges facing the UK later this year, and this will provide the basis for further debate.

Conference Bookings

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 25 October 2006, Official Report, column 1943W, on conference bookings, what the total value was of the contracts with Travelocity (formerly First Option) that were cancelled in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [99601]

Dawn Primarolo: In respect of HM Revenue and Customs’ contract with Travelocity for hotels and conference venue bookings, the cost of cancellations of conferences in the 12 month period up to June 2006 was £173,599. The information requested for the
7 Nov 2006 : Column 1020W
preceding two years cannot be easily extracted from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs own records.

Correspondence

Mr. Heath: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to the letters from Mr. P. B. Waggott of Castle Cary, Somerset, of 25 March, 10 July and 18 August. [98654]

John Healey: Officials have replied to Mr. Waggott on 12 May, 14 August and 30 October. I have arranged for copies to be forwarded to the hon. Gentleman and to Mr. Waggott.

Debt Collection

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been recovered by debt collectors in his Departments in each of the last five years for which information is available, broken down by (a) Department and (b) the tax the recovery related to; and if he will make a statement. [99655]

Dawn Primarolo: The amount of tax and duty recovered by the debt recovery arm of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is included in the figures recorded in HMRC’s Annual Report 2004-05 and Autumn Performance Report 2005.

Prior to the merger of Inland Revenue and Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise, the figures were recorded separately in each Department’s Annual Report and Accounts.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employees in each of his departments worked on debt collection in each of the last five years for which data are available; and if he will make a statement. [99656]

Dawn Primarolo: In April 2005 the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise merged to form Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Debt Management and Banking (DMB) is the arm of HMRC responsible for recovery of debt. In the last five years the DMB joint staffing allocation (in full-time equivalent terms) has been:

Number

2001-02

9,204

2002-03

8,934

2003-04

9,319

2004-05

9,726

2005-06

9,321


HMRC has taken on new work over recent years and that has affected the staffing profile while resources have had to be used flexibly to support HMRC's work, but on average about 75 per cent. of the above numbers have been directly involved in debt recovery.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of individuals granted debtors' petitions while being actively pursued for debts by each of his departments
7 Nov 2006 : Column 1021W
in each of the last five years for which information is available, broken down by department; and if he will make a statement. [99659]

Dawn Primarolo: In the pursuit of debt Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) handle cases where the debtor or another creditor has already filed for bankruptcy. In such cases HMRC lodge their claim like any other creditor but do not keep a separate record of the number of individuals who are granted debtors' petitions.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many creditors' petitions for bankruptcy have been granted to his departments in respect of individuals in each of the last five years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. [99660]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of creditor petitions granted to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the last three years is:

Number

2003-04

3,764

2004-05

3,052

2005-06

3,972


HMRC does not have this information for earlier years.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many of his Department’s staff were (a) under 20, (b) 21 to 30, (c) 31 to 40, (d) 41 to 50, (e) 51 to 60 and (f) over 60 years of age (i) in 1997 and (ii) in the last 12 months. [97909]

John Healey: The number of staff in the HM Treasury by age are as follows:

Age April 1997 April 2006

Under 20

1

15

21-30

289

440

31-40

297

340

41-50

201

241

51-60

107

115

Over 60

18

2


Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has a volunteering scheme for staff; and how many and what proportion of his staff have participated in the scheme in the last 12 months. [99351]

John Healey: The Treasury has a volunteers’ group that raises awareness on the benefits of volunteering and encourages employees to volunteer. The group provides employees with access to information on volunteering opportunities such as becoming school governors, trustees of charities or mentors. All employees are allowed one day’s paid leave to participate in volunteering.


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