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30 Nov 2006 : Column 842Wcontinued
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what mechanisms exist to ensure that each premium bond has the same chance of winning as any other, regardless of the length of time that it has been held. 
Ed Balls: Premium Bond draws are undertaken by ERNIE (electronic random number indicator equipment). ERNIE produces random strings of numbers and letters which are then matched to existing Premium Bond numbers.
To ensure that each Premium Bond has an equal change of winning, no numbers are entered into ERNIE so no numbers can be left out of the draw. Furthermore, ERNIE is not a computer and cannot be programmed. It is not networked to any other machine, which means it cannot be hacked into.
Each months winning numbers are verified by the Government Actuarys Department (GAD) before the winners are notified. GAD carries out a series of statistical tests on the results to make sure the numbers
generated are not following any kind of pattern, because that would suggest a bias. The four main tests are:
frequency test to make sure every possible character in every position of the Bond numbers appears as often as it should serial test which looks at how often one digit follows another, for example how many threes come directly after sevens
poker test which analyses how many times a group of four consecutive characters contain four identical characters, how often they contain three of a kind, two of a kind and no matches
correlation test which looks at how often characters in two different positions appear in those same positions over a series of Bond numbers.
If no pattern is discernable the draw is judged to be random and GAD issues a certificate stating that this is the case. The tests have never detected a pattern in ERNIES selection.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many single parents there were in each quarter from 2000-01 to 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.
Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated 30 November 2006:
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your question on how many lone parents there were in each quarter from 2000-01 to 2006.I am replying in her absence. (104254)
Estimates of the number of lone parents are not available on a quarterly basis. Annual estimates of the numbers of lone parent families with dependent children in the United Kingdom are available from Labour Force Survey. Figures for the years requested are given in the table below.
|Number of lone parent families, 2000-05, United Kingdom|
|Lone parents with dependent children( 1)||Lone parents with non-dependent children only||Total|
|(1) Dependent children are those aged under 16 or aged 16 to 18 who are never-married and in full-time education.|
Numbers may not add due to rounding.
Labour Force Survey Household dataset average of spring and autumn quarters
Mr. Vara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been paid in the form of (a) consolatory payments and (b) compensation by the Tax Credit Office in each of the last five years. 
The circumstances in which HM Revenue and Customs will make compensation payments to its customers are explained in the Departments code
of practice 1 Putting things right which is available at www.hmrc.gov.uk The Department will pay compensation for reasonable costs incurred as a direct result of its mistakes or delays and to recognise worry and distress caused by those mistakes and delays.
For the value of compensation payments made in 2003-04 and 2004-05, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Northavon (Steve Webb) and the hon. Member for the former Hamilton South constituency (Mr. Tynan) on 20 July 2004, Official Report, columns 191-92W, and to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 4 July 2005, Official Report, columns 95-96W. The value of compensation paid in 2005-06 was around £1.07 million.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many tax credit claims (a) were made by prisoners in the UK in each of the last three years and (b) have been made in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) from which open prisons claims for working tax credit have been made since 1 April 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: This information is not available.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit verification checks are in operation. 
Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 1042W.
Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in each ward of Wantage constituency are in receipt of working tax credit. 
Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Leicester, South (Sir Peter Soulsby) on 29 November 2006, Official Report, column 735W.
Helen Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent on working tax credit for families in Warrington, North in each year since its introduction. 
Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not available at constituency level. Information on the net expenditure of working tax credit for 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 is available in Note 3 of the Inland Revenue Annual Report and Accounts for 2003-04 and 2004-05 and the HM Revenue and Customs 2005-06 Accounts.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what take-up there has been of the childcare element of working tax credit, broken down by local authority area. 
Dawn Primarolo: The number of families benefiting from the childcare element of working tax credit by local authority is shown in table 2 of the HMRC statistical publication Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics Annual Awards 2004-05 Geographical Analyses, available at:
Take-up rates (the proportion of eligible families taking up tax credits) are not available at local authority level.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library copies of the presentation and handouts produced by the Valuation Office Agency at the International Property Tax Institute conference in Kuala Lumpur on 23 August. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Valuation Office Agency did not make a presentation or give handouts at the International Property Tax Institute conference in Kuala Lumpur.
A Director in the Valuation Office Agency attended the conference as a member of the IPTI Advisory Board and gave a presentation in that capacity.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Valuation Office Agency has access to Mosaic data from Experian. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what foreign visits have been undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency staff on official business in the last 12 months. 
Dawn Primarolo: Valuation Office Agency (VOA) staff have made nine foreign visits in the last 12 months and have visited America, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, Spain and France.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of sending Valuation Office Agency representatives to the International Property Tax Institute Conference in Kuala Lumpur in August. 
Dawn Primarolo: The cost to the Valuation Office Agency of sending a representative to the International Property Tax Institute (IPTI) Conference in Kuala Lumpur in August was £705. This figure is net of the financial contribution made by the IPTI.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Valuation Office Agencys assessment was of the rateable value of the Ripley Building in Whitehall in the last business rates evaluation. 
Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Lady to the answer given by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Hilary Armstrong) on 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 1182W.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people were killed by (a) arson and (b) suspected arson in each year since 1997. 
Angela E. Smith: The available information covers deaths in deliberate fires attended by the fire and rescue service, and includes suicides.
|England: Deaths in deliberate fires attended by fire and rescue services|
Includes deaths reported during the strike periods in 2002 and 2003.
Fire and rescue service reports to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which (a) public relations and (b) marketing firms have been hired by her Department and its predecessor since 2002; what the total expenditure was on each firm; and for what purpose each agency was hired. 
Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on 8 November 2006, Official Report, column 1566W.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will reply to the letter of 2 October 2006 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. J. Meehan. 
Angela E. Smith: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has now responded to my right hon. Friends letter.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the total floor space is of each of the buildings occupied (a) in whole and (b) in part by her Department. 
Angela E. Smith: The total floor space in each of the buildings occupied by Communities and Local Government is as follows:
|Property||(a) Floor space in buildings occupied in whole||(b) Floor space in buildings occupied in part|
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