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18 Dec 2006 : Column 1542W—continued


Air Travel

Anne Main: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has an aim of reducing air travel by departmental officials within the UK. [109895]

John Healey: All departmental travel is conducted in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code. The Treasury is contributing to the carbon offsetting fund, co-ordinated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to offset emissions from flights on departmental business from April 2006. The Department also encourages the use of video conferencing to reduce official travel.

Carbon Emissions

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will convert the figure of $85 per tonne of carbon in 2000, given on page xvi of the Stern Review as the social cost of carbon, into the equivalent expressed as per tonne of carbon in pounds sterling at current prices; and what this figure would be adjusted to take account of Stern's finding that the social cost of carbon rises over time. [109382]

John Healey: The Government Economic Service working paper “Estimating the Social Cost of Carbon Emissions” suggests illustrative values for the social damage cost of carbon that can be used to estimate the monetary value of impacts once they have been quantified. Though subject to significant levels of uncertainty, this paper suggested £70/tC, within a range of £35 to £140/tC, as an illustrative estimate for the global damage cost of carbon emissions, rising by £1/tC per year in real terms to reflect the increasing marginal cost of emissions over time. We are in the process of re-examining the issue of the social cost of carbon, with the Stern Review on the economics of climate change informing our conclusions.

Colin Challen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions it is estimated will be saved as a result of the rise in (a) fuel duty and (b) airport passenger duty announced in the pre-Budget report. [109153]

John Healey: Inflation based increases are already factored into Government forecasts for carbon emissions and therefore this increase in fuel duty will not impact on this. However, if rates had been frozen, we forecast that carbon emissions would have been 0.16MtC higher in 2010-11 (or 0.15MtC higher on average in each of the next five years).

An estimation of the carbon savings expected as a result of the increase in air passenger duty was published in the 2006 pre-Budget report. This can be found in Table 7.2, using the following link:

Child Trust Fund

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children were eligible for child trust fund vouchers in 2005-06; and how many children have been so eligible in 2006-07. [109994]

Ed Balls: In 2005-06, 935,000 Child Trust Fund vouchers were issued to eligible children. In 2006-07, 135,000 Child Trust Fund vouchers have been issued to eligible children to June 2006, as set out in the latest published figures which are published quarterly at:


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Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of eligible children in households in the bottom income decile in the UK have (a) received child trust fund vouchers and (b) had child trust fund accounts opened for them. [110000]

Ed Balls: All eligible children will receive a Child Trust Fund voucher.

All eligible children will have an account opened for them. If the child's parents do not use the Child Trust Fund voucher within 12 months to open an account, HMRC will open an account on the child's behalf.

A detailed distributional analysis looking at take up by income group will be published in 2007.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of child trust fund accounts have not been opened. [109567]

Ed Balls: The latest set of Child Trust Fund account opening statistics was published by HM Revenue and Customs on 29 September at:

These show that over 75 per cent. of parents are using their child’s voucher to open a Child Trust Fund account.

Childcare Vouchers

Dr. Francis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the merits of extending tax relief for child care vouchers to cover the care of adults; what assessment he has made of the potential effect of this change on the employment of (a) carers, (b) older workers and (c) women in the workplace; and if he will make a statement. [109264]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government currently have no plans to extend tax relief for child care vouchers to cover the care of adults.

The Government have to look carefully at the costs and benefits of any proposal when making an assessment of the economic case for intervention in this area.

Climate Change Levy

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the revenue has been from the (a) public and (b) private sector from the climate change levy. [109565]

John Healey: Climate change levy receipts were£744 million in 2005-06. It is not possible to break this figure down between the public and private sectors because HMRC collects the levy from energy suppliers as opposed to individual businesses and public sector organisations.

However, estimates set out in the Cambridge Econometrics report: “Modelling the Initial Effectsof the Climate Change Levy”, available at www.hmrc.gov.uk, suggest that around 20-25 per cent. of climate change levy revenue is from the public sector.


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Compensation Payments

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many compensation payments were made by the tax credits section of his Department in each month from May to October 2006; what the total value of such payments was in each quarter since April 2003; and if he will make a statement. [108275]

Mr. Timms: The circumstances in which HM Revenue and Customs will make compensation payments to its customers are explained in the Department's Code of Practice 1 “Putting things right” which is available atwww.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. It does not keep separate details of compensation payments made specifically due to “maladministration” or “poor service”.

For the number and value of compensation payments made up to 30 September 2006, I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right. hon. Friend the Paymaster General gave him on 26 October 2006, Official Report, columns 2027-28.

Around 545 compensation payments were made in the month ending 31 October 2006. The value of compensation payments made in the current quarter will be available in January 2007.

Copyright Directive

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he plans to make to the European Commission's review of the Copyright Directive. [109179]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I have been asked to reply.

In line with the Government's response to the Gowers report we will be informing the Commission of those recommendations which fall within the Commission's area of competence. With respect to the Directive on Copyright and the Information Society 2001/29 this includes provisions for the use of orphan works and the creation of derivative works.

Corporation Tax: Northern Ireland

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential impact on UK finances of proposals to reduce the rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [109262]

Dawn Primarolo: The corporation tax regime is a UK-wide system and to introduce different rates in one part of the UK could distort competition.

Many companies trade in different regions of the UK. It would not be easy to determine the proportion of their profits liable at a ‘devolved’ rate. In addition, such a measure could also create opportunities for some companies to manipulate the rules in order to
18 Dec 2006 : Column 1545W
benefit from the lower rate. This may well result in a system that would place a significant administrative burden on both businesses and the Government.

Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice (the ‘Azores ruling’) in September 2006, it is also clear that introducing lower regional rates of CT in the UK would violate EU law.

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from (a) trade union and (b) business interests in Northern Ireland on proposals to reduce the rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [109263]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government have received the Economic Research Institute of Northern Ireland’s report ‘Assessing the case for a Differential Rate of Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland’.

Correspondence

Alistair Burt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to the letter of17 August 2006 from the hon. Member for North East Bedfordshire on the TOGs Calendar. [108956]

Dawn Primarolo: As I outlined in my letter of18 October 2006 to the hon. Member, this issue is being considered and I hope to be in a position to respond shortly.

Council for Science and Technology

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which members of the Council for Science and Technology presented the report Technology Matters to him in February 2000. [109196]

John Healey: The Council for Science and Technology report ‘Technology Matters’ was published in February 2000. The work was led by Professor Sir Alec Broers. The other members of the group were Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya, Dr. Chris Evans, Sir Robin Nicholson, Dr. David Potter, Miss Emma Rothschild and Mr. J Martin Taylor, assisted by Professor Alan Hughes, Director of the ESRC Centre for Business Research, university of Cambridge.

Crossrail

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the possible funding mechanism for the Crossrail project. [109800]

Mr. Timms: The Chancellor holds regular discussions with all his Cabinet colleagues and covers a range of issues.


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Cultural Goods: Seizures

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what cultural goods have been seized by HM Revenue and Customs in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [109563]

Dawn Primarolo: In the financial year 2005-06 HM Revenue and Customs seized 2,064 cultural objects, consisting of:

Departmental Conferences

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which conferences with fewer than 100 attendees have been funded in whole or part by his Department in the last 12 months; and what the cost to his Department was of each conference. [106544]

John Healey: Information relating to conferences and meetings at which fewer than 100 people participated could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Financial Management

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide the ranking covering financial management and delivery planning referred to in the first indent of box 7C of the Department for International Development's annual report page 200, for each Government Department. [109453]

Ed Balls: The Treasury commends DFID for the progress it has made in improving financial management and delivery planning. However the Treasury has not drawn up any rankings for Departments in these areas.

Departmental Staff

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff were employed through employment agencies in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in each of the last five years for which information is available; and what the (i) average and (ii) longest time was for which these temporary workers were employed in each year. [102962]

John Healey: The information requested is not available in respect of HM Treasury, the Office for National Statistics, HM Revenue and Customs, the Debt Management Office and the Government Actuary's Department. Details relating to other departments and agencies in the years for which information is available are given below:


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18 Dec 2006 : Column 1548W
Office of Government Commerce OGCbuying.solutions National Savings and Investments Royal Mint( 1) Valuation Office Agency( 1)

2001-02

Agency staff

Nil

Average period

Longest period

2002-03

Agency staff

18

Average period

17 weeks

Longest period

28 weeks

2003-04

Agency staff

12

Average period

52 weeks

Longest period

52 weeks

2004-05

Agency staff

15

50

Nil

Average period

26 weeks

1 month

Longest period

26 weeks

4 months

2005-06

Agency staff

57

59

22

Nil

57

Average period

35 weeks

1 month

5.5 months

4 weeks

Longest period

52 weeks

7 months

1 year

6 weeks

2006-07( 2)

Agency staff

49

11

108

Average period

35 weeks

1 month

8 weeks

Longest period

52 weeks

6 months

38 weeks

(1) Royal Mint and VOA figures relate to calendar years
(2) To date

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