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|Table 3: Economic activity rates for persons of working age resident in wards within Milton Keynes; 2001|
|Economic activity rate|
|(1) Census Area Statistics wards.|
Working age is defined as males aged 16 to 64 and females aged 16 to 59.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the total amount of VAT collected from buildings used for educational purposes in each local authority in each year since 1997; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the total amount of VAT levied under the Building Schools for the Future programme in each year since the programme was established; and how much he estimates will be levied in each of the next three years; 
While there are certain special schemes designed to provide VAT refunds to certain public bodies in relation to specific purchases or activities, the normal principle of public funding is that VAT, like any other cost, should be taken into account within the funding allocated to those bodies. This is the way the VAT system has worked in relation to public bodies since its introduction in 1973.
The normal VAT liability rules apply to all public sector capital spending projects, including those carried out under the BSF Programmei.e. that VAT is chargeable on non-residential new build or renewal work to non-listed buildings, except where the body concerned is a charity and the building is used at least 90 per cent. for a relevant charitable purpose.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have discussed VAT and Building Schools for the Future (BSF) with local authority representatives. All advice provided to date on VAT and BSF is covered by the usual rules of taxpayer confidentiality, and no general guidelines have been published. HMRC and HM Treasury remain in close contact with DfES, local authorities and local authority representative groups on this matter.
HMRC does not hold detailed figures on any VAT that has previously been collected on buildings used for educational purposes; on any VAT charged on BSF projects to date; or on any VAT which may be levied on such projects in the next three years.
However, if any VAT is chargeable on BSF projects, this will in general be reclaimable by a local authority where it relates to its statutory non-business functions, such as the delivery of free education.
VAT is also reclaimable by a local authority in relation to taxable supplies, and to exempt activities where the amount of this VAT is insignificant. Where VAT is incurred by a non-local authority school, this will be reclaimable under the normal VAT rules, to the extent that it relates to taxable business activities.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints he received about the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in the last 12 months; what representations he received on the accountability of the FOS to the Financial Services Authority; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the FOS in dealing with complaints; and if he will make a statement. 
Ed Balls: I regret that the information is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The Treasury's correspondence handling system does not categorise correspondence to the degree requested.
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is operationally independent from Government. The steps taken by the Financial Ombudsman Service to deal with the demands it faces are detailed in its Corporate Plan and budget 2006-07 published in January 2006.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it has ever been his Department's policy to place all information provided in response to freedom of information requests on the internet. 
John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport andthe Department of Trade and Industry on the conclusions of the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: Treasury Ministers and Officials have discussion with a wide range of organisations in the public and private sectors including Whitehall departments as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such discussions.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on (a) total public expenditure and (b) expenditure on benefits since March 2004 of the incorporation of hedonics into the determination of the retail prices index. 
John Healey: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) applies hedonic methods as a means of quality adjusting prices for a limited range of goods, including personal computers and laptops. The ONS no longer publishes the retail prices index (RPI) on the basis of the methods used prior to the introduction of hedonic methods. Therefore, estimates of the impact of incorporating hedonic methods on the RPI, and hence any effects on public expenditure, are not readily available. However, there is a presumption that any such effects are likely to be small: when hedonic methods were first introduced into the consumer prices index in 2003 the ONS noted that the change would have had little impact on the overall published index.
Economic Trends March 2003 (No. 592).
Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average amount of time spent was by HM Revenue and Customs staff in dealing with telephone calls in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the review of individual HM Revenue and Customs offices will begin; and whether any redundancies are expected to occur at these offices in advance of the review concluding. 
Dawn Primarolo: The Regional Review programme announced on 16 November has already begun and decisions on specific offices will be made and announced following consultation. The first such announcements are expected in 2007. The full programme, including implementation, will continue for a number of years, with reviews of individual offices commencing in April 2008.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the disparity in house prices between the North and South of England on the British economy. 
John Healey: The Barker Review of Housing Supply acknowledged that growing disparities in house prices between regions could have a damaging impact on labour market mobility. In its response to the Barker Review the Government set out plans to improve affordability by increasing housing supply, including setting the goal of increasing net additions to the housing stock to 200,000 per year by 2016. So far good progress has been made with new housing completions reaching 165,000 in the year to September 2006, the highest level since 1990
Mr. Timms: The Treasury has not made any estimates of annual revenue which may accrue from civil financial penalties imposed under the Identity Cards Act 2006. The draft code of practice published by the Identity and Passport Service in December 2005 states that the civil penalty scheme is not intended to be punitive or revenue-raising. It is intended to establish a mechanism which delivers a proportionate means of ensuring compliance with the terms of the Act.
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