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8 Jan 2007 : Column 427Wcontinued
Paul Holmes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what legal advice his Department has sought on whether allowing tax exemptions for certain religious believers establishes a legal precedent which would enable other religions to seek exemptions in the future. 
Ed Balls: While the detailed content of any legal advice on tax matters is subject to legal professional privilege and cannot be disclosed, it is the considered view of this Government that trying to limit access to ASPs to religious groups could lead to legal and operational difficulties. As the Government concluded in The Annuities Market, published on 6 December 2006, any attempt to limit the availability of ASPs to particular religious groups would be impractical.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider redundancy terms equivalent to those offered by the Department for Work and Pensions for workers affected by the tax office closure programme. 
Dawn Primarolo: HMRC has an Approved Early Retirement Scheme and intends to continue with this into 2007-08. This is entirely voluntary and so far 3,200 staff have accepted these terms.
HMRC has recently entered into a no-redundancy agreement until September 2007 with the recognised trades unions and has no plans to offer schemes similar to those offered in the Department for Work and Pensions.
Dr. McCrea: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what tax revenue has accrued to the Exchequer from the Northern Ireland agricultural sector in each year since 2000. 
Mr. Timms: Tax revenues are not recorded by sector and region from which they are received. Identifiable spending by function and region for the years 2000-01 to 2005-06 is published in chapter 7 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (Cm 6811).
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the cost-threshold beyond which Treasury consent must be given for projects to be implemented; and what that cost threshold is. 
John Healey: The threshold for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport above which the approval of HM Treasury must be sought for projects is £6 million, except in the case of the Olympic Delivery Authority, where it is £20 million. The ODA's financial memorandum was agreed by HM Treasury and DCMS.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) pursuant to the statement of 7 December 2006, Official Report, column 432, what youth unemployment was in Wellingborough constituency in 1997; what youth unemployment is now in Wellingborough constituency; and on what basis the figures were calculated; 
(2) pursuant to the statement of 7 December 2006, Official Report, column 432, what adult unemployment in Wellingborough constituency was (a) in 1997 and (b) December 2006; and on what basis these figures were calculated. 
John Healey [holding answer 14 December 2006]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.
Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 8 January 2007:
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your parliamentary questions about unemployment. (109240,109243).
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles statistics of unemployment for parliamentary constituencies from the annual local area Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Annual Population Survey (APS) following International Labour Organisation definitions.
Table 1, attached, shows the number of unemployed people, aged 16 to 24 and aged 25 and over, resident in the Wellingborough constituency for the 12 months ending in February 1997 from the annual local area LFS and for the 12 months ending in June 2006 from the APS. Table 2 shows corresponding unemployment rates which are defined as the number of unemployed expressed as a percentage of the economically active population in the relevant age group.
As these estimates are for a subset of the population in a small geographical area, they are based on very small sample sizes, and are therefore subject to large margins of uncertainty. In this case, the sample sizes are not sufficient to give an accurate estimate of even the direction of the change over the period.
ONS also compiles statistics for local areas of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). Table 3, attached, shows the annual average number of people aged 18 to 24 and aged 25 and over, resident in the Wellingborough constituency, claiming JSA for the 12 months ending in November 1997 and November 2006. Sub-regional claimant count data is not seasonally adjusted and thus comparisons between different months may cause distortions. Annual averages are shown to remove seasonally and years ending November are shown to include the latest month's data in the comparison.
|Table 1: Number of unemployed persons resident in the Wellingborough constituency.|
|(1) The number of respondents in this category is too small to provide estimates. Note: 1. Estimates are subject to sampling variability. 2. Changes in the estimates over time should be treated with particular caution Source: Annual local area Labour Force Survey; Annual Population Survey|
|Table 2: Unemployment rates( 1) for persons resident in the Wellingborough constituency.|
|(1). Unemployed as a percentage of the economically active population (2). The number of respondents in this category is too small to provide estimates Note: 1. Estimates are subject to sampling variability. 2. Changes in the estimates over time should be treated with particular caution. Source: Annual local area Labour Force Survey; Annual Population Survey|
|Table 3: Average number of claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance resident in the Wellingborough constituency|
|Not seasonally adjusted|
|(1) Claimant count by age includes computerised claims only. Dataset rounded to the nearest five. Source: Jobcentre Plus administrative data|
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library copies of the in-house staff magazine of the Valuation Office Agency from the last 12 months. 
Dawn Primarolo: I have placed in the Library copies of the VOAs in-house staff magazine from the last 12 months.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average time is for which valued added tax payments have been delayed by the use of Extended Verification on UK mobile phone, computer parts and pharmaceutical export companies; and what the longest such delay has been. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs does not collate the information requested and would incur disproportionate costs in doing so. Each case of verification is treated on its own merits, the time taken to reach a decision being that required to fully establish the veracity of the claim. However, if at any time during the verification HM Revenue and Customs identifies that part or the entire claim is unconnected to missing trader intra-community fraud and is otherwise valid, HM Revenue and Customs will make prompt repayment of the amount.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the internal manual of procedure for HM Revenue and Customs to implement extended verification on traders for value added tax. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs has a duty to protect revenue and its targeted and risk-based in-depth verification of VAT repayment claims is a proportionate response to the organised criminal attack on the VAT system through attempted MTIC fraud. HM Revenue and Customs already places a significant proportion of its internal guidance on VAT on its website. Making available any further information on extended verification procedures would be likely to prejudice the assessment and collection of VAT.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on HM Revenue and Customs use of extended verification procedures for VAT. 
Dawn Primarolo: Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors 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 representations.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what (a) guidance and (b) instructions Her Majesty's Stationery Office follows on the size of margins in Government publications. 
Vera Baird: I have been asked to reply.
None. Her Majesty's Stationery Office is itself responsible for the provision of advice to Departments regarding Government publications. For those publications for which it is directly responsible HMSO takes care to ensure that the size of margins are set appropriately for the publication.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment she has made of (a) the potential cost savings and (b) the environmental impact of reducing the size of margins in official publications. 
Vera Baird: I have been asked to reply.
None. Those involved in the design of official publications are encouraged to minimise the cost, the size and the environmental impact of their publications. Her Majesty's Stationery Office will often remind Departments of the need for economy in the production of their publications. The overall aim for
any publication, though, must be that it is both readable and accessible to all who will have a need or interest in its content.
The size of margins is one aspect in the design of any publication which will also be affected by the page size, the length of the publication, typeface, typesize and line and paragraph spacing.
Margins may also be affected by the nature of the printing process to be adopted and the size of the publication which will determine whether a larger inside margin is required to allow for binding.
Margins are very important for readers, providing space to hold each page without hiding any of the text and providing a resting spot for a reader's eyes. Long lines of type can also be difficult and tiresome to read. It is very easy for readers to get lost making the transition from the end of one line of text to the beginning of the next. Where lines are lengthened, it is generally necessary to increase the space between lines and the overall result is no saving in paper.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the percentage of people living in rural areas who are within one mile of a post office; and how many lived within one mile in 1997. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: I have been asked to reply.
I understand that Post Office Ltd.s latest figures show that 81.95 per cent. of the population in rural areas are within one mile of a post office branch. The same information for 1997 is not available.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions took place for (a) assaults and (b) assaults with a minor injury in (i) each basic command unit in Durham constabulary and (ii) each police force in each year since 2002; and how many were successful. 
Mr. McNulty: Information taken from the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform showing the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for the assault offences requested, broken down by police force area for 2002-05, is provided in the following tables.
It is not possible to separately identify basic command units in Durham police force area as the data are not collected at that level of detail.
|Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for common assaults and Assaults occasioning actual bodily harm, by police force area, England and Wales 2002-05( 1, 2)|
|Statutes: Various Offence class: Common assaults etc|
|Proceeded against||Found guilty||Proceeded against||Found guilty||Proceeded against||Found guilty||Proceeded against||Found guilty|
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