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Mr. Gauke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what correspondence he has had with the hon. Member for Morley and Rothwell (Colin Challen) since 1 October 2006 in relation to that hon. Members involvement with the work being undertaken by Sir Nicholas Stern for his Department on climate change. 
John Healey: My hon. Friend the Member for Morley and Rothwell (Colin Challen), who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change, wrote to the Chancellor about holding a conference on the work of Sir Nicholas Stern. His proposal was communicated to Sir Nicholas Stern.
John Healey: Data limitations preclude meaningful estimates of the average value of migrant workers by country of origin. However the average migrant worker (across all countries of origin) makes a positive contribution to the UK economy. Migrants (defined as people not born in the UK) constitute 10.5 per cent. of people above the age of 16 in the UK. Migrants (including family reunification and refugees) typically have lower employment rates than the UK average, around 5 per cent. lower, but typically earn 8 per cent. more. Assuming that the higher earning signify that migrants are, on average, more productive, this would indicate that migrants contribute around 11 per cent. to total gross domestic product, and cause a small but positive increase to gross domestic product per capita.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of recent changes to the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme on British economic relations with India; and if he will make a statement. 
The Highly Skilled Migrants Programme was amended in November 2006 to trial changes proposed as part of the move to a points based system for managed migration. The Points Based System will simplify the multitude of current routes into a scheme with five tiers for entry. One of the key objectives for changing the scheme is to reduce subjectivity and base decisions on objective evidence, making the process more transparent for the applicant. The aim of the change in November was to allow for a period of live testing of the proposed tier 1 criteria, presenting an opportunity to review the effects of the criteria and refine them before full tier 1 roll out. Tier 1 in the new scheme will be broadly equivalent to the existing Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) in aim (to attract the most highly skilled who can benefit the UK) and entitlements (unrestricted access to the UK labour market, no need to have an employer in UK sponsoring application, the option to settle in the UK after five years, the right to bring dependants).
The changes are therefore not expected to have a measurable impact on economic relations with India.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he held with officials in India regarding the impact of recent changes to the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme during his recent visit; and if he will make a statement. 
John Healey: The Highly Skilled Migrants Programme was amended in November 2006 to trial changes proposed as part of the move to a points based system for managed migration. The Points Based System will reduce subjectivity and base decisions on objective evidence, making the process more transparent for the applicant. On his recent trip to India this issue was raised in discussions between the Chancellor and the President of the Indian National Congress, the Indian Prime Minister and business representatives at a financial services seminar.
Mr. Timms: The National Asset Register was published both online and in hard copy in January 2007. 610 hard copies have been printed, of which 362 copies have been set aside for Parliament and for official use and the balance are available for sale from TSO.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance his Department has issued since 25 May 2006 to individuals on obtaining a pensions forecast before paying voluntary national insurance contributions. 
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps have been taken by HM Revenue and Customs to alert contributors who have already amassed the 30 years of National Insurance contributions necessary to gain a full basic state pension to the potential impact of the proposed changes. 
Dawn Primarolo: No specific steps have been taken to inform those contributors who already have 30 years of national insurance contributions about the potential impact of the proposed change to qualifying years because they will still be liable for national insurance contributions if they continue to work. However, HM Revenue and Customs has written to those contributors paying voluntary national insurance contributions to inform them about the Governments proposals and suggesting that they should consider very carefully whether they should continue to pay voluntary contributions or wait until the proposal becomes law.
Dawn Primarolo: When HM Revenue and Customs was created in April 2005, the roles and responsibilities of all its business areas were reviewed and, as the National Insurance Contributions Office (NICO) is an operational area, it was recommended that it was positioned into the processing work stream.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters relating to non-payment of national insurance contributions have been sent to contributors in (a) the Eastbourne constituency and (b) England for the 2004-05 tax year. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs sent 4.7 million letters to customers advising them of a potential shortfall in their national insurance contributions for the 2004-05 tax year. It is not possible to break this figure down to the number of letters issued to contributors in (a) the Eastbourne constituency or (b) England. This level of detail is not held and would be available only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters relating to non-payment of national insurance contributions sent to contributors in the 2004-05 tax year were sent in error. 
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Deficiency Notice letters from HM Revenue and Customs have been sent since 25 May 2006 to workers who under the proposed pensions reforms had already amassed 30 years of national insurance contributions. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs has issued 4.7 million Deficiency Notice letters between 11 September 2006 and 25 January 2007 for the 2004-05 tax year. It is not possible to determine how many of these letters were sent to contributors who already had 30 years of national insurance contributions.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the refund of voluntary national insurance contributions paid since 25 May 2006 will be effected; and what estimate he has made of the total cost of such refunds. 
Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs are working on the detailed policy and administrative arrangements to handle claims for refunds for those individuals who have continued to make voluntary national insurance contributions since 25 May 2006, but would have chosen not to do so had they been aware of the Governments intention to reduce the number of qualifying years required for a full basic state pension to 30. It is not possible to estimate the cost of refunds because the amounts will depend on the number of people who apply.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether a representative of his Department attended the selection interviews held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in October 2005 for the contract for the Olympics cost review. 
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average household income was in (a) Eastbourne, (b) East Sussex, (c) the south-east and (d) the UK in the last year for which figures are available. 
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the average household income was in (a) Eastbourne, (b) East Sussex, (c) the South East and (d) the UK in the last year for which figures are available (120557).
Estimates of average household income for the UK and for the regions are produced from household surveys. There is generally much less information about household income at a local level since the sample size of a national survey is insufficient to produce reliable estimates for small areas.
Estimates of average household income for the UK are published in the ONS analysis The effects of taxes and benefits on household income. The latest analysis for 2004/05 was published on the National Statistics website on 12th May 2006 at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/taxesbenefits, which also includes links to figures for previous years. The analysis is based on data from the Expenditure and Food Survey (EPS), which is a sample survey covering approximately 7,000 households in the UK. An estimate for the South-East can also be derived from the data underlying this analysis.
Using this source, for the financial year 2004/05, the average equivalised disposable household income for the UK was 23,350, while the figure for the South-East was £26,538.
The ONS has also published estimates of household income for wards for 2001/02 only. These estimates are based on a statistical model and are experimental statisticsthis means they have been developed in accordance with the principles set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice but have yet to be fully accredited as National Statistics.
These ward based estimates have been used to produce an estimate of average equivalised household income for East Sussex and Eastbourne for 2001/02, as a weighted average of the estimates for the wards making up these areas. These average incomes are £21,495 for East Sussex, and £20,303 for Eastbourne.
It should be remembered that the estimates for East Sussex and Eastbourne are produced using a different method to that used for the South-East and UK figures, and so the two sets of figures are not directly comparable. There is more uncertainty surrounding the estimates for East Sussex and Eastbourne.
All the household incomes shown here are equivalised. This means that they are standardised to take into account the different size and composition of households. The standard household is deemed to be a two adult household with no children, and so an equivalised income can be interpreted as indicating a standard of living that would be achieved by a standard household with that income. All the estimates are net of income tax, national insurance contributions, and council tax.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the net income would be of (a) a single parent and (b) a married couple with one earner on (i) one half of average earnings, (ii) two-thirds of average earnings and (iii) average earnings paying the same rent, assuming that each is entitled to (A) working tax credit, (B) child tax credit, (C) child benefit, (D) housing benefit and (E) council tax benefit. 
(i) on one-half median earnings would be £282 per week;
(ii) on two-thirds median earnings would be £305 per week;
(iii) on median earnings would be £373 per week.
John Healey: The amount of revenue from a Planning-Gain Supplement (PGS) and any consequential changes in revenue from related taxes will depend on decisions on its rate and scope. PGS will be set at a modest rate to help finance additional infrastructure whilst preserving incentives to bring land forward for development.
Specific information regarding relative low income for pensioners is available in the latest publication of the Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2004-05. The threshold of below 60 per cent. of relative or contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income. Latest national figures for pensioners relate to 2004-05 and show the risk of low income for pensioners, after housing costs have been accounted for, of 17 per cent.
According to the EU definition, 24 per cent. of people aged 65 and over in the UK are at risk of poverty in 2004. This is down from 32 per cent. in 1995. Thus the number of elderly at risk of poverty in the UK, according to the EU definition, has fallen by around 650,000 in less than a decade.
While the EU25 average stands at 18 per cent., there is a wide variation in the risk of poverty across member states, from 52 per cent. in Cyprus and 40 per cent. in Ireland to 4 per cent. in the Czech Republic and 6 per cent. in Luxembourg. The following table presents the latest available data on the risk of poverty of people aged 65 and over.
It should be noted that the EU measure of poverty differs from that generally adopted in the UK, mainly on account of it being restricted to persons aged 65 and over (while the national measure takes into account all pensionersincluding women aged 60 to 64), and also because it does not take into account housing costs.
|Percentage of population 65+|
The agreed EU definition of the risk of poverty among the elderly is the proportion of people aged 65 and over with an equivalised income of less than 60 per cent. of the overall median equivalised income.
SILC (2004, income data 2003) for Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Finland and Sweden and for other member states national sources, income data also from 2003 (except Germany, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, 2002 and Malta 2001)
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