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27 Feb 2007 : Column 1295W—continued

HM Revenue and Customs: Manpower

Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many whole-time equivalent VAT compliance and enforcement staff there were in each year between 2003 and 2006. [123373]

Dawn Primarolo: In HMRC the number of whole-time equivalent VAT compliance and enforcement staff was 8,755 in 2003-04, 9,035 in 2004-05 and 8,924 in 2005-06.

HM Revenue and Customs: Pay

Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many whole-time equivalent staff HM Revenue and Customs employed on minimum wage compliance in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006. [123356]

Dawn Primarolo: The numbers of whole-time equivalent staff employed on minimum wage compliance for the years requested are as follows:








(1 )forecast

HM Revenue and Customs: Standards

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average time taken by HM Revenue and Customs to acknowledge receipt of a tax return was in the latest period for which figures are available. [124064]

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Dawn Primarolo: When a self-assessment tax return is filed online, an immediate acknowledgment of receipt is issued automatically. HMRC does not issue receipts for tax returns sent in by post or handed in at their inquiry centres.

Processing a paper tax return results in a tax calculation and/or a statement of account being issued to the taxpayer. For paper tax returns filed by 30 September, HMRC guarantees to process the return in time to tell the taxpayer what to pay by 31 January. For paper tax returns filed by the 31 January deadline, HMRC has an operational target to process all paper tax returns by 31 March.

Housing: Stafford

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the housing market for first-time buyers in Stafford constituency. [122233]

John Healey: The Government continually monitor the housing market and its possible effects on the economy as part of the Budget and pre-Budget report forecasting process. They recognise concerns over housing affordability, particularly amongst first-time buyers, and are acting to alleviate these pressures on various fronts including by tackling supply constraints; doubling the stamp duty threshold; and helping people into home ownership through supporting shared equity schemes.

Insurance Policies

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 25 January 2007, Official Report, column 1986W, on insurance policies, how many hon. Members have contacted him about non-advised insurance sales; and if he will make a statement. [123490]

Ed Balls: The Treasury has received representations regarding non-advised insurance sales from eight Members of Parliament, on behalf of constituents, since April 2006.

As noted in my answer of 20 November 2006, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is responsible for the regulation of the sales of insurance policies.

The FSA is currently undertaking a review of its general insurance regime. This review is looking at how far the FSA’s “Insurance: Conduct of Business” (ICOB) requirements deliver against the intended consumer outcomes for the regime, including that consumers buying insurance on a non-advised basis receive sufficient information to make an informed decision. The review is due to report in the first quarter of 2007.

Manufacturing Industries: Wales

Hywel Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many manufacturing jobs were lost in Wales in each year since 1997; [123635]

(2) how many people were employed in the manufacturing sector in Wales in each year since 1997. [123636]

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John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been ask to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 27 February 2007:

Employee jobs and changes in jobs in manufacturing in Wales
Thousands, not seasonally adjusted
Number of jobs Net change on year

September 1997


September 1998



September 1999



September 2000



September 2001



September 2002



September 2003



September 2004



September 2005



September 2006



Members: Correspondence

Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to answer the letter from the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead of 10 July 2006 on VAT on charities. [120297]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 19 February 2007]: I have replied to the hon. Member.

National Lottery: Gambling

Paul Holmes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate his Department has made of the impact on tax revenue receipts from other gambling activities of the existence of the National Lottery since its creation; and if he will make a statement. [123858]

John Healey: Revenues from gambling taxes are published in the HM Revenue and Customs Betting, Gaming and Lottery Duties Bulletin, available at:


Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library copies of the Treasury working papers relating to the fiscal impact of people choosing to take alternatively secured pensions
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rather than traditional annuities, which were used during the production of the Pensions White Paper. [123168]

Ed Balls: The answer to the hon. Member’s recent Parliamentary Question on estimating the fiscal impact of people taking ASP was answered on 20 February as follows:

Widespread use of ASP would have a potential additional cost to the Exchequer due to deferral of tax charges where pensions are not used to provide an income in retirement.

It would be inappropriate to place internal Treasury working papers in the Library of the House of Commons. Doing so would be prejudicial to the frank and candid discussions that are an essential part of policy development.

Planning Gain Supplement: Sports

Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential impact on sport and leisure of the introduction of a planning-gain supplement. [122977]

John Healey: The 2006 pre-Budget report announced that the Government will move forward with the implementation of the Planning-gain Supplement (PGS) if, after further consultation, it continues to be deemed workable and effective. To maintain critical links to local delivery, the Government will ensure that in England at least 70 per cent. of PGS revenues are recycled to the local authority area in which they are raised, to fund additional infrastructure. Further announcements on PGS will be made in spring 2007.

Public Finance: Freedom of Information

Mr. Wills: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the net effect on public expenditure arising from use of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to scrutinise spending by public authorities. [122653]

Mr. Timms: None. In 2006, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs commissioned an independent review of the impact of the Freedom of Information Act across central Government and the wider public sector. The costings exercise and the independent review are available on the DCA website at

Revenue and Customs: Complaints

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an assessment of HM Revenue and Customs' handling of the complaint of Mr. J. A. Smith of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; and what
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assessment he has made of the adequacy of the compensation offered to Mr. Smith. [123274]

Dawn Primarolo: I am writing to my right hon. Friend about his constituent's tax affairs.

Revenue and Customs: Mansfield

Mr. Meale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of operating the Mansfield Taxation Office located at Chaucer House, Mansfield in each of the last three years. [123844]

Dawn Primarolo: The fixed accommodation running costs for Chaucer house, Mansfield, are:

April to March each year Cost (net of VAT) (£)





2006-07 (not full year)


These costs are made up of the PFI unitary charge for the provision (by Mapeley) of the serviced accommodation at this address, the business rates and the utilities for each year.

Individual business units are allocated budgets to meet their total costs and overheads for all their staff. The Mansfield HMRC office currently houses a total of 35 staff from four different business units. It would be possible only at disproportionate cost to break down the costs of each business unit to individual office level.

Revenue and Customs: Reorganisation

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria will be used in decision-making on the restructuring of HM Revenue and Customs offices. [123736]

Dawn Primarolo: HMRC’s regional review programme seeks to achieve the best possible match between customer and staff need, delivery of business and buildings, taking account of its efficiency and customer service commitments.

Mr. Meale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the cost of his Department's review of HM Revenue and Customs offices in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. [123838]

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not available.

Mr. Meale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the additional (a) travel, (b) relocation and (c) other costs which will be incurred as a result of the closures of local tax offices in (i) Mansfield, (ii) Burton Alfreton and (iii) Derby. [123846]

Dawn Primarolo: Final decisions on the future of these HMRC offices, and the other offices in the Nottingham/Derby and Leicester urban centre reviews, will not be made until the findings of the consultation exercise and of the detailed feasibility work now being undertaken have been fully taken into account. That
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feasibility work includes preliminary estimates of the costs of making the necessary adaptations to buildings proposed for retention.

If a decision in principle is then taken to close any of these offices, a detailed impact assessment will be carried out for each, which will include estimates of excess fares and relocation costs for the individual members of staff affected. No such decisions have yet been reached.

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