Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1660W—continued

Football Grounds

Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment she has made of the merits of re-examining the case for the introduction of limited sections of standing areas at football grounds. [124153]

Mr. Caborn: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South (Mr. Cunningham) on 8 February 2007, Official Report, column 1140.

Football: Females

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will take steps to further the establishment of a taskforce on women's football; and if she will make a statement. [125288]

Mr. Caborn: One of the recommendations of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on Women's football was that a taskforce should be set up to produce a blueprint for the future of women's football.

I agreed wholeheartedly with the recommendation and understand the Football Association is currently finalising the membership of the taskforce and a date to hold the first meeting.

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1661W

Olympic Games: Investment

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much of the £600 million World Class Pathway Olympic Games Investment is planned in each year between 2006 and 2012. [125387]

Mr. Caborn: The breakdown of the planned World Class Pathway investment for the Olympics and Paralympics for the Beijing cycle is shown in the following table:

Financial year Planned investment (£ million)







The planned annual investment for the London cycle will be decided after Beijing once UK Sport has carried out the post-games review and determined how the investment is to be targeted. However the total planned investment for the period 2009 to 2013 is £401.9 million.

Sports: Drugs

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the recent report on doping in sport by Michael Beloff QC; and if she will place a copy in the Library. [125388]

Mr. Caborn: Neither the Department nor UK Sport, the UK's National Anti-Doping Organisation, is aware of a recent report on doping in sport by Michael Beloff QC.


Agriculture: Subsidies

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provided him with in each month since January 2006 for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ contingent liabilities for provisions for disallowance arising from Common Agricultural Policy schemes, notably the single farm payment and the possible financial correction which may be demanded by the European Commission; and if he will make a statement. [124049]

John Healey: The estimate of potential disallowances is reviewed continually by DEFRA and Rural Payments Agency officials. Provisions for potential disallowances, totalling £116 million (in respect of England only), were made in DEFRA accounts for 2005-06 (covering SPS 2005 and predating historic CAP schemes).

On 20 February 2007, DEFRA’s Spring Supplementary Estimate included a claim on the Reserve of £305 million for 2006-07. The claim provides estimate cover for provisions in respect of potential financial corrections to EC reimbursements for SPS 2005, any new provisions for SPS 2006 payments to farmers and other CAP Schemes. Final figures for provisions will be provided in DEFRA’s 2006-07 accounts.

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1662W

Departments: Databases

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what databases are controlled by his Department and its agencies; and what percentage of the data in each database he estimates is inaccurate or out of date. [124025]

John Healey: The Treasury and its agencies use a wide variety of databases to support their work. Errors are dealt with when discovered.

Gift Aid

Lady Hermon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of registered charities in Northern Ireland used the gift aid scheme in each of the last five years; and how much money was recovered by charities through the scheme in Northern Ireland over the same period. [125040]

Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) do not separately identify gift aid claims by countries of the UK.

Amounts of tax repaid to charities in the UK on donations under gift aid are published on the HMRC website at In 2005-06 a total of £750 million was repaid to UK charities under gift aid.

HM Revenue and Customs: Standards

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which performance indicators HM Revenue and Customs records on the (a) receipt, (b) opening, (c) acknowledgement and (d) answering of taxpayers’ correspondence. [124063]

Dawn Primarolo: HMRC does not record performance indicators for the receipt, opening or acknowledgement of taxpayers correspondence.

Through a sampling exercise, HMRC determines and records the percentage of correspondence answered correctly and completely at 15 and 40 working days after receipt of the correspondence in the Department. Validated results are only available annually.

Pensioners: Means Tested Benefits

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many pensioner households were subject to (a) 20, (b) 30, (c) 40, (d) 50 and (e) 60 per cent. and above marginal deduction rates taking account of tax deduction and loss of means-tested benefits in (i) the most recent year for which figures are available and (ii) 1997-98. [118239]

James Purnell: I have been asked to reply.

The available information is given in the table. Comparable estimates for 1997-98 are not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Government’s strategy to tackle pensioner poverty since 1997 has helped to lift one million pensioners out of relative poverty. The introduction of pension credit
5 Mar 2007 : Column 1663W
has also reduced significantly the number of pensioners facing 100 per cent. marginal deduction rates—between 1.8 million and 2.2 million pensioner households were entitled to income support in 1997-98 and would have faced £1 for £1 deductions on additional income.

The proposed reforms to the state pension system will ensure that those with a good history of working or saving towards retirement will be taken clear of pension credit entitlement while maintaining a minimum income for those who were unable to build up a sufficient state or private pension.

Estimated marginal deduction rates for pensioner households, 2006-07
Marginal deduction rate (Percentage) Number of pensioner households Percentage of pensioner households

0 to 9



10 to 19



20 to 29



30 to 39



40 to 49



50 to 59



60 to 99






1. Marginal deduction rate estimates measure the effect on net income of a marginal increase in gross income, assuming this is fully taken into account for income tax and income-related benefit entitlements.
2. Estimates assume full take-up of income-related benefit entitlements.
3. Estimates of numbers of pensioner households are rounded to the nearest 10 thousand.
4. Estimates of percentages of pensioner households are rounded to the nearest per cent. and may not sum to 100.
DWP Policy Simulation Model

Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in which business areas within HM Revenue and Customs there were delays beyond target response times in processing correspondence in each of the last three months; and if he will make a statement. [122397]

Dawn Primarolo: HMRC aims to deal correctly and completely with 80 per cent. of post from customers within 15 working days of receipt. Validated results are only available annually.

Taxation: Film

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact on the British film industry of the tax breaks for films made in the UK announced in 2005; and if he will make a statement. [124151]

Dawn Primarolo: New tax reliefs for the production of British films were announced in 2005 and included in the Finance Act 2006. They came into effect from 1 January 2007. It is therefore too early to be able to say what effect they have yet had. However, the new reliefs were developed in close consultation with the industry and we anticipate that they will be extremely effective in promoting a sustainable British film industry.

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1664W

Valuation Office

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what meetings the Valuation Office Agency has had with local government representatives since January 2005. [124427]

Dawn Primarolo: It is an inherent part of the Valuation Office Agency’s responsibilities that it works closely with local government. Accordingly there are numerous meetings with local government representatives over the course of a year on a range of service delivery issues. No central record is maintained so the Valuation Office Agency can only provide this information at disproportionate cost.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether tax officials from HM Revenue and Customs have legal rights of access to the property database provided by Rightmove for the Valuation Office Agency. [124476]

Dawn Primarolo: The contract giving access to Rightmove’s database of property records (i.e. records that had previously appeared on the website) is between Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and plc—the sharing or use of data is subject to the provisions of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005. Tax officials have not therefore had access to the Rightmove property data.

VAT: Energy

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress he is making in negotiations with EU partners on extending the categories of permitted reduced VAT rates to include energy efficient products and the purchase of energy saving materials for DIY installation. [124643]

Dawn Primarolo: There have been no negotiations on reduced rates of VAT since ECOFIN reached agreement on 24 January 2006 (subject to confirmation, which was later received, by three member states) on an extension of the arrangements for reduced rates of VAT for labour-intensive services.

VAT: Fraud

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much in VAT repayments has been withheld pending the extended verification process arising from missing trader intra-community fraud investigations. [125216]

Dawn Primarolo: The requested information cannot be disclosed as to do so would undermine the measures introduced by HM Revenue and Customs to counter missing trader intra-community fraud and as such prejudice the assessment and collection of tax.

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been recovered from convictions arising from missing trader intra-community fraud since 2004-05. [125217]

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1665W

Dawn Primarolo: The HMRC Annual Report 2005-06 provided the total amount recovered or frozen in action against persons and companies involved in MTIC fraud, copies of which are available in the House Library.

The HMRC Report 2004-05 did not contain this information and it could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what average length of time investigations took to verify VAT claims which may be affected by missing trader intra-community fraud in the most recent year for which figures are available. [125218]

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 MTIC fraud and is otherwise valid, HM Revenue and Customs will make prompt repayment of the amount.

The UK courts have, to date, supported HMRC’s policy.

VAT: Schools

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to reduce the VAT liability of schools which encourage use of their premises by their local community. [124252]

Dawn Primarolo: Community, foundation and voluntary controlled schools should not incur VAT costs on school buildings that are also made available for community use. Local authorities usually reclaim from HMRC all VAT relating to the construction of these buildings, even when the premises are also offered for use by the local community outside school hours. In relation to voluntary aided schools, government grants for new school buildings should be provided on a VAT inclusive basis where VAT will be chargeable on the construction.

VAT is not chargeable on the construction of non-local authority schools operated by charities, such as academies, provided that charged and other non-charitable use of the building does not account for 10 per cent. or more of total use. An academy can therefore offer unlimited non-charged use of its facilities without incurring any VAT costs and, under the 10 per cent. allowance mentioned above, a 1,000 student academy can provide charged use of its facilities for around 50 people per day on average without incurring any VAT costs on construction.

The Government recognize that VAT rules can constrain the extent to which academies can offer facilities on a charged basis to the local community without incurring a VAT charge on construction costs. HM Treasury is working closely with DfES and HMRC on a principled solution.

Next Section Index Home Page