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Ed Balls [holding answer 20 April 2007]: Treasury officials provided the advice to the Chancellor leading to his decision to sell 395 tonnes of gold between July 1999 and March 2002. This advice was provided after technical consultation with the Bank of England.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the approach taken to local economic impact surveys will be in relation to offices classified by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as being individual locations, with particular reference to the Porthmadog HMRC office. 
John Healey: HMRC is undertaking a series of regional planning reviews of all its accommodation to bring it into line with future operational requirements. For the purpose of these reviews offices have been grouped into three categories: urban centres, clusters of offices, and individual locations (offices more than 25km from any other HMRC office), of which Porthmadog is one.
Each review will include a consultation exercise and detailed feasibility work. An impact assessment will be produced for every office, in all categories, which is identified at the end of this stage of the review process
as a candidate for closure. The assessments will consider the social and economic effects of closure on staff, customers and the wider community. Final decisions will be taken in the light of these assessments.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2007, Official Report, column 280W, on ministerial policy advisers, whether the Council of Economic Advisers is involved in announcements outside the Treasury's remit. 
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the average income for each decile was in the financial year 2006/07. I am replying in her absence. (134501).
Estimates for 2006/07 are not yet available. The latest data covers the financial year 2004/05 and is in the ONS analysis The effects of taxes and benefits on household income. This can be found on the National Statistics website at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/taxesbenefits. The data for 2005/06 is due to be published on the website on 17th May 2007. The analysis is based on the annual Expenditure and Food Survey, which is a sample survey covering approximately 7,000 households in the UK.
The table below shows both gross and disposable income for income decile groups. The income decile groups are determined by ranking households according to their equivalised disposable income. Equivalised incomes are standardised to take into account different sizes and compositions of households and are standardised in relation to a two adult household with no children.
|Average incomes by decile groups of ALL householdsUnited Kingdom, 2004-05|
|Average per household (£ per year)|
|Decile groups of all households ranked by equivalised disposable income|
|(1) Gross income, includes income from wages/salaries, self-employment income, investment income, occupational pensions, and state benefits.|
(2) Disposable income is income available after the deduction of income tax, employees national insurance contributions and council tax.
Office for National Statistics.
Ed Balls: The yield from removing the upper earnings limit for employees Class 1 national insurance contributions is around £8,880 million for 2007-08. This estimate includes the yield from the consequent increase in the upper profit limit for Class 4 contributions paid by the self-employed, and the cost of the increase in employee and employer rebates for contracting out of state second pension.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer from which Government Departments' budgets the additional £5 billion to be provided by central Government towards the cost of the Olympics will be provided. 
Key factors that have affected pensions and pension funds in recent years were fully set out by the Chancellor in the debate in the House on occupational pensions on 17 April. The Government are not aware of any systematic and quantified assessment of the relative impact of different factors on pension schemes over the last 30 years. The Annex to Chapter 3 of the Pensions Commission's First Report provides an analysis of the main long-term trends affecting private
sector final salary pensions over the last 30 years. The Purple Book published by the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund also provides recent and historical data on Defined Benefit pension schemes.
1979: from 33 per cent. to 30 per cent.
1986: from 30 per cent. to 29 per cent.
1987: from 29 per cent. to 27 per cent.
1988: from 27 per cent. to 25 per cent.
1993: from 25 per cent. to 20 per cent.
Ed Balls [holding answer 26 April 2007]: The cost of removing the tapering of the personal allowance for 2007-08 is estimated at £360 million for people aged between 65 and 74 years and £220 million for those aged 75 or over.
John Healey: There are three main systems by which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) collect income tax from individuals: self-assessment, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and the tax deduction scheme for interest paid by banks and building societies. Overpayment of tax may occur in any of these systems.
The self-assessment tax return (supported by the guidance notes), the self-assessment Statement of Account and the Internet "View Liabilities and Payments" Service all offer people the opportunity to claim repayment of tax overpaid.
When HMRC carry out an "Initial Assessing Review" for a PAYE customer, if an overpayment of tax has occurred and all the necessary information is available, HMRC will make an immediate repayment. Failing this, they will write to the customer to tell the customer that there appears to be an overpayment of tax and ask for the further information required to calculate the refund due.
A customer who has tax deducted from their savings income may be a non-taxpayer. A claim for repayment can be made by completing form R40 Claim for Repayment. Every year HMRC send these forms to customers who made such claims in the previous year. Help is also readily available by phoning the Taxback helpline or visiting the Taxback pages of the HMRC website.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the net effect on contributions to the Exchequer would be if the pensions contributions by all individuals qualified for tax relief as basic income tax rate only. 
Ed Balls: Latest detailed estimates of the annual cost of tax relief on approved pension schemes are available in Table 7.9 on Her Majestys Revenue and Customs website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/pensions/menu.htm
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate how much would be raised if a Tobin tax of (a) 0.05 per cent. and (b) 0.1 per cent. was levied on all transactions on the UK stock market. 
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