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9 May 2007 : Column 283W—continued

Smith Institute: Publications

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Smith Institute publications his Department has purchased since 1997. [136325]

John Healey: The Treasury has no records of purchasing Smith Institute publications.

Taxation: Agriculture

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will amend the definition of assets which qualify for agricultural buildings allowances to clarify what constitutes a fixture. [135751]

John Healey: The Government announced a package of business tax reforms in the Budget. This included the withdrawal of agricultural buildings allowances and the introduction of a new category of fixtures integral to a building that will be included in the 10 per cent. capital allowances pool, effective from 2008. The Government will be consulting this summer on the definition of this new classification of integral fixtures.

Taxation: Car Sharing

Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employees benefited from the tax and national insurance contributions concession on exceptional events in car sharing schemes in 2005-06 and 2006-07; and what the value was of the IR176 relief in those years. [135727]

Ed Balls: This information is not available as there is no requirement for employers to report details of exempt benefits to HMRC.

Taxation: Self-Assessment

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was owed in outstanding fines for the late return of self-assessment tax forms at the end of each of the last nine financial years. [133326]


9 May 2007 : Column 284W

John Healey: The information requested is not available for each of the last nine years. The self- assessment penalties outstanding at the end of HM Revenue and Customs accounting years, both in monetary amounts and in percentage terms against the cumulative penalties raised, are set out in the table. HMRC accounting years run to the end of October.

SA penalties outstanding (£ million) Outstanding as a p ercentage of charges raised

1998

54.81

47.08

1999

92.37

36.99

2000

112.95

28.37

2001

127.24

23.30

2002

136.26

19.76

2003

131.79

15.68

2004

134.45

13.28

2005

145.52

12.02


Valuation Office Agency

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 16 January 2007, Official Report, column 1025W, to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles), on the Valuation Office Agency, what proportion of the 2.2 million photographs were of domestic properties. [127107]

John Healey: Of the 2.2 million photographs, 1.28 million (58 per cent.) were of domestic properties. The 1.28 million photographs related to some 823,000 separate addresses.

Welfare Tax Credits

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people are unable to claim tax credits solely because of their age; [132935]

(2) if he will estimate the cost of lowering the age at which able-bodied people without children can claim tax credits from 25 to 18 years. [132936]

John Healey: Tax credits are not available to families only consisting of adults aged under 25 without children or a disability. There is no upper age limit. If the age at which these families become eligible for tax credits was lowered from 25 to 18 years around 500,000 additional families, mainly single adults, would be eligible to claim and receive tax credits at an estimated cost to the exchequer of £325 million.

These estimates do not include the effects of the disregard which may increase the number of eligible families and estimated cost.

Education and Skills

Adoption: China

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many applications his Department is processing by UK citizens to adopt children from China through the China Center of Adoption Affairs; what the date is of the oldest
9 May 2007 : Column 285W
application; how many of the applications have been made according to (a) the requirements which are soon to be superseded and (b) the new requirements; and if he will make a statement. [134181]

Mr. Dhanda: The Department is currently processing 50 applications by British citizens to adopt children from China. They are at various stages of processing between acknowledgement and sending the application to the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) and are being processed under the new requirements which came into force on 1 May 2007.

Of the above applications, the oldest standard application was received on 20 October 2006. One complex application, received on 16 June 2006, is also being processed by the Department.

The Department will continue to have a processing role for applications already with the CCAA until an adoption order is made. There is no central record of the number of applications already processed (and with the CCAA) under the old and new requirements.

Apprentices: Assessments

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the NVQ component of apprenticeships and advanced apprenticeships is tested entirely by written examination; what the length is of that examination; and what proportion of the examination contains multiple choice questions. [132953]

Phil Hope [holding answer 20 April 2007]: The NVQ component of apprenticeships and advanced apprenticeships assessing competence in the workplace is rarely tested by written examination, though this method could be appropriate to some sectors where competence and knowledge elements of the framework are integrated. The NVQ component is normally assessed by apprentices accumulating a portfolio of evidence of practical achievements. Assessment methods vary between sectors and are determined for apprenticeship frameworks by the appropriate Sector
9 May 2007 : Column 286W
Skills Councils, Sector Bodies and employers in collaboration with the QCA.

Asperger's Syndrome

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent discussions he has had on the provision of specialist education for children with Asperger's syndrome; and what steps his Department is taking to improve such provision. [136116]

Mr. Dhanda: The Secretary of State met Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK earlier this year and the Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education responded on behalf of the Government to a Westminster Hall debate on 7 March 2007, proposed by Mr Corea's MP, the Member for Ilford North, on educational provision for autistic children. Ministers and the Department have ongoing discussions with The National Autistic Society and others on improving educational provision for all children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs).

The inclusion development programme, part of the Department's special educational needs (SEN) strategy, is designed to help schools with practical resources and to deliver cascaded training through local authority advisers and school SEN co-ordinators. ASDs will be in the second wave of the programme and will encompass the schools' autism pack which the Department is developing through its Autism Working Group.

Children's Centres

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much (a) capital and (b) revenue his Department has spent in each London local authority on (i) Sure Start and (ii) children’s centres since their inception. [128458]

Beverley Hughes: The information available for spend on Sure Start Local Programmes and children’s centres for the period 1999-2000 to 2005-06 in London local authorities is shown in the following table:


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9 May 2007 : Column 288W
SSLP Children’s centres
Local authority Revenue spend Capital spend Revenue spend Capital spend

Brent

9,432,746

3,802,502

967,594

2,551,717

Camden

15,388,525

4,676,434

308,072

816,644

Enfield

7,056,269

596,588

922,092

1,619,194

Hackney

19,583,092

4,254,948

1,350,658

1,150,066

Haringey

14,581,579

5,265,454

704,120

2,234,381

Newham

21,129,500

4,255,006

789,367

2,617,406

Tower Hamlets

18,299,717

3,024,082

597,515

614,267

Waltham Forest

9,827,119

3,638,114

1,242,574

2,989,125

Greenwich

12,718,642

3,443,016

1,473,027

2,288,470

Lambeth

16,452,545

3,758,929

1,940,570

2,113,716

Southwark

22,623,179

6,757,939

1,722,915

4,159,930

Barking and Dagenham

0

0

1,264,610

1,659,918

Croydon

3,619,626

1,069,687

199,838

395,074

Ealing

5,926,123

2,083,672

688,909

598,240

Hammersmith and Fulham

5,178,042

2,085,116

370,384

300,000

Hounslow

3,553,715

1,074,186

341,534

478,627

Islington

16,018,141

4,711,548

948,816

2,215,578

Kensington and Chelsea

5,069,010

1,776,721

281,970

652,388

Lewisham

13,458,688

2,812,999

950,048

1,851,929

Redbridge

3,292,748

1,135,002

331,309

173,978

Wandsworth

5,997,550

2,132,627

219,108

300,000

Westminster

8,283,229

2,429,315

367,744

1,029,000

Bromley

2,703,525

1,075,000

290,746

21,061

Havering

3,403,631

272,123

208,357

111,936

Hillingdon

3,033,094

1,177,577

140,794

134,716

Bexley

2,623,925

869,859

335,340

788,022

Merton

1,825,782

1,004,667

217.696

0

Barnet

1,483,713

800,000

249,134

150,000

Sutton

2,013,707

111,000

200,750

498,047

City of London

0

0

0

0

Richmond upon Thames

0

0

0

0

Kingston upon Thames

0

0

0

0

Harrow

0

0

0

0

Total

254,577,162

70,094,111

19,625,590

34,513,430

Notes:
1. Source is audit returns from the local authority and the individual SSLP’s where available.
2. Where audits are outstanding we have estimated expenditure based on unaudited expenditure figures.
3. Where both audited and unaudited expenditure figures are unavailable we have included an estimate based on average spend rates.
4. There is not sufficient available data to include 2006-07 until later in the year when local authorities make their audited expenditure returns.
5. In 2005-06 Hammersmith and Fulham and Greenwich received funding for children’s centres through a local area agreement.

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