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22 May 2007 : Column 1271W—continued

Departments: Manpower

Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff funded by the public purse in his Department are classified as people without posts. [137671]

John Healey: The Treasury currently has no staff classified as people without posts.

Departments: Private Finance Initiative

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the total value of private finance initiative projects included in his Department's balance sheet (a) is in 2007 and (b) was in each of the last five years, broken down by project; [137792]

(2) what the value was of annual private finance initiative payments made by his Department from (a) capital and (b) revenue budgets in each of the last five years; [137793]

(3) what value of annual private finance initiative payments by his Department was classified as (a) identifiable and (b) non-identifiable in each of the last five years, broken down by project; [137794]

(4) what value of annual private finance initiative (PFI) payments were (a) to repay capital and (b) expenditure on other parts of each PFI contract in each of the last five years, broken down by project. [137795]

John Healey: The Treasury has one PFI project which relates to the 1 Horse Guards Road building. All payments made under PFI are identifiable. Prior to a PFI contract being signed the profile of unitary charge payments is agreed between the contractor and the public sector, subject to the operation of the payment mechanism.

Full details of the 1 Horse Guards Road PFI project have been included in the Department's resource accounts in each year since its inception in 2002-03. Copies of the Treasury's resource accounts are available on the Treasury website at:

22 May 2007 : Column 1272W

Revenue and Customs: Mansfield

Mr. Meale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the administration costs of the HM Revenue and Customs Chaucer House office in Mansfield were in each of the last two years, broken down by main budget heading. [137913]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Paymaster General on 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1312W.

Revenue and Customs: Offices

Mr. Meale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many responses to the consultation on HM Revenue and Customs local offices were received, broken down by (a) area and (b) medium of contact. [137901]

John Healey: The number of responses to each of the staff and union consultation exercises that have so far been concluded, and summary findings published to staff, under HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) regional review programme are set out in the table.

All staff and union responses were sent by e-mail, most to a dedicated mailbox. Treasury Ministers and the Board of HMRC have also received written responses direct from hon. Members and other external stakeholders as shown in the following table.

22 May 2007 : Column 1273W
Urban central consultation ended Number of e-mail responses Number of staff represented by responses Number of MPs responding Number of others responding


Central London





5 October 2006

Outer London





21 February 2007

South East






Southampton and Portsmouth





21 February 2007












East Midlands






Nottingham/Derby and Leicester





Yorkshire and Humberside











14 March 2007

Mr. Meale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to publish the conclusions of the review of HM Revenue and Customs staff and offices. [137911]

John Healey: The timetable for the commencement of each of HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) regional review programmes is available on its website:

It is expected that announcements on decisions will be published as soon as possible after the end of the feasibility process, which lasts for 12 to 16 weeks.

Smuggling: Meat

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he is taking to ensure that bushmeat is not entering the UK. [138474]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 21 May 2007]: Bushmeat is covered by HMRC’s powers to deal with animal products that are imported outside the veterinary checks regime under the products of animal origin (“POAO”) regulations. These powers are limited to imports into Great Britain; responsibility in Northern Ireland rests with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Northern Ireland.

Bushmeat of animals listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (“CITES”) may also breach the restrictions on import created by Council Regulation 338/97 and Commission Regulation 865/2006.

HMRC’s approach is to deter and detect illegal imports of products of animal origin from entering Great Britain, continuing to target traffic from high risk countries based on risk assessment and intelligence.

In order to discharge this role HMRC have:

22 May 2007 : Column 1274W

HMRC records POAO seizures as “bushmeat” where this was how the owners described the meat to customs officials. In order to test how much seized meat might have come from CITES-listed endangered species, HMRC and DEFRA jointly sponsored a study by Wildlife DNA Services Ltd to identify species composition.

The summary report is available at the following web address:

Further information on the Government’s work regarding illegal imports of products of animal origin is contained in DEFRA’s annual reports. The latest report is available at and is also in the House Library.

Tax Allowances: Disabled People

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what training HM Revenue and Customs officials receive on the use of VAT and tax exemption booklets which refer to exemptions for which people with disabilities are eligible. [137487]

Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs runs a comprehensive training programme for compliance staff on VAT lasting over seven months. Training covering reliefs from VAT is undertaken by officers at foundation level, which covers the first year of training and operational work. As part of this programme there is a mandatory learning unit covering Reliefs for Disabled People and Charities, this covers the tax exemptions booklets that refer to exemptions for which people with disabilities are eligible. These are also covered in other learning units on Scope of Zero rating, Construction Industry and Land and Property.

Teenage Pregnancy: Wirral

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the teenage conception rate was for each ward in the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral at the latest available date. [138438]

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 22 May 2007:

Teenage conceptions: Numbers and Rates for Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, 2005( 1)
Under 18 Under 20
Number Rate( 2) Number Rate( 3)






(1) Figures for 2005 are provisional. (2) Rate per 1,000 females aged 15 to 17. (3) Rate per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19.

UN Licensing System

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 25WS, on the UN Licensing System, for how many individuals his Department instructed the Department for Work and Pensions to suspend benefit payments in each month since July 2006. [133237]

Mr. Plaskitt: I have been asked to reply.

Following the Economic Secretary to the Treasury’s statement about counter terrorism and the licensing system, in which he announced that benefit paid to members of the households of listed persons fall within the prohibitions on making funds available to listed persons, four spouses of persons listed by the UN under the Al-Qaida and Taliban financial sanctions regime had their benefit suspended in mid July 2006. To date, there have been no further suspensions of benefit of the spouses or household members of listed persons. All four spouses whose benefit was suspended now have it paid under licence, three of whom have it paid into an account set up and controlled by the Treasury.

In addition, four individuals who have themselves been listed under United Nations legislation or designated by the Treasury under the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 have had their benefits suspended—one in August 2006, one in December 2006, one in January/February 2007 and one in March/April 2007. Some of these have applied or are applying to the Treasury for a licence to enable benefit to be reinstated.

A significantly greater number of individuals than this have been listed or designated under the Terrorism Order but no current action is required because they are not in receipt of benefit. This is commonly because the individual is being held on remand in prison.

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