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Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of taxpayers with marginal deduction rates of over (a) 60 per cent., (b) 70 per cent., (c) 80 per cent., (d) 90 per cent. and (e) 100 per cent. (i) in 2008-09 and (ii) 2009-10. 
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people who in 2008-09 will have a marginal tax rate of (a) over 50 per cent., (b) over 60 per cent., (c) over 70 per cent., (d) over 80 per cent. and (e) over 90 per cent. 
Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people he estimates will face a marginal deduction rate of (a) over 60 per cent. and (b) over 70 per cent. following the tax and benefit changes in the Budget which take effect from April 2008. 
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to the letter of 9 May from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. and Mrs. Iqbal. 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) meetings and (b) discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the lengthening of the allowable period between MOT tests. 
John Healey: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such discussions.
The performance of fiscal policy is judged against the Governments two fiscal rules, the golden rule and the sustainable investment rule. The sustainable investment rule states that public sector net debt, as a proportion of GDP, will be held over the economic cycle at a stable and prudent level. Other things being equal, net debt will be maintained below 40 per cent. of GDP over the economic cycle. The Budget 2007 projections show that the Government are meeting both fiscal rules.
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question concerning what estimate has been made of the effect on gross national product of (a) all bank holidays in the UK in 2006 and (b) each such bank holiday. (144570)
Most headline economic statistics are seasonally adjusted, so that the timing of bank holidays does not affect comparisons across months, quarters and years. The ONS does not however make any assessment of the impact of bank holidays on the level of economic activity.
John Healey: Information on OGC's administration costs consultancy spending in 2003-04 to 2006-07 is set out in table 7.4 of HM Treasury's Annual Report and Accounts, published on HM Treasury's website. In addition, in 2005-06, a further £3.45 million of programme consultancy costs were incurred as part of the OGC's Efficiency Challenge Fund work stream.
Numbers have also increased in the last two years because of a delay in the processing of P14 information received from employers. This has now been resolved and HMRC are working hard to reduce the number of open cases. HMRC will reduce the number of open cases to 10.5 million by April 2008.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the aggregate value of pension fund surpluses, as defined for tax purposes, on 1 July 1997 or the nearest available prior date; 
(3) whether the estimated £60 billion actuarial surplus in all pension funds as estimated in the Inland Revenues note to him of 27 May 1997 was (a) a net figure which included schemes reporting deficits and (b) a gross figure which excluded such schemes; 
(4) what method was used to extrapolate the position of all pension schemes from the sample of 32 large pension schemes by the Inland Revenue in the memorandum addressed to him dated 27 May 1997. 
Ed Balls: Advice to Ministers was published on 30 March 2007. Further details of the analysis underpinning advice to Ministers in 1997 beyond that which we have published are not held in electronic archives. Information on aggregate pension fund surpluses and actuarial liabilities was not held centrally.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely net effect on
total annual contributions to pension funds of the abolition of higher tax rate relief on pension contributions. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which public sector pension schemes remain open to new workers up to 1 July 2007 with a retirement age of 60 years or less; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Information on the pension ages currently applied in all public sector schemes is not held centrally, but the position as regards new entrants to the main schemes for which UK Government Ministers are responsible is:
Armed forces, police and firefighters pension schemes have pension ages of 60 or below, and age 65 for those with preserved pension rights. The lower pension ages in these schemes reflect the physical requirements of these occupations.
The NHS, teachers and the civil service pension scheme have been or are being reformed so that new entrants have a pension age of 65 from January 2007 for teachers, July 2007 for civil servants and a date to be finalised in 2008 for the NHS.
The local government pension scheme already had a pension age of 65.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made to the extent to which public sector pension reform since 2005 meets the criteria of (a) affordability, (b) fairness relative to the private sector and (c) fairness within the public sector; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The Government view public service pensions as a key part of the remuneration package of public servants, aimed at attracting and rewarding the skills and professionalism required to maintain a high quality public sector work force. Like other employers, the Government have to manage the increasing pension costs associated with rising longevity. Public service pension schemes have been reformed or are undergoing reform in order to make them affordable and sustainable in future. Following the Public Services Forum agreement in 2005, the reforms being introduced in the three major unfunded public service pension schemesthe NHS, teachers and the civil service schemesinclude increases in the normal pension age for new entrants and mechanisms that ensure that any future increases in cost will be shared fairly between employers and employees. In addition, there will also be an upper limit on the cost to the taxpayer, should costs increase.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of public sector pensions in (a) cash terms, (b) real terms and (c) as a share of gross domestic product for each year from 2007 to 2058; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Current estimates and future projections (until 2055-56) of public service pensions costs are available in the latest Long Term Public Finance Report (LTPFR) published in December 2006also available at the HM Treasury website:
A note by the Government Actuarys Department (GAD) and HM Treasury on the assumptions used for the unfunded public service pension projections in the latest LTPFR is now available on the GAD website:
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the proportion of reductions in public expenditure arising from public sector pension reform which will be made in respect of (a) existing staff and (b) new entrants; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Savings estimates made at the time of the Public Services Forum agreement in 2005 on the reform of the three main unfunded pension schemesthe NHS, Teachers and the Civil Service Pension schemesshowed that over the next 50 years 85 per cent. of savings as a result of these reforms were expected to come from new entrants.
The assumptions on which the 2005 savings estimates were based have now been superseded. Moreover, these estimates did not take account of reforms that were agreed later, such as cost sharing between employers and employees and capping of employer contribution rates.
Scheme reforms are still being finalised, and scheme costings are being updated as part of the scheme valuation process. The latest valuations for the NHS pension scheme and the civil service pension scheme, for example, are due for publication by 2008. Updated savings estimates may be possible once the valuations are complete.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many households with a household reference person aged (a) 16 to 20, (b) 21 to 25, (c) 26 to 30, (d) 31 to 40, (e) 41 to 50, (f) 51 to 60, (g) 61 to 65, (h) 66 to 75, (i) 76 to 85 and (j) over 85 had an income of (i) less than 80 per cent., (ii) less than 60 per cent. (iii) less than 40 per cent. and (iv) less than 20 per cent. of the median household income for such households in the last period for which figures are available; and how many adults live in such households in each case. 
|Table 1 : Number of households (million) below different thresholds of median income: 2005-06 before housing costs: by age-band of household reference person|
|Age-band of household reference person||Below 80 per cent. of median income||Below 60 per cent. of median income||Below 40 per cent. of median income|
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