The Minister for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs (Mr. Pat McFadden): The following is a revised table showing the number of individual conciliation cases handled by ACAS during the five years up to 2006/07. The table has been revised to include total local authority equal pay claims. It should replace the individual conciliation table in my answer of 23 July 2007, Official Report, column 895W to the hon. Member for Tamworth (Mr. Jenkins).
|Individual Conciliation - Claims Received|
|Region||2002/03||2003/04||2004/05||2005/06||2006/07||5 Year Total|
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jane Kennedy): This is to announce a new procedure for dealing with suspected dishonest conduct for indirect taxes, where neither criminal investigation nor the Civil Investigation of Fraud procedure outlined in Code of Practice 9(2005) is appropriate.
Code of Practice 9(2005) covers HMRC investigations of suspected serious fraud against the Exchequer where, for policy or operational reasons, it is considered inappropriate to launch a criminal investigation. Where cases are not suitable for Code of Practice 9 (2005) or
criminal investigation, for direct taxes, it is already possible for income tax self-assessment and corporation tax self-assessment inquiries to lead to penalties being imposed for either negligent or fraudulent conduct. However until the new penalty provisions in clause 96 and schedule 24 of Finance Bill 2007 take effect, there is no equivalent procedure for dealing with lower level fraud in relation to indirect taxes, with the exception of civil evasion penalties issued at the ports for customs duties and import VAT.
This statement announces a new procedure which will enable HMRC to tackle cases where dishonesty is suspected in relation to indirect taxes. It also introduces a new public notice 160 outlining that procedure. This will bring current practices more closely in line across direct and indirect taxes and help enable a smoother transition to the new penalty regime put forward in clause 96 and schedule 24 of the Finance Bill 2007.
The procedure complements HMRCs policy of providing a level playing field for all businesses by supporting those who wish to comply but dealing more severely with those who seek an unfair advantage through non-compliance. It will be used in appropriate cases after 1 September 2007.
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Angela Eagle): On 30 April 2007, during the Committee of the whole House debate on clause 7 of the Finance Bill, my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (John Healey), the then Financial Secretary to the Treasury, made a statement concerning the taxation of bingo. He said:
The policy of applying VAT and duty to bingo participation fees is entirely consistent with our treatment of other player-to-player games in licensed premises, such as poker played in casinos. [Official Report, 30 April 2007; Vol. 459, c. 1303.].
I regret to inform the House that these statements were based on an incorrect understanding of the effect of the legislation relating to gaming duty as set out in the Finance Act 1997. In fact the Finance Act 1997 does not apply gaming duty to participation fees for poker played in casinos, so participation fees for poker played in casinos are liable only to VAT.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr. Parmjit Dhanda): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is today publishing Proposed Changes to the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the West Midlands. They follow the public examination held in January 2007 and the panel report published in March.
The panel report largely welcome the changes submitted by the West Midlands Regional Assembly (WMRA) and considered that the draft revision was broadly compatible with the previously agreed principles of the West Midlands RSS.
a new policy which replaces Dudley with Brierley Hill/Merry Hill as a strategic centre,
a new policy to emphasise the importance of transforming the environment, and
revisions to the transport priorities to reflect the current status of transport proposals in the black country.
I have today written to the WMRA with the proposed changes and indicating areas where views are particularly sought from any interested parties. There will now be a public consultation period on the proposed changes, which will end on 9 November.
The Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson): On 30 August 2007, my Department published the first NHS quarterly performance report for 2007-08, which highlights the progress made by the NHS across a range of indicators at the end of the first quarter of this financial year.
The report also shows that the NHS continues to make improvements on financial performance, forecasting a net surplus of £983 million at the year
end, compared with £510 million unaudited surplus at the end of 2006-07. This overall net surplus delivers the necessary stability in the service that will help ensure that local NHS organisations have the flexibility to continue to improve services for patients.
The report has been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members in the Vote Office. It is also available on the Departments website at http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/publicationsandstatistics/publications/dh_078045
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice): Pursuant to a reply to a written question, 14 May 2007, Official Report, column 505W, the then Minister of State for Justice provided the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Ruffley) with incorrect statistics on children who were the subject of new care proceedings in the family courts.
|Number of Public Law Children Act applications made for a Care Order in the areas shown. 2003-06|
These statistics relate to the location of the court where the case was heard, and not necessarily to the location of the care provider seeking the order, or the residence of the child on whose behalf the order is being sought. The figures cover both the family proceedings courts and the county courts, and exclude cases which are reported as having been transferred between courts.
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