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13 Dec 2007 : Column 822W—continued


Public Expenditure

Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) the lowest rate of economic return is on an approved existing Government expenditure project in each Government Department and (b) the size of the approved expenditure in each case. [173540]

Angela Eagle: Spending projects are appraised within each Government Department according to the guidance contained in “The Green Book: Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government.” The Government use a discount rate of 3.5 per cent. in real terms in central Government appraisals to produce net present value figures which are used in support of decision making. Records of projected net present values are not centrally collected and the cost of supplying this information is considered prohibitive.

Revenue and Customs: Civil Proceedings

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions legal proceedings have been instigated against HM Revenue and Customs for alleged offences not directly related to assessing tax liabilities, administering the tax system or the collection of tax. [171953]

Jane Kennedy: Since its formation HM Revenue and Customs has not been prosecuted for any offences.

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what occasions court proceedings, now completed, have been instigated against HM Revenue and Customs in the last three years. [171976]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate expense.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer of 23 October 2007, Official Report, column 252W.

Revenue and Customs: Data Protection

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what standard procedure is used at HM Revenue and Customs for the transportation of personal information outside secure offices; [168463]

(2) how many copies are routinely made of personal information by HM Revenue and Customs when dealing with a case; [168464]

(3) how many CDs that carry information on members of the public have been mislaid by HM Revenue and Customs in the last 10 years; [168465]

Jane Kennedy: On 20 November, the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how CDs are identified as carrying secure personal information by HM Revenue and Customs. [168466]

Jane Kennedy: The location of the missing data discs is the subject of an ongoing police investigation. On 20 November, the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s security processes and procedures for data handling, to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have dispatched discs containing confidential data to solicitors dealing with HMRC prosecutions in the same package as the access password over the last three years. [169102]

Jane Kennedy: It would be inappropriate to comment on this issue as there is an ongoing police investigation.

On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of security measures taken by HM Revenue and Customs in respect of the transportation of discs containing (a) confidential and (b) personal data. [169103]

Jane Kennedy: The loss of the discs is subject to an ongoing Police investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further.

On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.


13 Dec 2007 : Column 823W

Mr. Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of removing the data which was not required by the National Audit Office from the discs that recently went missing from HM Revenue and Customs. [169766]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the statement given in the House by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 20 November 2007, Official Report, columns 1101-04.

On 20 November, the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC's data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2007/press_133_07.cfm and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what systems HM Revenue and Customs has in place to track deliveries placed with mail carriers. [169891]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 3 December 2007]: On 20 November 2007 the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the Chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what systems are in place within HM Revenue and Customs to flag up suspicious use of data by its employees; [173356]

(2) what internal policies HM Revenue and Customs had in place regarding the use of removable media on 18 October 2007. [173357]

Jane Kennedy: On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC's data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Revenue and Customs: Sick Leave

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many sick days were taken by Tax Credit Office staff in each of the last 12 months; and what the average number of sick days was per staff member in each of those months. [167658]


13 Dec 2007 : Column 824W

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is given in the following table:

Tax credit office
Full-time equivalent days taken Average working days lost

October 2006

4,239.62

1.17

November 2006

3,870.84

1.17

December 2006

3,125.31

0.96

January 2007

4,037.03

1.24

February 2007

3,724.54

1.16

March 2007

3,346.64

1.07

April 2007

4,235.74

0.86

May 2007

5,146.76

1.05

June 2007

5,053.19

1.05

July 2007

5,482.22

1.16

August 2007

5,446.68

1.16

September 2007

4,653.60

0.99

Year

52,362.17

12.95


Self-employed: Tamworth

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average income of a self-employed person in (a) Tamworth constituency and (b) the UK was in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [173080]

Angela Eagle: The mean self-employment income of taxpayers in the constituency of Tamworth can be found in table 3.15 "Income and tax by parliamentary constituency" on the HM Revenue and Customs website at:

These tables are only available for 2003-04 and 2004-05 and are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes.

The mean total income of people in the UK with self-employment sources of income is shown in 3.10 “Income of individuals with self employment sources, by range of self employment income and source” on the HM Revenue and customs website at:

The tables are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes and are available for 1999-2000 to 2000-5. Information for earlier years can be found in the annual Inland Revenue Statistics publications available in the Library.

Trading Funds

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to publish the findings of the review of trading funds commissioned from Cambridge University. [172474]

Andy Burnham: The Government will publish the analysis undertaken by Cambridge university on the definition and charging models for the public information held by trading funds in the new year.


13 Dec 2007 : Column 825W

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2007, Official Report, columns 1500-01W, on welfare tax credits, how many tax credit overpayments have been written off (a) in total and (b) in part since 2003 due to exceptional circumstances; and what the reasons were in each case. [173810]

Jane Kennedy: The value of overpayments remitted on the grounds of hardship is compiled annually to the end of October and shown in the following table. Figures cannot be disaggregated into instances of total and partial write offs.

Number of cases Amount remitted ( £000 )

2004

0

0

2005

437

287

2006

134

148


Lady Hermon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases of overpaid tax credit where a joint award was made but the couple have since separated there have been where HM Revenue and Customs has sought recovery from (a) one and (b) both partners in each year since 2003. [166318]

Jane Kennedy: At April 2007 there were about 270,000 claims originally made by couples, who are recorded as having split up by that date, and for which there were outstanding undisputed overpayments over £10 for 2003-04, 2004-05 or 2005-06.

The other information requested is not available.

Duchy of Lancaster

Chequers

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance on the use of Chequers by civil servants when the Prime Minister is not resident; [171236]

(2) on how many occasions Chequers has been used by civil servants on occasions when the Prime Minister was not present in the last 12 months; and for what purposes in each case. [171237]

Gillian Merron [holding answer 4 December 2007]: Chequers has not been used by civil servants when the Prime Minister was not present in the last 12 months.

Guidance on the use of official residences is set out in the Ministerial Code.


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