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7 Jan 2008 : Column 334W—continued


Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance his Department has provided to employers on whether employees should pay reduced national insurance contributions. [175607]


7 Jan 2008 : Column 335W

Jane Kennedy: HMRC does not provide specific guidance to employers on whether their employees should pay reduced national insurance contributions. The onus is on employees to give their employers a ‘certificate of election’ form. Without this certificate the employer must deduct full rate national insurance contributions.

Employers are advised to have a procedure in place to ensure employees notify them if they lose the right to reduced rate contributions, (for instance because of divorce or they have cancelled their election). The CWG2 ‘Employer Further Guide to PAYE and NICs’

and the E13 ‘Day to Day Payroll’ guidance

provides information on what employers should do where a married women or widow is entitled to pay reduced rate contributions.

National Insurance Contributions: Females

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many women paid reduced national insurance contributions in each year since 1977. [175608]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 3 December 2007, Official Report, column 1034W.

Oil

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what studies have been (a) considered and (b) evaluated by his Department on the economic implications of the peak oil phenomenon; and if he will make a statement. [173878]

Angela Eagle: Government constantly monitor risks to the UK economy, including from energy-related developments, as detailed in the Energy White Paper (May 2007) and the Long-term Opportunities and Challenges for the UK (November 2006).

Government are aware of a wide range of academic and industry studies which look at future world oil supplies, including the peak oil phenomenon, and meets regularly with experts to discuss this and other oil market issues. The Government's assessment is that the world's oil resources are sufficient to prevent total global oil production peaking before 2030. This is consistent with the assessment of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its 2007 World Energy Outlook (WEO).

Pay

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people earn more than the minimum wage but less than £6.75 per hour; how many of those work in the (a) private and (b) public sector; and if he will make a statement. [174852]

Angela Eagle: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.


7 Jan 2008 : Column 336W

Letter from Karen Dunnell, 7 January 2008:

Percentage of UK employees earning above NMW but below £6.75
Percentage

All Employees

18

Public sector

11

Private sector

22


Figures have been calculated using hourly earnings excluding overtime and include employees on adult rates whose pay for the pay-period was not affected by absence. They apply to earnings at April 2007.

ASHE is not used to provide accurate estimates of the numbers earning above the national minimum wage but less than £6.75 per hour, split by public and private sectors, but is used to make estimates of the proportions of employees in those categories.

Prescription Drugs: Death

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people died from (a) overdoses of prescription medicine, (b) adverse interactions of prescription drugs, (c) overdoses of herbal medicine and (d) adverse interactions of herbal medicines in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. [175410]

Angela Eagle: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, 7 January 2008:


7 Jan 2008 : Column 337W

Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what Tax Credit Office targets there are for responding to letters from right hon. and hon. Members; and how many letters received responses outside the target period in each (a) month and (b) quarter since 1 November 2006. [175158]

Jane Kennedy: HM Revenue and Customs has a target to respond to the majority of letters from right hon. and hon. Members within three weeks.

The number of letters that were not sent a reply within three weeks for the period requested is shown in the following table:

MP Letters
15 working days

2006

November

323

December

364

2007

January

305

February

410

March

434

April

187

May

219

June

301

July

437

August

382

September

392

October

374


The TCO is working hard to improve the speed and quality of responses.

As the hon. Member is aware, the TCO is currently dealing with an administrative problem which has resulted in some delays.

Revenue and Customs: Data Protection

Mr. Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of sending letters to the families affected by the recent loss of data by HM Revenue and Customs. [169767]

Jane Kennedy: For the year April 2006 to March 2007 HMRC handled approximately 300 million pieces of outgoing post at a cost of around £79 million.

The cost of sending letters to the families affected by the recent loss of data by HMRC is estimated at £2.25 million including postage costs.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Poynter Review will interview Ministers in his Department as part of its work. [173350]

Jane Kennedy: The Poynter Review will interview a range of relevant parties over the course of its work.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what staff from (a) HM Treasury, (b) HM Revenue and Customs and (c) other Government Departments are working on the Poynter Review. [173361]


7 Jan 2008 : Column 338W

Jane Kennedy: No Government officials are working directly on the review.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) deploying software and (b) implementing procedures to encrypt all data sent out of HM Revenue and Customs on compact disc. [173518]

Jane Kennedy: HMRC is currently assessing the costs of delivering longer term solutions.

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 interim report was published on 17 December 2007 and is available in the Library of the House.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what control HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has over the access to and use of data after it has left HMRC’s computers and been sent to (a) the Student Loans Company, (b) the National Audit Office and (c) other institutions; and what records HMRC maintains of that use and access. [175751]

Jane Kennedy: HMRC protects its information by requiring bodies receiving data to seek HMRC consent before it may be used for certain purposes, or disclosed further. Controls may also be set out in memorandums of understanding, partnership agreements or other documents, defining the relationship between HMRC and the body receiving the data, including the specific procedures and protocols governing the use of information.

Once data has left HMRC it is the responsibility of the receiving body, including the Student Loans Company or National Audit Office, to ensure that any further use complies with the law including the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Revenue and Customs: Huddersfield

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the environmental implications of relocating Huddersfield HM Revenue and Customs staff from local offices to Bradford. [175473]

Jane Kennedy: HMRC is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and will in part cut its direct energy consumption through the reduction in the office space it uses, releasing buildings it no longer needs for others to use and improving the energy efficiency of those offices it retains.

Where an office is earmarked for closure an assessment is made of the travel implications for current HMRC staff of journeys to alternative offices. For some, journeys may be longer or shorter but in no case is anyone required to relocate beyond reasonable daily travel.

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to reimburse staff from HM Revenue and Customs Huddersfield for increased travel costs as a result of having to relocate to the Bradford branch. [175474]


7 Jan 2008 : Column 339W

Jane Kennedy: Where HM Revenue and Customs staff face increased travel costs as a result of being required to relocate permanently to another office they will be given payment towards their additional travel costs for three years.

Revenue and Customs: Location

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to help those employees of HM Revenue and Customs who are unable to relocate to a different branch to find alternative employment. [175475]

Jane Kennedy: HMRC expects that most staff from offices that are planned for closure will be able to relocate with their teams to a new office.

Where it is agreed that it is not reasonable for individual members of staff, in their circumstances, to relocate, managers will discuss alternative options with them. These may include the provision of temporary work in their current location or a move to another business unit within HMRC. In addition HMRC will facilitate moves to other Government Departments where posts are available matching terms and conditions where they are not comparable to those in HMRC. A re-deployment workshop is also available for staff to help them maximise their prospects of finding alternative work, using a consultant to provide coaching on CV writing and interview techniques.

HMRC will continue to work with staff, managers and the departmental trade unions to seek alternative ways to ensure that HMRC staff are offered every opportunity to continue to work in the Department.

Revenue and Customs: Pay

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether employees of HM Revenue and Customs involved in the collection of tax receive bonuses related directly or indirectly to the amount of tax revenue that they have been involved in collecting. [175492]

Jane Kennedy: HM Revenue and Customs employees do not receive payments related to the collection of revenue.


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