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22 Feb 2008 : Column 1117W—continued

Revenue and Customs: Fraud

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff in HM Revenue and Customs have been investigated for fraud in the last 12 months. [187632]

Jane Kennedy: From 1 April 2007 to date, there have been 35 completed investigations into suspected fraudulent activity by staff. HMRC is a large organisation employing approximately 88,000 staff.

Revenue and Customs: Training

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what training courses were attended by staff working at HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last three years; and what the cost of such courses was. [187625]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 8 October 2007, Official Report, column 220W. The information requested would be available only at a disproportionate cost.

Tax Avoidance

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the tax revenue lost due to tax avoidance in each financial year since 1997. [187216]

Jane Kennedy: This information is not available.

As part of the avoidance disclosure regime, first introduced in 2004, promoters of schemes have to disclose to HMRC the details of the schemes developed and users should notify HMRC of a scheme in their tax return. For the last two years HMRC has published on its website a quarterly analysis of the number of avoidance schemes disclosed at:

Tax Avoidance: Companies

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to reduce the amount of tax revenue lost due to avoidance by large corporations; and if he will make a statement. [187215]

Jane Kennedy: The Government are committed to tackling avoidance and in recent years has taken a number of steps to identify and close down opportunities for avoidance. For example, they have introduced a disclosure regime which requires those designing and selling tax avoidance schemes to provide HM Revenue and Customs with details of those schemes within five days of them being first marketed.
22 Feb 2008 : Column 1118W
On receipt, the schemes are assessed for tax risk and consideration whether an urgent announcement of a legislative fix is needed to prevent extensive use of the scheme.

Recent Finance Acts have all contained measures to close various loopholes in the tax system used by avoiders, most of these informed to some extent by information from the disclosure regime. This year will be no exception. In each of the last four budgets there have been revenue protection measures averaging around £11/2 billion a year.

In addition to these legislative counteractions, HMRC has in place a comprehensive anti-avoidance strategy, published on its website at:

Tax Credit

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of tax credit awards are currently experiencing technical difficulties having been unresolved for six months or more; and what plans he has to resolve such difficulties. [183051]

Jane Kennedy: The information is not available in the format requested.

Tax Yields: Staffordshire

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Government raised in tax from (a) Tamworth constituency and (b) Staffordshire in each of the last five years. [187939]

Jane Kennedy: Information on the total amount of tax raised in Tamworth and Staffordshire is not available.

Taxation: Music

Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) grants and (b) tax incentives the Government has made to the UK popular music industry in the last 10 years; what the cost to the public purse has been of such (i) grants and (ii) tax incentives in that period; what recent representations he has received on support for the industry; and if he will make a statement. [186369]

Jane Kennedy: No specific tax incentives for the UK popular music industry have existed in the last 10 years. The Treasury holds no records of any representations having been made on the subject of specific tax incentives or grants for the music industry. The Treasury has not made any grants to the music industry during the period.

Valuation Office: Rightmove

Robert Neill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to the public purse has been to date of the contract between HM Revenue and Customs, on behalf of the Valuation Office Agency, and Rightmove.co.uk Plc. [183271]


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Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 20 June 2007, Official Report, column 1861W. Expenditure in the year 2007-08 will be available in the Valuation Office Agency’s annual report and accounts, when published.

Welfare Tax Credits: Fraud

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were prosecuted in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08 for tax credit fraud; how many people were found guilty; and how much money was fraudulently obtained in each such case where proceedings are complete. [187591]

Jane Kennedy: There were 183 prosecutions and 163 convictions for tax credits fraud in 2006-07.

Figures for 2007-08 are not yet available.

Working Tax Credit

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the distribution of expenditure via (a) working tax credit, (b) child tax credit, (c) the childcare element of working tax credit and (d) the disability element of child tax credit, broken down by household income quintile; [186975]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of families eligible for (a) working tax credit, (b) child tax credit, (c) the childcare element of working tax credit and (d) the disability element of child tax credit in each income quintile. [186976]

Jane Kennedy: Estimates of the proportion of households in each income quintile with entitlements to tax credits in 2007-08 and a quintile breakdown of estimated entitlements by value is provided in the following table.

Tax credits
Household income quintile( 1) Percentage households with entitlements Percentage total entitlements (value)

1

37

48

2

36

30

3

33

14

4

26

6

5

4

1

(1) Households ranked according to equivalised income after direct taxes and benefits

Entitlements to tax credits are modelled using family resources survey data, and are subject to sampling variation. Estimates are provided for tax credits overall; eligibility for working tax credit increases total tax credit entitlement but does not necessarily mean that a family will receive working tax credit. It is not possible to provide reliable estimates for the childcare element of working tax credit or the disability element of child tax credit in isolation.

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of families received the childcare element of the working tax credit during the last year for which data are available; and if he will make a statement. [187092]


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Jane Kennedy: Estimates of the total number of families benefiting from tax credits and the number of in-work families benefiting from the childcare element, based on final family circumstances and incomes at 4 December 2007, are published in the HMRC publication "Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics December 2007", which is available on the HMRC website at:

Depending on their income, families are generally eligible for the childcare element if they are working at least 16 hours a week, or in the case of a couple, both partners are working at least 16 hours a week. Their child must be in registered or approved childcare.

Working Tax Credit: Nottingham

Mr. Allen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in Nottingham North constituency were in receipt of working families tax credit in the most recent period for which figures are available. [187303]

Jane Kennedy: Working families' tax credit was replaced by child and working tax credits in April 2003.

Estimates of the number of recipient families of working families' tax credit in 2001-2002, broken down by constituency, appear in the HMRC quarterly WFTC and DPTC geographical analyses. These publications are available on the HMRC website at:

Estimates for 2005-06 of the number of in-work families with tax credit awards, by constituency, based on final family circumstances and incomes for 2005-06 are published in "Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics Finalised Annual Awards 2005-06. Geographical Analysis." This publication and provisional estimates for the number of in-work families by constituency with tax credit awards as at selected dates in 2006-07 and 2007-08 are available on the HMRC website at:

Wales

Departmental Correspondence

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many letters his Department received in each of the last five years. [187075]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The total number of letters received in each year from 2003 were as follows:

Number

2003

826

2004

740

2005

722

2006

518

2007

493


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This figure does not include interdepartmental correspondence, this can be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Eurostar

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on (a) first and (b) other class travel by Eurostar in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [187740]

Mr. Paul Murphy: None.

Women and Equality

Polygamy

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what estimate she has made of the number of polygamous unions there are in the UK involving (a) three and (b) four people. [185351]

Barbara Follett: No estimate has been made of the number of polygamous unions there are in the UK involving (a) three and (b) four people.

Work and Pensions

Child Support Agency: Private Sector

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much private agencies have collected on behalf of the Child Support Agency since such companies were first contracted to provide collection services on 7 July 2006; [183810]

(2) how many debt collection cases for child support have been referred to private agencies; in how many such cases has (a) full collection and (b) partial collection been secured; and how the performance of private agencies compares to cases handled directly by the Child Support Agency over the same period since 7 July 2006. [183811]

Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 22 February 2008:


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Departmental Carbon Emissions

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the total carbon emissions from his Department's estate in each year since 2005. [185463]

Mrs. McGuire: Total carbon emissions for the Department of Work and Pensions, as reported in the annual Sustainable Development in Government reports since 2005 are as follows:

KgC

2005-06

59,098,569

2006-07

60,063,793


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