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26 Mar 2008 : Column 173W—continued

Railways: Consultants

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on consultants for work on high speed rail links from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Scotland in each of the last five years. [195182]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 19 March 2008]: In developing the July 2007 Rail White Paper, the Department for transport commissioned work on various inter-urban capacity options.

In the year preceding the July 2007 Rail White Paper, work on the potential for new lines amounted to around £250,000. No substantial sums were spent by the Department in previous years.

Railways: Standards

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many delay minutes there were on the railway network in each year since 1993 for which (a) Railtrack and Network Rail and (b) a train operating company was responsible; and what the equivalent figures were for the most recent month for which data are available. [195976]

Mr. Tom Harris [holding answer 20 March 2008]: The Department for Transport holds the data requested only from 2005-06 when it took over responsibility for rail passenger franchises. These figures relate to delays caused to franchised passenger services, and are:

mins
2005-06 2006-07

(a) Network Rail

8,256,000

8,251,000

(b) Train operating companies

7,379,000

6,304,000

Total

15,635,000

14,555,000


The most recently available equivalent data (for the year ending 2 February 2008) is given in the following table.

(mins)

(a) Network Rail

7,689,000

(b) Train operating companies

5,506,000

Total

13,195,000


To seek historic data prior to 2005-06, the hon. Member is advised to contact Network Rail at the following address.


26 Mar 2008 : Column 174W

Roads: Tolls

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the amendments to the Road User Charging (Charges and Penalty) (London) Regulations due for completion by the end of 2007 have not yet been made. [196346]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department for Transport (DfT) expects to have the necessary resources available to complete consultation on the amendments to the road user charging regulations ready for implementation in 2009.

Treasury

Departmental Data Protection

Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what occasions officials of (a) his Department and (b) HM Revenue and Customs were (i) disciplined and (ii) dismissed for (A) alleged breaches of data protection requirements and (B) inappropriate use of personal or sensitive data, broken down by (1) grade, (2) sex and (3) age in each of the last five years for which information is available. [169431]

Jane Kennedy: The requested information is not available.

Devolution: Finance

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) amount and (b) purpose of payments made to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland outside (i) block grants calculated under the Barnett formula and (ii) main departmental programmes in annually managed expenditure was in each year since 1997. [195803]

Yvette Cooper: Figures for departmental expenditure limits and departmental annually managed expenditure for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are published in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses. Changes in DEL are determined as set out in the Statement of Funding Policy. Forecasts of annually managed spending are updated in the Budget and pre-Budget report in the normal way. Details of specific settlements for the devolved Administrations are set out in the relevant spending review White Paper. The devolved Administrations’ spending plans are set out in their own budget publications.

Income: Equality

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 22 February 2008, Official Report, column 112W, on income: equality, what assessment he has made of trends in (a) national prosperity and (b) household income inequality in (i) England, (ii) the North East, (iii) Tees Valley district and (iv) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency. [195564]


26 Mar 2008 : Column 175W

Jane Kennedy: The ONS publishes measures of regional gross value added (GVA) per head in current prices in the regional accounts publication. The lowest regional level available is the NUTS3 level (unitary authorities or districts). The published data show a significant increase in GVA per head in England, North East and Tees Valley since 1997. There are no published data for Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland as they are below the NUTS3 level.

Currently there are no available statistics of household income inequality at regional level. Data at UK level are published by the DWP in “Households Below Average Income” and by the ONS in “The Effects of Taxes and Benefits on Household Income”. Available statistics show that the inequality at UK level has been stable since 1997.

Public Expenditure

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the level of Government spending per capita was in each of the last 10 years. [196461]

Yvette Cooper: Total managed expenditure per head (total UK population) from 1997-98 to 2006-07 is provided in the following table:

Financial year Total managed expenditure divided by UK population (£)

1997-98

5,521

1998-99

5,657

1999-2000

5,843

2000-01

6,183

2001-02

6,582

2002-03

7,097

2003-04

7,648

2004-05

8,232

2005-06

8,703

2006-07

9,074


Restricted Share Awards

John Battle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on the payment of bonuses through restricted share awards. [196286]

Jane Kennedy: It is for employers to decide how and how much their employees are paid in the light of what is necessary to recruit, retain and motivate labour in the market conditions in which they operate. Government policy is to ensure that all employers and employees pay the proper amount of tax and national insurance contributions on these rewards of employment, however these rewards are delivered.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will reconsider again at whether Stamp Duty/Land Tax (SDLT) should be charged on shared equity properties for first time buyers when they reach the thresholds for SDLT because of changes to house prices especially, in southern England. [196295]


26 Mar 2008 : Column 176W

Angela Eagle: Stamp duty rates and thresholds, like all other taxes, are kept under review as part of the Budget process.

Taxation: Social Security Benefits

Mike Penning: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's policy on the taxation of social security benefits is. [196873]

Angela Eagle: Social security benefits are taxable when they are paid as a substitute for earned income. Income related social security benefits, child allowances and disability allowances are generally not taxable.

VAT: Repayments

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average time taken by HM Revenue and Customs to process a value added tax refund was in each of the last five years. [196265]

Jane Kennedy: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is committed to paying correct repayment claims without undue delay. It does not keep figures on average processing times, but operates to a published target to authorise at least 90 per cent. of correct repayment returns within 10 working days of their receipt. At the same time, HMRC makes clear to businesses that it will carry out checks and apply safeguards to ensure that claims are legitimate and accurate. In each of the past five years the target has been met.

Young People

Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) men and (b) women in the age groups (i) 15 to 19 years and (ii) 20 to 24 years there were in the UK in each year since 1991. [196824]

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 26 March 2006:


26 Mar 2008 : Column 177W
Mid-year p opulation e stimates: United Kingdom; estimated resident population at ages 15 to 19 and 20 to 24 by sex, 1991 to 2006
Thousand
Male Female
15 to 19 20 to 24 15 to 19 20 to 24

1991

1,905

2,242

1,815

2,207

1992

1,802

2,193

1,729

2,157

1993

1,733

2,135

1,672

2,097

1994

1,721

2,053

1,666

2,021

1995

1,737

1,979

1,687

1,951

1996

1,763

1,889

1,716

1,863

1997

1,799

1,800

1,752

1,780

1998

1,829

1,741

1,780

1,729

1999

1,839

1,737

1,786

1,727

2000

1,850

1,757

1,783

1,750

2001

1,879

1,792

1,799

1,790

2002

1,935

1,823

1,822

1,820

2003

1,989

1,866

1,867

1,851

2004

2,018

1,935

1,903

1,882

2005

2,030

2,000

1,927

1,929

2006

2,060

2,048

1,936

1,976

Sources:
Office for National Statistics, General Register Office for Scotland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

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