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13 May 2008 : Column 1511W—continued

Prisoners: Ex-servicemen

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of prisoners are former members of the armed services. [205114]

Mr. Hanson: Data from nationally representative surveys of some 2,000 sentenced prisoners near release in all prisons in England and Wales conducted in 2001,
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2003 and 2004 show the proportion of prisoners who had previously served in the armed forces as 6 per cent., 4 per cent. and 5 per cent. respectively.

Information relating to prisoners in Scotland and in Northern Ireland is a matter for Scottish Executive and the Northern Ireland Prison Service respectively.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Prisoners: Mental Health

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken on implementing the recommendations of the HM Inspectorate of Prisons report entitled the Mental Health of Prisoners: Thematic, published in October 2007. [204306]

Maria Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. and learned Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier) on 7 May 2008, Official Report, column 987W.

The report ‘The mental health of prisoners’ thematic (HMIP, 2007) made a number of recommendations about improving mental health care in prisons. The Department of Health is preparing its response to all these recommendations.

Prisoners: Pay

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what factors he took into account when deciding to postpone the change to the rates of payment to prisoners. [204673]

Mr. Straw: In determining the timing of any increase in prisoners’ pay, Ministers considered that it should be more closely tied to developing work on an offender compact. Postponement of an increase in minimum rates from the original planned date has allowed this to be done more effectively.

Prisons: Television

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost to the Prison Service was of providing satellite television services in prisons in 2007-08. [202947]

Maria Eagle: The Prison Service accounting system does not record expenditure to the level of detail required to answer this question. The Prison Service would incur a disproportionate cost to obtain this information.

Satellite television is not available to prisoners' in-cell but can be made available in association areas at the discretion of the Governor. A number of establishments have been upgraded for digital television in line with the Government’s digital switchover programme. The cost of the digital switchover to date, and the costs of the TV sets used in cells, has been met from the revenue generated by the £1 per week TV rental charge paid by prisoners.

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Credit Cards: Proof of Identity

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration he has given to requiring credit cards to carry a photograph of the person they are issued to. [203859]

Mr. Thomas: I have been asked to reply.

No, we have not considered such a requirement but the industry did look at the viability of putting photographs on credit cards as an additional security method. However, it was deemed to only provide a costly short to medium-term solution. With the introduction of chip and PIN, technology-based methods are now used to verify that the card is not being used fraudulently.


Jo Swinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) average level of household debt and (b) average level of household debt as a proportion of income was in each region in each of the last five years; and what forecast he has made of average levels of household debt in each region in each of the next five years. [204581]

Angela Eagle: The Bank of England collects and publishes statistics on household borrowing and household debt. They do not produce estimates for average household debt but latest aggregate figures show UK household debt rising at its lowest rate for eight years. The full Bank of England dataset can be found at:

HM Treasury does not produce regional economic forecasts.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on carbon offsetting in each of the last three years; and to which companies payments for carbon offsetting have been made in each such year. [204100]

Angela Eagle: In 2006-07, the Treasury paid £14,746.70 to the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund which was the cost of offsetting for flights for ministerial and official travel in 2006-07.

We are currently working to calculate emissions from flights for 2007-08 financial year, and will be making a payment to offset these through the GCOF in due course.

Departmental Orders and Regulations

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many statutory instruments have been (a) made and (b) revoked by Ministers in his Department since 1997. [204774]

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Angela Eagle: 1,451 statutory instruments were made by the Treasury between 1 January 1997 and 12 May 2008.

Information relating to the number of instruments which were revoked wholly or in part is not available.


David Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if, following the recent High Court judgement relating to Gallaher and TEL, he will review the evidence presented during the case to assess whether enforcement action for which his Department is responsible should be taken against Gallaher; [205110]

(2) if, following the recent High Court judgement relating to Gallaher and TEL, he will review the four declarations made by Gallaher between 2004 and 2007 under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, relating to trading in Iraq, to assess whether enforcement action for which his Department is responsible should be taken. [205111]

Angela Eagle: All information held by HM Revenue and Customs, including information about the affairs of companies, and details of any potential future enforcement action, is subject to the Duty of Confidentiality in the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act (CRCA). Disclosure of information concerning a particular taxpayer would breach this duty.

The Government are committed to tackling tobacco fraud. As a result of the Government's comprehensive Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy, the illicit market share for cigarettes, which was predicted to increase to around a third if action had not been taken, has been cut from 21 per cent. in 2000-01 to around 13 per cent. in 2005-06. During that period, seizures by HMRC of genuine cigarettes produced by UK manufacturers have fallen sharply and have made up a progressively smaller share of total seizures. The latest figures are contained in Section 4 Table 8 of the HMRC autumn performance report published in December last year. This decline is an indicator of the positive effect of the actions taken by HMRC under the Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy.

Taxation: Food

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on using taxation policy to (a) encourage healthy eating and (b) influence diets; and if he will make a statement. [204726]

Jane Kennedy: Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

Welfare Tax Credits

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children were the subject of
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payments under the childcare element of the tax credit in each year since the provision was introduced; what the average payment per child was in each such year; what the total expenditure on the childcare element was in each year; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of those eligible who claimed the childcare element in each year. [204643]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not available.

However, table 2.4 of the HMRC publications “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Finalised Awards” for 2003-04 and 2004-05 and 2005-06, provides information on the number of families benefiting from the childcare element in each year. This includes average help with childcare costs for each family and the increase in annualised entitlement due to the childcare element. This information is provided in the following table.

2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Increase in annual entitlement through the childcare element (£ million)




Average help with childcare costs per family(per week) (£)




This information can also be found on the HMRC website at:

The same information for 2006-07 is due to be published on May 20 2008.

Welfare Tax Credits: Correspondence

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the latest version of each tax credit (a) form, (b) standard award notice and (c) standard letter sent to claimants. [204483]

Jane Kennedy: Guidance notes for the tax credits claim form and renewals forms are available on the HM Revenue and Customs website at

together with checklists for the award notice.

Award notices are tailored to individual circumstances and individually printed as required rather than existing in a standard format.

HMRC do not have a definitive up to date list of standard letters but estimate that there are currently around 200 letters which are replaced or updated at intervals as HMRC learn more about what information they need to provide to their tax credits customers. It would not be practicable to keep up to date copies of all these items in the House Library.


Armed Forces: Casualties

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department received from the US Administration the CD recording of the attack which resulted in the death of Lance Corporal of Horse Matthew Hull; under what conditions the CD was given to the Department; which sections of the Department received copies of the recording; how
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many copies were received; whether any further copies were made; which individuals have had possession of a copy of the recording; what the security classification was of the recording; and what the consequences of this classification were for its handling and disclosure. [121239]

Des Browne: The handling of the CD recording in question is currently being investigated. I will write to the hon. Member when the investigation is complete and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

Substantive answer from Des Browne to Liam Fox:

Armed Forces: Finance

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much and what proportion of the defence budget for 2007-08 has been allocated to (a) the Army, (b) the Royal Navy and (c) the Royal Air Force. [203672]

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Des Browne: The budgetary allocations for 2007-08 to Top Level Budget holders which are broadly analogous to the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force can be found in Central Government Supply Estimates 2007-08—Spring Supplementary Estimates (HC273) respectively under the following headings: Fleet; Commander-in-Chief Land Command and Adjutant General and Commander-in-Chief Air. The relevant extract is reproduced as follows:

Spending in DEL central Government spending
TLB (as described in spring supplementaries) Net total resources (£000) Capital (£000) Non budget n et total resources (£000) Total (£000)





Commander in Chief Air Command




Commander in Chief Land Command




Adjutant General





Army ( C in C Land + AG)





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