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2006


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2007

2008

The following information provides a list of the Gateway Reviews undertaken on HMT projects over the last four years:

2004

2005

2006

2007

In principle OGC aims for Gateway reviews to be cost neutral by using and sharing civil service Gateway reviewers. However, where there is a shortfall in reviewers, or if there are specialist skills required, for example with construction projects, suitably accredited external resource may be used. OGC does not keep records of the cost of each individual review but OGC does keep records of total consultancy spend on Gateway reviews.

Spend on Gateway‚"Ę reviews
£

2004-05

42,366

2005-06

39,933

2006-07

27,680

2007-08

8,288


Departmental Travel

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department and its agencies spent on first class travel in the last 12 months for which figures are available, broken down by staff grade. [187531]

Angela Eagle: Information on the number and class of tickets purchased is not normally held, because the Treasury’s accounting system records the costs of travel but not the number or type of tickets bought. However, for financial year 2006-07, the Treasury’s travel management
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company provided information on the number and type of tickets purchased through them.

The combined spending of HM Treasury and the Debt Management Office on UK and overseas first class travel was £490,000. Tickets bought but subsequently refunded are excluded and some tickets are bought directly by the traveller, so this information is not a complete record of all tickets bought by the Treasury. Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the “Civil Service Management Code” and the “Ministerial Code”.

The total costs of first class travel completed by Valuation Office Agency staff in the 2006-07 financial year are not recorded centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, information on first class Eurostar travel is available separately and amounted to £1,745 in 2006-07.

The accounting systems of Office of Government Commerce, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, Office for National Statistics, Royal Mint, Government Actuary’s Department, National Savings and Investments and OGCbuying.solutions do not separately identify classes of travel and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Domestic Rates: Tax Rates and Bands

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many domestic properties have been re-banded as a result of adjoining terraced houses being knocked through and turned into a single dwelling house in each year since 2000. [207300]

Jane Kennedy: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer to what uses the revenue from auctioning allowances under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will be put. [207163]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 22 May 2008]: The framework for future phases of EU ETS is currently under discussion and as such no structure for auctioning in future phases has been decided. The revised EU ETS directive is due to be finalised later this year.

Any revenue raised through the use of auctioning would be considered part of general revenue streams, and the spending review process ensures that resources are allocated efficiently to deliver Government objectives.

Eurostar

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department and its agencies spent on (a) first and (b) other class travel by Eurostar in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [187741]


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Angela Eagle: Information on the number and type of Eurostar train tickets purchased is not normally held, because the Treasury’s accounting system records the costs of travel but not the number or type of tickets bought. However, for financial year 2006-07, the Treasury’s travel management company had provided information on the number and type of tickets purchased through them.

The combined spending of HM Treasury and the Debt Management Office was £283,000 first class and £17,000 second class. Tickets bought but subsequently refunded are excluded and some tickets are bought directly by the traveller, so this information is not a complete record of all Eurostar tickets bought by the Treasury.

Spending by the Valuation Office Agency was £1,745 on first class with no second class spending. The remaining agencies’ accounting systems do not separately identify transport providers and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Income Tax: Tax Thresholds

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely additional cost to the public purse of higher rate tax relief for pension contributions arising from the proposed reduction in the threshold for higher rate tax. [207098]

Kitty Ussher [holding answer 22 May 2008]: Latest detailed estimates of the annual cost of tax relief on registered pension schemes are available in Table 7.9 on Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs website at:

Reducing the income level at which the higher rate applies by £600 will have no significant impact on the estimate of this relief.

Insurance: Disclosure of Information

John Thurso: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions his Department has had with the Financial Services Authority on mandatory commission disclosure for insurance brokers. [207893]

Kitty Ussher: Her Majesty's Treasury maintains a close dialogue with the Financial Services Authority that covers regulatory issues including mandatory commission disclosure for insurance brokers.

Insurance: Housing

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to encourage the insurance industry to provide more insurance products aimed at low income households for both contents and buildings. [207315]

Kitty Ussher: In order to improve access to insurance, the Government have asked the financial inclusion task force to analyse three issues: which types of insurance are most needed by financially excluded customers; the barriers, including cost, to excluded customers of taking up these insurance products; and
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how these barriers might be overcome, drawing on evidence on the success of insurance with rent, and risk reduction projects.

The task force is due to report on its findings to Government shortly. The final report will be published on the financial inclusion task force website, and Government will consider these findings.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will seek discussions with registered social landlords to encourage take-up of contents insurance among their tenants. [207316]

Kitty Ussher: The financial inclusion Champions initiative was announced in December 2007 with an allocation of £12 million from the Financial Inclusion Fund. The Champions initiative will operate between 2008-11 and will seek to implement and coordinate financial inclusion activities at a local level, with work to promote demand for appropriate financial services, including insurance.

The financial inclusion Champions initiative will provide dedicated members of staff with experience of working on financial inclusion to work with housing associations and social landlords in specific geographical areas to promote and support the supply and take-up of insurance schemes targeted at social tenants.

Low Incomes

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to assist people on low incomes; and if he will make a statement. [208030]

Jane Kennedy: Since 1997 the Government have introduced a series of reforms to make work pay and to guarantee minimum weekly incomes for families with and without children. By October 2008, in real terms, families with children in the poorest fifth of the population will be, on average, £4,100 a year better off.

The working tax credit and the national minimum wage work together to provide a guaranteed income in work. The minimum income guarantee for single people aged 25 or over, and in full-time work, has increased by 30 per cent. in real terms since 1999.

On 13 May 2008, the Chancellor announced further support for low and middle-income families for 2008-09. For the current tax year, income tax personal allowances will be increased by £600 for all tax payers under 65. Around 22 million basic-rate taxpayers will benefit from this change.

The Government will set out plans for future years in the 2008 pre-Budget report, with the aim to continue the same level of support for those on lower incomes.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 5 March 2008, on the abolition of the 10 per cent. tax rate (PO reference: 1/54880/2008). [202160]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 28 April 2008]: I replied to the hon. Member on 14 May.


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Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 5 March 2008, on benefits and tax thresholds, PO reference: 1/55049/2008. [202393]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 29 April 2008]: I replied to the hon. Member on 14 May.

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 22 April from the hon. Member for Walsall North regarding a constituent. [207723]

Kitty Ussher: I have replied to the hon. Member.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 19 March 2008 from the right hon. Member for Gordon on capital financing in Scotland and future projects. [207848]

Yvette Cooper: I have replied to the right hon. Member.

National Insurance

Mr. Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the additional cost or saving to the Exchequer that would arise from collecting employee national insurance on an annual cumulative basis similar to PAYE. [207965]

Jane Kennedy: At Budget 2006 the Government announced that they would review the case for aligning income tax and national insurance, with the aim of reducing administrative burdens on employers and improving outcomes for those on lower incomes. The report “Income tax and national insurance alignment an evidence-based assessment” published at pre-Budget report in October 2007 sets out the conclusions of the review, and Chapter 3 includes detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of moving to an annual and cumulative NICs system.

The report can be found on the HM Treasury website at:


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