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22 July 2008 : Column 1395Wcontinued
James Duddridge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the headcount of HM Revenue and Customs is; and what projections for the headcount have been made for the period till 2010. 
Jane Kennedy: The headcount of HM Revenue and Customs at April 2008 was 90,296.
Forecasted headcount for HMRC is shown in the following table:
Figures given are to the nearest person.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was paid in bonuses to staff working on tax credits at HM Revenue and Customs in 2007-08, broken down by tax credit office. 
Jane Kennedy: The information is not available for all staff working on tax credits. Staff in various parts of HM Revenue and Customs, not only the tax credit Office, may be deployed to tax credits work or deal with tax credits in addition to other work. It is not possible to isolate those in receipt of bonus payments.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of placing recruitment advertisements for HM Revenue and Customs staff in each month of the last two year period for which figures are available. 
Jane Kennedy: The costs of placing recruitment advertisements for HM Revenue and Customs for staff in each month of the last two year period for which figures are available are as follows:
|Month and year||Expenditure (£)Administrative assistant to grade 6||Expenditure (£)Senior civil service|
1. The costs shown are based on the figures which are available and are divided between external recruitment at civil service grades administrative assistant (AA) to grade 6 and senior civil servant (SCS). HMRC advertises in the press, radio and on the internet, using external agencies.
2. For SCS in HMRC the costs of placing recruitment advertisements are only available from April 2007.
3. Costs have also been allocated to the month in which the invoice was passed for payment, which does not necessarily relate to either to the date of the advertisement or the date of the invoice.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what target HM Revenue and Customs has set for the time taken to respond to public enquiries; and what its success rate in reaching the target was in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many phone calls to HM Revenue and Customs call centres went unanswered in each of the last six months for which figures are available. 
Jane Kennedy: HMRC's main channels for responding to public enquiries are through their telephone helplines and their network of enquiry centres.
In 2007-08, 94.5 per cent. of telephone callers were answered on the day they rang against a target of 95 per cent. In enquiry centres, 97 per cent. of customers were given an appointment within three days, against a target of 95 per cent. HMRC also receives enquiries via post, but it is not possible to distinguish these cases from other forms of customer correspondence, such as forms.
The following table provides the number of unanswered telephone calls for each of the last six months, including calls that received a busy message, the engaged tone or which were abandoned. The number of unanswered calls fluctuates according to the peaks in HMRC's business. The peak in demand in January reflects the self assessment filing date and demand has been high throughout the last three months as HMRC has approached the tax credits renewal deadline date.
Customers who do not get through on their first attempt often use the rapid redial facility on their telephone to make numerous successive calls, which increases the number of unanswered calls disproportionately. However, as the statistics below show, the vast majority of callers did get through on the same day they called.
|Month||Call attempts||Calls offered||Busy||Engaged||Abandoned|
1. Call attemptsthe number of calls made to the service.
2. Calls offeredthe number of calls that are received by the telephone system and put into the queue to speak to an adviser.
3. Busywhere no adviser is available to handle the call, an appropriate advisory message is played.
4. Engagedcall attempts where the caller was played an engaged tone.
5. Abandonedwhere the caller selected an option from the call steering menu and was put in a queue to speak to an adviser but the call was terminated before the caller spoke to an adviser.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer of 7 July 2008, Official Report, column 1263W, on HM Revenue and Customs: visits abroad, if he will break down the amount spent on overseas travel in 2007-08 by each HM Revenue and Customs office. 
Jane Kennedy: The information is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage of the (a) time and (b) resources of HM Revenue and Customs in England and Wales was allocated to tackling fuel smuggling in each of the last three years; 
(2) how many and what percentage of HM Revenue and Customs staff in England and Wales work on oil-related anti-smuggling matters, broken down by region. 
Angela Eagle: HMRC do not centrally record time and resources allocated to tackling illegal fuels smuggling in England and Wales.
On 1 April 2008, 99 full time equivalents were allocated to tackle oils misuse in Great Britain.
HMRC do not release the numbers of front line detection staff that they deploy at a local level as this would provide information of value to those seeking to circumvent HM Revenue and Customs controls, thereby prejudicing the prevention and detection of crime.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate his Department has made of the effect on levels of child poverty of an increase in expenditure take-up rates for working tax credits to (a) 100 per cent. and (b) 90 per cent.; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what estimate his Department has made of the effect on levels of child poverty of an increase in expenditure take-up rates for child tax credits to 100 per cent.; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what estimate his Department has made of the effect on levels of child poverty of an increase in the caseload take-up rates for working tax credits to (a) 100 per cent., (b) 90 per cent., (c) 80 per cent. and (d) 70 per cent.; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) what estimate his Department has made of the effect on levels of child poverty of an increase in the caseload take-up rates for child tax credit to (a) 100 per cent. and (b) 90 per cent.; and if he will make a statement. 
Jane Kennedy: For families with children, take-up of tax credits was 82 per cent. by caseload and 91 per cent. by expenditure in 2005-06, rising to 96 and 97 per cent. respectively for families on the lowest incomes, significantly higher than for previous comparable systems of support.
It is estimated that complete tax credit take-up might reduce the child poverty rate by over one percentage point compared with 2005-06 take-up rates. Such estimates are subject to a number of uncertainties and simplifying assumptions, and should be taken as a broad guide only.
Estimates have been provided for complete take-up of tax credits overall as working and child tax credits are paid together where families are eligible for both.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what average percentage of the income of the lowest earning 10 per cent. of people is taxed; 
(2) what average percentage of the income of the highest earning 10 per cent. of people in the UK is taxed. 
Jane Kennedy: Information on the distribution of income of taxpayers and the income tax they pay is published on the HM Revenue and Customs website at:
The share of total income before tax and income tax paid by the top and bottom deciles of taxpayers ranged on total income can be found in table 2.4 Shares of total income (before and after tax) and income tax for percentile groups.
The proportion of earnings paid in income tax by individuals at the top and bottom deciles of the distribution of earnings can be found in table 2.7 Percentage of earnings paid in income tax.
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