Mr. Stephen O'Brien:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much was overpaid in research and development tax credits in each year since 2000; how many companies were overpaid research and development tax credits in each such year; and if he will make a statement; 
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(2) how much was underpaid in research and development tax credits in each year since 2000; how many companies were underpaid research and development tax credits in each such year; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many appeals there have been against the (a) underpayment and (b) overpayment of research and development tax credits in each year since 2000; and how many appeals were successful in each year. 
The information requested is not available.
Under the self-assessment system, a company makes a claim, in its corporation tax return, to a specific amount of research and development tax relief (including payable tax credit if appropriate).
HMRC carries out a risk assessment into every tax return and may intervene in a particular case. This may ultimately lead to an adjustment of the amount of tax relief given, in which case the company has a right of appeal. Such interventions take place for a large number of different tax reasons, many unrelated to any R and D claim. In many cases there will be a number of relevant factors. To safeguard its compliance processes, HMRC does not separately publish the numbers of interventions in respect of R and D.
Retail Trade: Competition
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what meetings at which the Competition Commission market investigation into the supply of groceries in the UK was discussed he has had since 1 May 2008; 
(2) what meetings he and Ministers within his Department have had with representatives of UK grocery retailers since 1 May 2008. 
Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations 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 meetings.
Revenue and Customs: Business Interests
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date John Connors, the Director of HM Revenue and Customs' Large Business and Employers' Customer Unit, submitted an application under the business appointments procedures to join Vodafone; on what date the application was approved; and what conditions were placed on Mr. Connors when the application was approved. 
John Connors submitted the application on 19 March 2007 and the application was approved on 8 May 2007. No conditions were placed on him.
Revenue and Customs: Correspondence
Mr. Frank Field:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date the Chief Executive of HM Revenue and Customs received the letter from the right hon. Member for Birkenhead of 31 October 2008 on his constituent, Natasha Brown; and when he expects the matter raised in the letter to be resolved. 
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As HM Revenue and Customs did not receive my right hon. Friends letter, his office was contacted and provided a copy of the letter on 19 November 2008. The chief executive aims to reply within 15 working days.
Revenue and Customs: Fraud
Mr. Philip Hammond:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff at (a) HM Revenue and Customs and (b) the Valuation Office Agency have been investigated for alleged fraud in 2008. 
HM Revenue and Customs employs over 80,000 staff.
From 1 April 2008 to date, there have been 27 investigations into suspected fraudulent activity by HMRC staff. The investigations are for such activity as failing to declare a criminal conviction ranging to fraudulent claims to repayments.
The number of Valuation Office Agency staff investigated for alleged fraud in 2008 is less than five. The exact number cannot be disclosed on grounds of confidentiality.
Revenue and Customs: Manpower
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff of each grade were employed at the Inland Revenue and HM Revenue and Customs offices at (a) Concord House, Paignton and (b) Tor Hill House, Torquay on (i) 31 March 2005, (ii) 31 March 2007 and (iii) 31 March 2008. 
The number of staff by grade employed at these HM Revenue and Customs/Inland Revenue offices, in both headcount and full time equivalent (FTE), were:
Concord House, Paignton( 1)
(i) 31 March 2005 (Inland Revenue)
(1) This office was vacated in June 2006.
Tor Hill House, Torquay
(i) 31 March 2005 (Inland Revenue)
(ii) 31 March 2007
(iii) 31 March 2008
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Revenue and Customs: Penzance
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much tax revenue has been recovered as a result of the work of compliance staff in the Penzance HM Revenue and Customs office in each of the last five years; 
(2) what estimate he has made of tax revenue recovered as a result of work undertaken in the Penzance HM Revenue and Customs office during the last five years. 
HMRC does not have the available systems to trace back the amount of tax revenue recovered to the work of staff in a particular office.
Revenue and Customs: Reorganisation
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when he will announce the results of the remaining decisions in the (a) workforce change and (b) transformation programmes; 
(2) what factors underlay his decision to delay the final announcement of his future plans for the workforce change programme. 
The remaining decisions on the future of the offices reviewed under the workforce change regional review programme are expected to be announced before the end of 2008.
HMRC will provide an update on its transformation programme in its forthcoming Autumn Performance Report.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the impact which the closure of HM Revenue and Customs offices have upon the economy of the areas in which they were based; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the fiscal stimulus which HM Revenue and Customs offices contribute to the economies in the areas in which they are located; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the effect of the proposed closure of the Penzance tax office on the local economy; and if he will assess the potential contribution of that office to the local economy in the current economic climate; 
(4) what assessment he has made of the fiscal stimulus provided to local economies from HM Revenue and Customs operations in local communities. 
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) draws socio-economic issues to my attention in the impact assessments it prepares when drawing up its regional review proposals. These are important issues 24 Nov 2008 : Column 957W
but the primary consideration is HMRC's need to restructure itself into a modern and efficient organisation meeting the needs of its customers.
HMRC is organised on national business lines and most offices do not have a direct link to the taxpaying community in which they are located, with the exception of the inquiry centres. HMRC's general expectation is that staff based at offices that are to be vacated will commute to another office within reasonable daily travel.
They will still therefore contribute to their local economy.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the merits of the proposal submitted by staff in the Penzance HM Revenue and Customs office in response to his Department's workforce change proposals on the deployment of their expertise to expand the Department's repayment compliance project. 
All responses received in response to the consultation exercise on the workforce change proposal for the future of the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office in Penzance have been considered.
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The proposal to vacate the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office in Penzance, with the exception of the inquiry centre service which will be maintained in the present building or nearby, was based on the latest plans of HMRC business units, including those of local compliance.
The repayment compliance project carried out in Penzance was a successful initiative which demonstrated that this type of work did not have to be carried out locally.
Revenue and Customs: Secondment
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many secondees have worked in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) since 1 January 2005; from which organisation each was seconded; in which section of HMRC each was employed; and for what period each worked at HMRC. 
The information requested is given in the table: