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Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have been awarded consolatory payments in respect of tax credits by HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last five years; what the average size of consolatory payments for tax credit errors was in each of the last five years; what the amount paid for consolatory payments in respect of tax credits was in each of the last five years; on what basis consolatory payments were awarded in that period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The circumstances in which HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will make compensation payments to its customers are explained in the Departments fact sheet C/FS Complaints and Putting Things Right which is available at:
For the number and value of compensation payments made by Tax Credit Office up to the end of 2007-08, I refer the hon. Member to the answer my predecessor gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 5 June 2008, Official Report, columns 1086-87W. Data for 2008-09 will be collated in due course.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases relating to tax credits the Adjudicator's Office has handled under the process assurance procedure in each year for which figures are available; how many of these cases were subsequently referred to the Parliamentary Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The Adjudicators Office began working cases under the process assurance procedure during 2006-07. The Adjudicators Office closed 313 PA cases in 2006-07 and 982 in 2007-08. The Adjudicators Office ceased using this procedure for working tax credit cases in January 2008.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in how many cases related to tax credits and resolved since March 2008 the Adjudicators Office has recommended that (a) an overpayment be written off and (b) a consolatory payment be made. 
Mr. Timms: From 1 April 2008, 575 tax credit cases have been settled with some or all of the overpayment being written off. There have been consolatory payments in 666 of all tax credit cases seen by the Adjudicators Office in the same period. The circumstances in which HM Revenue and Customs make compensation payment to its customers are explained in the Departments fact sheet C/FS Complaints and Putting Things Right which is available at
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much in relation to tax credits cases the Adjudicator's Office has recommended that HM Revenue and Customs (a) pay in compensation to claimants, (b) forego in tax and interest and (c) write off in overpaid tax credits since March 2008. 
Mr. Timms: From 1 April 2008 the Adjudicators Office recommended that HMRC pay £108,980 in compensation relating to tax credit claims, and recommended £1,532,272 of overpayment to be written off. Interest is not generally chargeable on tax credits cases. The Adjudicators Office has not made recommendations with regard to foregoing tax or interest in relation to a tax credit case.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases related to tax credits have been taken on by the Adjudicators Office since March 2008; and how many of these have been settled. 
Mr. Timms: There are currently 54 people working in the Adjudicators Office. At the end of each year there were; 46 people for 2007-08, 45 for 2006-07, 43 for 2005-06, 43 for 2004-05 and 47 for 2003-04. All staff spend some time working on tax credits complaints as well as on other complaints.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit cases taken on by the Adjudicator's Office related to complaints where overpayments had been made due to awards based on incorrect information in each of the last five years; and in how many of those cases the complaint was upheld. 
Justine Greening: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds for benchmarking purposes on other countries which have an aviation duty based on (a) distance-banding and (b) distance-banding where distance is calculated for capital cities. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 16 December 2008]: France and the Netherlands have aviation passenger taxes which are similar to the UK's air passenger duty. The Republic of Ireland will introduce a similar tax in March 2009. All of these duties make a distinction based on the final destination of the passenger.
The French have a civil aviation passenger tax and a solidarity passenger tax both of which charge on whether the passenger is flying within Europe or elsewhere. The Netherlands uses a system based on distance to destination from airport of departure and the Irish plan to use distance from Dublin airport.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Answer of 26 November 2007, Official Report, column 128W, on care vouchers, if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) the modelling his Department has undertaken of the scheme and (b) the work carried out on its cost effectiveness. 
Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will initiate a leak inquiry into the circumstances whereby details of the new taxation measures in the Pre-Budget Report being published in the national press prior to his statement to the House. 
Mr. Timms: A large range of activity is undertaken in the Agencys Local Taxation and Data and Information Technology Directorates. No single central record is kept of the various means by which the work is organised. Generally speaking, oversight is delivered through regular management meetings or project boards, rather than through working groups.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer of 30 October 2008, Official Report, column 1259W, on council tax: valuation, what the monetary value was of payments made to Tenet Technology by the third party representatives of the Valuation Office Agency for goods, licences and services from Tenet which the Valuation Office Agency uses. 
Mr. Timms: An assessment of the impact of the VAT rate cut on projected consumer spending behaviour can be found in paragraphs 2.40 to 2.45 in the 2008 Pre-Budget Report. No assessment has been made yet since the reduction took effect.
Mr. Timms: We have reduced the standard rate of value added tax to 15 per cent. from 1 December 2008 to 31 December 2009 as part of a wider fiscal stimulus. It would be premature to attempt to make an assessment now of the effect of this 13-month reduction in stabilising the economy, but we have met our objective of helping the UK's two million VAT registered businesses to make the change from 1 December, and many have been passing on the reduction to consumers through lower prices from that date.
The Government have called on businesses to pass on the VAT rate reduction through lower prices to help stimulate consumer spending and ensure both
businesses and consumers can benefit from the change. Many businesses have done so, and in the UK's highly competitive retail sector, consumers can choose whether or not to buy from businesses that do not pass the reduction on. But decisions on prices are for businesses rather than Government.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much revenue was raised from value added tax on sales of domestic microgeneration technology of each type in each of the last three financial years; 
Mr. Timms: We have received representations on a number of issues associated with the reduction in the rate of value added tax to 15 per cent. There is no indication of significant or widespread problems relating to retailers incorrectly applying the change, but Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is committed to providing guidance and support to any businesses or consumers who are experiencing problems.
Mr. Timms: Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has provided detailed guidance and support to help every VAT registered business apply the new rate of VAT correctly from 1 December 2008. The Government have called on businesses to pass on the VAT rate reduction to consumers through lower prices, and many have responded, but decisions on prices are for businesses rather than Government.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects on the cash flows of small businesses of the reductions in the flat rate of value added tax simultaneously with the reduction in the standard rate to 15 per cent. 
Alongside the standard VAT rate reduction, the flat rates were recalculated to ensure they reflect both the rate change and the net VAT paid by small businesses that do not use the flat rate scheme. This avoids distortion of competition between flat rate users and small businesses that opt not to use the scheme.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) cost and (b) staff time of piloting face-to-face visits for tax credit customers in November and December 2008. 
Mr. Timms: HMRC have started rolling out new services from December 2008 to make claiming tax credits easier and quicker. The services offered will depend upon the customer's needs and piloting face-to-face visits for tax credit customers will take place in 2009. The costs and benefits of the pilot will inform a decision on a full roll out of this service.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit claims were ended as a result of relationship breakdown in each month of 2006-07; and what the size of the credit claimed was in each case. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost of the increase in the tax credits income disregard from £2,500 to £25,000 in each financial year between 2008-09 and 2014-15; and if he will make a statement. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect on public expenditure of removing the second taper rate of 6.67 per cent. and increasing the first taper rate to (a) 46 per cent., (b) 45 per cent., (c) 44 per cent. and (d) 43 per cent. in each of the next five years; if he will estimate the number of people who would no longer be eligible for tax credits in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The estimated saving, in 2009-10 to 2013-14, of increasing the first taper rate of tax credits to each of the rates requested, combined with increasing the second taper rate to 100 per cent. is provided in the following table. No account has been taken of possible behavioural effects.
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