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5 May 2009 : Column 61W—continued

Public Expenditure

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to reintroduce historic accounting systems for Government expenditure; and if he will make a statement. [269330]

Yvette Cooper: Since the introduction of resource accounting and budgeting in 2001-02, Government expenditure has been reported in resource accounts that conform to generally accepted accounting practice, subject to such adaptations as are necessary, as required under the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000. Resource accounts are prepared applying the historical cost convention, modified by the revaluation of fixed assets to fair value. Where material, current asset investments and stocks are similarly valued as determined by the relevant accounting standards. On the switch to reporting under International Financial Reporting Standards from 2009-10, modified historical cost accounting will be maintained.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what predicted Government expenditure as a proportion of gross domestic product is in each year from 2009-10 to 2013-14. [272501]

Yvette Cooper: Public sector expenditure projections for the years 2009-10 to 2013-14, as a percentage of gross domestic product, are shown in table C5 of the Budget 2009 document.

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Public Sector: Land

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what public sector land will be made available for development, as referred to in paragraph 5.78 of the Budget 2009 Red Book. [271373]

Angela Eagle: The Housing Green Paper ‘Homes for the future: more affordable, more sustainable’, published in July 2007, announced the Government's target to deliver 200,000 new homes on surplus public sector land by 2016. Government are on track to meet the target. The Surplus Public Sector Land programme, overseen by Communities and Local Government and managed by the Homes and Communities Agency, has been set up to identify where and when this land becomes available.

Information on what surplus public sector land is available for development is available through two main sources:

Research and Development Tax Credit

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies operating in the UK’s life sciences sector have received research and development tax credits in each of the last three years; and what proportion of those were (a) large companies and (b) small and medium-sized enterprises. [272037]

Angela Eagle: The most recent National Statistics on R and D tax credits, published on the HMRC website on 19 December 2008, cover financial years up to 2006-07.

Information on claims for R and D tax credits by companies operating in the life sciences sector is not available because the data are broken down by industry sector using the UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC), and life sciences are not identified as a separate sector in this classification.

Social Security Benefits

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) the basic state pension, (b) single pensioners' means tested benefit, (c) child benefit for up to two children, (d) incapacity benefit and (e) jobseeker’s allowance or income support for a person
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(i) under 25 and (ii) over 25 years old was in (A) nominal and (B) real terms in each year since 1983; and what the percentage change in each was from each year to the next. [260674]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply.

The available information on benefit rates up to 2008-09 has been placed in the Library. This includes child benefit rates from 5 January 2009, as announced in the 2008 pre-Budget report. Real-terms rates are presented in April 2008 prices.

Benefit rates which came into effect on 6 April 2009 are shown in the following table. It is not possible to present the real-terms rates in April 2009 prices at this time as the April 2009 Retail Price and ROSSI index figures will not be published until 19 May 2009.

Benefit April 2009 rate (actual rate) (£)

Basic State Pension (Single pensioner)(1,2)


Basic State Pension (Couples aged 60 and over)(1,3)


Pension Credit (single person aged 60 and over)(4)


Pension Credit (couples aged 60 and over)(4)


Incapacity Benefit(5)


Income Support (single claimant aged 18 to 24)(6)


Income Support (single claimant aged 25+)(6)


Income Support (couple both aged 18+)(6)


(1) The rates quoted are standard rates for those with full qualifying contributions records.
(2) Man or woman under 80 on own insurance. 0.25 addition for over 80-year-olds.
(3) This is the rate where the wife’s state pension is based on the husband’s contributions. Where it is based on her own contributions, the state pension will be twice that of a single pensioner if both individuals are entitled to 100 per cent. state pensions. 0.25 addition for over 80-year-olds.
(4) For all pension ages. Excludes all premiums other than pensioner premium.
(5) Long term IB rate for a single person aged 16+.
(6) The rates quoted are standard rates. There are also additional payments for dependent child(ren), disability, caring responsibilities, etc.
JSA rates are the same as those for income support.

Tax Allowances: Housing

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people in (a) Wales, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England claim tax relief under the furnished holiday letting rules; and what the amount claimed was in each of the last two years; [272080]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the repeal of the furnished holiday letting rules from April 2010 on those claiming tax relief under those rules. [272091]

Ian Pearson: We estimate that the amount claimed under the Furnished Holiday Lettings rules in 2006-07, the last full year for which information is available, was £15 million.

In 2006-07 15,000 individuals offset losses from furnished holiday lettings in the UK against income from other sources and capital gains with an average tax benefit of £1,000 per annum.

HM Revenue and Customs do not have information on the location of furnished holiday lettings within the UK.

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Tax Avoidance

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue which has accrued to the Exchequer directly attributable to the introduction of IR35 measures. [271195]

Angela Eagle: The revenue resulting from the intermediaries legislation (also known as IR35) arises from a number of elements: voluntary compliance with the legislation; the deterrent effect where those who might otherwise disguise employment income through incorporation decide not to; and HMRC compliance activity.

HMRC do not routinely collect data in respect of specific types of employers from PAYE returns and it is not possible to measure the deterrent effects. It is therefore not possible to estimate the total revenue accrued to the Exchequer as a result of this legislation.

Tax Havens

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the annual increase in revenue to the Exchequer which would otherwise have been forgone in tax avoidance as a result of the implementation in the UK of the G20 agreement on tax havens. [271598]

Mr. Timms: The actions agreed at the G20 London summit were focused on addressing tax evasion by increasing the exchange of information between tax authorities. Once the tax information exchange agreements called for by the G20 are in operation, HMRC will be better able to assess tax liability of UK residents who have income arising offshore. No such estimate has been made so far.

Taxation: Housing

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of housing sector receipts as a percentage of (a) total taxation receipts and (b) gross domestic product in each of the next three years. [271559]

Ian Pearson: Box C3 in Budget 2009 provides details of housing and financial sector receipts. Taxes such as capital gains tax and inheritance tax will reflect both housing and financial sector assets. Stamp duty will reflect shares, housing and commercial property.

Table 2.9 in Budget 2009: the economy and public finances—supplementary material provides projections for stamp duty, inheritance tax, capital gains tax up to 2013-14 and total receipts. This is available at:

Table C1 in the Budget provides projections of money GDP up to 2013-14. This is available at:

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assumptions he made on (a) house prices and (b) numbers of new build (i) starts and (ii) completions in reaching the estimates on housing sector receipts in each of the next three years set out in the Budget 2009 Red Book. [271561]

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Angela Eagle: Receipts related to the housing market are determined primarily by the levels of property transactions and prices. The assumptions for both are set out in paragraphs B77 and C52 in the Budget document. For the purposes of the fiscal forecasts house prices are assured to move in line with the average of independent forecasts.

Taxation: Second Homes

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the cost to UK residents with property holdings in the European Economic Area outside the UK of the extension of the furnished holiday lettings rule to such properties. [272315]

Ian Pearson: It was announced at the Budget that the furnished holiday letting (FHL) rules would be repealed with effect from 6 April 2010. Until the repeal takes effect the FHL rules will be regarded as extending to those with qualifying FHLs elsewhere in the European Economic Area.

There will be no tax cost to UK residents with property holdings in the European Economic Area outside the UK from the extension of the furnished holiday lettings rules to such properties.

Welfare Tax Credits: Short-Time Working

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the number of workers on short-time working who are eligible for tax credits. [272498]

Angela Eagle: The information requested is not available.


Departmental Costs

9. Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the effect of the recession on the costs of running his Department's estate. [272271]

Maria Eagle: The cost of running the Department's estate is regularly reviewed to ensure we achieve excellent Value for Money. Changes to these costs are not attributable to the recession alone and are linked to prevailing economic conditions at the point when leases are reviewed.

Land Registration Fees

10. Angela Watkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what consultation he has undertaken with the property, retail and business sectors on the increase in land registration fees to take effect on 6 July 2009. [272272]

Mr. Wills: The Order implementing the change in the fees structure was made following consultation with the Land Registration Rules Committee, which includes representatives of property groups and the Business User and Small Firms Business Groups.

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Prisoners: Literacy Skills

11. Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to provide literacy skills to functionally illiterate prisoners. [272273]

Mr. Hanson: Developing literacy and numeracy of prisoners is a key part of the Government's strategy to reduce reoffending. We have implemented the Offenders' Learning and Skills Service which in the academic year 2007/08 saw prisoners, assessed as having a literacy need, enrol on to a total of 50,936 accredited literacy courses.

Legal Aid

12. Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the effect of the economic downturn on levels of public expenditure on legal aid. [272274]

Mr. Malik: We are closely monitoring trends in legal aid expenditure. We are taking action to help people affected by the recession. An extra £13 million has been made available to help 70,000 more people with debt and housing problems, and the Housing Possession Court Duty scheme is helping more than 2,800 people each month. The civil eligibility limit has been raised by 5 per cent. from the start of the financial year. These measures have been funded from existing resources.

Prison Population

13. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his most recent estimate is of the size of the prison population; and what percentage of that population is comprised of foreign nationals. [272275]

Mr. Hanson: On 1 May 2009 the prison population was 82,868. The foreign national prisoner population equates to just under 14 per cent. of the total population.

Independently produced data suggest that at 14 per cent. England and Wales has significantly fewer foreign nationals in prison than the rest of Europe.

Legal Services

14. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress his Department has made in establishing alternative business structures for the provision of legal services. [272276]

Bridget Prentice: Legal disciplinary practices, the first step towards full alternative business structures (ABS), have been permitted since 31 March. The Legal Services Board (LSB) will be consulting on ABS later this month, and is keen for the first ABS licences to be issued in 2011. We are working with the LSB to support this timetable.

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