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12 May 2009 : Column 675W—continued

Banks: Ireland

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will insure monies invested by British nationals in (a) the Bank of Ireland and (b) Anglo-Irish Bank. [270351]

Ian Pearson: Deposits with Bank of Ireland and Anglo Irish Bank are subject to the Irish Deposit Guarantee scheme.

James Brokenshire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether arrangements for the protection of deposits made in UK banks apply to UK holders of deposits in banks in the Republic of Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [270940]

Ian Pearson: The EC Deposit-guarantee Schemes Directive (94/19/EC) sets the minimum terms on which depositors are protected throughout the European Union and European economic area. Some member states have introduced higher limits.

Arrangements for depositors in Irish banks are a matter for the Irish Government.

Deposits in Irish banks are covered up to a level of €100,000 by the Irish deposit guarantee scheme, under the terms of the Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive. In addition to the protection of the Irish Deposit Guarantee Scheme, the Irish Government announced on 30 September 2008 that it would guarantee certain deposits with Irish banks, including all retail deposits, until 29 September 2010.

James Brokenshire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has had discussions with representatives of the Government of the Republic of Ireland on arrangements to protect deposits made by UK citizens with banks in the Republic of Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [271418]

Ian Pearson: Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations and international partners. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such discussions.

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Departmental Correspondence

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedure his Department follows for dealing with complaints received (a) by e-mail, (b) by post, (c) by telephone and (d) via his Department’s website. [274516]

Angela Eagle: HM Treasury’s complaints procedure is set out on the HMT website under:

Departmental Stationery

Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department has spent on branded stationery and gifts for (a) internal and (b) external promotional use in each of the last five years. [273773]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 4 February 2008, Official Report, column 828W, to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban).

Fiscal Policy

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government plan to bring forward proposals for a second package of fiscal stimulus measures for the UK economy. [274089]

Ian Pearson: The Government have taken decisive action in response to the global economic crisis. The Budget in April announced targeted fiscal support for those most affected by the downturn and to ensure a sustained and sustainable recovery. These measures build on the fiscal stimulus announced in the PBR, along with the support provided by allowing the UK’s relatively powerful automatic fiscal stabilisers to operate in full.

Furnished Holiday Lettings Scheme

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and (b) representatives of the tourism industry before reaching decisions on the changes to the Furnished Holiday Lettings scheme announced in Budget 2009. [274682]

Ian Pearson: The changes to the Furnished Holiday Lettings rules were made following advice that the different treatments of furnished holiday accommodation in the UK and in the rest of the EEA may not be compliant with European Law. The decision to repeal the rules was taken in order to remove the unfair advantage that landlords of furnished holiday accommodation have over other landlords.

Industrial Health and Safety

Bob Spink: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much his Department spent on compliance with requirements of health and safety at work legislation in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [274534]

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Angela Eagle: This information is not available in the format requested, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Dr. Starkey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what requests he has made to the US administration for details of the evidence on the basis of which the US authorities designated Interpal as a global terrorist organisation in 2003. [273733]

Ian Pearson: The US Department of Treasury issued a press notice on 22 August 2003, explaining the reasons why the US authorities designated Interpal.

HM Treasury officials are in ongoing discussions with their US counterparts about how best we can work together to facilitate legitimate charitable work, while protecting against the abuse of charities by those involved in terrorist finance. As part of this dialogue, the Treasury has asked the US authorities to consider if any further information can be made available about the basis for Interpal’s designation.

Landfill Tax

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue accrued to the Exchequer from landfill tax in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [274924]

Angela Eagle: Total tax receipts for 2006-07 to 2008-09 are published by HM Revenue and Customs at:

Members: Correspondence

John Penrose: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare's letters of 2 December 2008 and 27 February 2009 sent on behalf of his constituent, Mr. Adrian Pritchard. [270093]

Ian Pearson: A reply has been sent to the hon. Member.

Natural Gas: Finance

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the cost of cushion gas used in gas storage infrastructure is considered to be capital expenditure for taxation purposes; and if he will make a statement. [267119]

Angela Eagle [ holding answer 26 March 2009]: Cushion gas may be described as the volume of gas intended for long-term use in a gas storage facility, necessary to maintain pressure and to enable redelivery of the stored gas. As such, it is not acquired with a view to being re-sold as an incident of the storage trade, but with a view to being retained long-term as a fixed asset of the business. In those circumstances, the cost of acquiring it is normally capital expenditure for taxation purposes. However, the answer can depend on the particular facts of the case so if, for example, there is systematic evidence of the buying and selling of recoverable cushion gas (perhaps allied to an accounting treatment of the gas as trading stock) this may point to the expenditure being revenue expenditure for tax purposes.

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State Retirement Pensions

Tom Brake: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to freeze the rate at which pension years can be bought back at the rate applicable before 6 April 2009 in respect of persons who have attempted to buy back one or more years and have not had their application processed by the deadline. [273716]

Ian Pearson: HM Revenue and Customs have agreed that if a customer has requested a pension forecast before 6 April 2009 but receives the forecast after that date, it will accept payment of class 3 contributions at the pre 6 April 2009 rates, provided the payment is made within one calendar month of the customer receiving the forecast.

Tax Evasion

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of revenue lost to the Exchequer as a result of tax evasion in 2008-09. [273635]

Mr. Timms: There are no estimates of the revenue lost specifically to tax evasion. HMRC published the latest available estimates of tax losses in the Autumn Performance Report 2008:

The estimates given in this report include evasion with other causes of losses.

Work and Pensions

Departmental ICT

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he has taken to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions arising from the operation of ICT systems in his Department under the Greening Government ICT Strategy. [273567]

Jonathan Shaw: The Department does not own the equipment used to provide its ICT systems. The equipment is provided as part of a managed service by the Department’s IT suppliers.

The Department has made great inroads in reducing its carbon footprint through active management of its IT services, since the end of 2005 when it re-aligned its contracts with BT and EDS. This work is continuing.

In the summer of 2008 the Department announced its strategy to re-compete its existing contracts over a five year period. A key element of this future contracting strategy is to contractually commit the IT providers to reduce the carbon footprint of the services they deliver to the Department.

The Department, along with others represented on the Chief Information Officers Council (CIO), have produced a “CIO Green ICT Roadmap” to deliver against the 18 target improvement areas outlined in the Greening Government ICT Strategy. A full report of the CIO Council Green ICT Roadmaps will be made available later in June featuring the action plans of all Departments involved in the council against the 18 steps.

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Incapacity Benefit

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the 10 most common medical conditions in respect of which incapacity benefit claimants received the benefit were in each of the last five years. [270499]

Jonathan Shaw: The classification identifies some conditions separately while others are grouped together in ‘other’ or ‘miscellaneous’ categories. Some of these grouped categories are among those with the highest caseload numbers. The level of detail of the supporting documentation may determine whether a case is allocated to a more specific category, or has to be put in a grouped category. Because of these grouped categories, we cannot be certain what the 10 most common medical conditions among incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claimants are, only the most common conditions are separately identified.

Incapacity Benefit: Heart Diseases

Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incapacity benefit claimants had a recorded diagnosis which was or included a heart condition in each of the last five years; and how much was paid in such benefits to such claimants in each of these years. [270501]

Jonathan Shaw: Having a heart condition does not of itself confer entitlement to incapacity benefits. Until October 2008 the medical assessment of incapacity for work was the personal capability assessment. This assesses the effects of a person's condition on their ability to carry out a number of everyday activities relevant to work.

The information requested is in the following table.

Estimated incapacity benefits expenditure on claimants whose diagnosis includes heart condition (nominal terms)

£ million











1. Incapacity benefits includes incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance payable to working-aged adults.
2. Figures include incapacity related income support expenditure for incapacity benefit claimants.
3. Expenditure figures are rounded to the nearest £ million. Estimates are based on information from the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study land published DWP benefit expenditure tables.
4. DWP benefit expenditure tables can be accessed at:

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Estimated incapacity benefits case loads of claimants whose diagnosis includes heart condition (nominal terms)


August 2004


August 2005


August 2006


August 2007


August 2008


1. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation.
3. To qualify for incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance, claimants have to undertake a medical assessment of incapacity for work called the personal capability assessment. Therefore, the medical condition recorded on the claim form does not itself confer entitlement to benefit.
DWP Longitudinal Study

Jobcentre Plus: Standards

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance his Department has issued to Jobcentre Plus on the priorities for processing different benefit claims within target timeframes. [271690]

Mr. McNulty: No guidance has been issued to Jobcentre Plus as there are no set priorities between different benefits. In 2008-09 Jobcentre Plus exceeded all of its targets for clearing claims for incapacity benefit, income support and jobseeker’s allowance, despite a large increase in the numbers of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance, implementing the new employment and support allowance, and maintaining historically low levels of fraud and error.

Jobcentre Plus: Vacancies

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the ratio of jobseekers to vacancies in each (a) region, (b) local authority area, (c) Jobcentre Plus area and (d) parliamentary constituency. [262243]

Mr. McNulty: The information has been placed in the Library, and provides separate data for unfilled and notified vacancies to give the fullest picture of the number of Jobcentre Plus vacancies. The labour market is dynamic and many new vacancies are filled so quickly they do not appear in the statistics for live unfilled vacancies, which are based on a snapshot of the vacancies available on a particular day.

The coverage of these figures relates only to Jobcentre Plus notified and unfilled vacancies. Many vacancies come up through other recruitment channels and the proportion accounted for by Jobcentre Plus is likely to vary over time, according to the occupation of the vacancy and industry of the employer, and by local area. Estimates of the number of unfilled job vacancies across the economy as a whole are available from the monthly ONS Vacancy Survey, based on a sample of some 6,000 enterprises. However, the ONS survey is currently designed to provide national estimates only.

It should be noted that a simple comparison of Jobcentre Plus advertised vacancies to local areas is not the best measure of the work opportunities available to jobseekers. People will tend to look for work in a wider geographical area than a parliamentary constituency.

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