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Paul Clark: The Department for Transport has commissioned research into assessing the cost of transport's impact on the natural landscape. The results of phases 1 and 2 of the study are reported on the Department's website at:
Also, the Department is collaborating with DEFRA to manage research that DEFRA has commissioned to investigate the health impacts of environmental noise. Although the remit of the study is not confined to transport, it is recognised that transport is a major source of noise exposure to those who live or work near roads.
Although not recent, from 1998 to 2004 the Department ran a research programmeTRAffic Management and Air Quality research (TRAMAQ)looking at the impact of traffic management schemes on air quality. Details of this can be found on the Department's website at:
(2) with reference to the answer by the Leader of the House. 15 October 2008, Official Report, column 791, on pensions, what the outcome has been of discussions
between his Department and the Department for Work and Pensions on the requirement on pensioners to annuitise pensions at the age of 75 years. 
The Government have considered this requirement to secure an income from a pension fund at age 75 in light of recent conditions in financial markets but has no plans to change it. 95 per cent. of people take an income from their pension savings by the age of 70.
The current rules already allow a considerable degree of flexibility. A pension income can currently commence at any time between the ages of 50 and 75, and can be taken from a pension fund without annuitising, through income drawdown. Even at 75, it is not compulsory to annuitise; alternatively secured pensions are available for those for whom they are suitable and who do not wish to buy an annuity.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the operation of the Bank of England Act 1998; what recent representations he has received about this Act; and what (a) statutory instruments, (b) departmental circulars and (c) other documents he (i) has issued since October 2008 and (ii) plans to issue in the next 12 months consequent on the provisions of the Act. 
Ian Pearson: The Treasury reviews regularly the legislative framework for which it is responsible. It receives representations from 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 Governments practice to provide details of all such representations.
The Banking Act 2009, which received Royal Assent on 12 February this year, includes provisions to amend the Bank of England Act 1998 and enables secondary legislation in relation to the role of the Bank. All such legislation is available from the Office of Public Sector Information:
Information published by the Treasury in relation to Part II of the Bank of England Act 1998 (Monetary Policy) can be found on its website, as can Treasury press releases relating to Bank of England appointments made under the Act:
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in his Department at each pay band have responsibility for the (a) formulation and (b) implementation of policy on the Bank of England Act 1998; what other posts in his Department each such official has held; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The Treasury has a broad range of policy interests related to the Bank of England Act 1998, and flexes the related resources as required. Overall, at 1 April 2008, the Treasury Group had 1,451 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff. Further information regarding Treasury staffing can be found in its latest annual report available at
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount of child tax allowance which was underpaid to married men in 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: Information concerning tax credits customers' appeal rights can be found in the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) leaflet WTC/AP How to appeal against a tax credits decision or award which is available on the internet at:
HMRC is statutorily allowed to examine the correctness of a tax credits claim after it has been finalised. Those powers include time limits for opening an enquiry although there are certain circumstances in which it will still be possible to reconsider a claim for any year after those time limits have expired. Further information can be found in the HMRC Claimant Compliance Manual published on the internet at:
Ian Pearson: HM Treasury continually monitors the levels of both household liabilities and assets, and the implications of these for the wider economy are examined as part of the pre-Budget report and Budget forecasting process.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff of his Department were recorded absent for non-medical reasons on (a) 2 February 2009 and (b) 3 February 2009; what estimate he has made of the (i) cost to his Department and (ii) number of working hours lost due to such absence; and what guidance his Department issued to staff in respect of absence on these days. 
Angela Eagle: Treasury guidance ensures that staff attendance and absence are managed locally by line managers with their staff. Flexible working arrangements ensure that many staff have the capacity to work from home when transport or other disruptions occur.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in (a) his Department and (b) HM Revenue and Customs are suspended; how many are suspended on full pay; for how long each has been suspended; and what the reasons are for each such suspension. 
Angela Eagle: Both the Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have well-established processes for dealing with staff disciplinary investigations, and both Departments work from the presumption that the conduct of an investigation, and any suspension from duty applied, does not imply that any wrongdoing or disciplinary conduct has taken place. Both have a policy to maintain staff on full pay while suspended unless there are compelling reasons to suspend without pay.
As a smaller Department, it is not the Treasurys practice to comment on investigations, including whether or not a suspension has been applied, as to do so might compromise the outcome of current or future investigations.
Currently 22 HMRC staff are suspended, eight of those have been suspended for up to three months, three for three to six months, seven for seven to 12 months, two for 17 months, one for 25 months and one for 26 months. These suspensions have been applied because staff are under police investigation for matters in their private lives, because they are under criminal investigation by HMRCs internal investigators, or because they are under investigation for potentially serious disciplinary offences.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has taken in respect of the import of pharmaceutical products ordered over the internet which are deemed dangerous to public health; how many prosecutions have been bought in respect of illicit imports in the last five years; and what discussions HMRC has had with overseas administrations on the issue. 
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for enforcing medicines legislation and can take enforcement action against breaches of that legislation in the UK. During the last five years, 18 successful prosecutions have been brought involving medicines being traded illegally over the internet.
We are aware that considerable illegal activity takes place through websites hosted abroad and outside UK control. The MHRA works closely with European Union and other international regulatory authorities to ensure that, wherever possible, offending websites are amended to reflect the law. MHRA also participates in cross-Government and international groups set up to explore how best to combat internet issues, and exchange intelligence.
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 17 March 2009 from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire on leading bankers, PO reference: 1/69395/2009. 
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Economic Secretary to the Treasury plans to reply to the letter of 17 March 2009 from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire on the reduction of income derived from pensioners savings, PO reference: 5/04517/2009. 
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire dated 19 February 2009, on national saving accounts, PO reference: 1/67675/2009. 
Mr. Timpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons HM Customs and Excises offices in (a) Bangor, (b) Bedford and (c) Doncaster were withdrawn from the Workforce Change programme. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 8 May 2009]: The decisions to vacate HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offices in Bangor, Bedford and Doncaster were among those announced in December 2008 at the conclusion of HMRCs Workforce Change regional review programme to match HMRCs estate to future business needs. Those decisions have not changed.
While HMRC has looked again at the timing of closures of a number of its offices in the light of budgetary constraints, the aim is still to close them in 2010-11. Full vacation of Ty Glyn, Bangor, and Weston House, Doncaster, originally expected by the end of 2009-10, has now been deferred until after 2009-10. The intention to vacate Portman House, Bedford, by spring 2011 remains unchanged.
Ian Pearson: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office at Crewe House, Crewe was included in the Strategic Transfer of the Estate to the Private Sector (STEPS) outsourcing deal with Mapeley in April 2001. The STEPS contract is for a term of 20 years from 2001. However, there is flexibility within the contract for HMRC to fully or partially vacate properties prior to the contract expiry date in 2021. HMRC will remain contracted to Mapeley in respect of Crewe House until it vacates and the appropriate contractual vacation notice expires.
Mr. Timpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 May 2009, Official Report, column 541W, on HM Revenue and Customs in Crewe, how much he estimates will accrue in each category of the proposed savings of £230 million to arise from the vacation of two floors of the HM Revenue and Customs offices at Crewe House, Crewe. 
Ian Pearson: The estimated cost of the stamp duty land tax holiday in 2008-09 and the cost for 2009-10 up to 3 September 2009, the original date for the end of the holiday, was published in the PBR 2008 report at:
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