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Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 5 March 2009 from the right hon. Member for Banff and Buchan regarding his constituent, Mr. Christie. 
Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Economic Secretary plans to reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham of (a) 17 December 2008, acknowledged on 6 January 2009 and (b) 26 February 2009 on his constituent, Mr. Charles Helden. 
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for New Forest West on the decision to increase maximum income from an unsecured pension by 20 per cent. and its effect on a constituent Mr. S. T. Gray of Lymington. 
Mr. Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when a reply will be sent to the hon. Member for West Chelmsfords letter of 17 March 2009 (PO Ref: 3/09245/2009) concerning his constituent, Mrs. Nancy Ng, of Chelmsford. 
Mr. Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when a reply will be sent to the hon. Member for West Chelmsfords letter of 13 March 2009 (PO Ref: 5/04496/2009) concerning his constituent, Mr. Peter Lee, of Great Waltham, Essex. 
Ian Pearson: Treasury Ministers and officials receive 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.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department has taken to assist savers in each year since 1997; what representations he has received on this issue since January 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The Government receive a range of representations from groups and individuals on a wide range of topics, including savers. Since 1997, the Governments savings strategy has focused on developing better incentives for saving, ensuring people have the capability to make the right savings decisions for them, and that they have access to appropriate savings opportunities. The Government introduced tax-free ISAs in 1999, and announced increases to the ISA limits at Budgets 2007 and 2009. Over 18 million people now have an ISA. The Child Trust Fund was introduced in 2005, and the Saving Gateway will be introduced in 2010 to encourage saving amongst working-age people on lower incomes. The Government have also legislated for reforms to the private pensions system that will encourage and enable more people to save for their retirement.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received since January 2009 on proposals to protect savers from the effect of low interest rates; what reply he gave; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The Government receive a range of representations from groups and individuals on a wide range of topics, including savers. The Government announced at Budget 2009 that from 6 October 2009 the ISA limits will rise for people aged 50 and over to £10,200, of which up to £5,100 can be saved in cash. From 6 April 2010 the ISA limits will rise to these new levels for all savers. To offer additional support for older savers, Budget 2009 also announced an increase in the capital disregard for pension credit and pensioner related housing and council tax benefit to £10,000 from November 2009, and the launch of a tax-back campaign in autumn 2009, contacting low and middle income pensioners who may have overpaid tax on their savings income.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department has taken to assist individuals in (a) Southend-on-Sea, (b) Essex and (c) England and Wales facing repossession of their property in each month since January 2008; what representations he has received on this issue since January 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The Government introduced Financial Services Authority regulation of mortgages in 2004. The FSAs regime provides important protections for borrowers. It requires lenders to treat their customers fairly, and to treat repossession as a last resort.
FSA regulation is supported by the new mortgage pre-action protocol introduced in November 2008. This sets out clear guidance on what actions judges expect lenders to take before bringing a claim in the courts to help ensure that lenders have tried to discuss and agree other alternatives with the borrower.
Through the new Lending Panel, announced in the 2008 pre-Budget report, the Government are working closely with lenders, consumer groups and regulators to monitor lending to businesses and households. The lenders on the Lending Panel have committed not to repossess where the owner-occupier is less than three months in arrears.
The Government launched Homeowners Mortgage Support on 21 April. This new scheme, together with changes announced at Budget 2009 to Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) and the Governments Mortgage Rescue Scheme, will help homeowners who experience a temporary income shock, lose employment, or are otherwise vulnerable, to remain in their homes. The Government have also taken action to help ensure that every household struggling with debts has access to free and impartial debt advice.
John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many full-time equivalent staff were employed in HM Revenue and Customs contact centres in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08 and (c) 2008-09; and how many calls were received by such centres in each of those years. 
Mr. Timms: The number of (a) full-time equivalent staff employed as at 31 March and (b) the number of calls received by HM Revenue and Customs contact centres in (i) 2006-07, (ii) 2007-08 and (iii) 2008-09 is shown in the table.
|HMRC contact centres|
|Full-time equivalent staff( 1)||Calls received (million)( 2)|
|(1) As at 31 March.|
(2) Calls received, where the caller selected an option from the call steering menu and the call was placed into a queue to speak to an adviser.
John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many compliance staff were employed by HM Revenue and Customs at each grade in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 1 June 2009]: The number of staff engaged in compliance activities, by grade, is listed in the following table. They exclude detection staff who were transferred to the UK Border Agency in 2008.
|As at 1 April||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009|
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 7 May 2009, Official Report, columns 421-22W, on tax allowances: personal pensions, how many individuals claimed income tax relief on personal pensions at (a) the basic rate and (b) the higher rate in 2006-07. 
Mr. Timms: The number of individuals claiming income tax relief at the basic rate in respect of personal pension contributions was estimated to be 5.2 million in 2006-07. The number of individuals claiming income tax relief in respect of those taxed at the higher rate was estimated to be 1.3 million in 2006-07.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the amount of business rates raised from businesses based in residential properties in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the amount of capital gains tax raised from businesses based in residential properties in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr. Gauke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an estimate of the full-year cost to the Exchequer for (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12 of simultaneously reducing the starting and basic rate of tax on savings income to zero and increasing age-related personal allowances by £2,000. 
Mr. Timms: The full year cost for each of the three years is shown in the table. The estimates are based on the 2006-07 Survey of Personal Incomes projected forward in line with Budget 2009 assumptions. The figures exclude any estimate of behavioural response
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assistance his Department provides to individuals in financial difficulty; whether provision exists for individuals to delay payment of (a) income tax and (b) national insurance; what plans he has to provide further assistance to such individuals in the next 12 months; what representations he has received on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: With regard to tax collection, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) expects all customers to make payments when they are due. However, the Department recognises that in certain circumstances this may not be possible and publishes advice and guidance for individuals encountering payment difficulties. This guidance can be accessed at
In addition, individuals who run their own business can now access the new Business Payment Support Service (BPSS), which allows viable businesses in temporary
financial difficulty time to pay their tax bills to a timetable they can afford. The service was extended at Budget 2009 to allow businesses expecting to make losses to offset these against tax bills due on profits from the previous year, which they are unable to pay. As of 24 May over 135,000 agreements had been reached with business, worth £2.4 billion of tax deferred.
The Government receive various representations relating to the collection of income tax and national insurance contributions, and keep the case for further assistance to individuals in financial difficulty under review.
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