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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was paid to each devolved administration under the Barnett formula in the most recent financial year for which figures are available; and what corresponding funding allocation was made to Government departments in respect of services delivered in (a) England only, (b) England and Wales, (c) England, Wales and Northern Ireland, (d) England, Wales and Scotland and (e) the UK. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 7 December 2009]: Changes in the Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL) of the devolved Administrations are normally determined by the Barnett formula. The settlements were published in the 2007 comprehensive spending review White Paper (Cm 7227). The latest figures for the DELs of the devolved Administrations are published in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) (Cm 7630). Comparative data on spending for the benefit of each country and region of the UK are also published in PESA, including a breakdown of this spending by function.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the net annual saving to the Exchequer of capping at £50,000 per annum the benefit payable under all currently accruing defined benefit public sector pension schemes not yet in payment which are estimated to provide a benefit of less than £50,000 annually; and what amendments to public sector pension rules would be required to give effect to such a change; 
(2) if he will estimate the net annual saving to the Exchequer of capping at £50,000 per annum the benefit from all future public sector defined benefit pensions funded from the public purse; and what amendments to public sector pension rules would be required to give effect to such a change; 
(3) if he will estimate the net annual saving to the Exchequer of ceasing increases in funding from the public purse to defined benefit public sector pensions not yet in payment which are worth over £50,000 annually; and what amendments to public sector pension rules would be required to give effect to such a change. 
The savings from a cap on pensions in payment would take a number of years to accrue as
only future pension rights could legally be capped. Data are not centrally available to estimate annual savings to the Exchequer on such future pension rights.
Mr. Timms: The Department has spent £170,000 to develop and £12,000 to publicise the Charter over a two-year period. The cost was met from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) existing budget and covers marketing, research and consultation. This delivered a Charter that stakeholder groups have agreed will be a positive step towards HMRC building better relationships with taxpayers and claimants.
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David T.C. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what redesigns of websites operated by HM Revenue and Customs have been carried out since 27 June 2007; and what the (a) cost to the public purse and (b) date of completion of each such redesign was. 
Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs has not undertaken a redesign of its website. It has however made significant incremental improvements to the site since April 2008-including new content, improved navigation and a new look and feel in key sections of the site. This work is an integral part of its Service Transformation Agreement and commitment to converge content and services on www.direct.gov.uk and www.businesslink.gov.uk by 2011. Costs are projected at a total of £10.7 million over the period 2007-08 to 2010-11.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans there are to change the opening hours of HM Revenue and Customs Enquiry Centres in Somerset; and what assessment has been made of the likely effect of reduced opening hours at such centres on the elderly. 
Mr. Timms: Demand for face to face advice from HMRC Enquiry Centres has fallen heavily in recent years as customers increasingly turn to the telephone and internet for information. As a result HMRC is reviewing the pattern of service provision to better match service availability to customer demand. This includes considering moving to part week opening in some Enquiry Centres.
The first phase of the review includes Enquiry Centres in Frome, Wells and Bridgewater. The impact of these changes is being assessed by engagement with local external customer representative bodies including MPs, local authorities, Help the Aged, the Citizens Advice Bureaux and others. HMRC is also consulting with local staff, managers and trade unions. An Equality Impact Assessment of changes to Enquiry Centre opening hours will be published prior to any changes being made.
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what payments the Royal Mint has made to Grayling Political Strategy in the last 12 months; for what purposes; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract under which such payments were made. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The stamp duty holiday was designed to provide Government support for homebuyers. The stimulus it offers relies on it being temporary. The Government expect 240,000 transactions to have benefited from the holiday when it is brought to a close at the end of December.
Mr. Bone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the maximum amount of tax was that each of the banks in which the Government has a stake could save by off-setting previous losses at the latest date for which figures are available; 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry [holding answer 10 December 2009]: Historical aggregate figures for the value of deductions against Corporation Tax paid by the financial sector are published in table 11.2, on the HMRC website.
However, it is not possible to publish HMRC estimates of the loss position of individual banks due to rules protecting taxpayer confidentiality. Published 2008 accounts for both RBS and Lloyds banking group are available on their respective websites:
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) small and medium-sized and (b) other enterprises which made Time to Pay arrangements with HM Revenue and Customs to defer tax through the Business Payment Support Service have (i) not met their tax liabilities when they became due and (ii) extended their Time to Pay arrangement period to date; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Over 90 per cent. of the value of tax that has become due under Time to Pay arrangements agreed through the Business Payment Support Service launched in November 2008 is being paid in line with agreed instalments. HMRC does not collect information on repayment of arrangements broken down by size of business.
Where businesses are struggling to meet their payments they are able to renegotiate an existing arrangement provided that HMRC believe the business is likely to be able to pay the tax due if given more time. All requests continue to be assessed on the same basis and there has been no change in HMRC's policy on offering Time to Pay in such circumstances.
Information about the number of businesses requesting extensions of their Time to Pay arrangements could currently be provided only at disproportionate cost, but it is intended to compile data in due course.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 1 December 2009, Official Report, column 655W, on health professions: pay, for what reasons (a) pharmacy contractors are and (b) appliance contractors are not zero-rated for value added tax. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 10 December 2009]: VAT is a broad-based tax on consumer expenditure and reliefs from it have always been strictly limited. When the UK joined the European Community (EC) in 1973, we signed up to the agreements which govern the application of VAT throughout the EC. Under these and successive agreements the UK is allowed to keep zero rates of VAT on certain items-many of which had been exempt from the purchase tax which preceded VAT-including drugs and medicines supplied by a pharmacist against a prescription. Most other goods and services became taxable at the standard rate and have remained taxable ever since. This includes most goods supplied by appliance contractors.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the repeal of the furnished holiday lettings rules on farmers who have diversified into tourism and related businesses. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 10 December 2009]: In 2007-08 approximately 60,000 individuals declared income from Furnished Holiday Lettings to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), approximately 2,500 of whom also declared income from farming. After the Furnished Holiday Lettings rules are withdrawn, these businesses will still be able to claim various tax reliefs including loss relief, a deduction for business expenses, and an allowance for capital expenditure. Therefore the impact on continuing, viable businesses is expected to be limited.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer of 11 November 2009, Official Report, column 521W, on business improvement districts, whether the Valuation Office Agency has increased the rateable values of properties in the recent 2010 revaluation consequent on improved activity undertaken by business improvement district. 
Ian Pearson: The aim of a rating valuation is to arrive at the rental value of the premises at the standard valuation date. Activity undertaken by business improvement districts will result in changes to the rating valuation of a property only if and when it materially affects the rental value of that property.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for which tax credit schemes administered by his Department a retired grandparent is eligible in respect of a grandchild who is being fostered by that grandparent. 
HM Revenue and Customs administer child tax credit (CTC), child benefit and guardian's allowance. A grandparent or any other person who is responsible for the care of a child or qualifying young
person is eligible to claim CTC, child benefit, and, in some circumstances, guardian's allowance for that child or qualifying young person providing the qualifying criteria are met.
However, where the child is placed in the care of the grandparent under a fostering arrangement, eligibility will be dependent on the terms of that arrangement. When a local authority pays for the child's accommodation and maintenance child benefit, CTC and guardian's allowance are not paid for the foster child in order to avoid duplicate provision. However, if exceptionally, the local authority does not do this then the foster parents may be eligible for child benefit, CTC and in some cases guardian's allowance for the foster child.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average time taken to resolve disputed tax credit cases involving custody of children was in (a) Chorley and (b) Lancashire in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Timms: This information is not available. HM Revenue and Customs endeavours to award all new claims as quickly as possible but delays can arise where enquiries have to be made and the conclusions are disputed.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the take-up rate of working tax credit is among (a) those also claiming child tax credit and (b) those not claiming child tax credit; and what assessment he has made of the effect upon such take-up rates of implementation of the relevant measures announced in Budget 2009. 
Mr. Timms: Estimates of working tax credit take-up rates for 2006-07, which are the latest available, are provided in the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) publication "Child and Working Tax Credit Take-up rates 2006-07". This publication is available at:
The Government recognise that more can be done for people without children, and has set an ambitious target to raise take-up of working tax credit among this group by 100,000 by April 2011. HMRC are making good progress by using a range of measures to reach eligible customers, such as writing to 10,000 households identified through PAYE records; partnership marketing with large employers and others, national and local marketing activity via radio and newspaper advertising, and by working jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions and local authorities as part of the In and Out of Work project.
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