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Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) announced its decision to withdraw from the office at Crown Buildings, Banbury by spring 2011 on 17 July 2008 as part of the Department's Workforce Change programme. The office's closure will not affect enquiry centre services, which will continue to be provided at or near the current location.
On 13 January 2010 HMRC announced that the office would close for business in 2010-11 and that staff who are unable to relocate are now eligible to apply for voluntary redundancy on compulsory terms. This affects 26 of the 32 staff currently working in Banbury. HMRC remains committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies wherever possible and will work to redeploy those staff who wish to remain in the Civil Service both within HMRC and to other Government departments.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information his Department holds on reasons for which complaints were made to Revenue and Customs about its services in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008 and (d) 2009. 
Mr. Timms: Since April 2007, HM Revenue and Customs has maintained a complaints database to help the Department understand why complaints are made and act to address this. Within the database, complaints are assigned to one of the following core categories: delay, staff conduct, process/system, policy/legislation, communication, misleading advice, loss/damage, mistake/error, compensation/costs claim and discrimination.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much in (a) direct and (b) indirect taxes was (i) collected and (ii) administered by HM Revenue and Customs' office in Elgin in each year since 2006. 
|As at 1 April||Headcount||FTE( 1)|
|(1) FTE relates to full time equivalent|
Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps HM Revenue and Customs plans to take to retain the knowledge of the whisky industry of the staff at its Elgin office following the closure of that office. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: When the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office at Elgin closes the work undertaken there relating to the whisky industry will relocate to Aberdeen. HMRC's expectation is that the Elgin staff currently involved with the whisky industry would relocate with their work if able to do so, enabling them to use their existing skills and expertise alongside staff in Aberdeen with whisky industry experience already in place there.
(2) what assessment has been made of the effect that the closure of the HM Revenue and Customs office in Elgin will have on the provision of face-to-face advice for clients; how far the nearest HM Revenue and Customs enquiry centre providing face-to-face advice for clients will be from Elgin following that closure; and what the estimated disposal costs are following the closure of the HM Revenue and Customs offices in Elgin. 
Mr. Timms: Staff at the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) office at Phoenix House, Elgin, were invited to give their views on the proposal to vacate the office during an eight week period from 11 June to 6 August 2008.
Following the announcement on 4 December 2008 that HMRC would withdraw from Phoenix House, Elgin managers have held one-to-one meetings with staff to discuss their options, taking account of individual personal circumstances. A regional implementation team was set up to explore redeployment options and find suitable opportunities within HMRC and in other Government Departments and agencies. Seminars for all affected staff are being held, and further support is being planned for those staff who want to continue their civil service careers.
HMRC occupies Phoenix House under contract with its estates provider, Mapeley, and this contract includes a high level of flexibility for HMRC to vacate properties at nil or limited cost during the life of the contract. HMRC intends to maximise the use of the contract's flexibility and until vacation plans for Phoenix House are finalised, it is not known whether disposal costs will be applicable.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultation HM Revenue and Customs undertook with the representatives of the whisky industry over the closure of its office in Elgin. 
Angus Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assistance HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has offered staff at Elgin over the workforce change programme; whether HM Revenue and Customs plans any compulsory redundancies in respect of its staff at its offices in Elgin; and how many staff at those offices will be redeployed by HMRC to other locations. 
Mr. Timms: Following the announcement on 4 December 2008 that HMRC would withdraw from its office at Phoenix House, Elgin, managers have held one-to-one meetings with staff to discuss their options, taking account of individual personal circumstances. A regional implementation team was set up to explore redeployment options and find suitable opportunities within HMRC and in other Government Departments and agencies. Seminars for all affected staff are being held, and further support is being planned for those staff who want to continue their civil service careers.
There is one HMRC employee in Elgin for whom redeployment options are being explored. Staff who cannot be redeployed are eligible to be considered for voluntary redundancy on compulsory terms. HMRC is committed to avoiding compulsory redundancies wherever possible.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcomes were of the HM Revenue and Customs (a) Customer Journeys Individuals (two phases) and (b) Complaints Tracking Research (three phases) survey completed since 2006. 
Mr. Timms: The Customer journeys research is designed to help HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) understand interactions from the customer perspective The information and data from this research are used in analysis of our processes. A summary of this research is due to be published in line with HMRC's publication policy.
The Complaints Tracking Research is a rolling survey of customers whose complaints have been finalised. The survey measures customer satisfaction with HMRC's complaints handling procedures and the information is used to improve the handling of complaints. A summary of the research is due to be published in line with HMRC's publication policy.
John Battle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of calls to the tax credits helpline were terminated before being answered by an operator in (a) the month preceding the tax credits renewal deadline and (b) the full year of (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07, (iii) 2007-08 and (iv) 2008-09. 
Mr. Timms: The information requested is provided in the following tables. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have taken "terminated" to mean the number of calls that were played a busy message and which asked customers to ring back later together with the number of calls where the customer was placed into a queue to speak with an adviser, but abandoned the call before being connected.
During peak periods, customers who cannot get through on their first attempt often use the redial facility on their telephone to make numerous successive calls which increases the number and proportion of unanswered calls.
Performance during peak periods has shown significant improvement with HMRC handling over 74 per cent. of call attempts during the tax credits peak (April to July) in 2009-10 compared with 37 per cent. during the same period in 2008-09. The most recent results from HMRC's customer satisfaction survey shows a result of 89 per cent. for overall customer satisfaction, which compares well with private sector benchmark of 87 per cent.
|Month preceding the renewal deadline||Number of busy and abandoned( 1) calls (million)||Busy and abandoned calls (as a percentage of call attempts)|
|Year/period||Number of busy and abandoned( 1) calls (million)||Busy and abandoned calls (as a percentage of call attempts)|
|(1) Abandoned, where the call was disconnected after the caller selected an option from the call steering menu, but before being connected to speak to an adviser.|
Mr. Maude: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer of 11 November 2009, Official Report, column 590W, on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), what measures and indicators HMRC uses to count the number and frequency of telephone calls that are (a) not answered and (b) not answered promptly. 
HM Revenue and Customs' Contact Centres, which handle the majority of HMRC telephone inquiries, use a variety of measures and indicators to
gauge the level of performance. The main measures used to identify the number of calls which are not answered are the number of: engaged tones, busy messages played and calls abandoned in the queue.
HMRC Contact Centres do not have a specific measure for calls that are not answered promptly, however in common with the wider call centre industry, the Department measures the number and percentage of calls that are offered into the queue to speak to an adviser and which are then answered within 20 seconds.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out, with statistical information related as directly as possible to the Slough constituency, the effects on Slough of his Department's policies and actions since 2000. 
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: The Neighbourhood Statistics Service provides a wide range of statistical information at parliamentary constituency level, taken from the 2001 census and other sources. This service is available on the National Statistics website at
The global recession has had a negative impact on economic activity in all parts of the UK. However, the economy was starting from a position of strength and is actively supported by policies implemented by the Government, including the fiscal stimulus and a significant package of support for those out of work.
In Slough people are benefiting from this investment. Over the second half of 2009, more than 700 people moved off of the claimant count each month on average. The claimant count fell for two consecutive months in November and December and now stands more than 7 per cent. below its October level. Long-term unemployment is still 90 per cent. lower than in 2000 at the end of 2009.
John Battle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the average length of time taken was for (a) all claimant and (b) claimants who are citizens of EU A8 and A2 countries of tax credits who dropped their claim before receiving payment between receipt and dropping of the claim in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07, (iii) 2007-08 and (iv) 2008-09; 
(2) what proportion of (a) tax credit and (b) child benefit claims by (i) all claimants and (ii) claimants who were citizens of EU A8 and A2 countries did not result in payment in (A) 2005-06, (B) 2006-07, (C) 2007-08 and (D) 2008-09. 
Mr. Timms: The information requested is available only at disproportionate cost, as HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) systems do not centrally capture information on the time between a claim for tax credits or child benefit being made and it being withdrawn or rejected.
Tax credits and child benefit claims might not result in payment for several reasons. For example, claimants can withdraw their claim before it is awarded, eligibility criteria might not be met or claimants might not be entitled to tax credits because their income exceeds the upper threshold. Claims might also be withdrawn or rejected by HMRC for administrative reasons.
Information about child benefit and tax credits claims made by nationals from A8 countries between May 2004 and March 2009 is included in the Accession Monitoring Report published by the Home Office UK Border Agency, available at:
|A2 Claims for child benefit-United Kingdom|
|Period||Claims received||Claims approved||Claims rejected||Awards terminated|
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