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18 Oct 2010 : Column 534W—continued


Criminal Proceedings: Legal Aid

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether his Department ring-fences the criminal legal aid budget; [16833]


18 Oct 2010 : Column 535W

(2) what the cost to the public purse was of (a) civil and (b) criminal legal aid in (i) 2007-08, (ii) 2008-09 and (iii) 2009-10. [16834]

Mr Djanogly: Expenditure on criminal legal aid is not ring-fenced but is met from the Ministry's overall departmental expenditure limit. Net cash expenditure on civil and criminal legal aid for the past three years is shown in the following table.

£ million

2007-08 2008-09 2009-10( 1)

Community Legal Service (CLS)

844

913

941

Criminal Defence Service (CDS)

1,179

1,187

1,205

Total

2,023

2,100

2,146

(1 )Figures for 2009-10 are estimates. The final position will be reported when the LSC annual report and accounts are published.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he has made an estimate of the change in the level of carbon dioxide emissions from his Department since May 2010; and what steps he plans to take to meet his Department's target of reducing such emissions by 10 per cent. by May 2011. [16814]

Mr Djanogly: The Ministry of Justice's: change in the level of carbon dioxide it has emitted since May 2010 together with the steps the Ministry of Justice plans to take to meet its target of reducing such emissions by 10% by May 2011 have been published on the internet and can be found at:

The document 'Scope of 10% Carbon Dioxide emissions reduction commitment' (pages 4, 5 and 14) available through the above link refers.

Departmental Legislation

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many statutory duties were placed on local authorities by legislation introduced by his Department in each year since its inception; and if he will make a statement. [17022]

Mr Djanogly: The Government are committed to reducing top down burdens on local authorities from legislation, guidance and other forms of prescription.

The Ministry of Justice does not currently hold a central record of the information requested. Collating the information would require a comprehensive review of all legislation, both primary and secondary, enacted by the Department since May 2007 and therefore cannot be provided except at a disproportionate cost.

Departmental Manpower

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) officials of his Department and (b) external advisers are working on his Department's consultation on the provision of magistrates' and county court services. [16558]


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Mr Djanogly: On 23 June 2010 the Justice Secretary announced, via written ministerial statement, a consultation on the future provision of court services across England and Wales. The consultation closed on 15 September and the Government aim to publish their response by the end of the year.

A core team is working on the consultation process. This is currently a team of eight, which has been formulated from existing resources within Her Majesty's Courts Service and the Ministry of Justice. The team has been supported by other officials across the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty's Courts Service as part of their other duties.

There are no external advisors working on the consultation on court services. We have procured services to conduct travel time analysis and for some small scale social research on the public's use of courts.

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many officials his Department has appointed on fixed-term contracts since 7 May 2010. [16796]

Mr Djanogly: Between 6 May to 30 June 2010 (the date of the latest published data) 211 civil servants who were appointed to the Ministry of Justice (including the National Offender Management Service) were on fixed term contracts.

Departmental Recruitment

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to recruit staff to Senior Civil Service posts in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [17361]

Mr Djanogly: Future work force plans for the Ministry will be reassessed in light of the outcome of the forthcoming Spending Review settlement. For any future recruitment, at the senior civil service level or otherwise, the Ministry will continue to comply with the restrictions on recruitment announced by the Government on 25 May 2010.

Expert Evidence: Legal Aid

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in respect of how many expert witnesses costs were paid from (a) civil and (b) criminal legal aid budgets in (i) 2007-08, (ii) 2008-09 and (iii) 2009-10. [16836]

Mr Djanogly: The Legal Services Commission does not record centrally the costs paid to expert witnesses in legally aided cases. As this information is not readily available it could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Immigration

Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on how many occasions the Tribunals Service has received requests from the UK Border Agency to re-send appeal determination notifications from the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and its predecessors in the last 12 months. [16780]


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Mr Djanogly: The First Tier Tribunal-Immigration and Asylum Chamber does not hold the information which my hon. Friend requested.

Judges: Public Appointments

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) Crown Court, (b) county court, (c) High Court and (d) Supreme Court judges were appointed in each of the last three years; what the cost to the public purse was of making such appointments to each court in each such year; and if he will make a statement. [17360]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The following table shows the number of appointments made by type of judge in the last three financial years-information is collated in this way rather than by type of court.

Costings are not collected routinely in the way requested. However, estimated MOJ staffing costs for those appointments totalled £523,343 in 2007-08, £566,114 in 2008-09 and £580,596 in 2009-10. The Judicial Appointments Commission similarly cannot break down the costs of these particular appointments but they received grant in aid funding of £7.13 million in 2007-08, £8.15 million in 2008-09 and £7.61 million in 2009-10.

Appointment type 2007- 08 2008- 09 2009- 10

Circuit Judge

59

42

75

Recorder

6

75

191

District Judge

23

25

20

Deputy District Judge

40

19

1

High Court Judge

15

14

7

Justice of the Supreme Court

(1)-

(1)-

3

Totals

143

175

297

(1) Not created until 1 October 2009

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) Crown Court, (b) county court, (c) High Court and (d) Supreme Court judges he expects to be appointed in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [17380]

Mr Djanogly: Judicial appointments in the Crown court and county courts will be made from existing and future appointment lists of selected candidates depending upon the needs that arise. Plans to create future lists will be established once allocations for Her Majesty's Courts Service are finalised following the forthcoming spending review. It is currently anticipated that there will be two judicial appointments at High Court level and one in the Court of Appeal which are likely to be filled within the next 12 months. A competition has recently been launched to fill two vacancies in the Supreme Court.

Legal Aid

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were granted (a) civil and (b) criminal legal aid in (i) 2007-08, (ii) 2008-09 and (iii) 2009-10. [16835]

Mr Djanogly: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) does not record the number of people who receive legal aid instead it records the number of 'acts of assistance'.
18 Oct 2010 : Column 538W
One individual may receive a number of separate acts of assistance, and one act of assistance can help more than one person.

The LSC's figures acts of assistance for civil legal aid and criminal legal aid over the past three years are shown in the following table.

Million

Civil legal aid acts of assistance Criminal legal aid acts of assistance

2007-08

1.15

1.50

2008-09

1.31

1.55

2009-10(1)

1.43

1.53

(1) Figures for 2009-10 are estimated. The final position will be reported when the LSC Annual Report and Accounts are published.

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many legal practices in (a) Houghton and Sunderland South constituency and (b) Sunderland local authority area are to be awarded contracts to provide family legal aid services from November 2010. [17096]

Mr Djanogly: Following the legal proceedings by The Law Society in respect of the Legal Services Commission's (LSC) tender for family services judgment was handed down on 30 September in favour of the Law Society. The effect of this was to quash the family tender.

The LSC is currently considering the detail of the judgment and its implications, including its grounds for appeal. In light of the judgment, details of awards in the Family Category of Law are not currently available.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether provisions exist under the terms of the 2007 Unified Civil Contract for legal aid services for the extension of the contract; and whether his Department has made provision for financial redress to those affected by extension beyond the terms specified in the contract. [17940]

Mr Djanogly: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is the non- departmental public body with responsibility for the administration of the legal aid fund and the tender process and award of legal aid contracts are operational matters for the LSC.

As stated in my written answer of 11 October, the first one-month extension of the Unified Contract (Civil) was implemented by the LSC in accordance with the contract's standard terms and following consultation with the representative bodies. The latest extension (to 15 December) was made in response to the judgment in R (On the application of Law Society of England and Wales) v Legal Services Commission [2010] All ER (D) 01 (Oct), again in accordance with the contact standard terms and following consultation with the representative bodies. In the circumstances, no question of compensation arises.

Legal Aid: Contracts

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many local providers of legal aid services have received contracts from the Legal Services Commission under the 2010 tendering process. [17238]


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Mr Djanogly: Legal aid contracts for crime services commenced on 14 July 2010. Following the 2010 tender process for this work, 1,740 contracts were let across England and Wales.

Following the legal proceedings by the Law Society in respect of the Legal Services Commission's (LSC) tender for family services judgment was handed down on 30 September in favour of the Law Society. The effect of this was to quash the family tender.

The LSC is currently considering the detail of the judgment and its implications, including its grounds for appeal. In light of the judgment, details of awards in the Family Category of Law are not currently available. For civil non-family work existing contracts have been extended to 15 November. The tender exercise will conclude following the finalisation of the current appeals process and the pre-contract verification exercise. Once concluded, the LSC intends to publish the outcome of the tender process on its website at:

Legal Services Commission: Contracts

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many contracts to practise (a) family, (b) social welfare and (c) criminal law were awarded by the Legal Services Commission in each year since 2005; [16888]

(2) how many local providers of legal aid services received contracts from the Legal Services Commission in each year since 2005. [16889]

Mr Djanogly: Figures for the number of solicitor offices in England and Wales providing legal aid services in each year since 2005 are available and are shown in the following table. Prior to the introduction of the civil unified contract in April 2007 and criminal unified contract in July 2008, legal aid providers delivering services in more than one office would hold separate contracts for each of those offices. In addition, where providers have decided not to continue providing civil legal aid services, they may nevertheless still have an account or accounts with the Legal Services Commission while they continue to deal with their remaining clients.

Civil Criminal

2005

4,430

2,643

2006

4,101

2,608

2007

3,895

2,510

2008

3,627

2,230

2009

3,585

2,245

2010(1)

3,206

2,137

(1) 2009-10 figures are unaudited. The final position will be reported in the LSC's annual report and accounts 2009-10 which will be reported later in the year.

The breakdown in civil legal aid is shown in the following table.


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Not for Profit Solicitors

2005

441

3,989

2006

469

3,632

2007

458

3,437

2008

n/a

n/a

2009

360

2,253

2010(1)

404

2,802

n/a = Information not available in the annual report.
(1) 2009-10 figures are unaudited. The final position will be reported in the LSC's annual report and accounts 2009-10 which will be reported later in the year.

Magistrates Courts

James Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the disposal of buildings used by magistrates' courts which are to close under his proposals on the provision of court services; and if he will make a statement. [16753]

Mr Djanogly: As no decision has yet been taken on closing any court, it would be inappropriate to pre-empt that by undertaking detailed disposal assessments. These will be created following decisions on closures.

Treatment of capital receipts will form part of the Ministry of Justice settlement from the 2010 spending review. Tide outcome of the review will determine how the disposal programme will proceed.

Magistrates: Public Appointments

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the appointment of magistrates in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [17415]

Mr Djanogly: The need to recruit new magistrates is determined annually by local Advisory Committees on Justices of the Peace. The committees take into account projected retirements, resignations, average sitting days, work load and the use of district judges (magistrates courts). No digest of these decisions is created in the Ministry of Justice so there is not a national picture of planned magistrate recruitment available for the financial year 2011-12.

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates were appointed in each of the last three years. [17416]

Mr Djanogly: In each of the last three financial years, the following number of magistrates were appointed.

Number of magistrates appointed

2007-08

1,899

2008-09

1,773

2009-10

1,632


Prisoners

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance his Department issues on the recommended minimum ratio of prisoners to prison officers on duty at any one time. [17762]

Mr Blunt: Minimum staffing levels are set by governors. No central guidance has been issued to governors on a minimum ratio of prisoners to prison officers across the prison as a whole. The Specification, Benchmarking and Costing programme is producing non-mandatory
18 Oct 2010 : Column 541W
operating models for services operated in prisons, which can include potential staffing models. Governors may use these operating models to inform their decisions about staffing. The programme publishes a full list of the prison and probation services to be covered by the programme, which has been placed in the Library of the House.

Prisons: Drugs

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on drug addiction services in prisons. [17932]

Mr Blunt: I have had discussions with Ministers in a number of Departments including the Department of Health, Home Office and the Cabinet Office. These have covered a range of drugs related topics, including reforming drug addiction services in prisons.

Probation Service: Manpower

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on (a) staff headcount and (b) prisoners in Northumbria of Probation Service expenditure reductions of (i) 10, (ii) 20 and (iii) 30 per cent; [17576]

(2) what assessment he has made of the potential effects on prisoner numbers in Northumbria of Probation Service expenditure reductions of (a) 10, (b) 20 and (c) 30 per cent; [17578]

(3) what recent assessment he has made of the potential effects on the (a) caseload of Northumbria Probation Service and (b) provision by that service of (i) court reports and (ii) supervision of people on parole licences of Probation Service expenditure reductions of (A) 10, (B) 20 and (C) 30 per cent. [17593]

Mr Blunt: To reduce the budget deficit, the Government are examining all areas of public expenditure, including the criminal justice system, to see where savings can be made. The Ministry of Justice is discussing options with the Treasury: the outcome of the spending review will be announced on 20 October. Following the announcement, the Ministry of Justice will decide how funding is to be allocated. We will work with probation trusts to ensure that they are able to provide the reports requested by the courts and to supervise offenders sentenced to community orders or on release from custody, in accordance with sentencing guidelines.

Work to protect the public and to reduce reoffending is a key priority. All probation trusts should ensure that savings are achieved by streamlining administration and improving working practices. Funding should be focused on front line services, to protect the public and reduce reoffending.

Rape: Victim Support Schemes

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what long-term funding he plans to make available to (a) existing and (b) new rape crisis centres; and if he will make a statement. [17174]

Mr Blunt: Decisions on funding for 2011-12 will be made following the comprehensive spending review.


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Regulation of Investigation Powers Act 2000

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions there have been under section 1 of the Regulation of Investigation Powers Act 2000 on the unlawful interception of telephone communications since the implementation of that provision. [17343]

Mr Blunt: The number of defendants found guilty at all courts in England and Wales for the years 2000 to 2008 (latest available), for offences under section 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, for the offence of unlawful interception of a postal public or private telecommunication scheme, is shown in the table.

The regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 came into force on 28 July 2000.

Court proceedings data for 2009 are planned for publication on 21 October 2010.

Number of defendants found guilty( 1,2) at all courts for offences under Section 1(1)(2)(7) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, England and Wales 2000 to 2008( 3,4,5,6)
Offence code 9956

Found guilty

2000(3,4)

-

2001

-

2002

1

2003

3

2004

4

2005

1

2006

-

2007

-

2008(6)

-

(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) Staffordshire Police Force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table.
(4) The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 came into force on 28 July 2000 source:
www.statutelaw.gov.uk
(5) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008.
(6) The following corresponding offence description is used:
Unlawful interception of a postal public or private telecommunication scheme.
Source:
Justice Statistics Analytical Services-Ministry of Justice

Reoffenders

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the re-offending rate was, expressed in terms of number of (a) offences per 100 offenders, (b) offences per 100 re-offenders and (c) severe offences per 100 offenders, for male offenders with each number
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of previous offences subject to (i) court orders, (ii) custodial sentences of any length, (iii) custodial sentences of 12 months or less for each (A) group and (B) type of offence in 2008. [17469]

Mr Blunt: The data provided shows the one year reoffending rates for adult males discharged from custody or commencing a court order between January and March of 2008.

Table 1, which has been placed in the Library, provides (a) offences per 100 offenders, (b) offences per 100 reoffenders and (c) severe offences per 100 offenders, for male offenders with each number of previous offences subject to (i) court orders and (ii) custodial sentences of any length for each group of offence for 2008.

Table 2, which has also been placed in the Library, provides (a) offences per 100 offenders, (b) offences per 100 reoffenders and (c) severe offences per 100 offenders, for male offenders with each number of previous offences subject to (iii) custodial sentences of 12 months or less for each group of offence for 2008.

Reoffending rates by disposal should not be compared to assess the effectiveness of sentences, as there is no control for known differences in offender characteristics. While the data for offenders commencing court orders shows lower reoffending rates than offenders discharged from prison, it is important to note that offenders sentenced to prison have on average a higher probability of reoffending based on their previous criminal history.

More information on the reoffending rates is available from the Ministry of Justice website at:

Reparation By Offenders

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what restorative justice pilot schemes his Department (a) is operating and (b) has recently completed. [17933]

Mr Blunt: Pre-sentence restorative justice for adults was trialled as part of Government commissioned Crime Reduction Programme Restorative Justice Pilots, which ran between 2001 and 2004.

We have piloted the Youth Restorative Disposal that allows police officers to resolve minor first-time offences by young people using restorative techniques. The pilot is being independently evaluated and will be considered as part of our comprehensive review of sentencing and rehabilitation.

Squatting: Crime

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to make squatting a criminal offence. [17439]

Mr Blunt: We are considering whether the law in relation to squatting in residential premises should be strengthened and whether there are any enforcement issues.

Any change to the law would need to be considered against other commitments in the coalition agreement.


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Treasury

Child Benefit

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence he took into account in formulating his policy on the reform of child benefit. [16821]

Mr Gauke: The Government consider a wide range of factors when formulating policy and will set out further information on the announcement to withdraw child benefit from higher rate taxpayers at the spending review.

Child Trust Fund: Children in Care

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many looked after and accommodated children in each (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) local authority in Scotland received payments from a child trust fund in each year since such funds were established; [17062]

(2) what recent representations he has received from children's organisations on the ending of child trust funds for looked after and accommodated children; [17064]

(3) how much the Government has spent on Child Trust Funds for looked after and accommodated children in each year since the inception of that scheme. [17524]

Mr Hoban: Statistical information about Child Trust Funds is published on HM Revenue and Customs' website at

This shows that at 5 April 2009 the total number of children who have been reported as being in local authority care and for whom a child trust fund has been opened is 33,158. Information on Child Trust Funds for looked after and accommodated children is not available at parliamentary constituency or local authority level.

Information is not available on the precise amount of payments made by HM Revenue and Customs to the Child Trust Fund accounts of looked after children. Some of these children will have received the special government payment of £500 for looked after children (reduced to £100 from August 2010). Others will already have had a Child Trust Fund before they entered local authority care and will have been subject to the normal government payments into their Child Trust Funds.

The Department for Education (formerly the Department for Children, Schools and Families) has provided the following amounts to local authorities in England, and to the devolved assemblies, to fund extra annual £100 top up payments for looked after children:

£

2008-09

1,039,833

2009-10

1,502,786


The Government have announced that, to help reduce Britain's budget deficit, it will end eligibility for Child Trust Funds from January 2011, and therefore stop all government payments. We have not received any recent representations from children's organisations about the ending of Child Trust Funds for looked after and accommodated children.


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Civil Servants: Pensions

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an estimate of the effect of the implementation of his proposal that public service pension schemes be increased in line with the consumer price index in 2010-11 prices over the course of retirement on the pension of an active member of the Classic section of the Civil Service Pension Scheme aged 40 years who will draw his pension at 60 years after 40 years' service in the scheme with earnings of (a) £15,000, (b) £20,000, (c) £30,000 and (d) £40,000 per annum. [16646]


18 Oct 2010 : Column 546W

Danny Alexander: The Government have not estimated the effect of indexing based on the consumer prices index (CPI) instead of the retail price index (RPI) over the course of retirement for specific groups in the public service pension schemes. However, the overall estimated savings in annually managed expenditure for public service pension expenditure were made available in answers to the right hon. Member for Stirling (Mrs McGuire) on 27 July 2010, Official Report, column 991W.

The table shows the likely change in cash terms for each financial year from 2011 -12 to 2016-17 for public service pensioners as requested. It is based on the OBR forecasts for CPI and RPI to 2016-17.

2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17

RPI (%)

4.2

3.4

3.0

3.2

3.4

3.5

CPI (%)

2.8

2.6

1.9

2.0

2.0

2.0

£2,500

RPI (£)

2,605

2,694

2,774

2,863

2,961

3,064

CPI (£)

2,570

2,673

2,745

2,830

2,920

3,020

£5,000

RPI (£)

5,210

5,387

5,549

5,726

5,921

6,128

CPI (£)

5,140

5,345

5,489

5,660

5,841

6,039

£10,000

RPI (£)

10,420

10,774

11,098

11,453

11,842

12,256

CPI (£)

10,280

10,691

10,979

11,319

11,682

12,079

£20,000

RPI (£)

20,840

21,549

22,195

22,905

23,684

24,513

CPI (£)

20,560

21,382

21,958

22,639

23,363

24,158


Individual public service pension schemes are the responsibility of the relevant administering departments and in the case of the civil service pension scheme this would be the Cabinet Office.

Corporation Tax: Redcar

Ian Swales: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of companies that will be affected by the reduction in small profits rate of corporation tax from April 2011 in Redcar constituency. [16540]

Mr Gauke: No estimate is available for the number of companies that will be affected by the reduction in small profits rate of corporation tax in Redcar constituency.

Departmental Carbon Emissions

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an estimate of the change in the level of carbon dioxide emissions from his Department since May 2010; and what steps he plans to take to meet his Department's target of reducing such emissions by 10% by May 2011. [16818]

Justine Greening: At the time of the Prime Minister's announcement in May 2010 an HM Treasury (HMT) assessment concluded that it would be possible to meet its target over the full period.

Between May and August 2010, HMT's emissions reduced by 4.2%, from 312 tonnes of CO2 to 299 tonnes.

The latest data on carbon reduction is available online at:

Departmental ICT

Graham Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies and non-departmental public bodies has spent on information and communication technology in each year since 1997. [7328]

Justine Greening: Spending on information and communication technology equipment and services is shown in the following table:


18 Oct 2010 : Column 547W
£ million

HM Treasury (HMT) Debt Management Office (DMO) Asset Protection Agency (APA)

2002-03

n/a

1.7

n/a

2003-04

n/a

1.3

n/a

2004-05

6.3

1.6

n/a

2005-06

7.0

1.8

n/a

2006-07

7.4

2.0

n/a

2007-08

13.9

2.5

n/a

2008-09

9.8

2.0

n/a

2009-10

16.2

2.2

2.9


In 2007-08 and 2008-09 HMT implemented a programme to relocate the Office of Government Commerce and create a shared IT service for both organisations. In 2009-10 HMT began a programme of investment to update the Treasury Group's IT infrastructure, to improve its resilience and reliability and modernise its services to deliver improved management of information, as well as better collaborative tools and communications.

Data for HMT prior to 2004-05 and for DMO prior to 2002-03 are not available due to the introduction of a new accounting system.

The APA was established in December 2009.

The Royal Mint Advisory Committee has not incurred any spending on information and communications technology.

Spending Challenge Programme

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of establishing and operating the Spending Challenge programme. [16573]

Danny Alexander: The Government committed to ensuring this spending review process was open, responsible and fair and to engaging the whole public in the difficult decisions that have to be taken. The Spending Challenge was an important part of this, attracting over 100,000 suggestions from public sector workers and members of the public on how Government can do more with less.

The cost of establishing and operating the Spending Challenge website was £19,300. Related staff and process costs were met using existing resources and from existing budgets.

The Chancellor has already announced three ideas submitted to the Spending Challenge by members of the public and public sector workers will be implemented as policy by the Government.

These ideas are (a) to reduce the number of CRB checks for Junior Doctors, by taking a more common- sense approach across the NHS, so that junior doctors are not checked repeatedly over a short space of time, saving up to £1 million a year; (b) to distribute National Insurance numbers to people with a letter rather than a plastic card, also saving up to £1 million; and (c) to increase the selling of surplus and second hand Government equipment by expanding the use of the Ministry of Defence's eDisposals service for use across all Government departments.


18 Oct 2010 : Column 548W

The Government will continue to highlight where ideas submitted by the public have been taken into account when the results of the Spending Review are announced on 20 October.

Departmental Manpower

Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many full-time equivalent staff of his Department were engaged in reducing tax avoidance and evasion in each of the last five years. [16634]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs deploy compliance officers on a wide range of compliance activities including risk assessment, addressing inaccurate returns and verifying repayment claims, debt collection and criminal investigations across all heads of duty. HMRC have specialist teams to deal with avoidance and evasion once it has been identified and referred to them for a response. These are Civil Investigation of Fraud (CIF), Specialist Investigations (SI) and Anti-Avoidance Group (AAG). For most interventions avoidance and evasion are likely to be finally identified, and escalated as necessary, once an intervention has begun, so it is not possible to identify how many compliance officers we have working solely on the responses to these behaviours. The number of compliance officers deployed by HMRC over the last five years was:

FTE compliance officer

2005-06

39,000

2006-07

37,000

2007-08

34,500

2008-09

32,000

2009-10

31,000


Departmental Private Finance Initiative

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what projects under the private finance initiative are being undertaken in Stevenage constituency; and what the monetary value is of each such contract. [17902]

Danny Alexander: A list of operational and in procurement PFI projects can be found on HM Treasury's website at:

For each PFI project, this list details the project name, the capital value, the constituency, the procuring authority and whether it is on or off balance sheet; as used by the ONS in calculating public sector net debt.

EU External Trade: Israel

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer to the then hon. Member for Milton Keynes South West of 18 March 2010, Official Report, column 1022W, on EU external trade: Israel, how many (a) cosmetic companies and (b) importers were targeted for checks; what the nature of the checks was; what documentation was required and from whom; whether the investigations have been completed; and whether any mislabelling has been detected. [16675]


18 Oct 2010 : Column 549W

Mr Gauke: For reasons of commercial confidentiality HMRC is unable to say how many cosmetic companies and importers were targeted for checks. However, it has undertaken checks in respect of a range of cosmetic products imported from Israel. So far, two duty demands have been issued in 2010 where the accompanying proof of preferential origin showed that the goods were produced in a settlement. HMRC will continue to make regular checks on imports from Israel which receive preference under the EU-Israel agreement. However, the majority of cosmetic products attract a free rate of customs duty outside of any preferential tariff arrangement.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the contribution of the former Exchequer Secretary on 27 January 2010, Official Report, column 320WH, whether he has yet received a copy of the reports of the fact-finding mission of the European Commission to Israel and Palestine in 2009. [16676]

Mr Gauke: HMRC has not received copies of reports of the fact finding missions to Israel and Palestine in 2009. However, it understands that in April 2010 the EU Commission provided an EU Council Working Group with a brief oral report of its findings in which it concluded that the 2005 Technical Arrangement is working satisfactorily.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer to the then hon. Member for Milton Keynes South West of 18 March 2010, Official Report, column 1022W, on EU external trade: Israel, what progress HM Revenue and Customs has made in checking exports made under the EU-Israel Agreement from settlement companies listed in the 2009 research paper prepared by the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. [16683]

Mr Gauke: HMRC has examined customs import declarations from all companies mentioned in the research paper. There were no imports from a number of the companies. For some of the companies that did export goods to the UK, the proofs of preferential origin covering goods indicated that the goods were produced in Israel. HMRC is returning the proofs concerned to the Israeli authorities for verification of the origin of the goods. HMRC has already issued duty demands for goods imported from four of the companies in the paper whose goods have been established as originating in a settlements location.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer to the then hon. Member for Milton Keynes South West of 10 March 2010, Official Report, column 676W, on Israel: EU external trade, whether the consignment with commodity code 34013000 is still under investigation; and whether HM Revenue and Customs has received confirmation of its place of production. [16684]

Mr Gauke: Goods covered by commodity code 34013000 are under investigation. HMRC asked the Israeli authorities in September 2010 to verify the origin of three consignments of the products concerned. A response is awaited.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the contribution of the former Exchequer Secretary of 27 January 2010,
18 Oct 2010 : Column 550W
Official Report, column 321WH, how many importers have been issued a financial penalty since the entry into force of the new civil penalty provision for persistent claims of preference outside entitlements; what guidance has been issued on the frequency of false preference claims outside entitlements which constitute persistent submission; whether HM Revenue and Customs is recording the false declarations made by each importer which they have detected; and what the policy of HM Revenue and Customs is on checking the imports of importers who have previously made claims outside preference entitlements. [16685]

Mr Gauke: HMRC has published on its website a schedule, taken from the Customs (Contravention of a relevant rule) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, of those situations in which an importer may incur a financial penalty. It supplements the guidance in HMRC Notice 301 on civil penalties in the customs area.

HMRC also keeps records of false declarations made by importers in respect of the preferential origin of goods. It is HMRC's policy to regularly examine the customs import entries of those importers who have previously made invalid declarations. Demands are issued for the full rate of customs duty, where appropriate.

HMRC is unable to extract specific information in respect of the number of warning letters and penalty notices issued in respect of the new penalty provision, which came into force in December 2009 for the persistent presentation of invalid proofs of preferential origin.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the contribution of the former Exchequer Secretary of 27 January 2010, Official Report, column 320WH, which supermarkets HM Revenue and Customs has contacted to explore potential discrepancies between settlement origin identified by the supermarket's internal tracking system and the customs imports declaration. [16686]

Mr Gauke: For reasons of commercial confidentiality, HMRC cannot disclose its dealings with specific UK companies. However, it continues to experience traceability problems as a result of intermediaries rather than supermarkets being shown as importers on customs import declarations. HMRC therefore supports the work of DEFRA in encouraging supermarkets, under voluntary labelling arrangements, to ensure that their suppliers correctly mark the origin of the produce originating in the settlements. This will help HMRC to identify such products at the time of importation.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the contribution of the former Exchequer Secretary of 27 January 2010, Official Report, column 321WH, what changes HM Revenue and Customs plans to make to the 2005 technical arrangements to ensure compliance with the rules on claims for preference. [16687]

Mr Gauke: The 2005 Technical Arrangement was concluded in the EU-Israel Customs Co-operation Committee by the EU Commission acting on behalf of the European Union as a whole. Consequently, the UK cannot take unilateral action to amend its terms. However, HMRC will continue to immediately refuse, under the
18 Oct 2010 : Column 551W
arrangement, claims to Israeli tariff preference where a settlements location is shown on the accompanying proof of origin. It will also continue to return proofs to the Israeli authorities for verification where it has doubts about the origin of the goods concerned.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the contribution of the former Exchequer Secretary of 27 January 2010, Official Report, column 320WH, what steps the European Commission has taken in response to the HM Revenue and Customs request for correct compliance by the Israeli authorities in respect of the precise place of production on the proof of preferential origin. [16688]

Mr Gauke: The European Commission continues to monitor the correct operation by Israel of the 2005 Technical Arrangement. It periodically asks member states for information and concerns in respect of the operation of the arrangement. In the last year only the UK has raised concerns about the possibility that the place of production shown on the proof of origin is simply a head office or distribution centre in Israel, and that the goods concerned may have in fact originated in a settlement. HMRC does not have any information about the Commission's current plans for any bilateral contacts with the Israeli authorities.

EU Grants and Loans

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 195W, on the European Investment Bank, to which entities the European Investment Bank has provided over £1 million since it was established; and in which country each such entity is based. [17478]

Mr Hoban: The information that my hon. Friend requires can be found on the website of the European Investment Bank at the following address:

EU Law: Fines

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on the balance of the Consolidated Fund of financial corrections imposed by the EU for failure to implement requirements of EU regulations. [17399]

Justine Greening: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris) on 7 July 2010, Official Report, column 292W.

Excise Duties: Biofuels

Dr Wollaston: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of existing levels of taxation on biofuels. [17105]

Justine Greening: Under plans inherited from the previous Government, the 20ppl biofuel duty differential ended on 1 April 2010 for all biofuels (biodiesel and bioethanol) except those produced from used cooking oils, which is currently subject to a two-year temporary extension of the differential. Support for biofuels is
18 Oct 2010 : Column 552W
provided by the renewable transport fuel obligation, which has a greater environmental focus. The Chancellor keeps all taxes under review.

Government Assets

Dr Pugh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made towards the target for the disposal of surplus fixed assets set in the 2007 comprehensive spending review. [16751]

Danny Alexander: Comprehensive spending review 2007 reported that £18.3 billion had been sold by March 2007. Since then, an additional £7.7 billion has been sold (latest figures to end of 2008-09).

The coalition Government set out in the June Budget 2010 their approach to managing assets, including a programme of asset commercialisation over the next 12 months.

Guardian's Allowance: Lone Parents

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward proposals to extend the eligibility criteria for Guardian's Allowance to relatives caring for a child in circumstances in which one parent is deceased and the surviving parent is unable to provide financial support. [17172]

Mr Gauke: We have no plans to change the conditions of entitlement to guardian's allowance.

Income Tax: Redcar

Ian Swales: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people in Redcar constituency who will be affected by the increase in the threshold for payment of the basic rate of income tax. [16538]

Mr Gauke: A total of 880,000 individuals are taken out of income tax. However, the information requested is not available at parliamentary constituency level due to small survey sample sizes at this level of geography, and because the information is based on 2007-08 survey data which would not be reliable for this purpose.

Available information on incomes and tax by parliamentary constituency based on the latest available Survey of Personal Incomes (2007-08) can be found in Table 3.15 'Income and tax by Parliamentary Constituency' on the HM Revenue and Customs website at:

International Monetary Fund

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the International Monetary Fund on (a) long-term unemployment, (b) public sector job creation and retention and (c) private sector job creation and retention. [15789]

Danny Alexander: The IMF holds regular bilateral discussions with each of its member countries as part of its country surveillance function, under Article IV of the IMF's Articles of Agreement. IMF staff recently visited the UK as part of their 2010 Article IV consultation, and met with a variety of institutions including
18 Oct 2010 : Column 553W
HM Treasury to discuss issues relating to the economy. The IMF's Concluding Statement sets out its view that the Government's deficit reduction plan will ensure the sustainability of the public finances and support economic growth. The IMF concluded that the early action taken by the Government has increased the credibility of the consolidation and is consistent with a sustainable recovery, in line with the OBR forecasts in the June Budget.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 20 July from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on the Rev Father P. Connelly, transferred by the Secretary of State for International Development. [17675]

Mr Hoban: I have replied to the right hon. Member.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 24 August from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Ms A. Kabdebo-Gedeon. [17677]

Justine Greening: A reply has been sent to the right hon. Member.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 23 August from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Mr K. Spelmam. [17678]

Mr Hoban: A reply has been sent to the right hon. Member.

National Insurance and PAYE

Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the national insurance and PAYE system began to operate. [15919]

Mr Gauke: The national insurance and PAYE service went live in June 2009.

National Insurance Fund

Steve Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the reasons are for the difference between the estimates of the surplus of the national insurance fund published by HM Revenue and Customs and the Debt Management Office. [16903]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) do not publish estimates of the National Insurance Fund (NIF) surplus. The actual surplus is recorded in the annual cash-based NIF accounts which are published on the HMRC website.

The Debt Management Office (DMO) publishes only retrospective data regarding the National Insurance Fund Investment Account (NIFIA) and publishes no forecasts. The UK DMO produces annual accounts for the NIFIA-the surplus disclosed in these accounts refers to the total interest income from the investments held by NIFIA during the period.

The DMO produced NIFIA surplus is thus different and not comparable to the HMRC produced NIF surplus.


18 Oct 2010 : Column 554W

PAYE

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps HM Revenue and Customs plans to take to assess hardship in cases where individuals cannot afford to make repayments of underpaid tax as a result of historical errors in the PAYE system; [15457]

(2) at what rate interest will be charged on underpaid tax owed by individuals as a result of recent miscalculations of tax liability made by HM Revenue and Customs in the PAYE system; [15461]

(3) at what rate interest will be paid on overpaid tax owed to individuals as a result of recent miscalculations of tax liability made by HM Revenue and Customs in the PAYE system. [15462]

Mr Gauke: It is a normal part of the PAYE cycle that changes in circumstances that cannot be reflected in in-year tax deductions need to be reconciled annually. This is not a Revenue error but the PAYE system not being able to react quickly enough to changes. PAYE works well for the majority of people, particularly those with stable circumstances, but because the processes remain fundamentally unchanged since they were introduced in 1944 there are limitations. The coalition Government are looking at how to reform PAYE further and make it more efficient.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) charge 3% interest on late paid tax and pay 0.5% interest on repayments of tax.

Following HMRC's recent end of year PAYE reconciliation exercise for the years 2008-09 and 2009-10, amounts overpaid will be repaid together with any accrued repayment interest.

For individuals who have underpaid tax by less than £2,000 HMRC will where possible collect this through salary deductions by adjusting tax codes. Interest is not chargeable in these cases.

HMRC has put in place a new process for people with 2008-09 and 2009-10 underpayments that cannot automatically be paid through their salary deductions-generally those who owe £2,000 or more. Individuals in this position will be offered the same length of time to pay as those with smaller underpayments and not face interest, provided they engage with HMRC and agree to pay their underpayment. Individuals who owe £2,000 or more will also have the option where possible of paying up to £2,000 through their salaries.

People facing financial difficulties in paying will be treated sympathetically and, where necessary, will be able to spread their payments up to three years.

PAYE: Chester

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many residents of City of Chester constituency have been identified as having (a) underpaid and (b) overpaid pay-as-you-earn contributions during the recent automated reconciliation of such payments. [17063]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is available only at disproportionate cost, as HMRC do not hold this data in relation to MPs' constituencies.


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Private and Public Sector: Manpower

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which officials within the Office for Budget Responsibility authorised the publication of the projections for public and private sector employment for the period 2011-2016 published on June 30. [6667]

Justine Greening: The Terms of Reference for the interim Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) state that it has discretion over what material it publishes. These terms of reference were agreed between Sir Alan Budd and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 8 June.

The interim OBR is committed to improved transparency as is set out in the foreword to the OBR's pre-Budget forecast published on 14 June. This foreword set out that the OBR would as far as possible meet requests for further background information.

The OBR's pre-Budget forecast and Budget forecast published on 22 June provided detailed information on the economy and public finances forecast, including detail on the labour market.

In response to a number of queries the interim Budget Responsibility Committee authorised the publication of the general Government employment assumptions on 30 June 2010.

Revenue and Customs

Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many local tax offices were in operation in each of the last five years; which such offices he plans to (a) retain and (b) close; and if he will make a statement. [16632]

Mr Gauke: The number of offices held by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are detailed in the following table. HMRC does not use the classification of "local tax office" and the numbers provided are the total HMRC offices at the beginning of April in each year.

Total number of HMRC offices

1 April:

2005

617

2006

594

2007

571

2008

545

2009

527

2010

446


The Department's Regional Review of its estate concluded in December 2008. In total 258 offices were identified for closure.

Details of the decisions made regarding each HMRC office, including the chief executive's 13 January 2010 formal announcement of 130 office closures as the final stage of the Regional Review, can be found on HMRC's web-page at:

HMRC office numbers since 2005 have been affected by the creation of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the UK Border Agency (UKBA). The associated transfer of offices to these agencies is in addition to vacations under the Regional Review programme. Following the transfer of HMRC offices to UKBA, the total number of HMRC offices at April 2010 was 446.


18 Oct 2010 : Column 556W

HMRC is currently reviewing its future accommodation needs but has not yet made firm plans for further office closures. However, in a number of buildings HMRC are seeking to take advantage of impending lease break opportunities.

Revenue and Customs: Manpower

Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many full-time equivalent staff work in each local tax office. [16631]

Mr Gauke: Most of HMRC's business is organised on national lines and it does not categorise its offices as "local" or otherwise. The total number of full-time equivalent staff in HMRC at 30 September 2010 was 67,498.8.

Revenue and Customs: Telephone Services

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of calls to the Tax Credit Helpline (a) took over 30 seconds to answer and (b) were lost in the last 12 months. [17046]

Mr Gauke: Aggregated data on the number of calls to the Tax Credit Helpline that took over 30 seconds to answer is not held centrally. Interrogating the call waiting time data HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does collect in order to provide this information could therefore be completed only at disproportionate cost.

HMRC does not have a specific measure to identify those calls that are "lost." In this instance, HMRC has interpreted "lost" to mean those calls which were "abandoned" after the customer selected an option from the call steering menu and were placed in a queue to speak to an adviser (i.e. - calls that HMRC Contact Centres have the capacity to answer but the call was abandoned/lost before connection to an adviser). For the period October 9 to September 10, the proportion of calls that were "abandoned" on the Tax Credit Helpline was 17%.

Sheffield Forgemasters: Correspondence

Angela Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether any Minister in his Department has received copies of (a) written and (b) e-mail correspondence on the matter of Sheffield Forgemasters addressed to Ministers in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills from Andrew Cook of William Cook Holdings; [15874]

(2) whether any Minister in his Department received correspondence on the matter of Sheffield Forgemasters from Andrew Cook, of William Cook Holdings, in May or June 2010. [15875]

Danny Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 29 June, Official Report, column 506W.

Social Security Benefits: Greater Manchester

Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of benefits claimants in Stretford and Urmston constituency who would be affected by implementation of the proposed cap on benefits of £26,000. [17398]


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Chris Grayling: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is not available at a parliamentary constituency level.

The information is available for Great Britain. Latest estimates show that in 2010-11 there are around 100,000 working age households in receipt of more than £500 a week in all benefits and tax credits, including disability living allowance. If disability living allowance is excluded then around 50,000 working age households are in receipt of more than £500 a week.

The Chancellor's announcement of a benefit cap was informed by high-level consideration of the broad impacts. We are now working up the more detailed design of the caps as part of the spending review. When we introduce legislation for the implementation of the caps, we shall publish an impact assessment.

State Retirement Pensions: Uprating

Mr Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an assessment of the likely effects on pensioners in (a) Blaydon constituency and (b) the North East of changes to state pension payments from April 2011 consequent on the use of the consumer price index as an uprating mechanism. [16584]

Steve Webb: I have been asked to reply.

The Government's proposals for increases in the rates of social security benefits including state pensions from April 2011 will be announced to Parliament in due course. As outlined in the emergency Budget the principles by which the elements of state pension will be increased are as follows.

The basic state pension is subject to a "triple guarantee" that it will be increased by the highest of prices, earnings or 2.5%, with an additional commitment that it will be increased in April 2011 only, in line with the retail prices index (RPI), should that index show the highest growth.

Someone retiring today on a full basic state pension will receive £15,000 more over their retirement than they would have done under the old prices link.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an estimate of the effect on private pensions payments of uprating them in line with the consumer price index. [16585]

Steve Webb: I have been asked to reply.

Legislation sets out the minimum increase for defined benefit private sector occupational pensions earned from service after April 1997. The consumer prices index (CPI) will be used to determine the minimum amounts for increasing private sector pension schemes going forward.

The impact on pensions in payment will vary depending on the rules of individual schemes and the circumstances of the individual. Schemes often choose to pay more than the minimum, for example, paying increases for service before 1997.


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It will also vary depending on how schemes respond to changes to the statutory minimum amounts. Some schemes may, for example, change their rules to adopt CPI as the measure of inflation, but others may choose to stay with RPI.

Tax Avoidance: Business

Dr Pugh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he plans to take to reduce the level of corporate tax avoidance. [16750]

Mr Gauke: This Government are committed to tackling avoidance wherever it occurs and will be building in sustainable defences against avoidance opportunities when undertaking policy reform and reviewing areas of the tax system in which repeated changes have been necessary to close loopholes. We are also exploring whether there is a case for developing a general anti avoidance rule (GAAR) for the UK.

Alongside this we will continue to use intelligence obtained from the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regime and other sources to detect avoidance schemes early and we will challenge avoidance robustly where we find it.

The Government announced on 20 September that they will make £900 million available over the spending review period to fund HMRC's compliance activities, both to tackle tax avoidance and to combat tax evasion.

Tax Collection

Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the monetary value of uncollected tax revenue in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [16743]

Mr Gauke: The recent publication of the tax gap figures for 2008-09 provides a detailed breakdown of the monetary value of the UK tax gap. This being the difference between the amount of tax collected and the amount that, in HMRC's opinion should be collected-the theoretical liability. This document can be found at:

and evidence suggests that the tax gap is in the order of £42 billion, 9% of the estimated total tax liability.

With regard to tax debt, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Solihull (Lorely Burt) on 11 October 2010, Official Report, column 243W.

Steve Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy not to support the proposal of HM Revenue and Customs for centralised deductions of tax and national insurance contributions. [17044]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published a discussion paper 'Improving the operation of Pay As You Earn (PAYE)' on 27 July 2010. The purpose of the discussion paper was to seek views about potential options to improve PAYE processes.

The consultation period is now closed and the responses are being analysed. Any further announcements will be made by the Chancellor in due course.


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Tax Collection: Enforcement

Mr Anderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax revenue on average an enforcement and compliance officer in HM Revenue and Customs collected the last financial year. [16583]

Mr Gauke: HMRC enforcement and compliance officers of all grades are engaged in a variety of compliance activities, which may include the recovery of underpaid tax, the prevention of further tax losses, debt collection and the deterrence of tax evasion through, for example, criminal investigation. For this reason, HMRC does not collect statistics on the average revenue collected by a compliance officer. Results of HMRC's compliance activity were published in their 2009 autumn performance report which can be found at:

Tax Yields

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of annual tax revenue contributed by (a) public and (b) private sector employees. [16732]

Mr Gauke: Estimated total income tax liabilities in 2007-08 of persons in employment broken down by legal status of their employer are provided in the following table. Estimates are based on the 2007-08 Survey of Personal Incomes.

Income tax liabilities( 1) in 2007-08

£ million % total

Persons in employment(2)

134,000

82

where main employment is:(3)

public sector

25,700

16

other

101,000

62

not classified

6,890

4

Other taxpayers

28,700

18

Total income tax liabilities

163,000

100

(1) Table shows total liabilities of income taxpayers estimated across all incomes subject to tax. (2) Taxpayers with pay. (3) Reflecting legal status of employer given by Inter-Departmental Business Register where available (main employment where more than one). Public sector defined as central Government, local authorities and public corporations. Source: Survey of Personal Incomes, 2007-08. See http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_distribution/inc-distribution-note.pdf

Taxation

Lorely Burt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to HM Revenue and Customs' publication, Measuring Tax Gaps 2009, March 2010, what his most recent estimate is of the size of the tax gap in (a) absolute and (b) percentage terms; and what steps HM Revenue and Customs is taking to avoid underestimating the avoidance tax gap, as referred to in paragraph 4.77. [15376]

Mr Gauke: 'Measuring Tax Gaps 2010', available at:

contains the most recent estimate of the size of the tax gap as (a) £42 billion, (b) 8.6% of total tax liability.


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HMRC has a range of tools to detect avoidance. The Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) regime provides early information about tax avoidance schemes and those who use them. Finance Act 2010 introduced a range of amendments intended to strengthen the DOTAS regime to provide HMRC with better information about avoidance. HMRC also detects avoidance through its compliance work and real-time engagement with large businesses. Avoidance detected in these ways will inform future estimates of the tax gap.

Taxation: Environment Protection

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the implementation of his proposals to increase the share of revenues drawn from green taxes will be revenue-neutral. [17119]

Justine Greening: The coalition Government are committed to increasing the share of revenue drawn from green taxes. All taxes are kept under review and announcements on tax policy are made at the Budget.

Taxation: Holiday Accommodation

Mr Weir: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has had discussions with the (a) Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, (b) Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and (c) Secretary of State for Scotland on the likely effects on remote and island Scottish areas of the Government's proposals to amend the eligibility thresholds and reliefs available under the Furnished Holiday Lettings scheme; [17036]

(2) whether he has made an assessment of the likely effects on the capacity of self-catering owners who subscribe to quality assessment schemes operated by the National Tourist Boards to maintain their present ratings of his Department's proposed changes to sideways and off-set reliefs; [17037]

(3) what competitor analysis in respect of each country his Department undertook in formulating his Department's proposals for amendments to the Furnished Holiday Lettings Relief scheme; [17038]

(4) whether he assessed the merits of a derogation from the proposed changes to the eligibility thresholds for Furnished Holiday Lettings Relief for claims made by self-catering operators in respect of properties in island areas in UK territorial waters; [17039]

(5) what assessment he has made of the likely effects on social enterprises in remote and island communities of the proposed changes to the eligibility thresholds and off-set reliefs under the Furnished Holiday Lettings Relief scheme; [17040]

(6) if he will assess the merits of a provision to enable the calculation of average attained occupancy levels over two or more tax years to comply with the proposed eligibility thresholds for Furnished Holiday Lettings Relief (a) on a permanent basis and (b) for the purpose of taking account of the effects on the ability of businesses to continue trading during prolonged periods of severe weather; [17042]

(7) if he will assess the merits of a provision to enable a phased introduction of the proposed changes to the eligibility criteria for Furnished Holiday Lettings Relief by means of an increase in the threshold by
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seven days in each of the next five tax years (a) in respect of all areas and (b) in respect of regions with Convergence Objective status. [17043]

Mr Gauke: Treasury Ministers and officials hold discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.

There is a formal consultation on the proposed changes to furnished holiday letting which runs until 22 October 2010. The Government published an impact assessment with the consultation which summarises the key points of the assessment undertaken.

The issues raised in these questions, with regard to both the impact of proposals, and alternative options, will be added to the other comments and responses to the consultation and will be carefully reviewed in arriving at the Government's response.

VAT

Mr Wallace: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what methods other than online submission are available to businesses wishing to file value added tax returns. [16710]

Mr Gauke: Businesses that are not legally required to file their VAT returns online may send a paper return to HMRC by post.

Sir Alan Beith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what target HM Revenue and Customs has set for the time taken between receiving an application for a value added tax number and issuing a number; and in what proportion of cases this target has been met in the most recent period for which figures are available. [17792]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs target for 2010-11 is to process 70% of VAT registration applications within 10 days.

In the period April to September 2010, 57.4% of applications were processed within 10 days with 70.9% being processed within 13 days.

HMRC aims to issue VAT registration numbers as quickly as possible, while protecting the VAT system from fraudulent registrations. It is necessary to balance speed of registration against the need to risk assess and check applications to safeguard against fraud.

VAT: Churches

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the future of the Listed Places of Worship Grant scheme. [16923]

John Penrose: I have been asked to reply.

The Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme makes grants equivalent to the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings in primary use as places of worship. The future of the scheme will be determined during the forthcoming spending review.

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many claims were made under the Listed Places of
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Worship Grant scheme (a) in each region, (b) in respect of each religious denomination and (c) for each purpose in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [16924]

John Penrose: I have been asked to reply.

The Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme makes grants equivalent to the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings in primary use as places of worship.

(a) The number of claims and total value by region in 2009-10 are in the following table.

Region Number of claims Total value (£)

East of England

570

1,723,028.33

South East

571

2,204,719.38

North West

327

1,510,511.24

East Midlands

432

1,258,334.99

Yorkshire and the Humber

285

1,109,998.26

North East

64

199,916.56

West Midlands

350

1,275,554.53

London

177

1,482,054.76

South West

483

1,467,788.59

Scotland

246

1,223,332.67

Wales

196

841,999.77

Northern Ireland

61

666,173.59

Total

3,762

14,963,412.67


(b) Figures for the number of claims and total value by denomination or faith group in 2009-10 are in the following table.

Denomination/faith group Number of claims made Total value of claims (£)

Annibynwyr Cymraeg

1

17,324.34

Assemblies of God

1

1,187.40

Baptist

42

174,383.54

Church of England

3,013

10,941,169.40

Christadelphian

3

68,357.81

Christian Free Church

6

30,762.97

Church in Wales

132

540,874.79

Church of Ireland

31

266,479.11

Church of Scotland

175

718,453.12

Congregational

12

66,037.56

Coptic Orthodox

2

26,063.81

Ecumenical

4

12,215.57

Episcopal

33

201,384.81

Greek Orthodox

3

4,121.18

Independent Congregational

6

8,961.11

Jewish

10

78,897.89

Lutheran

1

6,379.80

Methodist

58

155,585.77

Moravian

9

20,632.01

Multi Denominational

1

4,216.11

Pentecostal

4

28,582.14

Presbyterian

30

64,395.58

Protestant

2

6,090.40

Religious Society of Friends

13

62,534.61

Roman Catholic

112

1,147,576.92

Seventh Day Adventist

2

42,145.92

Unitarian

7

31,953.16

United Reformed

43

162,374.12

Welsh Independents

6

74,271.72

Total

3,762

14,963,412.67


18 Oct 2010 : Column 563W

(c) Grants are made in respect of the full range of building repairs, associated professional fees, and repairs to clocks, pews, bells and organs. It is not possible to provide figures for each classification of works. From January 2011 until April 2001, grants will not be available for professional fees or repairs to fixtures and fittings due to the need to make in-year financial savings. Plans for the period after April 2011 will be announced in the Spending Review later this week.

VAT: Electric Vehicles

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the merits of setting a zero rate of value added tax for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. [17118]

Mr Gauke: No assessment has been made.

There are generous existing incentives for electric vehicles, including reliefs from vehicle excise duty and the taxation of company cars. In July, the Secretary of State for Transport announced that grants of up to £5,000 will be available to those buying ultra-low carbon cars between 1 January 2011 and 31 March 2012.

The case for any further support needs to be weighed against Government's priority of tackling the record budget deficit in a decisive but fair way, to restore confidence in our economy and support the economic recovery. Introducing a VAT zero rate would also require the agreement of our European partners.

Welfare Tax Credits and Child Benefit: Wales

Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in each constituency in North Wales received (a) child tax credit, (b) working tax credit and (c) child benefit in each of the last five years. [17001]

Mr Gauke: Information on the number of families benefiting from child and working tax credits, by each parliamentary constituency, local authority and region is available in the HMRC snapshot publications "Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics. Geographical Analyses", available at:

Information on the number of families receiving Child Benefit, by each parliamentary constituency, local authority and region is available in the HMRC snapshot publications "Child Benefit Statistics Geographical Analysis", available at:

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mr Betts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to answer Question 7903, on accrued rights and public sector pensions, tabled on 7 July 2010. [17639]

Danny Alexander: I have now replied to the hon. Member and apologise for the delay in doing so.


18 Oct 2010 : Column 564W

Health

Asthma: Pupils

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has had recent discussions with ministerial colleagues on the annual number of fatal asthma attacks in schools; and whether he plans to take further steps to seek to reduce that number. [16927]

Paul Burstow: Health Ministers have regular discussions with our ministerial colleagues in the Department for Education. These discussions include how schools can manage long-term health conditions, like asthma in children, effectively and safely. Our aim is to produce a concise set of guidance that clarifies expectations, statutory responsibilities and reiterates the importance of support measures with a clear explanation of the roles and responsibilities of key staff members.


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