Departmental Mobile Phones

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the name is of each contractor or supplier of (a) mobile telephone and (b) mobile data services to his Department. [56064]

Mr Simon Burns: Vodafone are the suppliers of both mobile telephony and mobile data services. These services are provided to the Department by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) under a managed service agreement.

Departmental Travel

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much each executive agency of his Department has spent on travel by (a) private hire vehicles, (b) trains, (c) buses, (d) commercial aircraft and (e) private aircraft since May 2010; [56073]

(2) how much has been spent on travel in respect of (a) each of his Department's executive agencies and (b) the chief executive of each such agency since May 2010. [56179]

Mr Simon Burns: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the only executive agency of the Department.

Since May 2010, the MHRA has spent £55,793.47 on private hire vehicles, £234,872.35, on trains, £1,310.89 on buses, £994,273.01 on commercial aircraft and nothing on private aircraft.

Since May 2010, the MHRA has spent a total of £1,286,358.22 on travel and £2,865.23 on travel for the chief executive.

Fluoride

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his policy is on the provision by his Department of funding for fluoridation to strategic health authorities where consultations show local communities not to be in favour of fluoridation; [56567]

(2) on what date funding by his Department for fluoridation in pursuance of the announcement of February 2008 ceased to be available; and what plans he has for the availability of funds for fluoridation in 2011-12. [56568]

Anne Milton: The central allocation for funding the capital costs of fluoridation schemes, announced by the previous Government in February 2008, covered the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2011. It is now for strategic health authorities and the primary care trusts

19 May 2011 : Column 304W

that would be affected to agree how expenditure on fluoridation can be provided for from the overall allocations they receive for capital and revenue expenditure.

Fluoride: Southampton

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department made funding for fluoridation available to South Central Strategic Health Authority for use in Southampton and parts of Totton in the period from April 2008 to March 2011. [56566]

Anne Milton: In November 2006, the Department allocated £35,000 to South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to commission consultants to conduct a feasibility study of fluoridating Southampton. The study found that, in addition to 160,000 residents of Southampton, the water distribution system also served approximately 35,000 people living in parts of Eastleigh, Totton and Netley in south-west Hampshire. The SHA has funded subsequent expenditure on the proposed fluoridation scheme from its own resources.

Hospitals

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has made of the productivity of (a) military and (b) NHS hospitals. [56128]

Mr Simon Burns: United Kingdom national health service productivity is measured by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and most recent estimates from 1996 are given in the following table.

Growth in UK NHS productivity 1996 to 2009

Percentage

1996

-1.4

1997

0.4

1998

-0.6

1999

0.5

2000

-0.5

2001

1.6

2002

-2.0

2003

-1.6

2004

-0.4

2005

0.1

2006

1.3

2007

-0.6

2008

-0.1

2009

0.7

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to one decimal place. 2. Figures contain data from all UK countries. 3. Figures include some adjustments for the quality of care delivered. Source: Hardie M; et al (2011) Public Service Output, Inputs and Productivity: Healthcare, ONS.

The National Audit Office as part of their work for the Public Accounts Committee asked ONS to disaggregate their measure of productivity to show the trend in hospital productivity from 2000 to 2008. This showed that hospital productivity has declined by an average of -1.4% per year, with an adjustment made for the quality of services. This compares to an average decline of -0.2% per year across the NHS as a whole.

19 May 2011 : Column 305W

At present no data exist to compare productivity between NHS hospitals. There are no military hospitals in the UK. There are NHS hospitals with military wings, however productivity data are not collected for these wings.

It should be noted that figures differ from the answer I gave the hon. Member for Stafford (Jeremy Lefroy) on 28 February 2011, Official Report, column 140W, following revisions made by ONS to the historic series in their most recent article published in March 2011.

North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has had recent discussions on the potential merger of North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust with another trust; and if he will make a statement. [56474]

Mr Simon Burns: No formal discussions have taken place with Ministers on a potential merger of the Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (previously North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust) with another NHS trust.

At a Westminster Hall debate on 4 May 2011 entitled “Private Finance Initiative Hospitals”, the potential for the St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to merge with another NHS trust as an option for achieving foundation trust status was discussed. The Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was identified as a possible merger partner, given its geographical proximity to the St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. However, the St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is still considering all options that are available to achieve foundation trust status.

On 16 May 2011, I briefly discussed this issue in a telephone conversation with my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington South (David Mowat).

Work is continuing on the development of a tripartite formal agreement between St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust, North West strategic health authority and the Department to set out the agreed options that will enable the trust to obtain foundation trust status.

Nurses: Manpower

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the role of specialist sickle cell and thalassaemia nurses in (a) improving patient experience, (b) improving patient outcomes and (c) reducing costs to the NHS. [56009]

Anne Milton: The Government have not made an assessment of the role of specialist sickle cell and thalassaemia nurses in improving patient experience and outcomes or costs to the national health service. The Government acknowledge the vital role that specialist nurses have in supporting patients with the management of these long-term conditions. Local NHS organisations are best placed to develop service models that put patients at the heart of care and have a clear and rigorous focus on improving health outcomes.

19 May 2011 : Column 306W

Southern Cross Healthcare

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in discussions with Southern Cross Healthcare on the continuing provision of service to their clients; and if he will make a statement. [56367]

Paul Burstow: Southern Cross has plans in place to restructure its business and ensure that services and quality are maintained and is keeping the Government updated on progress.

We will continue to keep in close touch with the situation and will work with local authorities, the Care Quality Commission and others to ensure there is an effective response, which delivers protection to everyone affected.

Transport

Departmental Information Officers

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many press officers his Department employs. [55318]

Norman Baker: The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff employed on press officer activities on 1 April 2011 by the Department is set out in the following table.

Staff (FTE) employed on press officer activities on 1 April 2011

Number

Department for Transport (Central)

14

Driving Standards Agency

3

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

4

Government Car and Despatch Agency

0

Highways Agency

13

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

2

Vehicle Certification Agency

0

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

1.6

The Highways Agency has a team of regional press officers to support its role in operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in each region. These press officers are employed primarily to keep the public informed of roadworks, incidents and events which might affect their journeys.

Departmental Legal Costs

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department paid in (a) damages, (b) claimant costs and (c) defendant costs in respect of all civil claims brought against his Department in which the claimant was successful or the Department settled in each of the last three years. [54627]

Norman Baker: I regret that this information cannot be provided other than at disproportionate cost.

19 May 2011 : Column 307W

Driving: Insurance

Anna Soubry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department takes to monitor trends in motor insurance premiums; and if he will make a statement. [55011]

Mike Penning: The setting of insurance premiums is a matter for the insurers based on a commercial decision. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) collects data on family expenditure on vehicle taxation and insurance costs, but this Department does not separately monitor premiums.

I welcome the recent Transport Select Committee's report, “The cost of motor insurance” and agree with their conclusions on the importance of this issue and the need to look at a range of ways of reducing costs. The Department for Transport will need time to fully consider and formally respond to the report. A seminar to discuss the issues with key interested parties is being planned.

Large Goods Vehicles: Accidents

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of traffic accidents on motorways involved a heavy goods vehicle with a foreign registration in (a) 2008, (b) 2009 and (c) 2010; and what proportion of such incidents were attributed to poor visibility or blind spots on such vehicles. [53204]

Mike Penning: The following table shows the number of reported personal injury road accidents on motorways involving foreign registered heavy goods vehicles in Great Britain in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009 (the latest data for which information is available):

Accidents
Accidents (a) 2008 (b) 2009

On motorways

7,249

6,643

Of which involved a foreign registered HGV

409

354

     

Proportion involving a foreign registered HGV (percentage)

6

5

It is not possible to identify accidents where a blind spot of, or an area of poor visibility on, a vehicle contributed to the accident.

However, the following table shows the number of accidents on motorways involving a foreign registered heavy goods vehicle in Great Britain where the contributory factor “vehicle blind spot” was assigned to a foreign HGV by a police officer attending the scene:

Accidents
Accidents (a) 2008 (b) 2009

On motorways(1)

6,317

5,830

Of which involved a foreign registered HGV assigned the contributory factor “vehicle blind spot”

143

155

     

Proportion involving a foreign registered HGV (percentage)

2

3

(1) Includes only accidents where a police officer attended the scene and in which a contributory factor was reported.

19 May 2011 : Column 308W

Motor Vehicle: Testing

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the effects of moving to MOT inspections every two years for private vehicles on the number of (a) vehicles that fail MOT tests, (b) collisions or incidents due to unsafe vehicles, (c) deaths and serious injuries through road accidents and (d) garages and MOT test stations; and if he will make a statement. [53201]

Mike Penning [holding answer 3 May 2011]: I intend to review the MOT test scheme. I want to make sure that a review takes account of all the latest information available to us. To that end, we have recently published the results of independent research the Department commissioned to examine how vehicle defects affect accident rates, and to consider the potential road safety impact of changing the frequency of the MOT. The ‘Effect of Vehicle Defects in Road Accidents’ report can be found at:

http://www.trl.co.uk/library/reports_publications/latest_publications/

This research will be a useful addition to other information we will be gathering through the review process, including on the impacts on garages and MOT stations.

Motor Vehicles: Insurance

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss with representatives of the insurance industry the effects of the cost of car insurance for young drivers on the take-up of such insurance; and if he will make a statement. [55478]

Mike Penning: I am keen to work with the insurance industry to look at new approaches to reduce the impact of high insurance costs on young drivers and the Department for Transport is planning seminars with key stakeholders to discuss this.

Regional Airports

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what discussions he has had the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the co-ordination of Government policy on regional airports; [54110]

(2) which regional airports he has visited to discuss co-ordination of Government policy since 12 May 2010; [54111]

(3) what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on Government policy on regional airports. [54112]

Mrs Villiers: Department for Transport Ministers attend various meetings with Ministers in other Departments, the operators of regional airports and the Mayor of London, where they discuss a range of issues including Government policy on aviation.

The Government have announced their intention to develop a sustainable policy framework for UK aviation. On 30 March 2011, the Department for Transport published a scoping document that frames the debate on the future direction of aviation policy and asks a series of questions, including on regional connectivity and regional airports. The responses to the scoping

19 May 2011 : Column 309W

document will help to inform the development of a draft framework, which we intend to publish for full public consultation in March 2012.

Shipping: EU Law

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek to amend Directive 96/71/EC in order to harmonise employment rights for EU-based seafarers with those of other EU citizens. [55823]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has no intention to seek an amendment to Directive 96/71/EC.

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's policy is in respect of the exclusion of EU-based seafarers from the provisions of Directive 96/71/EC. [55824]

Mike Penning: The Government favours a level playing field across the EU for EU-based seafarers and is determined not to act in a way that compromises the UK shipping industry.

Shipping: Smoking

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether ships under foreign flags are legally entitled to permit smoking on the bridge whilst UK pilots are present and within UK territorial waters; and if he will make a statement. [55796]

Mike Penning: There is no UK law that prohibits smoking in these circumstances. The ship's Master has prime responsibility for the day-to-day running of their vessel.

Work and Pensions

Child Support Agency

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken by the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to close cases was in each of the last five years. [54659]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Alan Hardy:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. As the Child Maintenance Commissioner is currently on annual leave I am responding on his behalf.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average time taken by the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to close cases was in each of the last five years. [54659]

We attempted unsuccessfully to seek clarification of this question from your office. We have therefore interpreted this question as the average time between a liability ending on a case (liability cancelled/withdrawn) and the conditions for closure being met

19 May 2011 : Column 310W

and the action to close the case being taken by the Agency. A cancelled/withdrawn event on a case is the first step of the closure process. This event occurs to stop an ongoing liability on a case. A case should not be fully closed until all outstanding arrears on a case are cleared (However historically there have been system problems that have allowed this in a few cases). If no outstanding arrears exist then a case can go through the whole closure process on the same day.

The information in the table below shows the median and mean times in each of the last five years. Robust information is not available to show the end-to-end closure process for cases administered on the CSCS computer system.

Time to close cases on CS2 computer system
Year of closure Median average to close case (Days) Mean average to close case (Weeks)

2006-07

1

28

2007-08

0

15

2008-09

1

26

2009-10

0

22

2010-11

0

34

Note: Information only includes cases which are fully closed and is categorised by year of closure.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the outcome was of each child support case closed by the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission in each of the last five years. [54660]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Alan Hardy:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner as the Child Support Agency is now the responsibility of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. As the Child Maintenance Commissioner is currently on annual leave I am responding on his behalf.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the outcome was of each child support case closed by the Child Support Agency and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission in each of the last five years. [54660]

We attempted unsuccessfully to seek clarification of this question from your office. We have therefore interpreted this question as the reasons for cases administered on the CS2 computer system being cancelled/withdrawn or closed in each of the last five years. A cancelled/withdrawn event on a case is the first step of the closure process. This event occurs to stop an ongoing liability on a case. A case should not be fully closed until all outstanding arrears on a case are cleared. If no outstanding arrears exist then a case can go through the whole closure process on the same day.

The following tables show those that are closed prior to the initial calculation and those that are closed any time post the initial calculation which could be anything from days to years.

19 May 2011 : Column 311W

19 May 2011 : Column 312W

Reasons for case closure prior to calculation: Current scheme CS2 system
Reason for closure 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11

Total closures

201,300

189,300

135,000

39,300

25,100

Application not pursued by applicant

29,700

23,700

26,000

28,000

21,200

Application not eligible/no longer valid

10,400

10,300

6,600

1,100

1,300

Welfare issues/risk of harm

6,200

4,600

1,500

0

0

Reconciliation of NRP and PWC

5,900

4,300

1,500

300

200

Insufficient information

1,100

0

100

0

0

Application superseded by new claim

19,700

40,400

32,900

9,600

2,300

Casebuild terminated

107,000

94,700

52,300

0

0

Other/missing

21,400

11,400

14,100

200

100

Reasons for case closure following calculation : Current s cheme CS2 system case previously paid
Reason for closure 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11

Total closures

16,300

21,700

34,300

36,200

31,300

Application not pursued by applicant

4,600

5,900

12,600

15,100

10,700

Application not eligible/no longer valid

6,500

9,500

14,000

15,000

15,900

Welfare issues/risk of harm

100

100

0

0

0

Reconciliation of NRP and PWC

3,500

4,000

4,600

4,100

3,100

Insufficient information

0

0

0

0

0

Application superseded by new claim

700

1,300

1,400

400

100

Casebuild terminated

0

0

0

0

0

Other/missing

800

1,000

1,700

1,600

1,500

Reasons for case closure following calculation: Current scheme CS2 system case not previously paid
Reason for closure 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11

Total closures

3,500

4,500

5,700

6,500

4,700

Application not pursued by applicant

1,000

1,300

2,100

3,200

2,400

Application not eligible/no longer valid

1,100

1,400

1,900

2,100

1,500

Welfare issues/risk of harm

0

0

0

0

0

Reconciliation of NRP and PWC

600

700

600

700

400

Insufficient information

0

0

0

0

0

Application superseded by new claim

400

900

600

200

100

Casebuild terminated

0

0

0

0

0

Other/missing

400

300

500

400

300

Notes: 1. Robust information is not available for cases closed on the CSCS computer system. 2. Figures include cases that have been cancelled/withdrawn or closed. 3. Closures as above, though completed by a case worker, can be initiated by either the CS2 system or the user themselves. Where case workers initiate closures, the closure reason is selected from a pre-defined list. As this is subjective, in some instances the selected reason may not reflect the actual reason for closure. 4. Closure reasons ‘Casebuild Terminated’ and ‘Insufficient Information’ should only be relevant to applications closed during the application process. All other closure reasons can be used prior or following a successful application. 5. Casebuild terminated refers to Jobcentre Plus applications received prior to the repeal of Section 6. 6. Figures rounded to 100. 7. Cases that have closed following calculation which have previously paid only includes cases which have had a payment or a maintenance direct arrangement recorded on the CS2 computer system. As this excludes payments made off system the number of cases may be under stated.

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Child Maintenance

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division of the Northern Ireland Executive on the Government's proposals for child maintenance reform. [55714]

Maria Miller: Officials from the Department for Work and Pensions and the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission regularly meet colleagues from the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division and Department for Social Development to discuss child maintenance related issues including plans for reform.

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division also participates in internal Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission meetings charged with preparing for the introduction of the reforms, so are integrated into the processes for implementing the Government's proposals.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for reform of the child maintenance system; and he will make a statement. [55727]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance Green Paper:

“Strengthening families, promoting parental responsibility: the future of child maintenance”

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/strengthening-families.pdf

19 May 2011 : Column 313W

was published on 13 January 2011 and the consultation exercise ran until 7 April. This paper sets out the Government's proposals for the reform of the entire child maintenance system including the statutory maintenance scheme.

We are now considering the responses received and will issue a Government response to the consultation later this year.

Departmental Pay

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what additional pay he plans to provide to officials in his Department in the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2013 to reflect (a) seniority, (b) promotion and (c) performance. [55409]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions is currently in the second year of a two-year pay freeze for all employees earning over £21,000 (full time equivalent). DWP will come out of the pay freeze for grades below senior civil service (SCS) in July 2012 and any additional pay in future years will be informed by Treasury guidance, affordability and be subject to negotiation.

SCS base pay is frozen until March 2013.

DWP pays officials a salary to reflect their position and responsibility within the organisation. It does not make additional payments according to seniority and has no plans to do so.

Where an individual is promoted they will receive an increase in their existing salary by 10% of their existing pay or the amount needed to take their salary to their new pay band minimum, whichever is the greater. This is in accordance with current departmental policy and there are no plans to change this.

The Department operates two performance related award schemes for employees below senior civil service (SCS)—an end of year performance award and an in-year award scheme.

The payment of in-year awards is discretionary and enables managers to reward and incentivise exceptional contribution to business performance. These have been in place since April 2003 and continue.

SCS performance payments are awarded as part of the annual review of SCS pay in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance. For 2011 the Cabinet Office has announced that only the top 25% of performers will receive performance-related payments. There are cash ceilings on these awards:

£10,000 for Deputy Directors (PB1)

£12,500 for Directors (PB2)

£15,000 for Directors General (PB3)

£17,500 for Permanent Secretaries

Disability Assessments

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has for processing disability assessments for young disabled people; and if he will make a statement. [50968]

Maria Miller: Over the past 18 months the Pension, Disability and Carers Service has tested a revised disability living allowance claim form for disabled children, improved impairment-specific medical guidance and revised processes.

19 May 2011 : Column 314W

The claim form and guidance were considered a significant improvement by both customers and staff. Following the success of the test, PDCS now plans to adopt the approach nationally. Implementation will take place during the next few months.

Disability Living Allowance

Mr Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claims for disability living allowance there have been in each year since 1992; how many such claims are in respect of children; what the cost was to his Department of such payments in each year; and if he will make a statement. [52190]

Maria Miller: The information is not available in the format requested.

We are unable to say how many claims for disability living allowance there have been for each year since 1992 as records only go back to April 2001. We are also unable to tell the right hon. Gentleman how many claims are in respect of children. The information on numbers of claims which is available is contained in the following table:

DLA claims

Number

2001-02

408,000

2002-03

433,000

2003-04

442,000

2004-05

428,000

2005-06

431,000

2006-07

431,000

2007-08

448,000

2008-09

472,000

2009-10

483,000

2010-11

441,000

Total

4,417,000

Notes: 1. The figures include DLA new claims and claims made under the DLA Special Rules. 2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand. Source: DLA Management Information Statistics.

Information on expenditure and caseload going back to 1992 is contained in the following tables. Some management information on numbers of claims is available but not by age group.

DLA expenditure, real terms 2011-12 prices
£ million

Children Working age Pension age Total

1992-93

373

1,990

814

3,177

1993-94

510

2,722

1,113

4,345

1994-95

563

2,992

1,267

4,821

1995-96

656

3,535

1,512

5,703

1996-97

641

4,110

1,753

6,504

1997-98

689

4,357

1,935

6,981

1998-99

730

4,497

2,111

7,337

1999-2000

767

4,614

2,281

7,661

2000-01

811

4,796

2,468

8,074

2001-02

880

5,046

2,672

8,599

2002-03

965

5,197

2,766

8,928

2003-04

977

5,403

2,955

9,335

2004-05

1,009

5,544

3,125

9,678

2005-06

1,087

5,730

3,324

10,140

2006-07

1,107

5,832

3,483

10,422

2007-08

1,151

6,051

3,717

10,920

19 May 2011 : Column 315W

2008-09

1,191

6,247

3,896

11,334

2009-10

1,260

6,650

4,223

12,133

Notes: 1. Figures may not sum due to rounding. 2. More detailed DWP benefit expenditure information can be found at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=expenditure 3. Expenditure for 2010-11 is not yet available. Source: DWP Statistical and accounting data
DLA caseloads

Children Working age Pension age Total numbers

August:

       

1992(5)

95,600

557,100

290,600

1,049,100

1993(5)

125,500

793,700

354,100

1,279,800

1994

142,900

895,600

397,700

1,436,300

1995

161,800

1,020,100

445,800

1,627,800

1996

177,600

1,128,400

495,800

1,801,900

1997

196,100

1,236,200

550,500

1,982,800

1998

206,500

1,275,300

591,600

2,073,400

1999

215,400

1,301,000

628,900

2,145,300

2000

225,100

1,329,400

669,300

2,223,800

2001

238,000

1,388,300

711,700

2,337,900

2002

256,280

1,468,930

729,120

2,454,340

2003

268,330

1,532,040

733,170

2,573,540

2004

278,000

1,578,950

815,210

2,672,160

2005

285,010

1,609,360

855,110

2,749,480

2006

289,940

1,632,630

891,710

2,814,290

2007

298,420

1,672,780

938,780

2,909,980

2008

308,630

1,710,390

980,630

2,999,650

2009

320,140

1,756,730

1,019,430

3,096,300

2010

330,530

1,800,140

1,045,540

3,176,200

Notes: 1. Figures from August 1992 to August 2001 are taken from 5% sample data. They have been uprated to be consistent with WPLS data and are rounded to the nearest 100. Figures from August 2002 onwards are taken from WPLS 100% data and are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Figures show the number of people in receipt of an allowance and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital. 3. Constituencies used for August 2010 are for the Westminster Parliament of May 2010. Prior to this the constituencies used are for May 2005. 4. These figures are published at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=tabtool 5. State pension age. The age at which women reach state pension age will gradually increase from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and April 2020. This will introduce a small increase to the number of working age benefit recipients and a small reduction to the number of pension age recipients. Figures from May 2010 onwards reflect this change. 6. Data extracts from earlier years (August 1992 and 1993) have a large number of cases with unrecorded ages. For August 1992 this accounts for 105,900 cases; for August 1993 this had dropped to 6,500 cases. Source: DWP Information Directorate: 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) and WPLS 5% sample data.

Employment and Support Allowance

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of claimants who will cease to receive contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) payments having received them for a year, but will not qualify for income-based ESA or any other income replacement benefits in April 2012. [37486]

Maria Miller: As part of the Welfare Reform Bill, we have set out our intention to introduce a time limit of one year for those claiming contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) and who are placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) from April 2012.

19 May 2011 : Column 316W

Current estimates suggest that of those affected by the proposal to time limit contributory ESA, it is expected that around 60% will be fully or partially compensated by income-related ESA. A further 20% are expected to be eligible for pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit or tax credits. The remaining 20% will not be eligible for income replacement benefits. However, people in this situation will generally either have a working partner or capital over £16,000 so will not be left without resources.

The estimates are subject to change as more information on customers in the Work Related Activity Group becomes available.

Employment and Support Allowance: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Ian Swales: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on measures to ensure that people with myalgic encephalomyelitis who are unable to work are not required to undertake unsuitable work or work-related activity. [56162]

Chris Grayling [holding answer 17 May 2011]: We recognise that ME has a wide spectrum of symptoms and can be a severely debilitating condition. The effects of ME on an individual may contribute to someone meeting the entitlement conditions for benefits.

When someone's health condition or disability, or the treatment they are receiving, makes it unreasonable to expect them to work we are committed to supporting them. The appropriate benefit in such cases is employment and support allowance (ESA). Entitlement to ESA is based on an individual's functional ability rather than the condition itself. Anyone claiming ESA will undergo the work capability assessment. Those with the most severe functional limitations will be placed in the Support Group, for which the undertaking of work related activity is not a requirement.

People with limited capability for work will be placed in the Work-Related Activity Group. These individuals may be required to undertake work-related activity, detailed in their action plan, which must be reasonable in their circumstances. If they feel the requirement on them is unreasonable, they will be able to request the activity is reconsidered. Advisers will not be able to direct people on ESA to seek, apply for or do work, nor will they be directed to undertake medical treatment.

Employment and Support Allowance: Visual Impairment

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of the Employment and Support Allowance (Limited Capability for Work and Limited Capability for Work-related Activity) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 228, 2011), laid by his Department on 16 February 2011 on the numbers of blind and partially sighted individuals eligible for employment and support allowance. [56523]

Chris Grayling: In March 2010, the Department published a Department-led review of the work capability assessment. This made recommendations for improving

19 May 2011 : Column 317W

the work capability assessment including making greater provision for individuals awaiting or in between courses of chemotherapy, those receiving residential treatment for drug or alcohol misuse and individuals with severe mental health conditions or communication difficulties. The review also made recommendations to take greater account of how an individual has adapted to their condition and to simplify some of the descriptors. These changes came into force on 28 March 2011.

The initial estimates predicted that overall the changes would result in a five percentage point increase in the proportion of new claims to employment and support allowance assessed as fit for work and a half a percentage point increase in the proportion assessed to be in the support group. More information can be found in the impact assessment that accompanied the regulations at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-ia-eia.pdf

The estimates were not broken down by particular health conditions so the expected effect of these changes on the eligibility of blind and partially sighted individuals is not available.

Data on the results of the work capability assessments completed since 28 March are not yet available, but the Department will continue to monitor the outcomes of work capability assessments.

Housing Benefit

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people receiving (a) housing benefit but not council tax benefit, (b) council tax benefit but not housing benefit and (c) housing benefit and council tax benefit have benefit withdrawal rates of more than 40% against marginal income. [53416]

Steve Webb: The following table provides the number of working age customers who are employed and in households receiving HB and/or CTB with marginal deduction rates (MDRs) of more than 40%.

Benefit MDR > 40% (Number)

HB only

400,000

CTB only

100,000

HB and CTB

200,000

Notes: 1. The numbers are rounded to the nearest 100,000. 2. The numbers are for 2008-09. 3. Due to the impact on the marginal deduction rates, these numbers exclude households with disabled adults or children, students and those who report self-employed income or who are not in employment. Source: The Department's Policy Simulation Model (version 10.2.0)

Housing Benefit: Disability

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disabled tenants in social housing which his Department's Equality Impact Assessment estimates will be affected by his proposed changes to eligibility for housing benefit in cases of under occupation are estimated to be in receipt of disability living allowance. [54190]

Steve Webb: Using the Department's Policy Simulation Model, we estimate that around 200,000 households are likely to be affected by the introduction of the size

19 May 2011 : Column 318W

criteria in the social rented sector in 2013-14 where either the claimant or their partner are in receipt of disability living allowance.

However, there are certain households included within the 200,000 which may not be affected by the size criteria changes. These are households where the claimant is either entitled to an additional bedroom for a non-resident carer providing overnight care, or is living in certain types of supported accommodation.

For other households, local authorities can consider a discretionary housing payment based on the tenant's individual circumstances.

Notes:

1. The figures have been produced using the Policy Simulation Model, using 2008-09 reference data from the Family Resource Survey.

2. The figure has been rounded to the nearest 10,000.

3. The methodology is consistent with that used in the Equality Impact Assessment of the size criteria for claimants living in the social rented sector, published in March 2011.

4. Households are considered in receipt of disability living allowance where either the claimant or partner is in receipt of either the care or mobility component of disability living allowance regardless of the rate at which it is paid.

Jobcentre Plus: Manpower

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will estimate the factor by which the number of sanctions issued with respect to each working age benefit by each Jobcentre Plus office has changed in each quarter since the final quarter of 2009-10; [53574]

(2) how many sanctions were applied with respect to each working age benefit by each Jobcentre Plus office in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) the first three quarters of 2010-11. [53575]

Chris Grayling: Information by individual office is not available. The available information for jobseeker's allowance sanctions by Jobcentre Plus district has been placed in the Library. Sanctions data for income support and incapacity benefit sanctions are not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information on employment support allowance sanctions will be available for the first time on 18 May 2011.

Poverty: Children

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to address child poverty; and what arrangements he has made to assess progress towards the Government's objectives on child poverty. [48618]

Maria Miller: The Government's child poverty strategy was published on 5 April, and can be found at:

www.education.gov.uk/childpovertystrategy

The strategy embodies our determination to tackle child poverty, as set out in the coalition's Programme for Government. It sets out how our radical reform programme will help to transform people's lives and break cycles of disadvantage.

19 May 2011 : Column 319W

Our strategy focuses on the most vulnerable groups in society recognising that to help children who live in poverty we must reform welfare to make work pay and help those who are struggling to enter the labour market. We will give dignity to those who cannot be expected to work by bringing forward proposals to reform disability payments. For those who are able to work, we will provide targeted help to get the best outcomes for them and their families.

We will do all in our power to increase the life chances of children by supporting vulnerable families through expanding the network of health visitors, targeting child care for the most disadvantaged and investing in early intervention. By increasing standards in education, we will raise children's aspirations and narrow the gaps in attainment which play such a crucial role in defining children's future lives.

The strategy sets out a new, broader approach to measurement that goes beyond a narrow focus on income targets. We will develop better ways to measure poverty, including responding to Frank Field's recommendations on severe poverty and life chances indicators, to better capture the experience of living in poverty and reflect the Government's overarching commitment to increasing social mobility.

Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of

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progress towards the four child poverty targets defined in the Child Poverty Act 2010; and if he will make a statement. [55259]

Maria Miller: The most recently published figures are set out in the following tables 1 and 2. They show that there are still 2.6 million children in relative poverty in the United Kingdom. The gap between the poorest and richest in our society has accelerated over the last five years despite £150 billion having been spent on tax credits alone since 2003-04 leaving Britain more divided than it has been in a generation because of a failure to tackle the root causes of poverty.

On 5 April, the Government published the first national child poverty strategy, ‘A New Approach to Child Poverty: Tackling the Causes of Disadvantage and Transforming Families' Lives’. This strategy draws together policies from right across Government, as well as looking at the role of partners outside of national government, which will act together to tackle the causes and effects of child poverty. The strategy illustrates our radical new approach, including key structural reforms, to get to the root of tackling child poverty.

The Government remain committed to their goal of eradicating child poverty by 2020.

Table 1: The number and percentage of children living in (a) relative poverty (before housing costs) (b) absolute poverty (BHC) and (c) low income (BHC) and material deprivation in financial year 2009-10

Number (million) Percentage

(a) Relative poverty

2.6

20

(b) Absolute poverty

1.4

11

(c) Low income and material deprivation

2.0

16

Notes: 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). These use disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. They cover the United Kingdom. The Households Below Average Income report can be found at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai 2. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 3. The reference period for Households Below Average Income figures are single financial years. 4. Numbers of children in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest 100,000, while proportions have been rounded to the nearest percentage point. 5. These statistics are based on incomes before housing costs. 6. Each of the measures is defined as: Relative poverty: children living in households with less than 60% of contemporary median household income before housing costs Absolute poverty: children living in households with less than 60% of 1998-99 median household income before housing costs held constant in real terms. The 2020-21 target will be measured against median income in 2010-11 held constant in real terms. Low income and material deprivation: children living in households with less than 70% of contemporary median household income before housing costs who also experience material deprivation. Source: Households Below Average Income, DWP
Table 2: The percentage of children living in persistent poverty (before housing costs) in the period 2005-08

Percentage

Persistent poverty

12

Notes: 1. These statistics are taken from the DWP publication, ‘Low Income Dynamics 1991-2008’ based on data from the longitudinal British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) run by the University of Essex Institute for Social and Economic Research. They cover Great Britain. The Low Income Dynamics report can be found at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=lid 2. The table shows the percentage of children who are below the 60% of median income in at least three out of four years in a series of consecutive four year periods. This is the definition of persistent poverty used in the Child Poverty Act 2010. 3. Low Income Dynamics 1991-2008 does not provide an estimate of the number of children this is. The four targets in the Act are based on proportions. 4. The table presents results on the persistence of low income on a Before Housing Costs (BHC). However the housing costs in the BHPS differ from ones used in the Households Below Average Income publication. The BHPS defines housing costs as simply as weekly gross housing costs recorded on the BHPS. Rents include service and water charges, but these are excluded the housing costs of mortgage payers. In addition, BHPS includes both repayments and interest in the housing costs of the mortgage payers where as the HBAI exclude the repayments from housing costs. 5. Proportions of children living below 60% of median income in at least three out of four years have been rounded to the nearest percentage point. Source: Low Income Dynamics 1991-2008, DWP

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Social Security Benefits: Autism

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department takes to support (a) people diagnosed with autism and (b) their families in the delivery of its services. [47141]

Maria Miller: In the Pension, Disability and Carers Service (PDCS) we have existing specific learning provided by the Professionalism in Decision Making and Appeals (PIDMA) body within the former Disability and Carers Service (DCS). The course is Understanding Working Age and Child Customers which has a section on understanding the impact of a learning disability specifically covering Autistic spectrum disorders. This course is for all appropriate disability living allowance and attendance allowance decision making staff and covers all the issues to consider when deciding on entitlement to the benefit.

Additionally we are currently building a modified and updated version of that learning product for our local service customer liaison managers (CLMs) to reflect their newly widened responsibilities for dealing with visits, where required, to all of the Department's “vulnerable client groups”. CLMs have received the existing PIDMA course above in the interim as part of the preparation for implementation of the new service. The new course is intended to build on that by providing learning more specifically tailored to visiting officers and part of a whole suite of new learning products for Local Service to be delivered from autumn 2011 onwards. Consequently, this learning does cover the issues visiting officers need to cover with the families of children with Autism. For example, topics included are:

Common:

Identifying needs that might arise from childhood impairments

Understanding developmental milestones in childhood and how these are taken into account in assessing needs arising from disability

Describing issues that might arise during visits to households with a disabled child

Providing guidance in the completion of the DLA claim pack

Specifically included in the course covering "Autistic Spectrum Disorders" are:

Parents' attitude/concerns/protection of their disabled child.

Discuss stereotyping—The living arrangements of the family what difference does this make?

The grief/loss cycle and its impact on parents/making a claim for DLA.

Tips for dealing with emotional customers

Empathy—What is it? How to use empathy

Local Service is the only direct customer facing service within PDCS. All other customer interaction is via correspondence, telephone or the internet with the sole exception of dealing with certain complaints, where face to face contact is required.

Disability living allowance is paid on the basis of a persons need for help with care and mobility. It is not, in general, paid in respect of a particular diagnosis such as Autism. decision makers from the Pension, Disability and Carers Service, make decisions based upon the information supplied by the customer, in many cases using supporting evidence, for example a factual report

19 May 2011 : Column 322W

from the applicants GP, to determine whether the applicants care and/or mobility needs are sufficient to justify an award.

Jobcentre Plus is committed to providing individual tailored support to customers with autistic spectrum conditions using our services. We make required reasonable adjustments, including making use of the most suitable environment or premises for conducting interviews. Where individual customers ask us to we work with their families and representatives to facilitate access and participation with our services.

Where family members are carers Jobcentre Plus will help support them so they are not forced into hardship by their role. Our Care Partnership Managers help develop services for carers by working in partnership with relevant organisations, assessing demand for support and encouraging the development of local services such as replacement care. They ensure advisers have comprehensive up to date knowledge, skills and local information in order to provide effective support for carers who would like to combine work with their caring responsibilities.

We ensure our advisers are aware of the need to make suitable adjustments for people with autistic spectrum conditions. Our specialist disability employment advisers receive additional skills training including provision about autism.

Our Raising The Game On Disability Seminars also promote disability awareness and confidence and are available to all Jobcentre Plus staff. The seminars feature advice on working with customers with Autism.

In addition, if a person is in receipt of attendance allowance or disability living allowance care component at the middle or highest rate, a second person, who may or may not be a family member, may be able to claim carer's allowance provided they satisfy the conditions of entitlement.

In the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC) one of the Commission's values is being client focused. In order to provide a first class service, we need to ensure our services are accessible to clients. At the point that they first contact the Commission, clients are asked about their specific requirements to enable them to access Commission services.

This information is taken from our ‘Single Equality Scheme 2010 to 2013’ which is published on the Commission's website.

Social Security Benefits: Suicide

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) guidance has been issued and (b) training is provided to staff of his Department on dealing with claimants who make threats of suicide; and if he will make a statement. [55638]

Chris Grayling: Since the Department was formed, there has been a range of guidance, advice and training for staff on how to deal with customers who make threats of suicide or say they intend to harm themselves.

Prior to 2004, Jobcentre Plus staff were provided with written advice from DWP occupational psychologists.

In 2004 to 2005 guidance on how to manage customers who were indicating they may commit suicide was included in the Pathways to Work training for Jobcentre Plus staff.

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In 2006 the DWP occupational psychologist team published a guide for staff on how to respond appropriately to customers who were intending to harm themselves.

In 2008 the Mental Health Coordinator role was introduced and “Introduction to Mental Illness” training was developed. This training, which is intended for all staff, includes a section on “responding to suicide declarations”.

This guidance was revised in March 2011 to form a new DWP policy framework on "Managing customers' suicide and self harm declarations". The framework summarises the plans and procedures that must be in place, as well as current best practice, advice and guidelines. The new guidance was issued to all DWP staff on 30 March to ensure that all staff who work with customers are aware of how to respond appropriately in such situations.

Universal Credit

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what terms of reference his Department has agreed with the Social Security Advisory Committee on its review of passporting arrangements under universal credit; and if he will make a statement. [55982]

Chris Grayling: The Minister for Welfare Reform, my noble Friend Lord Freud of Eastry, has formally commissioned the Social Security Advisory Committee to carry out an independent review of passported benefits and the links with universal credit and we will produce a written ministerial statement with the terms of reference shortly.

Treasury

Child Tax Credit: EU Nationals

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people from other EU countries who have made fraudulent claims for child tax credits in the latest period for which figures are available. [52911]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) do not keep records of the levels of error and fraud within working tax credit and child tax credit by country or nationality.

Commodity Markets

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential long-term effect on global commodity prices of trends in the economies of (a) Brazil, (b) the Russian Federation, (c) India and (d) China. [56404]

Justine Greening: The effect on commodity prices of economic growth in emerging economies is widely acknowledged. The Chancellor has used analysis from leading economic organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) on this issue.

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Corporation Tax

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the extent of avoidance of corporation tax by businesses trading in the UK. [50034]

Mr Gauke: Corporation tax is chargeable on the taxable profits of liable companies and organisations based in the UK and on the taxable profits arising from the UK activities of liable non UK based companies and organisations.

HMRC estimate that the annual corporation tax gap as a result of avoidance by businesses managed by HMRC's Large Business Service was £2.9 billion in 2008-09. This estimate was published in ‘Measuring Tax Gaps 2010'

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/measuring-tax-gaps-2010.htm.pdf

in September 2010. The Large Business Service is responsible for over 770 of the largest businesses that pay a significant proportion of the total business taxes and duties that HMRC collects.

In addition, HMRC published an illustrative estimate of £0.7 billion for the annual corporation tax gap in 2008-09 due to avoidance by large and complex businesses. These businesses are smaller than those managed by the Large Business Service but have annual turnover in excess of £30 million or have at least 250 employees.

An estimate of the corporation tax gap due to avoidance by small and medium-sized businesses has not been produced.

Departmental Billing

Gordon Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many invoices his Department received in respect of goods or services supplied by tier 1 suppliers between 1 May 2010 and 1 April 2011; and how many of those invoices were not paid within the period of time specified in the Government's Fair Payment guidance; [55867]

(2) what mechanism his Department has established to ensure its payments are passed through the supply chain to each tier in accordance with the last date for payment defined in the Government's Fair Payment guidance. [55890]

Justine Greening: The Fair Payment guidelines cover payments in respect of construction contracts. The Treasury does not currently have any contracts relevant for the purposes of the guidelines.

Departmental Correspondence

Mr Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 13 May 2011, Official Report, column 1391W, Members: correspondence, what the reasons were for the time taken to transfer the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall North to the Department for Communities and Local Government. [56350]

Danny Alexander: The Treasury received the letter on 26 April and confirmed transfer on 11 May, within eight working days.

19 May 2011 : Column 325W

EU Budget

Graham Stringer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely effect on the future level of UK contributions to the EU budget of implementation of the European Commission's proposals for the future own resources of the EU. [56230]

Justine Greening: The European Commission has yet to issue formal proposals for the 2014-20 Multiannual Financial Framework. However, the UK Government are not in favour of the introduction of an EU tax directly to fund the EU budget. The UK continues to defend the principle of tax sovereignty.

Projections for UK's gross and net contributions to the EU budget are provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility in its Economic and Fiscal Outlook. The latest publication (March 2011) is available online at:

http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/econ-fiscal-outlook-march.html

Income Tax: Tax Rates and Bands

Conor Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department assessed the merits of raising the top rate of income tax to a rate higher than 50 per cent. [53347]

Mr Gauke: In an age when businesses, capital and people are increasingly mobile, high tax rates send a negative signal to individuals and businesses who are looking to work and invest in the UK. The Government believe 50% rate would do lasting damage to the UK's economy if it were to become permanent.

That is why the Chancellor made clear in his Budget 2011 speech that the 50% rate is a temporary measure, and has asked HM Revenue and Customs to assess the revenue it raises when self assessment data for the 2010-11 tax year are available.

Conor Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department made of the revenue implications for the Exchequer of raising the top rate of income tax from 40 per cent. to (a) 41, (b) 42, (c) 43, (d) 44, (e) 45, (f) 46, (g) 47, (h) 48, (i) 49 and (j) 50 per cent. [53358]

Mr Gauke: The Exchequer costs of increasing the higher rate of tax for income tax can be approximated from Table 1.6 ‘Direct effects of illustrative tax changes’, available on the HM Revenue and Custom's website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/tax_expenditures/table1-6.pdf

Conor Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what analysis his Department undertook of the potential revenues to be raised from the setting of the 50 per cent. top rate of income tax. [53359]

Mr Gauke: The estimated Exchequer yield from the additional rate of tax was published by the previous Government in Table A11 of March 2010 Budget, available at:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100407010852/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/budget2010_annexa.pdf

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Oil: Prices

Jesse Norman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to mitigate the effects on consumers of high oil prices. [56258]

Justine Greening: In recognition of high current oil prices, fuel duty was cut by 1p per litre on Budget day (23 March 2011). The planned 2011-12 increase will be deferred to 1 January 2012. In addition, the previous Government's fuel duty escalator has been abolished and replaced with a fair fuel stabiliser.

As a result of this measure, pump prices could be approximately 6.7p per litre lower than under the fuel duty escalator by 2015-16. This reduction in price will help mitigate the impact of high oil prices on consumers.

Revenue and Customs: Training

Mr Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to his Department was of training for HM Revenue and Customs staff in self-defence techniques in 2010-11; what type of training is provided; and who provides such training. [55464]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 16 May 2011]: Only a small proportion of HMRC officers receive physical self-defence training. The total number is approximately 1,250 individuals, some 2% of total HMRC staffing.

The vast majority of those who receive training do so because they are required to conduct arrests using the powers contained in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, or equivalent powers in Northern Ireland and Scotland. The remainder are trained because the risk assessment relating to their work indicates that such training is necessary for their own safety.

The Department currently has eight senior instructors, who are trained by the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) in the Association of Chief Police Officers-approved Personal Safety Techniques curriculum. This incurred a one-off cost of approximately £1,500 per senior instructor. By successfully completing this training, these officers are accredited “trainers of trainers”, so they are able to train and accredit other HMRC staff to act as instructors. The Department currently has approximately 50 such instructors, a number of whom are currently under training.

All of the techniques taught are within the ACPO approved Personal Safety Training manual. However, only the techniques appropriate to HMRC officers' roles and powers are taught.

The costs to HMRC for this training fall under two general headings: payments to the NPIA for the training of senior instructors; and payment for the hire of suitable venues to carry out the training. In 2010-11, the Department paid approximately £6,000 to the NPIA for the training of four senior instructors, and £32,250 to various venues, mainly private gymnasiums.

Tax Avoidance

John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to counter tax avoidance since May 2010; when his Department last discussed the Government's tax avoidance policies with (a) the HM Revenue and Customs and (b) officials from the Public and Commercial Services Union; and

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how many meetings he has had since May 2010 with hon. and right hon. Members at which tax avoidance policy was discussed. [56245]

Mr Gauke: The Government are committed to tackling tax avoidance and since May 2010 has set out their strategic approach and explained action being taken to put it into practice in the Budget document "Tackling Tax Avoidance" available at:

http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011budget_taxavoidance.pdf

The Government have also shown their strong support for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in its operational work by providing investment of £917 million over the spending review period to tackle avoidance, evasion and criminal attack with the objective of bringing in around £7 billion per year in additional revenue by 2014-15.

HM Treasury Ministers frequently discuss tax policy issues with HMRC officials and work closely with HMRC on the issue of tax avoidance.

HM Treasury Ministers and officials also have meetings with a wide variety of organisations as part of the process of policy development and delivery. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of such meetings.

John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the tax gap; and when he next plans to make such an estimate. [56246]

Mr Gauke: HMRC's most recent estimate of the tax gap is £42 billion for 2008-09. This was published in 'Measuring Tax Gaps 2010' in September 2010

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/measuring-tax-gaps-2010.htm.pdf

An estimate of the tax gap for 2009-10 will be published in 'Measuring Tax Gaps 2011' later this year.

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Tax Collection

Priti Patel: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance his Department has given to HM Revenue and Customs on maximising the collection of tax revenues. [55977]

Mr Gauke: In my remit letter to HM Revenue and Customs for 2011-12, I set out the key priorities I expect the Department to focus on in the coming year. My letter makes clear that the highest of these priorities continues to be HMRC's role as the administrator and collector of tax revenues that fund the UK's public services and help reduce the deficit. This includes the Department's commitment to deliver an additional £7 billion per annum by 2014-15 in tax revenues from an increased focus on tackling non-compliance, evasion and avoidance.

HMRC's remit letter can be found on HMRC's website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/ls-remit-letter.pdf

Tax Yields: Financial Services

Mr Darling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the total tax take of (a) income and (b) corporation tax was received from the financial services industry in (i) 1979-80, (ii) 1987-88, (iii) 1992-93, (iv) 1997-98, (v) 2001-02, (vi) 2006-07 and (vii) 2009-10. [55812]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 16 May 2011]: The information requested has been compiled from published sources and is set out in the tables.

Income tax

Figures are available for Pay-As-You-Earn Income Tax deducted from pay. The proportions shown in the following table are based on the Standard Industrial Classification. This has changed over time meaning that figures are not directly comparable across years.

Pay-As-You-Earn income tax deducted from pay

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) base used Financial sector share (percentage)

1979-80

SIC 1968—Insurance, banking and finance

6.1

     

1987-88

SIC 1980—Banking finance and insurance

7.0

1992-93

SIC 1980

7.4

     

1997-98

SIC 2003—Financial intermediation

11.6

2001-02

SIC 2003

13.3

2006-07

SIC 2003

14.6

     

2009-10

n/a

n/a = Not yet available. Note: Excludes national insurance contributions and tax on pensions collected through PAYE. Also excludes income tax not collected through PAYE, for example collected through Self Assessment. Sources: Inland Revenue Statistics and HMRC Statistics (various editions)

Corporation tax

The following table shows the proportion of net receipts relating to financial sector both including and excluding life assurance. The breakdown is based on HMRC's Summary Trade Classification. An industry breakdown for corporation tax is not available for years prior to 2000-01.

Corporation tax net receipts
Percentage
  Proportion of net receipts from the financial sector

Excluding life assurance Including life assurance

2001-02

25

33

2006-07

24

27

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2009-10(1)

13

16

(1) The figures for 2009-10 are subject to change as payments originally made in respect of a group of companies are re-allocated to individual companies within the group. Note: The table excludes advance corporation tax. Source: Calculated from figures in Table 11.1 of HMRC statistics: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/corporate_tax/table11_1.pdf

Taxation: Aviation

Graham Stringer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on proposals for an EU-wide flight tax to supplement the contributions of member states to the EU budget. [56217]

Justine Greening: The European Commission has yet to issue formal proposals for the 2014-20 Multiannual Financial Framework. However, the UK Government are not in favour of the introduction of an EU tax directly to fund the EU budget. The UK continues to defend the principle of tax sovereignty.

Taxation: Land

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) pursuant to the answer of 23 November 2010, Official Report, column 285W, on taxation: land what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on a land value tax since the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government; [56129]

(2) if he will make it his policy to introduce a land value tax; and if he will make a statement. [56130]

Mr Gauke: There has not been any further research since the Lyons Inquiry and there are no plans to implement a land value tax at this time. However, all taxes are kept under review as part of the Budget process.

Trade Unions

Mr Raab: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff of (a) his Department, (b) the Asset Protection Agency and (c) the UK Debt Management Office are entitled to work (i) full-time as trade union representatives and (ii) part-time on trade union activities; how many such staff are paid more than £25,900 annually; and what the cost to the public purse of employing such staff on such duties was in the latest period for which figures are available. [56442]

Justine Greening: HM Treasury has one member of staff, who spends 60% (full-time equivalent) of their time working as a trade union official. As fewer than five staff are employed to work as union officials it is not HM Treasury policy to provide salary information that could be attributed to an individual.

The Asset Protection Agency has no staff engaged as trade union representatives.

The UK Debt Management Office has no formal union recognition so no staff are employed on trade union activities.

19 May 2011 : Column 330W

Welfare Tax Credits: Expenditure

Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to table 4.15 of the Economic and Fiscal Outlook of the Office for Budget Responsibilities, what expenditure on each tax credit scheme is represented by the figure given for overall tax credit expenditure. [51561]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 26 April 2011]:The information requested can be found in table 2.9 (rows 20 to 23) at the following:

http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/wordpress/docs/obr_fiscal_supplementary_tables1.xls

Business, Innovation and Skills

Agricultural Products: EU External Trade

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what (a) tariff and (b) non-tariff barriers discouraging agricultural imports to the EU from (i) Algeria, (ii) Morocco, (iii) Egypt and (iv) Tunisia he has identified. [56339]

Mr Davey: A range of tariff and non-tariff barriers apply to agricultural imports to the EU from Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. Tariff barriers are governed by bilateral Association Agreements between the EU and the respective countries, and vary considerably product-by-product and country-by-country. Limited agricultural tariffs remain for Egypt for example, which finalised a revised Association Agreement in 2010 whereas Algeria has yet to negotiate substantial revisions and so faces higher tariffs. Key non-tariff barriers remain for all countries including seasonal restrictions, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards, complex rules and regulations, and weak trade facilitation.

Arms Trade: Export Controls

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he plans to publish the next quarterly Country Pivot Report on strategic export controls. [56338]

Mr Prisk: The next quarterly Country Pivot Report on strategic export controls covering data for licences issued, refused and revoked is due to be published in week beginning 4 July. This report will cover data from January to March. Thereafter data are published with a three month time-lag i.e. data covering April to June are due to be published in October and so on.

Departmental Billing

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many invoices his Department received in respect of goods or services supplied by tier 1 suppliers between 1 May 2010 and 1 April 2011; and how many of those invoices were not paid within the period of time specified in the Government's Fair Payment guidance. [55876]

19 May 2011 : Column 331W

Mr Davey: Between 1 May 2010 and 1 April the Department paid 61,837 invoices. Of these, 51 invoices were not paid within the 30 calendar day target and 3,013 invoices were not paid within the aim of paying 80% of all invoices in five working days.

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what mechanism his Department has established to ensure its payments are passed through the supply chain to each tier in accordance with the last date for payment defined in the Government's Fair Payment guidance. [55898]

Mr Davey: The Department works closely with its tier 1 suppliers to ensure that payments are passed through the supply chain by:

reviewing payment performance of tier one suppliers as part of the standard contract management process;

ensuring tier 1 suppliers include in the relevant contract a provision which requires the tier one supplier to pay any tier two suppliers within 30 days; and

enabling tier 2 suppliers to report any concerns they feel have not been adequately addressed direct to the Department or via the Office of Government Commerce's supplier feedback process.