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Dawn Primarolo: Copies of the latest quarterly inquiries giving statistics for the Working Families Tax Credit and the Disabled Person's Tax Credit are in the Library. They contain estimates of the number of recipients in each parliamentary constituency, and in each local authority.
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 18 January 2001]: It is estimated that 1,129 thousand families with dependent children were in receipt of the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) awards at the end of August 2000.
Mr. Portillo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how long it has taken on average for a business to be reimbursed by the Inland Revenue those moneys paid to employees as working family tax credits; 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 17 January 2001]: The scheme for paying tax credits through the payroll is designed to ensure that employers have the money they need to pay the tax credit at the right time.
Employers who receive notification to pay tax credits can apply for advance funding from the Inland Revenue if they think that they will have to pay out more in tax credits than the PAYE tax, NICs and student loan deductions which they have to pay to the Inland Revenue for the same period. As long as the application for funding is made at least nine working days before the first tax credit payment is due the Inland Revenue should be able to get funding to employers at least three days in advance of the first day on which they will pay tax credits.
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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he proposes to limit the proposed VAT reduction on conversion of dwellings into a different number of dwellings to conversions that follow explicit planning consent and to prevent houses in multiple occupation without the benefit of explicit planning consent from benefiting from any reduction. 
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue yield of introducing VAT at (a) 5 per cent. and (b) 17.5 per cent. on rent of (i) commercial properties and (ii) domestic properties. 
Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the cost of the VAT exemption for the rental of commercial and domestic properties are given in the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs tables published by HM Treasury in November 2000. Revenue estimates of introducing VAT at 5 per cent. on the rents of these properties are not available.
Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is not available, but the tax cost of oil allowance for 2000 is given in the November 2000 "Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs", and in "Inland Revenue Statistics 2000", copies of which are available in the Library. The cost of oil allowance in future years will depend upon future levels of oil and gas prices and production.
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the yield in 2001-02 of increasing the rate of income tax to 50 per cent. for annual taxable incomes in excess of £50,000. 
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Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue yield of introducing VAT at (a) 5 per cent. and (b) 17.5 per cent. on (i) private education, (ii) for profit health care and (iii) not for profit health care. 
Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the cost of the VAT exemption for private education and health services are given in the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs tables published by HM Treasury in November 2000. No separate estimates have been made for profit and not for profit health care. Revenue estimates of introducing VAT at 5 per cent. on private education and health services are not available.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue yield of extending VAT to (a) the United Kingdom portion of international passenger transport, (b) water and sewerage and (c) domestic passenger transport at (i) 5 per cent. and (ii) 17.5 per cent. 
Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the cost of the zero-rate of VAT for passenger transport and water and sewerage are given in the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs tables published by HM Treasury in November 2000.
The national minimum wage of £3.70 an hour ensures fair minimum standards of pay and has benefited between 1.2 and 1.5 million people since its introduction in April 1999. The introduction of the 10p tax rate in April 1999 halved the marginal tax rate for 1.8 million people in low-paid work. Reforms to National Insurance Contributions and in particular the abolition of the unfair entry fee, and the rise in the Lower Earnings Limit, have taken an estimated 1 million low-paid workers out of paying national insurance, while protecting their entitlement to benefits.
The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), introduced in October 1999, is designed specifically to increase the financial rewards to work for low and middle income families with children. This recognises the particular problems faced by parents in seeking work and includes specific help with child care costs through a new Childcare Tax Credit. On average, families on WFTC are £30 a week better off than under Family Credit. Combined with the minimum wage WFTC ensures a minimum income for a family with someone in full-time work of £214 a week.
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Mr. Fallon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been paid in friendly settlements of claims by widowers of the widows bereavement allowance under the European Convention on Human Rights. 
Dawn Primarolo: One friendly settlement to a widower of under £5,000 (including legal costs) in respect of a claim to widows bereavement allowance has been made. The terms of the settlement were published on 9 November 1999 by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
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