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Toddler Tax Credit

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) research has been conducted into and (b) conclusions drawn about the implementation of the Childcare Commission's recommendation to fund a toddler tax credit. [28763]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government continue to keep under review the levels of support provided to families with children. Budget 2001 announced a number of measures to support families with young children, including improved maternity provision and a higher rate of children's tax credit of up to £20 a week in the first year of a child's life. Budget 2001 also announced increases of around one third in the child care cost limits in the child care tax credit component of the working families tax credit and disabled person's tax credit.

As the next stage of tax and benefit reform a new child tax credit, which will draw together all income related strands of support for families with children, will be introduced in 2003. The rates and thresholds for the new child tax credit will be set in Budget 2002.


Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of British high street transactions have taken place in euros since 1 January. [28926]

Ruth Kelly: We understand from the British Retail Consortium that thus far such transactions have been less than 1 per cent. in volume and value terms.

Stolen Equipment

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what equipment has been stolen from his Department since 1 May 1997; and what the approximate value of each item was. [26837]

Ruth Kelly: The following items were recorded as stolen:

YearItem(s)Value(7) (£)
1997 (May)2 Desktop PCs4,300
1 Laptop PC2,500
1 Desktop PC1,900
1 Laptop PC3,000
19981 Laptop PC2,500
19991 Desktop PC2,000
Computer memory25
1 Laptop PC2,000
1 Laptop PC3,000
20001 LCD Projector2,000
2 Disk Drives300
1 Laptop PC2,000
20011 Laptop PC2,000
1 Personal Data Assistant (PDA)250
1 Laptop PC2,000
2002None recorded to date

(7) Approximate

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Married Couple's Tax Allowance

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) men aged (i) under 65 and (ii) 65 and over and (b) women aged (1) under 60 and (2) 60 and over have been in receipt of married couple's tax allowance since 31 March 1999. [27544]

Dawn Primarolo: The numbers of taxpayers who received the married couple's allowance in 1999–2000 are given in the table.


Number in receipt of the married couple's allowance
Men under 657.8
Men 65 and over1.8
Women under 600.2
Women 60 and over0.1

The estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes.

Civil Registration

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there has been progress with the proposal to reform civil registration in England and Wales. [29887]

Ruth Kelly: A White Paper "Civil Registration: Vital Change", setting out the Government's proposals for modernising civil registration within England and Wales, is being published today. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House.

Parliamentary Questions

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many answers to parliamentary questions have not been answered by his Department under exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information in each year since 1994. [29424]

Ruth Kelly: Records are not kept of the number of occasions on which Treasury Ministers have not been able to answer parliamentary questions wholly or in part on grounds of commercial confidentiality. This information could be extracted from the thousands of answers given in a typical year only at disproportionate cost.


Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell dated 6 August 2001 and 1 November 2001, addressed to the Economic Secretary, regarding data protection. [28295]

Ruth Kelly: I hope to be in a position to write to the hon. Member very shortly.

Saving and Assets for All

Ms Walley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will make a statement in respect of the outcome of the consultation on Saving and Assets For All. [29366]

Ruth Kelly: Results of the consultation on proposals for the Child Trust Fund and Saving Gateway, launched in April 2001, were published with the pre-Budget report

22 Jan 2002 : Column 702W

in November 2001, in "Delivering Saving and Assets". This document also contained more detailed proposals for further consultation.

This second round of consultation, which will close on 28 February 2002, will inform the development of the proposals by the Government over the coming months, including as part of Spending Review 2002.

Child Poverty

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the action his Department has taken to reduce child poverty. [29277]

Dawn Primarolo: This Government are committed to abolishing child poverty within a generation and halving it by 2010. As part of this commitment, a strategy document entitled "Tackling child poverty: giving every child the best possible start in life" was published in December 2001. This document will inform the Budget and Spending Review 2002.

As a result of personal tax and benefit changes announced in the last Parliament, there are now 1.2 million fewer children in poverty than there would otherwise have been. In real terms:

Specific measures announced over the last Parliament include:

As part of the next stage of tax and benefit reform, a new tax credit for families with children—the child tax credit—will be introduced from 2003 building on the foundation of universal child benefit. It will bring together the strands of support for children in children's tax credit, working families tax credit, disabled person's tax credit and income support/jobseeker's allowance, and will be a seamless and transparent system of support for children paid to the main carer whether in or out of work. Decisions on rates and thresholds will be set out in Budget 2002.


Stolen Equipment

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what equipment has been stolen from his Department since 1 May 1997; and what the approximate value of each item was. [26827]

22 Jan 2002 : Column 703W

Mr. Paul Murphy: The following items have been reported as lost or stolen:

DescriptionValue (£)Year


Figures relate to Welsh Office, Cadw, and Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales/Estyn up to 30 June 1999, and to Wales Office thereafter.


Port Dues

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether all ports in the UK charge port dues for ships coming into the port for repairs; which European ports around the North sea waive port dues for ships without cargo commitments coming in to port for repairs; and what assessment he has made of whether port dues place the port of Tyne at a competitive disadvantage to European ports which waive port dues for ships coming in for repair. [26043]

Mr. Spellar: All ships have the right to enter ports in the UK subject only to the payment of ship, passenger and goods dues. Statutory harbour authorities, including the port of Tyne, have the right to set such dues at whatever level they consider appropriate and may waive any of them at their own discretion. Harbour undertakings are paid for by their users—if dues are waived in any case, the cost is borne by others. Users have a right of objection to the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if they consider the dues to be unreasonable.

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