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Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have sent in self-assessment tax forms since 31 January; how many of those have (a) paid the £100 fine and (b) been excused the £100 fine; and if he will make a statement. [36718]

Dawn Primarolo: Between 31 January and 8 February 2002, 444,750 returns have been sent in. Penalty notices have not yet been issued so we have no information on penalties for this year but we would not expect any significant numbers of people to have yet paid a penalty.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of liable taxpayers failed to meet his Department's deadlines for submitting tax self-assessment forms; what estimate he has of the total revenue from penalties for late submission; and if he will make a statement. [36416]

Dawn Primarolo: The latest year for which figures are available is the year to 31 January 2001.

10 per cent. of SA taxpayers to whom a return was issued failed to file by the filing deadline.

The Inland Revenue accounts for its receipts in accounts years running from November to October.

For the account year 2000, receipts from self- assessment penalties totalled £33 million and the figures for account year 2001 will be available later this financial year.

Child Care Costs

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to increase the level of support to families to pay for child care costs. [36409]

Dawn Primarolo: The child care tax credit element of working families tax credit is a targeted measure to help low paid parents, for whom the cost of child care can be a significant barrier to work. The credit is worth 70 per cent. of eligible child care costs up to limits of £135 a week for a family with one child and £200 for a family with two or more children. The limits were increased to this level in June 2001 in response to representations about the costs of child care. The child care tax credit element has been extremely successful with around 155,000 families benefiting. This is more than three times the number who benefited from the family credit disregard at its peak.

Under the new system of tax credits which will be introduced from April 2003 the new working tax credit will contain a child care component. The Government welcome evidence about the cost of child care and keep the levels of support under review. Rates and thresholds for the new tax credits will be set in Budget 2002.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the proportion of child care costs met by (a) Government, (b) business and (c) parents; [36410]

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Dawn Primarolo: The Government do not collect data on the proportion of the cost met through different sources, nor does such data exist on an internationally comparable basis.

The National Childcare Strategy is ensuring that affordable, accessible and good quality child care is available in every neighbourhood, and Spending Review 2000 allocated an additional £225 million from 2001 to 2004 to tackle the child care gap between disadvantaged and more affluent areas.

To support working families with their child care costs, the working families tax credit includes a child care tax credit component which pays 70 per cent. of the costs of eligible child care up to limits of £135 per week for one child and £200 per week for two or more children. Around 155,000 families are receiving support with their child care costs, over three times as many as benefited from the child care disregard under family credit at its peak.

The Government's Work Life Balance Campaign is increasing awareness and take-up of employment policies and practices which benefit business and help employees enjoy a better balance between work and other demands on their lives.

Benefits (Walthamstow)

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in the Walthamstow constituency are in receipt of (a) working families tax credit and (b) children's tax credit. [36949]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Feltham and Heston (Mr. Keen) on 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 694W.

Student Finances

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many full-time students registered entitlement to national insurance eligibility in the financial year in the last three financial years; and what proportion established eligibility over a full contribution year; [37034]

Dawn Primarolo: A national insurance number is generally notified to a person shortly before they reach their sixteenth birthday. Any employee over the age of 16 is liable to pay Class 1 contributions where, in any tax week, earnings are paid which exceed the NICs employees's earnings threshold. We have no information on numbers of students who pay contributions.

I regret that I cannot provide reliable estimates for these questions as the Inland Revenue do not hold this information centrally.

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G7 Meeting (Ottawa)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the recent G7 meeting in Ottawa. [36551]

Ruth Kelly: G7 Finance Ministers and Central bank governors met in Ottawa on the 8 and 9 February. They discussed the global economy; the importance of fostering development; and on-going efforts to combat the financing of terrorism.

Ministers and governors agreed that since they had last met, prospects had generally strengthened for resumed expansion in their economies, although risks remained. Ministers and governors agreed the need for more effective use of development assistance and a commitment to sound policies, good governance and the rule of law by all countries. They considered possible innovative ways to mobilize additional domestic and external resources, trade and external debt, and looked forward to continued discussions at the UN Financing for Development conference in Monterrey in March.

The full statement from the meeting, including an action plan on combating the financing of terrorism, is available in the Library.

EU Budget (British Rebate)

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total value, in sterling, of the British rebate from the EU budget is from 1984 to the most recent year for which figures are available. [36385]

Ruth Kelly: The total value of the UK abatement up to the end of 2000–01 can be found in the final paragraph of Chapter 14.4 of the Departmental Report of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Departments (Cm 5116) published in April 2001.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 702W, on Railtrack, which criteria he used when determining that disclosure would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion. [36939R]

Mr. Andrew Smith: As I said in my previous answer, a railway administration order was made in respect of Railtrack plc under the provisions of the Railways Act 1993. No extra legislation was necessary to put the company into administration.

There is no obligation to disclose confidential communications between Departments, in accordance with Exemption 2 (Internal discussion and advice) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

I have nothing to add to that answer.

Kingscrest Associates and Montecello

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the appeal against the London VAT Tribunal decision in the case of Kingscrest Associates and Montecello to be heard; and what legal costs Customs have incurred in this case. [36705]

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Mr. Boateng: The appeal by Customs will be heard by the High Court on either the 18 or 19 February 2002. The costs incurred to date are £26,466.

Headwear (VAT)

Phil Sawford: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue the Treasury has received from VAT on riding hats in each of the past five years for which figures are available; and what figures he has collated on the rate of VAT levied on (a) motorcycle helmets, (b) bicycle helmets and (c) riding hats in each of the EU member states. [36456]

Mr. Boateng: No such information is available.

Business R and D

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) total and (b) business research and development is as a percentage of GDP for (i) the UK and (ii) Scotland. [36413]

Ruth Kelly: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Alex Salmond, dated 25 February 2002:

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