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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 5 February 2002, Official Report, column 851W, what the value was of the 18 penalties imposed as a result of allegations of WFTC/DPTC fraud made via the anti-fraud hotline; what the value was of the 530 recoveries; if the two prosecutions resulted in convictions and what the sentence received in each case was; and what the cost is of (a) the benefits anti-fraud hotline and (b) the childminder's hotline in 200102. 
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referred to in my answer of 5 February, 2002, Official Report, column 851, penalties of around £10,000 were imposed in the 18 cases which resulted from allegations to the national benefit fraud hotline about working families tax credit (WFTC) and disabled persons tax credit (DPTC) applicants. In addition, approximately £743,000 of tax credits is recoverable in relation to the 530 cases. Both of the prosecutions referred to resulted in convictions. The individuals convicted were given a two-year conditional discharge and 50 hours community service respectively.
Based on figures to date for 200102, the Department for Work and Pensions estimates the total annual cost of running the national benefit fraud hotline at £816,000 and the estimated annual cost to running the childminder's hotline for WFTC and DPTC applications during 200102 at around £1,000.
Dawn Primarolo: The child care tax credit is only one component of both working families' and disabled person's tax credits (WFTC and DPTC). In the 12 months to 31 March 2002 almost 8,000 WFTC or DPTC awards were found to be non-compliant but it is not possible to say how many of these included non-compliance in relation to child care charges.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) investigations, (b) penalties and (c) prosecutions have been instituted since September 2001 in respect of working families tax credit fraud. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason (a) a widow's pension is and (b) maintenance payments are not taken into account in assessing eligibility for working families tax credit. 
Dawn Primarolo: The fact that widow's pension is taken into account in tax credits and maintenance payments are not, aligns the treatment with what happens in the rest of the tax system. The maintenance disregard also makes a significant contribution to tackling child poverty.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the running costs were of (a) his Ministers' private offices, separately identifying expenditure on staff and (b) his Department in each year from May 1997 to the nearest date for which the information is available. 
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Mr. Burns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times special advisers have accompanied Ministers on overseas visits in each of the last five years; which countries were visited; and what the total cost of each individual visit was. 
Ruth Kelly [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Between 1 April 2001 to date, special advisers in the Treasury have travelled overseas on three occasions at an average cost of £5,800. In each case a special adviser has accompanied the Chancellor to IMF and G20 meetings in the USA and Canada and associated events from 27 April 2001 to 1 May 2001, 16 to 19 November 2001 and from 19 to 22 April 2002. Information for the period 2 May 1997 to 31 March 2001 is already in the public domain. All travel by special advisers is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code.
Ruth Kelly [holding answer 10 April 2002]: There are not currently any plans to relocate executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies under the remit of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Scotland.
Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue has a continuing commitment to detect and counter tax evasion. Resources are deployed with an emphasis on areas of high risk and the Inland Revenue's Special Compliance Office deals specifically with evasion involving offshore accounts.
The Finance Act 2000 introduced a package of measures to improve the UK's ability to exchange tax information with other countries. Effective exchange of information is a key tool in reducing tax evasion by the use of offshore accounts.
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The Inland Revenue has a continuing programme of counter-evasion work which covers all parts of the United Kingdom. Resources are deployed to detect evasion across the tax system with an emphasis on areas of high tax risk.
Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many forward contracts have been agreed by the Inland Revenue to allow taxpayers to negotiate a fixed regular payment of tax in place of the submission of an annual return in each year from 1997 to date; how many such agreements are in place; when such an agreement was first made; under what circumstances such agreements are made; and what the annual income is to the Inland Revenue from such agreements; 
Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 15 April 2002]: The Inland Revenue has made a small number of such agreements, entered into at various dates since 1988, some involving taxpayers domiciled outside the United Kingdom. Typically, the arrangements agree a practical basis for taxing future income and gains where there would otherwise be particular difficulties in establishing an exact figure.
Three agreements involving fixed regular payments were made since the start of 1997, but none of these is now considered current. Two have expired. The Inland Revenue is contending in court proceedings that the third is invalid.
Ruth Kelly: The Better Quality Services (BQS) programme was launched in 1998 and adopted by the Cabinet Office in the "Modernising Government" White Paper of 1999 as a means of delivering continuous improvements in the quality and effectiveness of Government activities and services. It requires all Government Departments to review every activity and service over a five-year period starting in October 1999. The scheme covers all activities in Departments, agencies and executive non-departmental public bodies, and is similar in remit to the Best Value programme in local government.
HM Treasury does not provide services direct to the public however; under the umbrella of the Better Quality Services programme we have reviewed some 40 per cent. of our activities. By the end of 2004, efficiency reviews
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will have been undertaken within all Treasury Directorates, using appropriate tools such as the European Foundation for Quality Management's Excellence Model.
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