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Local Public Service Arrangements

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to extend local public service arrangements to district councils. [69987]

Mr. Raynsford: The Government are keen to involve districts in local PSAs, but believe that better outcomes can be achieved through co-operation between county and district councils than by districts acting alone. It therefore offers incentives to encourage county councils to work with their districts in drawing up and implementing their local PSAs. Most of the county councils involved in the roll-out of local PSAs to top tier authorities have involved their districts, including Suffolk county council, whose local PSA was recently agreed. There are no plans to extend local PSAs to districts alone.

Social Services

Clive Efford: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list those London boroughs that are anticipating overspending on their social services budgets in this financial year. [69150]

Mr. Leslie: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Social Exclusion

Angus Robertson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when the EU Advisory Committee on the implementation of the community action programme to combat social exclusion is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if he will make a statement. [67750]

Malcolm Wicks: I have been asked to reply.

The Programme Committee set up under the programme of Community action to encourage co-operation between member states to combat social exclusion is next due to meet on 10 October 2002. The United Kingdom members of the Committee are two named DWP officials. Representatives of the Scottish Executive are not, and have not been, members.

TREASURY

Energy Efficiency

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the Government propose to take forward their Budget announcement to consider ways in which economic instruments might be used to improve household energy efficiency. [70865]

John Healey: A consultation document "Economic instruments to improve household energy efficiency" will be published today on the Treasury website. Copies are

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also available in the Libraries of both Houses. Responses to this consultation, which should be sent to HM Treasury by 8 October, will help to inform the Government's policy development in this area.

Public Finances

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the members of the Public Sector Classifications Committee; and if he will make a statement on the process by which they were selected. [70512]

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

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Chope, dated 16 July 2002:


As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question concerning the list of members of the Public Sector Classification Committee, and the process by which they were selected. (70512)
The Public Sector Classification Committee's members are selected for their National Accounts expertise. Most are automatically entitled to membership through holding particular jobs in The Office for National Statistics. The committee may co-opt others in particular cases if their areas of expertise are relevant. The membership is:
Head of National Accounts Group (chair)
Head of National Expenditure & Income Division (vice-chair)
Head of National Accounts Co-ordination Division
Head of Balance of Payments & Financial Sector Division
Head of Short-term Output Indicators Division
Head of Public Sector Accounts Branch
Expert on Gross Domestic Product
Expert on Financial & Sector Accounts
Expert on Gross National Income
Others as appropriate.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the statement by the Head of National Accounts at the Office for National Statistics publicised in a news release of 11 July on responsibility for deciding on classifications in the monitoring and control of public finances. [70514]

Mr. Boateng: The Office for National Statistics is responsible for classifying institutions and transactions for national accounts in accordance with international guidelines. Ministers have decided to adopt national accounts definitions in the monitoring and control of public finances. Similarly in the EU, the Council has decided to adopt national accounts definitions in the Maastricht Treaty, its protocols, and in the Stability and Growth Pact.

Employer Liability Insurance

Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received from companies in high-risk sectors on their ability to secure cover for mandatory employer liability insurance; and if he will make a statement. [69864]

Ruth Kelly: The Government do not generally intervene in the terms and conditions of insurance policies. There is no statutory requirement for insurers to offer particular types of cover.

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The Government are aware that some companies are experiencing difficulties in obtaining employers liability cover and are monitoring the situation closely.

Contingent Liabilities

Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether there are limits on the extent to which the devolved Administrations can enter into contingent liabilities. [70040]

Mr. Boateng: It is for the devolved Administrations to manage their contingent liabilities from within their existing Departmental Expenditure Limits if the contingent liabilities materialise.

Tax Contracts

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff of the Inland Revenue have investigated and monitored (a) negotiated tax contracts for individuals and companies, (b) tax domicile status and (c) multinational company transfer pricing in each year since 1996. [62023]

Dawn Primarolo: I regret that this information is not available.

Tax Returns

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many individuals have entered into agreements with the Inland Revenue in each year since 1997 to pay a specified sum in tax in lieu of submitting an annual tax return; what the rationale is for this policy; and if he will make a statement. [62055]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue have not entered into agreements that absolve individuals from the general obligation to submit an annual tax return. Under Inland Revenue's power of care and management agreements of the type described were entered into and intended as a practical basis for taxing future income and gains where there would otherwise have been particular difficulties in establishing an exact figure. The Inland Revenue are no longer making these agreements.

No central records were kept of these agreements at the time they were made, but the number of individuals so far identified to have been covered by them in the years in question is as follows:


These figures include one case (covering four individuals, in 1998) that has come to light following recent publicity. Agreements in other cases have also covered the tax affairs of more than one individual.

Working Families Tax Credit

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the administrative cost of replacing the working families tax credit with the working tax credit and the child tax credit. [67776]

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Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the revised Regulatory Impact Assessment for the new tax credits which is available in the Library and from the Inland Revenue's website www.ir.gov.uk.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the proportion of fraudulent claims for working families tax credit which result in prosecution in each of the last three years. [67775]

Dawn Primarolo: The Revenue's approach to compliance is based on the progressive use of civil penalties and it prosecutes in more serious cases of fraud.

The table gives the numbers of cases investigated which were found to be non-compliant, the number of penalties imposed and the number prosecuted in the last three years.

As at 31 March
200020012002
Cases found to be non-compliant2505,2138,595
Penalties imposed3237524
Successful prosecutions0229

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much compensation has been paid as a result of working families tax credit fraud since 31 December 2001. [67774]

Dawn Primarolo: The information cannot be supplied in the form requested.

As with other parts of the tax system the Inland Revenue Code of Practice (COP 1) allows for certain exceptional payments to be made to working families tax credit (WFTC) applicants where they suffer loss or inconvenience as a result of mistakes in dealing with their application. The Inland Revenue classifies the compensation payments it makes according to the nature of the complaint: for example, delay or mistake.

Mr. Roy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families receiving working families tax credit have an allowed claim for child costs. [69735]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of recipients of the working families tax credit (WFTC) who benefit from the child care tax credit is shown in Table 1.3 of each WFTC Quarterly Enquiry, copies of which are in the Library.

Mr. Challen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people are claiming working families tax credit, expressed as a percentage of the working population in (a) Leeds and (b) each of the English regions. [69952]

Dawn Primarolo: For the number of recipients of working families tax credit in each region and local authority, quarterly from May 2001, I refer my hon. Friend to my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Jarrow (Mr. Hepburn), on 16 January 2002, Official Report, column 293W.

Estimates of the average population in employment in the same areas in the year to February 2001 appear in the January 2002 issue of Labour Market Trends. Quarterly estimates for regions, most unitary authorities and larger districts appear in the labour Force Survey Quarterly

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Supplement. Copies of these publications are in the Library. All these estimates are based on the Labour Force Survey, and are subject to sampling uncertainty.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the accuracy of the estimates in the 'Tax Credits Act 1999 and Accompanying Regulations: Regulatory Impact Assessment', published in December 1999 of the costs for employers of administering the working families tax credit; and if he will place the assessment in the Library. [69935]

Dawn Primarolo: The accuracy of the estimates is being assessed through a survey of employees, which is part of the working families tax credit and disabled person's tax credit evaluation programme.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) on 13 June 2002, Official Report, columns 1393–94W, for what reasons the figures for the cost of advertising the working families tax credit are lower than the figures offered to the former hon. Member for Guildford (Sue Doughty) on 22 June 2000, Official Report, column 288W. [68608]

Dawn Primarolo: The figures for working families tax credit given to the hon. Member for Guildford (Sue Doughty), included other promotional activity such as a freephone helpline, while the figures given to the hon. Member for Truro and St. Austell (Matthew Taylor) included only direct advertising expenditure.


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