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25 Mar 2010 : Column 503W—continued


25 Mar 2010 : Column 504W

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills when he plans to answer question (a) 321887 on his Department's initiatives and (b) 321888 on the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme, tabled on 10 March 2010; and if he will make a statement. [324388]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 23 March, Official Report, column 256W, and the answer I gave on 24 March, Official Report, column 401W.

International Development

Developing Countries: Tuberculosis

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans his Department has to improve the mechanisms used to measure the progress and effectiveness of the tuberculosis control programmes funded by his Department. [323667]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development (DFID) aims to ensure that all organisations supported by UK aid have robust systems to monitor and measure their impact. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) reports regularly against targets and continually analyses how their monitoring and reporting systems can be improved. DFID is providing £6 billion to strengthen health systems in developing counties from 2008-15. A significant portion of this funding is being used to develop health information management systems that will assist in measuring the progress and effectiveness of tuberculosis control programmes.

Many tuberculosis control programmes have reported 80 per cent. cure rates using the Directly Observed Therapy, Short-course (DOTS) monitoring system. DOTS is an effective strategy supported by the World Health Organisation and used by many programmes supported by DFID to monitor their success.

International Assistance

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2010, Official Report, column 1416W, on international assistance, if he will publish his Department's Health Portfolio Review. [324177]

Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development's (DFID's) health portfolio review will be published later this year and will be available at

Treasury

Departmental Official Hospitality

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the five most expensive hospitality events hosted by his Department and its agencies were in the last three years; and what the (a) cost and (b) purpose was of each. [324413]


25 Mar 2010 : Column 505W

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: HM Treasury's accounting system does not identify spending by event and the information for HM Treasury and the Office of Government Commerce could not be provided within the disproportionate costs threshold.

The Debt Management Office held just one official hospitality event in the past three years to mark the 10th anniversary of the organisation at a cost of £9,000.

Maternity Benefits

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the rate of take-up is of the health in pregnancy grant in each local authority. [324107]

Mr. Timms: The 'Health in Pregnancy Grant' is a one-off, tax-free payment from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for mothers-to-be who are at least 25 weeks pregnant to help them prepare for the birth of their baby. Further information is available at:

The information requested is available only at disproportionate cost, due to the complexity of estimating the overall number of mothers-to-be who are eligible for the Health in Pregnancy Grant.

Royal Bank of Scotland: Loans

Willie Rennie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions officials of UK Financial Investments Ltd have had with representatives of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) on the level of lending by RBS to small businesses. [324183]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Both HM Treasury and UK Financial investments officials hold frequent discussions with the Royal Bank of Scotland on a range of topics. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of such discussions.

Smuggling: Alcoholic Drinks

Mr. Todd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the prevalence of alcohol diversion fraud; and whether he has plans to take steps to reduce the incidence of such fraud. [323842]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Diversion of alcohol without payment of excise duty is the most prevalent form of alcohol fraud. Estimates of tax losses are produced by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) annually for spirits, the latest of which are published in 'Measuring Tax Gaps-2009'. This publication is available in the House of Commons Library. Reliable estimates for wine and beer are not yet available.

In Budget 2009, the Chancellor announced a comprehensive programme of work for 2009-10 involving HMRC and UK Border Agency renewing their strategy to tackle alcohol fraud. The strategy comprises measures to prevent fraud as well as tackle evasion and criminality, and has three broad themes:


25 Mar 2010 : Column 506W

HMRC is currently in the process of implementing this strategy.

Taxation: Car Washes

Christopher Fraser: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) value added tax, (b) corporation tax and (c) income tax revenue foregone as a result of illegal car washing operations in each of the last three years. [323845]

Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs conducts inquires each year into many thousands of people operating in the hidden economy, including in car washing and valeting services. However, no assessment has been made of the tax losses from this sector above.

Welfare Tax Credits: Overpayments

Steve Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the monetary value was of tax credits overpayments written off in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07, (c) 2007-08 and (d) 2008-09 as a result of (i) official and (ii) claimant error; and if he will make a statement. [318388]

Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) Code of Practice 26 'What happens if we've paid you too much tax credit?' explains its approach to tax credits overpayments and the circumstances in which customers may not have to pay them back. It is available at:

(i) Information about the value of disputed tax credits overpayments written off in each year from 2005-06 to 2008-09 is in the table:

Value of disputed written overpayments written off (£000)

2005-06

180,016

2006-07

9,042

2007-08

7,276

2008-09

28,242


(ii) HMRC does not record the value of overpayments written off as a result of claimant error.

Cabinet Office

Business: Berkshire

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate has been made of the number of small businesses which have closed in (a) Reading East constituency and (b) Berkshire in each year since 1997. [324827]

Angela E. Smith: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:


25 Mar 2010 : Column 507W
Deaths of enterprises for Reading east parliamentary constituency and the former county of Berkshire for enterprises with less than 50 e mployment (small)

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Reading East

(1)-

(1)-

(1)-

528

523

496

507

Former County of Berkshire

3,770

4,212

4,121

3,778

3,621

3,609

3,570

Bracknell Forest UA

445

489

509

480

459

385

434

Reading UA

710

701

647

630

650

595

628

Slough UA

485

476

507

397

401

400

381

West Berkshire UA

700

810

830

722

706

751

762

Windsor and Maidenhead UA

775

989

848

811

708

788

760

(1) Data not available
Notes:
1. The former county of Berkshire is the area now covered by the Unitary Authorities of Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham, all created on 1 April 1998.
2. A small business is defined as an enterprise with less than 50 employment

Census

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the schedule is for printing 2011 Census forms; and how many Census forms she expects to be printed in each month from March 2011 to the date of the Census. [323448]

Angela E. Smith: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:

Million

March 2010

8

April 2010

9

May 2010

9

June 2010

10

July 2010

3



25 Mar 2010 : Column 508W

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what methodology will be used to count (a) people in immigration removal centres and (b) asylum seekers in the 2011 Census. [323453]

Angela E. Smith: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:


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