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Postal Votes

Lord Graves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): There is no legal provision for electoral registration officers to

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make available for public inspection any applications made by electors for an absent or a proxy vote.

Age-related Tax Allowances

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide an estimate of what number and percentage of people aged over state pension age would pay (a) no tax, (b) tax at starting rate, (c) tax at basic rate and (d) tax at the higher rate if there were no age-related tax allowances for people aged 65 and over.[HL277]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Estimates for the number and percentage of people aged over state pension age paying at each of the various income tax rates if there were no age-related tax allowances are in the table.

2002–03Number of people over state pension age(1) (thousands)% of all people over state pension age
Starting rate
Savers rate
Basic rate
Higher rate
All pensioners(6)10,980

Notes: Taxpayer estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with the November 2002 pre-Budget forecast.

(1) Men aged 65 and over and women aged 60 and over.

(2) Taxpayers with a marginal rate at the 10 per cent starting rate from an extra £1 of earnings.

(3) Taxpayers with a marginal rate at the 20 per cent lower rate for savings income or the 10 per cent ordinary dividend rate from an extra £1 of earnings.

(4) Taxpayers with a marginal rate at the basic rate from an extra £1 of earnings.

(5) Taxpayers with taxable income above the higher rate threshold.

(6) Pensioner population estimates provided by the Government Actuary's Department.

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much was spent on age-related allowances for people aged 65 and over in 2001–02.[HL278]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: r the noble Baroness to table 7 of the publication The Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Census: Under-Enumeration of Males aged 20–44

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

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    Whether they are concerned about the apparent under-enumeration in the 2001 census among males aged 20–44.[HL310]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from the National Statistician, Len Cook, dated 5 December 2002.

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking whether Her Majesty's Government are concerned about the apparent under-enumeration in the 2001 Census among males aged 20–44.[HL310]

For the 2001 Census a new and more robust method was used, known as the One Number Census. In addition to the Census itself, a huge independent coverage survey was undertaken, covering around 0.32 million households and every local authority (the Census Coverage Survey). This survey was then combined with the Census, using standard statistical techniques, to estimate the Census non-response and to adjust for under-enumeration. There was also an extensive Quality Assurance process for every local authority, comparing the Census results with a range of other administrative data; and a national Quality Assurance process resulting in additional adjustments.

This approach was adopted because we knew that Census non-response had been increasing internationally and that response to the 2001 Census was likely to be lower than previously. It is the use of this robust method, adjusting under-enumeration, which gives me confidence that the Census figures provide the most accurate possible estimate of the population.

For men aged 20–44, the response rate to the Census in England and Wales was 90 per cent. That is based on the final estimates derived from both the Census and the Census Coverage Survey, thus indicating that the One Number Census method added 865,000 males aged 20-44 to the estimate that would have been obtained by the Census alone. The response rate varied within that age-range as follows: 87 per cent for men 20–24, 88 per cent for men aged 25–29, 90 per cent for men aged 30–34, 92 per cent for men aged 35–39, 94 per cent for men aged 40–44. These and further details about response were published with the Census results on 30 September and are available on the National Statistics website at

The 2001 Census results showed that the United Kingdom has 800,000 fewer men aged 20–44 than previously thought. The critical factor within the difference appears to be emigration. The data used to estimate the numbers of people leaving the country is derived, from the International Passenger Survey (IPS). This works well, but it captures travellers' intentions at the time of departure. These may be prone to change once people are abroad, particularly among young men with few ties at home. These issues are currently under consideration as part of the

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National Statistics Quality Review on International Migration, and one of the outcomes expected of this review is a set of options to improve intercensal population estimates, which will particularly involve males 20 to 44.

DVLA: Dishonoured Cheques

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total annual value and number of dishonoured cheques received by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for the last convenient period.[HL225]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The information requested for the financial year 2001–02 was as follows:

Fees and VED payments (GB and NI)131,640£12.445m

Of these, less than 10 per cent were written off as abandoned claims.

Traffic Congestion: Heathrow Airport

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether traffic planners in the South East are required to take special account of congestion caused by journeys to and from Heathrow; and, if so, what radius from Heathrow is covered by the requirement.[HL247]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: There is no government guidance to the transport planning profession requiring that special account be taken of congestion caused by journeys to and from Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport clearly has a major impact on traffic levels, though it is not the only contributor to congestion in the area. The South East and East of England Regional Air Service study and the Orbit (M25) and Thames Valley multi-modal studies have all carried out computer modelling of transport networks, including those in the vicinity of Heathrow.

Rural Proofing: CMPS Courses

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Centre for Management and Policy Services has built rural proofing into policy-making courses for civil servants; if not, what progress has been made; and when it will be complete.[HL314]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Centre for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS)has indeed built rural proofing into its policy-making courses for civil servants. The interests of people in rural areas feature in every session on identifying stakeholders and such sessions are integral to general policy-making

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courses. More specific examples include: after discussion with the Countryside Agency, a case study in rural transport issues has been built into the key policy-making course for fast-stream trainees, The Management of Policy Work, and will also feature in a new course for 2003–04, Developing Deliverable Policy; and a three-day partnership programme in May 2003 for senior civil servants and their equivalents in the public and not-for-profit sectors will be built around a case study of rural regeneration and land use in North Dorset.

CMPS is also looking at further initiatives, such as the participation of officials from Defra or the Countryside Agency in policy-making courses and senior programmes.

CMPS will continue to seek further opportunities to incorporate rural proofing into its courses and programmes.

"Best Practice" Training for Ministers

Lord Norton of Louth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What training is provided to senior Ministers to assist them in the running of their departments; and [HL341]

    What provision exists for the dissemination to senior Ministers of "best practice" advice in the running of government departments[HL342]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston The Cabinet Office provides central training for Ministers. This supports them: operating as a member of the government team; managing the strategic policy and communication aspects of the job as a member of a departmental team; and working with and through Parliament.

The Programmes for Ministers series provides: access to expert contributors from government and the wider public and private sector; discussion with colleagues and sharing best practice; and awareness of current developments in government.

Specific needs of individual Ministers are met on a personal basis.

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