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Tax Credits

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his latest estimate is of the average time taken to answer calls to the tax credits helpline in each month since November 2005; and if he will make a statement. (75791)

For November 2005 to April 2006 I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 187W.

The figure for May 2006 is 53 seconds.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to introduce an improved level of service for tax credit claimants; and if he will make a statement. (76417)

Since my statement to the House on 26 May 2005, Official Report, column 22W, HM Revenue and Customs have introduced a series of measures to improve the service. I made a statement on the progress that has been made on these measures at the Treasury Select Committee on the 1 February 2006.

In my written statement to the House on 5 December 2005, Official Report, column 5W, I announced further measures, as part of the pre-Budget report, to provide more certainty over tax credits award for families while maintaining flexibility to respond to falls in income and changes in circumstances.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what his latest assessment is of the level of tax credit overpayments in 2004-05; (76433)

(2) what his latest assessment is of the level of tax credit overpayment for 2006-07.

Estimates for 2004-05 of the numbers of in-work families with tax credits awards, including information on overpayments and underpayments, based on final family circumstances and incomes for 2004-05 are published in “Child and Working Tax Credits. Finalised Awards. 2004-05.” This publication and provisional estimates for the number of in-work families with tax credit awards as at selected dates in 2005-06 are available on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-quarterly-stats.htm.

Measures announced in the 2005 pre-Budget report, which are being introduced from April 2006, are expected to reduce overpayments by one third once they are fully implemented.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people who were underpaid tax credits from 1 April 2003 to 31 March 2005 have received the full amounts underpaid; and if he will make a statement. (76469)

HMRC repay underpayments or offset them against any outstanding overpayments, as soon as the underpayments are recognised.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many disabled workers have (a) claimed and (b) been in receipt of tax credits for each month since June 2005; and if he will make a statement. (76486)

The characteristics of adults and children as initially captured in all tax credits claims, including rejected claims, are not available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The numbers of tax credits awards to in-work families with particular characteristics at selected dates from July 2003 to April 2006 are available in publications on the HMRC website:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-quarterly-stats.htm.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he plans to carry out an assessment of the case for moving to a system of fixed tax credit awards; and if he will make a statement; (76871)

(2) what external research his Department has commissioned on the case for a return to a system of fixed tax credit awards; and if he will make a statement.

As the 2005 pre-Budget report stated, the Government will continue to listen to the case for a system of fixed awards, but believes on balance that it is preferable to maintain the current system that flexibly responds to changing circumstances.

The Department has not commissioned any external work on the case for a system of fixed tax credit awards.