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Welfare Tax Credits: Telephone Services

Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many calls were handled by the tax credits helpline in each year for which figures are available. (180231)

For the period up to April 2006 I would refer the hon. Member to the answers given by my right hon. Friend the then Paymaster General on 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2407W, on 14 March 2006, Official Report, column 2137W and on 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 188W. The following table shows the number of tax credit helpline calls that were handled between 1 May 2006 and 31 December 2007.

Calls handled (thousand)

2006

May

2,284

June

2,225

July

2,185

August

2,667

September

2,073

October

1,752

November

1,896

December

1,168

2007

January

1,759

February

1,829

March

1,723

April

1,876

May

2,288

June

2,400

July

2,747

August

2,026

September

1,841

October

1,629

November

1,529

December

1,013

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent on advertising the tax credits helpline in each year for which figures are available. (180232)

No money has been spent on specifically promoting the tax credits helpline, though the helpline number does appear in advertisements.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints about the tax credits helpline were received in each year for which figures are available. (180234)

For the period up to April 2006 I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the then Paymaster General on 4 September 2006, Official Report, column 2004W. Between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2007, 2,084 complaints about the tax credits helpline were received by HMRC’s customer contact directorate. For the current tax year, April 2007 to date, figures are not yet readily available.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what training is given to staff working on the Tax Credits Helpline; and how many full working days of training staff must undertake before handling calls to the Helpline. (180236)

I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the then Paymaster General on 21 November 2005, Official Report, column 1576W, regarding the training that is given to Tax Credits Helpline advisers.

The initial training course for Tax Credits Helpline advisers is 15 working days, after which time advisers would be expected to handle calls. However depending on their individual skills and confidence, trainees might handle some calls before then under close supervision before then. A period of post training support is also provided and on-going call coaching ensures that Helpline adviser’s skills and knowledge are developed. In addition, training is delivered across the Tax Credit Helpline service in response to procedural and legislative changes.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the training budget is for the Tax Credits Helpline in each year of the 2007 Spending Review period. (180237)

The information is not available.

HMRC has a centrally managed budget for human resource and learning activities (which includes training) and does not have separate budgets for each of its contact centre lines of business such as the Tax Credits Helpline.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total cost of training staff working on the Tax Credits Helpline in each year for which figures are available. (180238)

The data requested are not available in the format requested as the information cannot be disaggregated from other costs.