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Welfare Tax Credits

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Tax Credit Office's target is for responding to (a) letters, (b) telephone calls and (c) e-mails from (i) hon. Members and (ii) members of the public; and how many in each category were answered within the target time in the last 12 months. (194468)

It is HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) aim to reply to the majority of all letters within three weeks. There is no separate target for e-mails.

The majority of telephone enquiries to Tax Credit Office are dealt with as they are received.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 18 February 2008, Official Report, columns 368-69W.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were employed in the administration of tax credits in each quarter since April 2003. (194477)

Information about the number of staff engaged in tax credits administration each year is contained in part 2, table 1 of the comptroller and auditor general’s standard report in the 2006-07 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) accounts, which is available on the HMRC website at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/hmrc-accounts2007.htm

Quarterly information would only be available at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people (a) left the Tax Credit Office and (b) were recruited to permanent posts in the Tax Credit Office in each year since 2003; what proportion of current staff are employed on (i) a temporary basis and (ii) contracts of less than one year; and what the average salary is of staff working in (A) the Tax Credit Office and (B) HM Revenue and Customs as a whole. (194478)

For the information requested at (a) and (b) I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond) on 17 March 2008, Official Report, column 898W.

The proportion of Tax Credit Office staff on temporary contracts is around 12.5 per cent. and none of those contracts have been for less than one year.

The average salary of staff at all grades working in TCO is (A) £24,400 and in HM Revenue and Customs as a whole is (B) £23,300.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit award notices were sent out in each year since 2003; and if he will make a statement. (194485)

Award notices are issued at the following points in the tax credits cycle:

An initial award notice, following a successful claim.

An amended award notice when a claimant notifies HMRC of a change of circumstances or income during a year.

A finalised award notice following the completion of the renewal process.

Where payments are continuing following a finalised award for one year, an award notice is issued to advise of the provisional payments HMRC will be making for the subsequent year.

Award notices issued each year since 2003 are as follows:

Total

2003-04

21,000,000

2004-05

34,000,000

2005-06

37,500,000

2006-07

32,000,000

2007-081

29,000,000

1 To end February

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many tax credit awards were paid into foreign bank accounts in each year since April 2003. (194504)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 17 March 2008, Official Report, column 900W, on welfare tax credits, if he will place in the Library the six Office of Government Commerce Gateway reports on the new tax credits programme. (197976)

The disclosure of such reviews is currently the subject of proceedings in the High Court in an unrelated case.