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Welfare Tax Credits

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many and what proportion of (a) new claims, (b) renewals and (c) change of circumstances claims for tax credits have been processed (i) within and (ii) after the target time in each month since the introduction of tax credits; (257185)

(2) how many and what proportion of tax credit payments have been made (a) within and (b) after the target time for payments in each month since their introduction;

(3) what targets his Department has set for the time taken to process (a) a new application for tax credits and (b) an application to renew a tax credits claim; how long on average it has taken to process (i) a new claim for tax credits and (ii) an application to renew a tax credits claim (A) in each year since the scheme's introduction and (B) in each of the last 12 months; how many new claims for tax credits have been received by the Tax Credit Office in each month since their introduction; and if he will make a statement.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sets its tax credits processing targets annually.

Performance outturn for all new claims, renewals and changes of circumstances for 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 can be found in the Department's autumn performance reports which are available at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/reports.htm

(a) Information relating solely to new claims for 2006-07 and 2007-08 is provided in the following table:

Percentage

Target

86% in five working days

95% in 30 working days

2006-07

Outturn

80

91.7

2007-08

Outturn

81

91.7

In 2008-09 the Tax Credit Office (TCO) aims to pay 60 per cent. of all tax credits claims in 15 calendar days and all new tax credit claims in 20 calendar days In light of the difference to previous years' targets, HMRC is working hard to identify how resources can be most effectively deployed to achieve these revised aims. Separate information about the time taken to make payments in earlier years is not available.

(b) Information relating solely to renewals for 2006-07 and 2007-08 is provided in the following table:

Percentage

Target

86% in five working days

95% in 30 working days

2006-07

Outturn

43.7

85.3

2007-08

Outturn

74.7

90

In 2008, HMRC had an internal measure that aimed to process 85 per cent. of tax credits renewals in 15 working days over the renewal period. Around 99 per cent. of renewals cleared from April 2008 to September 2008 inclusive were processed within the target time with an average processing time of around three days.

(c) For information about change of circumstances I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott) on 28 January 2009, Official Report, column 591W. Detailed information about the number of change of circumstance notifications received and processed is not available in the format requested.

For the number of new tax credits claims received from January 2006 to November 2008 inclusive, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry) on 27 October 2008, Official Report, column 792W and the answer my hon. Friend the Exchequer Secretary gave the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott) on 10 December 2008, Official Report, column 198W.

The number of new claims received from households in each month November 2002 to December 2005 inclusive, and in December 2008 and January 2009 are shown in the following table:

Number of new claims

2002

November

765,225

December

357,684

2003

January

519,982

February

674,744

March

487,319

April

419,484

May

484,326

June

361,554

July

329,014

August

146,102

September

129,534

October

125,468

November

110,497

December

71,990

2004

January

98,088

February

105,397

March

109,432

April

108,802

May

133,170

June

141,319

July

136,006

August

119,116

September

162,325

October

156,743

November

138,198

December

108,783

2005

January

107,655

February

121,839

March

113,983

April

114,908

May

111,586

June

127,140

July

115,555

August

127,774

September

147,331

October

164,764

November

175,523

December

70,068

2008

December

97,522

2009

January

109,046

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of tax credit payments were made (a) into bank accounts and (b) by other payment methods in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (257187)

The information requested is provided in the following table.

Method of payment

Percentage of total payments

2008

BACs (Thousand)

Cheque (Thousand)

BACs

Cheque

Total payments (Thousand)

February

15,970

369

97.74

2.26

16,339

March

15,994

354

97.83

2.17

16,298

April

17,670

380

97.89

2.11

18,050

May

17,997

396

97.85

2.15

18,393

June

17,762

397

97.81

2.19

18,159

July

20,176

465

97.75

2.25

20,641

August

15,895

356

97.81

2.19

16,251

September

17,175

381

97.83

2.17

17,556

October

18,022

397

97.84

2.16

18,419

November

15,858

355

97.81

2.19

16,213

December

20,137

415

97.98

2.02

20,552

January

16,330

359

97.85

2.15

16,689

Total

208,936

4,624

97.83

2.17

213,560

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions the Tax Credit Office has been notified by claimants of a delay in receiving payments in each of the last 12 months. (257190)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect on public expenditure of removing the second income threshold on tax credits and applying a consistent taper rate of 44 per cent. while increasing the first income threshold of tax credits to (a) £6,750, (b) £7,000, (c) £7,500, (d) £8,000, (e) £8,500, (f) £9,000, (g) £9,500 and (h) £10,000 in each of the next six years; if he will estimate the number of people who would have an entitlement reduced to zero in each case; and if he will make a statement. (257195)