HL Deb 17 March 2005 vol 670 cc28-30WS
Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My right honourable friend the Paymaster General (Dawn Primarolo) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In response to one of the recommendations of Gus O'Donnell's review of the revenue departments in 2004, the Government have introduced the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Bill. In line with the review's recommendations, the Bill will create a new integrated taxes and customs department to supersede the existing departments of the Inland Revenue and H M Customs and Excise. This restructuring will aid the efficient and effective management of taxation, and the provision of a more effective service to the public and businesses.

Subject to parliamentary approval, the new department will be launched in April 2005. It is important to have an integrated Internet site in place immediately, to provide a single point of contact for online customer information. An integrated internal Intranet site, providing a single point of reference for staff, will be launched at the same time.

Urgent work is required in advance of the legislation receiving Royal Assent to allow those sites to be developed, tested and presented as new unified HM Revenue and Customs sites, both to enable the new sites to be launched on time, and avoid later costly duplication of development and testing work.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources and cash of £11,750 for this new service has been sought in the Inland Revenue's Spring Supplementary Estimate. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure of £11,750 on work to develop and test the new logo on the IT systems will be met by a repayable cash advance from the contingencies fund.