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Mr. Lawson : I meet my fellow European Finance Ministers regularly to discuss a wide range of economic matters.

Adult Unemployment

59. Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the effect upon the economy of the fall in adult unemployment since 1981.

Mr. Major : The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has decreased from 9.0 per cent. at the end of 1981 to 7.7 per cent. in October this year. This has been accompanied by an increase in the workforce in employment of more than 1.6 million, which together with an exceptionally strong increase in productivity, has been reflected in a rate of growth of output since 1980 faster than that in any other major EC country.

Take-home Pay

60. Mrs. Maureen Hicks : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the increase in the real take-home pay of a married man on average earnings with two children since 1978-79.

Mr. Norman Lamont : A married man with two children on average male earnings will have received a real increase in take-home pay of more than 29 per cent. between 1978-79 and 1988-89.


62. Mr. John Ward : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the proportion of gross domestic product represented by general Government expenditure ; and what was the comparable figure in 1982-83.

Mr. Major : The Autumn Statement gave a forecast of 39 per cent. for the ratio of general Government expenditure (excluding privatisation proceeds) to gross domestic product in 1988-89. The corresponding figure for 1982-83 was 46 per cent.

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70. Mr. Hayward : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement on the outlook for public expenditure in 1989-90.

Mr. Major : As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House in his Autumn Statement on 1 November, the public expenditure planning total for 1989-90 will remain at £167.1 billion, the level published in the last public expenditure White Paper. Further details of the public expenditure plans will be given in the 1989 public expenditure White Paper, to be published in the new year. 76. Dr. Bray : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what percentage the level of the price index or gross domestic product deflator for 1989-90 assumed in the autumn statement 1988 in table 1.1 on trends in public expenditure exceeds that assumed for 1989-90 in the autumn statement for 1987 in table 2.2.

Mr. Major : In the 1988 Autumn Statement the GDP deflator is assumed to rise by 5 per cent. in 1989-90. This is 1 per cent. higher than the corresponding figure assumed in 1987.

EC (Contributions)

63. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the United Kingdom's contribution to the European Economic Community in 1987-88 ; and if this figure includes a proportion of the payment made to the European Economic Community in respect of its overspending in 1988.

Mr. Brooke : The United Kingdom's net payment to European Economic Community institutions in 1987-88 was £1,664 million. This figure does not include any amount in respect of our contribution to the 1988 IGA (assuming that is what my hon. Friend is referring to).

National Debt

71. Mr. Chapman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the cost to public funds in servicing the national debt in 1988-89 ; and what have been the comparable figures for the amount and percentage of total public expenditure over the past 10 years.

Mr. Lilley : The table below shows general Government gross debt interest payments for the year 1978-79 to 1991-92.

General Government Gross Debt Interest Payments                                             

                       |£ billion             |Percentage of General                        

                                              |Government Expenditure                       


1978-79                |7.4                   |9.9                                          

1979-80                |9.4                   |10.5                                         

1980-81                |11.4                  |10.5                                         

1981-82                |13.3                  |11.0                                         

1982-83                |13.9                  |10.5                                         

1983-84                |14.5                  |10.4                                         

1984-85                |16.1                  |10.7                                         

1985-86                |17.7                  |11.2                                         

1986-87                |17.6                  |10.7                                         

1987-88                |17.5                  |10.2                                         

1988-89<1>             |17.7                  |9.75                                         

1989-90<1>             |17.0                  |8.75                                         

1990-91<1>             |16.0                  |8                                            

1991-92<1>             |15.5                  |7.75                                         

<1> Autumn Statement 1988 projections.                                                      

Negative Income Tax

77. Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his current estimate of the cost of introducing a system of negative income tax.

Mr. Norman Lamont : It is not possible to estimate the cost since my hon. Friend has not provided sufficient information about the tax system that he has in mind.

Disposable Income

78. Dr. Twinn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures for real personal disposable income in the British economy.

Mr. Major : In the first half of 1988 real personal disposable income was 3 per cent. higher than in the first half of 1987.

Business Start-ups

79. Mr. Couchman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures for the number of business start-ups on the basis of value added tax registrations.

Mr. Lilley : The number of VAT registrations and de-registrations processed by Customs and Excise in the period April to October 1988 is :



New registrations |139,494        

De-registrations  |99,519         


Net increase      |39,975         

This represents a record average increase in the size of the VAT register of well over 1,000 a week.

Capital Investment

81. Mr. Cran : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what proportion he expects fixed capital investment to rise in 1988 over 1987.

Mr. Major : Total fixed capital investment was forecast in the Autumn Statement to grow in real terms by 12 per cent. in 1988.

Vehicle Excise Duty

82. Mr. Riddick : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Government's intentions as to future rates of car tax.

Mr. Lilley : I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's next Budget Statement.

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Private Rented Housing

83. Mr. Harris : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the implementation of the extension of the BES to private rented housing.

Mr. Norman Lamont : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave on 30 November 1988 to my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre (Mr. Mans) at column 273 .

Roads (Taxation)

Mr. Prescott : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money was received by the Treasury from road user taxes, broken down into (a) fuel duty, (b) vehicle excise duty, (c) car tax, (d) value added tax on vehicles and (e) value added tax on fuel in each year since 1974-75.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 5 December 1988] : The following information is available :

£ million                                                                                                                                                        

                       |Fuel duty<1>          |Vehicle excise Duty<2>|Car tax               |VAT on vehicles<3>    |VAT on road fuel<4>                          


1974-75                |1,430                 |520                   |120                   |..                    |240                                          

1975-76                |1,430                 |770                   |180                   |..                    |460                                          

1976-77                |1,960                 |810                   |220                   |..                    |280                                          

1977-78                |2,210                 |1,050                 |290                   |..                    |300                                          

1978-79                |2,210                 |1,090                 |380                   |480                   |290                                          

1979-80                |2,670                 |1,160                 |520                   |1,030                 |490                                          

1980-81                |3,340                 |1,360                 |480                   |970                   |620                                          

1981-82                |4,430                 |1,620                 |510                   |1,060                 |760                                          

1982-83                |5,030                 |1,840                 |600                   |1,260                 |840                                          

1983-84                |5,410                 |2,000                 |700                   |1,390                 |920                                          

1984-85                |5,870                 |2,260                 |740                   |1,450                 |980                                          

1985-86                |6,250                 |2,430                 |860                   |1,650                 |1,040                                        

1986-87                |7,300                 |2,520                 |960                   |1,900                 |950                                          

1987-88                |7,670                 |2,600                 |1,130                 |2,300                 |1,020                                        


<1> Excise duty receipts from petrol and DERV.                                                                                                                   

<2> Vehicle excise duty on all types of road vehicle.                                                                                                            

<3> VAT on vehicles has been estimated from consumers' purchases of cars and motor cycles, and businesses' purchases of cars (on which tax is not deductible).   

Information is not available before 1978-79.                                                                                                                     

<4> VAT on fuel has been estimated from consumers' expenditure on fuel (including oil).                                                                          

Child Benefit

Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of those families with children who receive more in child benefit than they pay in income tax are out of work.

Mr. Lawson [holding answer 29 November 1988] : In 1988-89, it is estimated that some 2 million families with children will receive more in child benefit than they pay out in income tax. About one quarter of heads of these families are unemployed. These estimates are based on projections of the results of the 1986 Family Expenditure Survey and are subject to revision.



Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the percentage of school leavers in each local education authority area (a) entering YTS and (b) remaining unemployed since the YTS began.

Mr. Cope : The information is not available in the form requested. Figures from the youth cohort study (England and Wales) for the regions of England and Wales for the years 1985 to 1987 are provided in the table :

Youth Cohort Study (England and Wales)                                                                       

Percentage of School Leavers on YTS or Out of Work at the time of the survey.                                

                          1985<1>                 1986<2>                 1987<3>                            

Region                   |On YTS     |Out of Work|On YTS     |Out of Work|On YTS     |Out of Work            


North                    |31         |30         |57         |13         |56         |15                     

Yorkshire and Humberside |31         |26         |47         |18         |50         |16                     

North West               |28         |28         |51         |17         |51         |16                     

East Midlands            |27         |24         |47         |15         |47         |12                     

West Midlands            |32         |26         |57         |15         |55         |14                     

East Anglia              |24         |22         |44         |12         |41         |11                     

Greater London           |18         |20         |25         |21         |23         |16                     

South East               |20         |19         |34         |14         |34         |10                     

South West               |27         |17         |50         |11         |42         |12                     

Wales                    |37         |28         |55         |16         |55         |15                     

                         |--         |--         |--         |--         |--         |--                     

  Percentage Total       |27         |24         |46         |16         |45         |14                     

<1>12,500 1984 summer school leavers surveyed in summer 1985.                                                

<2>20,000 1985 summer school leavers surveyed in spring 1986.                                                

<3>20,000 1986 summer school leavers surveyed in spring 1987.                                                

Employment Training

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will outline the overall budget for funding the underpinning agreements given to ET training managers broken down by region ; how much has so far been claimed ; and if he will make a statement on the progress of the underpinning arrangements.

Mr. Nicholls : The underpinning arrangements are funded from the overall resources available for employment training and there are no separate regional

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budgets for this purpose. So far some £836,000 has been claimed by training managers and these arrangements will continue to operate in a cost-effective way.

Disabled Persons (Staff)

Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of his Department's staff are classed as disabled.

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Mr. Lee : At 1 June 1988, 2.23 per cent. of the Employment Department group's staff were registered as disabled. In addition, the group employs staff with disabilities who chose not to register.

Data Protection Act

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment why members of his Department are on the interdepartmental group looking at the workings of the Data Protection Act ; and whether he will define the concerns of his Department in respect of the Data Protection Act.

Mr. Cope : Many of the views expressed to the Data Protection Registrar in his informal consultation review on the workings of the Data Protection Act have been put by small firms and by organisations representing their interests. I have responsibility for representing the views of the small firms sector within Government.

Teachers (Pay)

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will set out a table showing current figures for pay in real terms of teachers and the top quartile of non-manual average earnings over the same dates and for the same categories of teachers.

Mr. Lee : The latest available information, for April 1988 is published in table 1 of part A of the report on the new earnings survey 1988 for all non-manual employees, and in tables 50 and 51 of part B for male and female teachers. A copy of the report is in the Library.

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Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East, Official Report, 1 December, columns 370-71, in what form the information relating to restart interviews is held ; if he will provide an approximate breakdown of the costs involved in obtaining it; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lee : Information on restart interviews is collected on individual record cards which are completed for every person contacted by the programme. These records are summarised on monthly returns for employment service offices, areas, regions and Great Britain. They contain information on the number of people contacted, the number interviewed and the outcome.

It is not possible to isolate from other administrative work the costs of collecting the information.

Coal Industry (Accidents)

Mr. Illsley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any intention to postpone the proposed amendments to the Mines and Quarries Act 1984 in view of the poor accident rates of contractors to British Coal.

Mr. Nicholls : No. The proposed new legislation to replace the 1954 Act is intended to improve or maintain safety standards for all persons employed at mines including contractors.

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Mr. Grylls : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the actions taken by the Government since the beginning of this Parliament to encourage small and medium-sized businesses.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 5 December 1988] : Since June 1987, the Government have continued in their efforts to promote a more vigorous enterprise culture and stimulate the development of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

Information and Advice

The small firms service (SFS) has increases its links with other agencies in the small firms support network. Its database of national information is now available to other organisations advising small businesses.

In 1987-88 the SFS answered over 266,000 inquiries, helped over 27, 000 small businesses by counselling, and held over 39,000 counselling sessions.

The service has opened six inner city offices and is appointing inner city business advisers to promote self-employment and small business development in inner city areas. In December 1987 the service opened a centre for European business information in London. The recent pilot for Government business shops will be expanded in 1989 with plans for four more in England, two of which will be sited in small firms centres. They will provide information on tax, national insurance and VAT, to help tackle Government rules and regulations at a single point.

Further details of the service's achievements are contained in the small firms service 1987-88 annual report, a copy of which is in the Library.

The local enterprise agency grant scheme was introduced on 1 April 1986 to encourage greater private sector support for the agencies. £2,713,856 was paid to 186 agencies in 1987-88. A local enterprise agency project scheme (LEAPS) commenced on 1 July 1988 to support projects providing special help to inner city businesses. To encourage private sector support for LEAs, the Government made provision in the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 (section 79) for tax relief on contributions to approved agencies by a company or unincorporated business.

The Rural Development Commission provides rural small businesses with advice through 33 business service offices. On 13 January the Department of Trade and Industry introduced the "enterprise initiative", a national programme which aims to raise the performance of management by promoting the use of best practice. The key element in the enterprise initiative is the six consultancy initiatives, covering marketing (including export marketing), design, quality, manufacturing systems, business planning, and financial and information systems. The other initiatives cover research and technology, enterprise and education, regional assistance and export.

Single European Market

The DTI has run a campaign to persuade firms of all sizes to prepare for the completion of the single European market in 1992. Finance

Use of the loan guarantee scheme has increased following the introduction of simplified administrative procedures for loans up to £15,000. On 22 June 1988, as part of the action for cities initiative, an increase in the

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guarantee to 85 per cent. was introduced for businesses based in, or working to be based in, inner city task force areas.

The Business Expansion Scheme

In his Budget statement my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a ceiling of £500,000 on investments under the business expansion scheme in any one company in any period of 12 months.

By the end of October 1988, over 390,000 people had taken part in the enterprise allowance scheme. Greater emphasis is now being placed on counselling and training applicants.


The basic rate of income tax has been reduced from 27 per cent. to 25 per cent. and the small companies' rate of corporation tax has been reduced from 27 per cent. to 25 per cent. Capital gains tax has been rebased to 1982 so that only gains on losses accrued since 31 March 1982 are brought forward into account. Retirement relief has been extended to include 50 per cent. of the gains between £125,000 and £5,000. The inheritance tax threshold has been raised from £90, 000 to £110,000 and the previous four rates reduced to a single rate of 40 per cent. The VAT registration threshold has been increased to £22,100. The rules for registration of voluntary and intending traders have been relaxed. Following a review of the Finance Act 1985 VAT penalties, a number of changes have been made to the regulations including the introduction of a more flexible penalty system for late registration.


Since the introduction of employment training (ET) in September this year, the provision of training for enterprise programmes has been split between ET, for those wishing to start up in business, and programmes dealing with growth and development of existing small firms.

Employment training provides training for people who want to become self- employed and they can enter the programme without having to satisfy the usual ET eligibility criteria. A full range of enterprise training is available throughout the country on ET including enterprise assignments, counselling, skills training, enterprise rehearsal and formal start-up training through business enterprise programme (BEP) courses.

The Department of Employment Training Agency also runs a number of programmes aimed at equipping existing entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge required to manage and develop a small business succesfully.


The Government have improved small firms' access to information about purchasing departments, their procedures, requirements and points of contact. A Department of Employment booklet, "Tendering for Government Contracts," has been supplemented by some individual Departments' own publications and information published on Prestel. Tendering and approval procedures have been simplified by exempting suppliers to most Government Departments from normal approval procedures for contracts under £10,000, by allowing non-approved firms to tender for non-urgent contracts subject to subsequent approval and by encouraging Departments to make regular reviews of tender lists to encourage new suppliers.

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MOD Initiatives

MOD has continued to pursue the small firms initiative launched in November 1986. On 30 November 1988 the small firms advice division was expanded into the newly established MOD new suppliers service but the new service still retains within it a small firms group. A new and expanded edition of the booklet, "Selling to the MOD," has been published. These latest initiatives will encourage more companies of all sizes to compete for MOD business.


The small firms merit award for research and technology--SMART--was run for the first time in 1986 to encourage small firms and potential entrepreneurs to put forward innovative ideas that cannot attract existing sources of funding. The Department of Trade and Industry, which runs this scheme, is evaluating the second competition which was run this year. It was extended to 140 awards in a broad range of technologies.

The support for innovation schemes was introduced in 1981 by the Department of Industry to offer firms assistance with research and development projects. Small firms have a simplified appraisal process and so far 50 per cent. of participants in the scheme have been small firms.

The teaching company scheme was set up by the Science and Engineering Research Council and the Department of Trade and Industry in the mid-1970s. In 1977-78 total funding for the scheme was around £15 million split between DTI, the research councils and industry. The scheme has led to the recruitment of high quality graduates into small companies, especially those with no previous graduate employees. The Department of Trade and Industry announced earlier this year that the scheme is being substantially increased with a target of 500 projects by 1992-93. The DTI will also put greater emphasis on the projects of small and medium sized firms, which should comprise 60 per cent. of all projects by 1992-93.

Inner Cities

As part of the Government's action for cities programme announced on 7 March, new initiatives have been introduced to extend the wide range of help available to new and existing small businesses in inner city areas and to make services to small firms more accessible. Marketing

In 1987, my Department, together with the then Manpower Services Commission and Lloyds Bank, sponsored a series of workshops designed to show managers of small firms how to improve their competitiveness by the implementation of practical marketing techniques. COSIRA (now merged with the Development Commission), with funds provided by my Department offered grant to assist small rural businesses to improve their marketing and sales to trade buyers.


The Secretary of State for Wales instigated the gateway network initiative for small businesses in October 1987. It provides a high quality advice service to businesses in Wales through co-operation between member organisations. In July 1988 the local investment initiative ("local link") was launched. This scheme fosters contact between local businesses and investors.

In October 1988 a one-stop shop (Government Business Shop) was launched with the purpose of enabling businesses to get advice on tax and other Government regulations under one roof.

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Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland initiatives have included :

--introduction of new arrangements for enterprise training, covering those setting up new small businesses ;

--upgrading of support to SMEs to help them improve their marketing and export activities ;

--a programme to increase the awareness of local businesses of the opportunity to supply public sector purchasing requirement. Scotland

The Government continue to provide substantial assistance to small firms in Scotland through the wide range of services delivered on an integrated basis by the Scottish Development Agency, including the consultancy initiative and the small firms information service and business counselling service ; through the Highlands and Isles Development Board ; and through the Industry Department for Scotland.

The year 1987 saw a net increase of 2,500 registered companies in Scotland. Many of these received Government assistance. Scotland was the first area in the United Kingdom to open a Government business shop to provide small companies with advice on Government regulations.


School Fees

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in the Official Report the number of allowances and the total amount paid by the Government for day school fees in both the United Kingdom and overseas for the education of the children of (a) members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (b) members of the Diplomatic Service communications division and (c) the Overseas Development Administration including children of technical co-operation officers, for the latest year for which figures are available.

Mr. Waldegrave : There is no provision to pay day school fees in the United Kingdom.

Total costs of day school education overseas for the financial year 1987-88 was £1,540,000 made up as follows :

(a) FCO £1,114,000.

(b) Diplomatic Service Communications Division £51,000. (c) ODA £375,000.

A record of the number of children involved is not maintained.

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in the Official Report the schools from which receipted bills were submitted in the last convenient year to facilitate the payment of allowances for the education of the children of diplomatic staff ; and if he will state the number of children attending each school.

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