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Mr. Major : At the end of 1987, the United Kingdom net stock of overseas assets was worth £89 billion, about one fifth of GDP. These assets generated earnings of £5 billion in 1987. The United Kingdom net stock of assets was the second highest in the world behind Japan. Figures for 1988 are not yet available.

National Debt

39. Sir John Stokes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the additional revenue which will be available in 10 years as a result of the current level of national debt repayment.

Mr. Lilley : Were annual debt repayments for each of the next ten years to be at the current forecast level of £10 billion the stock of net debt will be virtually halved. However, the amount of debt interest saved will depend upon interest rates over the next ten years and the mix of debt repaid, and hence it could only be quantified with a large degree of uncertainty. There would clearly be a substantial saving on the current level of net interest payments of £11 billion.

Pound Sterling

40. Mr. Ron Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current value of the 1979 pound sterling after taking inflation into account ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : The real effective sterling exchange rate (based on relative normalised unit labour cost, as published by the IMF on the United Kingdom country page of "International Financial Statistics") averaged 83.6 in 1979 and 106.1 in October 1988.

Income Tax

41. Mr. Hardy : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the Exchequer of a reduction in the rate of income tax of 1p.


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Mr. Norman Lamont : The direct revenue cost, at 1989-90 income levels, of reducing the basic rate of income tax by one penny is estimated to be £1.4 billion in 1989-90 and £1.7 billion in 1990-91.

Budget Surplus

44. Mr. McAllion : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the budget surplus at present.

84. Mr. Roger King : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest forecast for the level of public sector surplus in 1988-89.

Mr. Jack : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest forecast for the level of public sector surplus in 1988-89.

Mr. Major : I refer the hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friends to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Bridlington (Mr. Townend).

Economy (North-West)

47. Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the long-term future of the economy of north-west England.

54. Mr. Parry : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the long-term future of the economy of the north- west.

Mr. Major : The Government do not publish long-term forecasts of the regional economies, but my assessment is that the prospects for north-west England are good, deriving from a more broadly based and flexible economy. For example, the region has one of the most rapidly falling unemployment rates in the United Kingdom.

96. Mr. Sumberg : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the economic growth rate in the north-west of England for the last two years for which figures are available.

Mr. Major : The growth of GDP at factor cost in current prices in the north-west region is estimated to have been 10.1 per cent. between 1985 and 1986, and 7.4 per cent. between 1986 and 1987. These estimates are subject to revision, particularly the provisional 1987 figure.

Cider

48. Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the yield from excise duty on cider and allied products for each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Mr. Lilley : The information is as follows :


Cider and perry duty receipts 

          |£ million          

------------------------------

1985-86   |49.7               

1986-87   |53.2               

1987-88   |50.7               

Trade Deficit

49. Dr. Reid : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the latest forecast for the United Kingdom trade deficit.


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Mr. Major : The latest forecast was published in the Autumn Statement.

Economic Growth

50. Mr. Squire : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the current level of economic growth.

71. Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the current level of economic growth.

102. Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the current level of economic growth.

118. Mr. Hunter : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the current level of economic growth.

Mr. Major : Gross domestic product is likely to have grown by around 4 per cent. in 1988. This would be the fourth consecutive year of growth in excess of 3 per cent.--a performance unmatched since the war.

90. Mr. Knapman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the composition of growth in the United Kingdom as between consumer expenditure, exports and investment over the period 1981 to the latest available date.

100. Mr. Quentin Davies : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the composition of growth in the United Kingdom as between consumer expenditure, exports and investment over the period 1981 to the latest available date.

112. Mr. Kirkhope : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the composition of growth in the United Kingdom as between consumer expenditure, exports and investment over the period 1981 to the latest available date.

116. Mr. Arbuthnot : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the composition of growth in the United Kingdom as between consumer expenditure, exports and investment over the period 1981 to the latest available date.

Mr. Major : Since 1981 consumers expenditure in real terms has grown on average by 3 per cent. per year, compared with 5 per cent. for investment and 4 per cent. for exports.

Grants

53. Mr. Gill : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total cost to the Exchequer of all grants in aid to trade, industry and commerce in the financial year 1987-88.

Mr. Major : The table below shows the 1987-88 estimated outturn for grants and subsidies included under the trade and industry part of the trade, industry, energy and employment section of table 2.7 (Functional analysis of United Kingdom public expenditure) of volume I of "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1988-89 to 1990-91" (Cm 288). The figures cover grants and subsidies to both public corporation and the private sector. Revised


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outturn data for public expenditure in 1987- 88 will be given in the 1989 public expenditure White Paper which is due to be published in the next few days. I shall write to my hon. Friend to update the figures given below shortly.


Expenditure<1> on certain grants and subsidies to trade, industry and   

commerce<2>   £ million                                                 

                                |Grants   |Subsidies|Total              

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regional and general industrial                                         

   support                      |455.0    |242.2    |697.1              

Scientific and technological                                            

   assistance                   |3.2      |0.4      |3.6                

Support for aerospace,                                                  

   shipbuilding coal, steel and                                         

   vehicle manufacture          |316.2    |46.9     |363.1              

Trade                           |9.0      |151.2    |160.2              

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

                                |783.3    |440.7    |1,223.9            

<1> Estimated outturn figures.                                          

<2> Covers the trade and industry part of the trade, industry, energy   

and employment section of Table 2.7 of Volume I of Cm 288.              

European Monetary System 59. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of whether the circumstances are appropriate for the pound sterling to join the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system.

Mr. Peter Lilley : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave to the Member for Holland with Boston (Sir Richard Body) on 20 January at column 358 .

Employment 62. Mr. David Porter : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the growth of (a) self-employment and (b) part-time employment in the United Kingdom since 1979.

68. Mr. Couchman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the growth of (a) self-employment and (b) part-time employment in the United Kingdom since 1979.

Mr. Major : Between June 1979 and September 1988 the number of self- employed people in Great Britain rose by 60 per cent. to nearly 3 million. Over the same period, the part-time work force in employment rose by 30 per cent. to over 6 million.

Small Businesses 64. Mr. Amos : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the current level of taxation on small businesses.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Companies with profits below £100,000 are subject to corporation tax at 25 per cent. Those with profits of between £100,000 and £500,000 are taxed at the main rate of 35 per cent. but receive a marginal relief. The total corporation tax liability arising for small companies in 1986-87, the latest year for which revenue figures are available and when the rates were 29 per cent. and 35 per cent. (with relief) respectively, is estimated at £1 billion, of which about £ billion arose in each band. Businesses are not required to register for VAT purposes until turnover reaches £22,100, the highest threshold allowed by European Community law.


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77. Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the effect of interest rates on small businesses.

113. Mr. Rogers : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the effect of interest rates on small businesses.

140. Mr. Henderson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the effect of interest rates on small businesses.

Mr. Lilley : My right hon. Friend has received a number of such representations.

Manufacturing Investment

78. Mr. Brazier : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest information on the investment intentions of manufacturing industry.

87. Mr. Brandon-Bravo : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest information on the investment intentions of manufacturing industry.

Mr. Major : I refer my hon. Friends to the reply that I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key).

Disabled Staff

65. Mr. Ashley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he intends to take any steps to increase the number of registered disabled people in his Department.

Mr. Lawson : My Department is not planning any specific measures to increase the number of disabled staff it employs. It will continue to seek to attract potential recruits under equal opportunity guidelines.

New Businesses

72. Mr. Cash : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average weekly rate of business start-ups in net terms in 1988.

109. Mr. Stevens : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average weekly rate of business start-ups in net terms in 1988.

125. Mr. Nicholas Baker : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average weekly rate of business start-ups in net terms in 1988.

Mr. Major : In 1987, the latest year for which figures have been published by the Department of Employment, the net increase in the number of businesses registered for VAT was 45,000, an average of approaching 900 a week. Indications are that the rate of increase in 1988 is even faster. The number of VAT registrations and de-registrations processed by Customs and Excise during 1988 indicate a net increase of over 1,200 a week. Department of Employment figures for 1988 will be available in the summer.

Economic Prospects

75. Mr. Leigh : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the economic prospects for the United Kingdom for 1989.


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Mr. Major : A revised economic forecast for 1989 will be published at Budget time.

House Purchase (Stamp Duty)

80. Mr. Shersby : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total revenue from stamp duty on house purchase conveyances for the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The yield from stamp duty on residential property in 1988 is estimated at £1,140 million.

Shareholders

81. Mr. Evennett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the number of private shareholders in the United Kingdom.

86. Mr. Allan Stewart : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the number of private shareholders in the United Kingdom.

135. Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the number of private shareholders in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The joint Treasury and stock exchange survey carried out in January and February 1988 estimated that approximately 9 million people own shares--20 per cent. of the adult population. This represents a threefold increase since 1979.

Mortgage Interest

82. Mr. Turner : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has as to how many households have their mortgage interest payments adjusted annually.

136. Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has as to how many households have their mortgage interest payments adjusted annually.

Mr. Lilley : I refer the hon. Members to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Grocott) on 19 January at column 259.

Budget Objectives

92. Mr. Grocott : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the extent to which the 1988 Budget is achieving its objectives.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The effects of particular Budgets should not be looked at in isolation but as part of a general process of tax reform and other measures which have, inter alia, improved the performance of the economy by boosting incentives and enterprise. The 1988 Budget was a further major step in that process. We examine the extent to which specific measures have achieved their objectives as part of the annual Budget process.

Personal Savings

104. Mr. Boswell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking to stimulate personal savings.

Mr. Lilley : The increases in interest rates which have already taken place make savings more attractive. The


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National Savings capital bond launched earlier this month provides a new and attractive option for personal long- term saving.

Gross Domestic Product

121. Mr. Moss : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the increase in the output measure of gross domestic product for the latest 12-month period.

124. Mr. Bright : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the increase in the output measure of gross domestic product for the latest 12-month period.

Mr. Major : The output measure of gross domestic product is estimated to have grown by 4 per cent. in the year to the third quarter of 1988.

Taxes

122. Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the figures showing the total taxes paid by average earners in each financial year from 1978-79 to the present day.

Mr. Norman Lamont : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire) on 10 January at columns 633 -56.

130. Mr. Cummings : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much a person on half average earnings pays as a proportion of his total income in all direct and indirect taxes including value added tax and national insurance.

132. Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much a person on half average earnings pays as a proportion of his total income in all direct and indirect taxes including value added tax and national insurance.

139. Mr. Ted Garrett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much a person on half average earnings pays as a proportion of his total income in all direct and indirect taxes including value added tax and national insurance.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Reliable estimates of indirect tax payments are not available for this level of income.

133. Mr. Jack Thompson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much a person on average earnings pays as a proportion of his total income in all direct and indirect taxes including value added tax and national insurance.

134. Mr. Martlew : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much a person on average earnings pays as a proportion of his total income in all direct and indirect taxes including value added tax and national insurance.

Mr. Norman Lamont : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) on 20 January at column 357.

Mr. Riddick : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue from composite rate tax on investment income the Treasury received in the last financial year (a) in total, (b) from people with tax liabilities and (c) from people without tax liabilities.


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Mr. Norman Lamont : Total receipts of composite rate tax from savings institutions in 1987-88 were £3.1 billion after the set-off of about £0.4 billion of tax already paid on income received by them under deduction of income tax. Of the £3.5 billion composite rate tax accounted for by the savings institutions, about £450 million was due in respect of interest that would not have been liable to tax in the hands of its recipients in the absence of a composite rate system.

Mr. Riddick : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue the Treasury would receive if composite rate tax was levied on national savings, taking the last financial year as an example (a) in total and (b) as a proportion of total composite rate tax revenue.

Mr. Norman Lamont : National Savings are excluded from the composite rate scheme in order to provide a convenient means for non-taxpayers to receive interest without deduction of

non-reclaimable tax. The rate would tend to reduce if there was an extension of its scope to investments favoured by non-taxpayers, but the size of the reduction following such an extension is uncertain. However, net interest paid in 1987-88 on which savings institutions accounted for tax at composite rate totalled about £10.7 billion ; interest on National Savings was about £1.4 billion payable gross and subject to tax if the recipient is a taxpayer, and about £1.7 billion not subject to tax.

Mr. Riddick : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of total tax revenue to the Treasury is accounted for by composite rate tax.

Mr. Norman Lamont : About 2.8 per cent. in 1987-88.

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has of the revenue cost of reducing capital gains tax to a flat rate of 25 per cent. and of raising the capital gains tax exemptions limit from £5,000 to £10,000 in 1989-90 and 1990-91.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 23 January 1989] : The reduction in liability to capital gains tax arising from gains realised by individuals and trusts in 1989-90 is estimated to be about £450 million. The estimate allows for an increase in disposals in response to the reduction in effective rate of tax but does not allow for any short term effects such as might arise between the announcement of the proposed change and its coming into effect.

Northern Ireland (Revenue Contribution)

126. Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has as to the contribution from Northern Ireland to United Kingdom exchequer revenue ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Major : I assume that the hon. Member is referring to Northern Ireland's attributed share of taxation. The attributed share in 1985-86 (the last year for which there are full figures) was £1,873 million.

Customs and Excise (Confiscation)

131. Mr. Vaz : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people had goods confiscated by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise when returning to the United Kingdom from abroad during 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Lilley : Customs seized about 50,000 items in the year ended 25 December 1988. It is not possible to identify from the records of seizures the number of persons concerned.


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