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79. Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about high interest rates from business groups in Scotland.

80. Mr. Sillars : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about high interest rates from business groups in Scotland.

Mr. Ryder : None.

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the current level of interest rates from the representatives of manufacturing industry.

Mr. Ryder : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor and I have received a number of such representations.

Mr. John Evans : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his Department's analysis of the effect high interest rates are having on small businesses.

Mr. Ryder : Inflation is the greatest threat to the prosperity of all small businesses. They will therefore benefit from the Government's determination to keep interest rates as high as necessary for as long as necessary as part of their firm anti-inflationary policy.

Short-term Capital

17. Mr. Cohen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate for the short-term capital flows into the United Kingdom so far in 1989.

Mr. Norman Lamont : It is not possible to distinguish between short- term and long-term capital flows.

Investment and Consumption

21. Mr. Thornton : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the growth in total investment and in total consumption over the last seven years.

Mr. Amess : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the growth in total investment and in total consumption over the last seven years.

36. Mr. Key : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the growth in total investment and in total consumption over the last seven years.

49. Mr. William Powell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total growth in investment and in total consumption over the last seven years.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Over the last seven years, total investment has grown by over 56 per cent., twice as fast as total consumption.

Bank of England

22. Mr. Livsey : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Governor of the Bank of England ; and what matters were discussed.


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Mr. Ryder : My right hon. Friend meets the Governor of the Bank of England from time to time to discuss a variety of matters.

44. Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any plans to change the status of the Bank of England.

Mr. Ryder : My right hon. Friend has no plans to do so.

Public Spending

23. Mrs. Currie : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of gross domestic product was devoted to public spending in the current year and five years ago.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The latest estimate of the ratio of general Government expenditure (excluding privatisation proceeds) to gross domestic product in 1989-90, as given in the 1989 Autumn Statement, is 38 per cent. The corresponding figure for 1984-85 was 46 per cent.

Magazines and Journals

24. Mr. Flannery : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to introduce value added tax on magazines and journals.

35. Mr. Bidwell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to introduce value added tax on magazines and journals.

Mr. Ryder : I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget statement.

Economic and Monetary Union

25. Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on his approach to economic and monetary union.

Mr. Lilley : A number of representations have been received.

EC Finance Ministers

27. Mr. Wallace : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Finance Ministers of other European Community countries ; and what was discussed.

30. Mr. Yeo : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Finance Ministers of other European Community countries ; and what subjects were discussed.

Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Member and my hon. Friend to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Sir F. Montgomery) on 15 November at column 315- 16.

Wealth

29. Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he proposes to take to redress the relative wealth available to the richest and poorest groups in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Lilley : The sound economic policies pursued by this Government will continue to benefit all groups in the United Kingdom.


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Business Investment

31. Mr. Duffy : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet the Confederation of British Industry to discuss the future level of business investment.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The Chancellor of the Exchequer regularly meets representatives of the Confederation of British Industry at which many issues are discussed. In the recent Autumn Statement forecast, business investment was projected to increase by 9 per cent. in 1989 and by 4 per cent. in 1990.

National Health Service

32. Mr. Cunliffe : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide further details of the extra spending on the National Health Service announced in his Autumn Statement ; and how much of the extra spending is accounted for by anticipated cost savings, projected income generation and the cost of the National Health Service review.

63. Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide further details of the extra spending on the National Health Service announced in his Autumn Statement ; and how much of the extra spending is accounted for by anticipated cost savings, projected income generation and the cost of the National Health Service review.

73. Mr. Clay : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide further details of the extra spending on the National Health Service review announced in his Autumn Statement ; and how much of the extra spending is accounted for by anticipated cost savings, projected income generation and the cost of the National Health Service review.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Provision for the NHS in the United Kingdom will be about £2,400 million higher in 1990-91 than 1989-90. In addition, the Health Service will have available some £200 million extra cash released by a new round of cost improvement programmes and income generation. The expenditure plans for 1990-91 assume that rather over £250 million of the increase will be available for implementation in England of the NHS review proposals. Expenditure on implementation of the NHS review in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be decided in due course by the respective Secretaries of State.

Foreign Banks

34. Mr. Paice : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence he has on whether foreign banks would support a voluntary agreement to restrict credit.

Mr. Ryder : My right hon. Friend has no evidence to suggest that foreign banks would support any such agreement.

Exchange Rate Mechanism

37. Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had on the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system.

Mr. Lilley : The United Kingdom will join the exchange rate mechanism during the so-called "stage 1" of economic


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and monetary union which my right hon. Friend discussed at the meeting of Community Economic and Finance Ministers in Brussels on 13 November.

46. Mr. Fearn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the United Kingdom to enter the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system ; and if he will make a statement.

75. Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the conditions for British entry to the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system to be met.

Mr. Lilley : The United Kingdom will enter the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system during the so-called stage 1 of economic and monetary union which begins on 1 July 1990.

66. Mr. Kennedy : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will commission a study to assess the influence upon United Kingdom interest rates of the early entry of sterling into the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : As my right hon. Friend has made clear, membership of the exchange rate mechanism does not insulate a country from high interest rates.

Imports

39. Mr. Radice : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of imports production and investment goods were in (a) 1974, (b) 1984 and (c) 1988.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Up until 1979 it fell continuously to 74 per cent., but since 1979 the share has risen to 75 per cent., in both 1984 and 1988.

Workplace Nurseries

40. Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet representatives of the Equal Opportunities Commission to discuss the tax on workplace nurseries.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his policy towards the abolition of tax payments on workplace nursery places.

43. Ms. Primarolo : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet representatives of the Equal Opportunities Commission to discuss the tax on workplace nurseries.

Mr. Lilley : There is no special tax on workplace nurseries. Any element of subsidy in a workplace nursery place is a benefit in kind and benefits in kind are generally subject to income tax. My right hon. Friend has no plans to discuss this matter with the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Child Poverty Action Group

41. Ms. Harman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met representatives from the Child Poverty Action Group.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Since he became Chancellor, my right hon. Friend has not met representatives from the Child Poverty Action Group.


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Child Tax Allowance

42. Mr. Churchill : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would today be the value per child of the child tax allowance, abolished in 1978 ; and if he will consider its reintroduction.

Mr. Peter Lilley : Child tax allowances in 1976-77 (the year before they began to be phased out) were £365 for each dependent child over 16, £335 for each child aged 11 to 16, and £300 for each child under 11. They were never covered by indexation provisions. We have no plans to reintroduce them.

Foreign Exchange Earnings

45. Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of Britain's foreign exchange earnings for 1988 are accounted for by (a) visible exports and (b) invisibles.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Britain's visible exports for 1988 totalled £81 billion. It is not possible to give a meaningful figure for gross invisibles credits as some items are measured as net flows.

Personal Equity Plans

47. Mr. David Evans : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest figure he has for the number of personal equity plan investors ; and what plans he has to encourage further investment in such schemes.

Mr. Lilley : About 575,000 personal equity plans had been taken out between the scheme's introduction and the end of September 1989. PEPs are now extremely successful and I have no plans at present to change them.

Infrastructure Projects

48. Mr. Michael : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make it his policy to increase the funds available for infrastructure projects to compensate for any loss of funds resulting from changes in European Economic Community polices.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The Community support frameworks for the structural funds are still under discussion with the Commission. The Government's public expenditure plans already allow for substantial increases in infrastructure spending.

Small Firms

50. Mr. Bellingham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next plans to meet representatives of the small firms sector.

Mr. Norman Lamont : My right hon. Friend meets business men involved in the small firms sector from time to time and is always glad to do so.

Tax Yields

51. Mr. Jessel : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are his latest forecasts for the yeild in the current year of (a) income tax, (b) corporation tax, (c) value added tax, (d) petrol tax, (e) drink tax and (f) tobacco tax.

Mr. Lilley : Figures consistent with the Autumn Statement forecast are given in the table.


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Forecast receipts in 1989-90    |£ billion                                                

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

Income tax                      |48.4                                                     

Corporation tax (including ACT) |23.0                                                     

Value-added tax                 |30.1                                                     

Petrol duties                   |8.8                                                      

Alcohol duties                  |4.7                                                      

Tobacco duties                  |5.2                                                      

CBI

52. Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the Director General of the Confederation of British Industry ; and what matters were discussed.

53. Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he last met the CBI ; and what matters were discussed.

Mr. Norman Lamont : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer looks forward to meeting representatives of the CBI from time to time, and to discussing a wide range of subjects with them.

Private Medical Insurance

54. Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much private medical insurance tax relief will cost in a full year.

Mr. Major : About £40 million in 1990-91.

Investment

55. Mr. Terry Fields : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what efforts he is making to bring investment in British industry to a level comparable with major competitors.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Business investment rose by an average of 7.3 per cent. a year between 1980 and 1988, faster by far than all the other major economies except Japan. This represents a major improvement on our position in 1970-80 when we had one of the lowest rates of investment growth relative to our major competitors.

Expenditure

56. Mr. Squire : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is prepared to allow any expenditure approved for 1990-91 to be incurred in 1989-90.

Mr. Norman Lamont : It is primarily for Departments to manage their programmes in a way that maximises value for money. Proposals to add to 1989-90 public expenditure would be considered on their merits.

Income Tax

58. Mr. Hind : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the level of income tax collected by the Inland Revenue in 1978-79 to 1988-89 and on the proportion paid by the top 5 per cent. of earners in each case.

Mr. Lilley : Information is given in the table.


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Total Income Tax Receipts and Tax Liability of Top 5 per cent. of                   

Taxpayers as Percentage of Total Liability, 1978-79 to 1988-89                      

Year                 |Total income        |Income tax                               

tax receipts         |liability of the top                                          

£ billion            |5 per cent. of                                                

                                          |taxpayers as a                           

                                          |percentage of total                      

                                          |liability<1>                             

                                          |Percentage                               

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

1978-79              |18.7                |24                                       

1979-80              |20.6                |23                                       

1980-81              |24.3                |24                                       

1981-82              |28.7                |25                                       

1982-83              |30.4                |25                                       

1983-84              |31.1                |26                                       

1984-85              |32.5                |26                                       

1985-86              |35.4                |27                                       

1986-87              |38.5                |29                                       

1987-88              |41.4                |<2>30                                    

1988-89              |43.4                |<2>29                                    

<1>Liability relates to personal incomes only whereas tax receipts include payments 

made by other sectors (e.g. income tax deducted from annual payments made by        

companies).                                                                         

<2>Provisional, based on projections of 1986-87 Survey of Personal Incomes.         

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for cutting income tax ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget statement.

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the additional monthly cost to the average household if the standard rate of income tax today were set at the same level as in 1979.

Mr. Lilley : If the basic rate of income tax were raised from its level of 25p in 1989-90 to 33p, the level in 1978-79, a married man on average male earnings would pay £68 per month more income tax. If his wife worked and was paid average female earnings, she would pay £47 more per month. The calculations assume that the couple are entitled to only the married man's allowance and wife's earned income allowance.

Output

Mr. Cash : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the growth in output over the last five years for which figures are available in the United Kingdom and other European Economic Community countries.

59. Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the growth in output over the last five years for which figures are available in the United Kingdom and other European Economic Community countries.

Mr. Ryder : I refer my hon. Friends to the reply my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Marland).

GDP

60. Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest forecast for the percentage of gross domestic product to be taken by general Government expenditure for 1989-90.


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Mr. Norman Lamont : General Government expenditure (excluding privatisation proceeds) as a percentage of gross domestic product for 1989-90, as published in the 1989 Autumn Statement, is 38 per cent.

65. Mr. Mans : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures indicating the share of gross domestic product taken by business investment.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Business investment as a share of GDP at factor cost was estimated to have been 14.7 per cent. in 1988.

Personal Debt

61. Mr. Alton : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current level of personal debt in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Ryder : Figures for personal sector debt are given in financial statistics table 14.4. The amount outstanding at end June 1989, as shown in the November issue, was about £378 billion. An analysis of the greater part of this debt using an alternative instrument classification and showing the amount regarded as consumer credit is given in financial statistics table 9.3.

Balance of Payments

62. Mr. Ernie Ross : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest forecast for the current account of the balance of payments for 1989.

Mr. Norman Lamont : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy).

71. Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give his latest forecast for the balance of payments deficit for 1989.

Mr. Norman Lamont : I have nothing to add to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy).

VAT

64. Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to review the threshold for value added tax registration.

Mr. Ryder : The level of the VAT registration threshold is subject to regular review and has been increased in line with inflation since 1979. It represents the maximum possible within our obligations under the EC sixth VAT directive, which restricts increases in the threshold to those which maintain its value in real terms.

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of gross earnings value added tax takes up for a family on average male earnings with two children in 1978-79 and 1989-90.

Mr. Robert Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of gross earnings value added tax takes up for a family on average male earnings with two children in 1978-79 and 1989-90.

Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Michie).


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