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122. Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate has been made by his Department of the impact on industry of payroll taxes.

125. Mr. Conway : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has made any estimate of the additional costs to industry of a payroll tax of 0.5 per cent. of total payroll.

Mr. Lilley : I refer my hon. Friends to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Mr. Bruce) on 13 February at columns 121-22.

Manufactured Goods

123. Mr. Lambie : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the United Kingdom's balance of trade in manufactured goods (a) in 1979 and (b) in 1989.

124. Mr. Leadbitter : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the United Kingdom's balance of trade in manufactured goods (a) in 1979 and (b) in 1989.

126. Mr. James Lamond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the United Kingdom's balance of trade in manufactured goods (a) in 1979 and (b) in 1989.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The information may be found in (a) table A9 of the mid-year supplement of the "Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics" and (b) table 12 of the latest monthly press notice on the current account of the balance of payments, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Interest Rates

127. Mr. Kennedy : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the impact of the current level of interest rates upon United Kingdom export performance ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Norman Lamont : In the fourth quarter of 1989, the volume of exports (less oil and erratics) was 4 per cent. higher than in the previous quarter and 15 per cent. higher than a year earlier. This is clear evidence that production is being switched to export markets as domestic demand has slowed in response to the tightening of policy.


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Trade Deficit

128. Mr. Livsey : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received regarding the trade deficit.

Mr. Norman Lamont : My right hon. Friend receives a few letters each month from members of the public concerning the trade deficit.

Share Ownership

129. Mr. Stevens : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on the numbers of new shareholders since 1979 ; and whether he intends to promote measures to further encourage the growth of individual share ownership.

Mr. Lilley : The joint Treasury and stock exchange survey carried out in January and February 1989 estimated that approximately 9 million people own shares directly--20 per cent. of the adult population ; a threefold increase since 1979.

Capital Investment

130. Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures for capital investment by business.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The latest estimates of business investment are given in the table. In the two years to 1988 business investment grew by over 30 per cent. to reach £51.4 billion at constant 1985 prices. In the first three quarters of 1989 it was 12 per cent. higher than in the same period a year earlier, seasonally adjusted and at constant 1985 prices.


Business investment,          

seasonally adjusted at        

constant 1985 prices          

          |£ billion          

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

1986      |39.5               

1987      |43.7               

1988      |51.4               

1988Q1    |11.7               

    Q2    |12.8               

    Q3    |13.3               

    Q4    |13.6               

1989Q1    |13.9               

    Q2    |14.2               

    Q3    |14.4               

Personal Data

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many members of staff in Customs and Excise have been disciplined for breaching internal regulations on the disclosure of personal data within the last five years ;

(2) if he will set out the procedure within Customs and Excise for authorising transfers of personal data to other Government Departments ; and at what level such decisions are authorised ; (3) on what grounds decisions are taken to transfer personal data held by Customs and Excise to other Government Departments ; (4) on what statutory basis transfers of personal data take place from Customs and Excise to the police ; and how many such transfers take place each year ;


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(5) on what statutory basis transfers of personal data take place from Customs and Excise to other Government Departments ; and how many such transfers take place each year ;

(6) what internal guidelines covering the transfer of personal data to other Government Departments are available to staff in Customs and Excise ; and whether he will place a copy of any such guidelines in the Library ;

(7) what kind of personal data held by the Customs and Excise, whether on computer or manually, are transferred to other Government Departments ;

(8) what kinds of personal data held by Customs and Excise are transferred to the police ; and whether records are kept of such transfers ;

(9) what plans exist in Customs and Excise for the transfer of personal data via the Government data network ; and what new procedures have been adopted to prevent unauthorised transfers of such data ;

(10) what records are kept of transfers of personal data from Customs and Excise to other Government Departments ; and whether the Data Protection Registrar has access to the relevant records ; (11) whether records will be kept of all personal data transferred from Customs and Excise, to other Government Departments via the Government data network ;

(12) whether the rules governing the transfer of personal data from the Customs and Excise to other Government Departments are the same for data held manually as for data held on computer.

Mr. Ryder : Much of the information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. Customs and Excise maintain extensive records, many of which contain personal data. These records may be either manually recorded or computerised, and they cover a wide range of different subjects. Where the information is computerised disclosure is made in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1984. This Act allows the Data Protection Registrar access to computerised personal records. Customs and Excise do not maintain a record of personal data disclosed.

Currently Customs and Excise do not exchange data with any other Government Departments via the Government data network other than for updating and returning personal data relating to staff employment (salary, overtime and so on) on the Chessington pay system, because the Chessington computer centre acts as an agent for payroll processing. Customs and Excise have no plans to maintain records, or to issue specific instructions dealing with the transfer of personal data over the Government data network.

Disclosure of personal information is made in accordance with statutory provisions or where it is in the public interest. The authority to disclose is given at no lower than grade 7. There are a number of legal provisions providing for disclosure :

Data Protection Act 1984 : S.34 (6)(b)

Finance Act 1972 : S.127

VAT Act 1983 : S.44

Gaming Act 1968, Schedules 2, 3 and 4

Betting and Gaming Duties Act 1982, Schedule 2 paragraph 8 Finance Act 1969 : S.59

Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 : S.9 (b)

All these are held in the Library of the House.


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Instructions to staff are contained in various standing instructions based on the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, the Data Protection Act, and the Finance Act 1972 in particular. Customs and Excise have no record of any member of their staff having been disciplined for breaching internal regulations on the disclosure of personal data within the last five years.

VAT

Mr. Stanbrook : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement as to how far charities and non-profit-making organisations other than local authorities are covered by article 13A1 of the sixth European Community directive on harmonisation of value added tax.

Mr. Ryder : Services and goods supplied by charities are exempt from VAT under article 13A1 of the EC sixth VAT directive if they are linked to welfare and social security work, or the protection of children and young people. VAT exemption under article 13A1 also applies to services closely linked to sport or physical education and certain cultural services supplied by non-profit-making organisations (but some member states, including the United Kingdom, under a permitted derogation, continue to tax such supplies) ; to children's or young people's education, school or university education, vocational training or retraining provided by bodies established for this purpose ; to certain supplies of staff by religious or philosophical institutions ; to activities of public radio and television bodies other than those of a commercial nature ; and, provided that exemption is not likely to cause distortion of competition, to services and closely related goods supplied by a wide range of non-profit-making organisations to their members, and to services and goods supplied by such organisations and by various charitable bodies in connection with their fund-raising events. Furthermore, charities and other non-profit-making organisations engaged in certain activities, such as hospital and medical care, specified by article 13A1 as being in the public interest, may exempt their services if carried out in recognised establishments or by staff with a statutory qualification.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost if the value added tax levied on energy efficient appliances and insulation material was reduced to (a) 10 per cent., (b) 5 per cent. and (c) zero.

Mr. Ryder : Information is not available on which to base estimates.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of reducing the value added tax levied on recycled material to (a) 10 per cent., (b) 5 per cent. and (c) zero.

Mr. Ryder : Information is not available on which to base estimates.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of reducing the value added tax rate levied on non-recyclable, non-biodegradable packaging to (a) 10 per cent., (b) 5 per cent. and (c) zero.


Column 293

Mr. Ryder : There would be no measurable revenue loss because normal packaging is regarded as an integral part of the goods it contains and is therefore taxed at the same rate when the goods are supplied.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to the Exchequer and the expected take-up of fitting cars with catalytic converters if the value added tax of fitting catalytic converters was reduced to (a) zero (b) 5 per cent. and (c) 10 per cent.

Mr. Ryder : Information on which to base an estimate is not readily available.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue would be raised if the value added tax levied on energy efficient appliances and insulation material was increased to (a) 20 per cent., (b) 25 per cent. and (c) 30 per cent.

Mr. Ryder : Information is not available on which to base estimates.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue would be raised if the value added tax rate levied on non- recyclable, non-biodegradable packaging was (a) kept to 15 per cent. and (b) raised to (i) 20 per cent., (ii) 25 per cent. and (iii) 30 per cent.

Mr. Ryder : No measurable extra revenue would accrue because normal packaging is regarded as an integral part of the goods it contains and is therefore taxed at the same rate when the goods are supplied.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much value added tax was paid per annum by a family consisting of a married man on three quarters of average male earnings, his wife and two children in 1978-79 ; and what is the most recent estimate.

Mr. Ryder : Figures for 1978-79 have been placed in the Library of the House and estimates for 1989-90 were given in reply to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, East (Mr. Brown) on 8 January 1990, at column 559.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much value added tax was paid per annum by a family consisting of a married man on (a) twice and (b) three times average male earnings, his wife and two children in 1978-79 ; and what is the most recent estimate ;

(2) how much value added tax was paid per annum by a family consisting of a married man on half of average male earnings, his wife and two children in 1978-79 ; and what is the most recent estimate.

Mr. Ryder : The levels of earnings specified fall outside the range for which reliable estimates of household VAT payments can be made.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much would be raised if the value added tax levied on recycled material was increased to (a) 20 per cent., (b) 25 per cent. and (c) 30 per cent.

Mr. Ryder : Information is not available on which to base estimates.


Column 294

Excise Duties

Mr. Parry : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what conclusions he has reached from available information on the regressive nature of excise duties on tobacco and alcohol.

Mr. Ryder : The amount of duty paid by a household depends on the expenditure it makes on tobacco and alcohol. As households are free to choose that expenditure in accordance with their own preferences, there is no necessary link between duty payments and income.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the impact of indexation of excise duties by product on (a) inflation and (b) revenues in 1990-91 and a full year.

Mr. Ryder : The impact of indexation of excise duties by product on the retail prices index and revenues in 1990-91 and a full year is shown in the table :


Duty Item           |Retail       |Revenue/Yield|Revenue/Yield              

                    |prices index |1990-91      |Full year                  

                    |Per cent.    |£ million    |£ million                  

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

Tobacco             |0.16         |265          |290                        

Petrol              |0.14         |480          |495                        

Derv                |0.01         |110          |115                        

Beer                |0.07         |160          |175                        

Wine                |0.06         | 55          | 55                        

Spirits             |0.04         | 80          | 85                        

Vehicle excise duty |0.06         |230          |230                        

Cider               |negligible   |  5          |  5                        

Rebated oils        |negligible   | 15          | 15                        

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

Total               |0.54         |1,400        |1,465                      

The indexation factor used is the 7.7 per cent. rise in the retail prices index between December 1988 and December 1989.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the proportion of excise duties, broken down by product, paid by those on different incomes.

Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Member to an article entitled "The effects of taxes and benefits on household income, 1986" in the December 1988 issue of Economic Trends.

European Monetary System

Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about sterling's participation in the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system.

Mr. Ryder : I have received a number of representations.

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement on the prospects of the United Kingdom seeking to place sterling within the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system.

Mr. Ryder : The Government have made it clear that the United Kingdom will join the exchange rate mechanism of the EMS during stage 1 of the Delors plan. The conditions for entry were set out following the Madrid summit.


Column 295

Premium Bonds

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the effect on sales has been of raising the minimum purchase of premium bonds to £100.

Mr. Ryder : In the six months since the change premium bond purchases averaged some 58,300 a month to a value of about £19.7 million. During the corresponding period in 1988, premium bond purchases averaged around 166,400 per month to a value of some £26.4 million.

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints he has received to date about the increase in the minimum value of a purchase of premium bonds to £100.

Mr. Ryder [holding answer 13 February 1990] : My right hon. Friend and I have received a number of representations about the increase in the minimum purchase of premium bonds from right hon. and hon. Members on behalf of constituents and from members of the public.

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is (a) the number of people investing in premium bonds each month since the change to a minimum investment of £100, (b) the number of persons who purchased bonds in each of the six months before the change and (c) the value of the bonds purchased in each of those months.

Mr. Ryder [holding answer 13 February 1990] : The minimum purchase for those aged 16 and over was increased to £100 on 1 July 1989. The number and value of premium bonds purchased in each month since the change are :


1989        |Number     |Value                  

            |(000s)     |(£ million)            

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

July        |57.4       |21.4                   

August      |63.2       |24.7                   

September   |60.2       |22.0                   

October     |60.4       |20.1                   

November    |58.8       |17.0                   

December    |49.6       |13.1                   

                                                

The number and value of premium bonds purchased 

months prior to the change are:                 

January     |197.3      |29.6                   

February    |170.4      |25.2                   

March       |171.9      |24.4                   

April       |170.5      |24.6                   

May         |163.2      |25.1                   

June        |190.4      |22.5                   

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the average value of the holdings of premium bonds.


Column 296

Mr. Ryder [holding answer 13 February 1990] : The average value of each holding since premium bonds were introduced in 1956 is around £95.

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current rate of interest on premium bonds ; and how much of the monthly and annual interest is paid out in prizes.

Mr. Ryder [holding answer 13 February 1990] : The rate of interest used to calculate the total prize fund is currently 6.5 per cent. per annum of the value of bonds eligible for each prize draw.

Import Duties

Dr. Marek : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the sum collected by the Customs and Excise in import duties at London Heathrow airport for the last year for which figures are available.

Mr. Ryder : Customs and anti-dumping duties and agricultural levies collected at London Heathrow and Gatwick airports for the financial year ended 31 March 1989 totalled £300 million. Separate figures for Heathrow are not available.

Local Government Finance

Sir Peter Emery : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the implications for economic policy of a 15 per cent. increase in local authority spending in 1990-91.

Mr. Major : The Government's firm control of public expenditure, and the reduction in general Government expenditure as a share of gross domestic product, have played a major part in the successful conduct of economic policy. The Government are determined that this should continue. There is no doubt that an increase of that order in local authority spending would be unhelpful, and would impose a heavy burden on community charge payers, for which the responsible local council would be accountable.

Cigarettes

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table in the Official Report to show the tax paid on a pack of 20 cigarettes in each EEC country as a percentage of the total price and the average price of a pack of 20 cigarettes in each country ; and what were the figures five years ago.

Mr. Ryder : The figures for current and 1985 taxation and price levels of a pack of 20 cigarettes in each EC country are as follows :


Column 295



Excise duty and VAT on 20 cigarettes in the most popular price category: as at 12 February 1990<1>                      

               |RSP<2>        |Factor<3> cost|Total duty    |VAT           |Total tax     |Total tax                    

                                                                                          |as percentage                

               |(pence)       |(pence)       |(pence)       |(pence)       |(pence)       |of RSP                       

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

Belgium        |104           |30            |68            |6             |74            |71                           

Denmark        |239           |34            |162           |43            |205           |86                           

France         |104           |36            |52            |16            |68            |65                           

Germany        |149           |41            |90            |18            |108           |72                           

Greece         |41            |13            |17            |11            |28            |68                           

Ireland        |188           |48            |102           |38            |140           |74                           

Italy          |91            |25            |52            |14            |66            |73                           

Luxembourg     |82            |23            |50            |9             |59            |72                           

Netherlands    |108           |32            |59            |17            |76            |70                           

Portugal       |60            |15            |36            |9             |45            |75                           

Spain          |57            |25            |26            |6             |32            |56                           

United Kingdom |161           |43            |97            |21            |118           |73                           

<1> Rates of exchange as at 12 February 1990.                                                                           

<2> Retail selling price.                                                                                               

<3> Cost exclusive of duty and VAT.                                                                                     

Source: EC excise duty tables.                                                                                          


Excise duty and VAT on 20 cigarettes in the most popular price category: as at 27 February 1985                  

               |RSP          |Factor cost  |Total duty   |VAT          |Total tax    |Total tax                  

                                                                                     |as percentage              

               |(pence)      |(pence)      |(pence)      |(pence)      |(pence)      |of RSP                     

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

Belgium        |69           |20           |45           |4            |49           |71                         

Denmark        |175          |22           |121.5        |31.5         |153          |87                         

France         |43           |11           |21           |11           |32           |74                         

Germany        |102          |26           |63.5         |12.5         |76           |74.5                       

Greece         |26           |10           |15           |<1>-         |16           |<2>61.5                    

Ireland        |140          |36           |78           |26           |104          |74                         

Italy          |57           |16           |32           |9            |41           |72                         

Luxembourg     |53           |18           |32           |3            |35           |66                         

Netherlands    |88           |26           |48           |14           |62           |70                         

United Kingdom |127          |34           |76.5         |16.5         |93           |73                         

<1> Greece had not yet introduced VAT in 1985.                                                                   

<2> Includes sales tax.                                                                                          

SOCIAL SECURITY

Personal Data

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many members of staff in his Department have been disciplined for breaching internal regulations on the disclosure of personal data held by his Department within the last five years ;

(2) if he will set out the procedure within his Department for authorising transfers of personal data to other Government Departments ; and at what level such decisions are authorised ; (3) on what grounds decisions are taken to transfer personal data held by his Department to other Government Departments ;

(4) on what statutory basis transfers of personal data take place from his Department to the police ; and how many such transfers take place each year ;

(5) on what statutory basis transfers of personal data take place from his Department to other Government Departments ; and how many such transfers take place each year ;

(6) what internal guidelines covering the transfer of personal data to other Government Departments are available to staff in his Department ; and whether he will place a copy of any such guidelines in the Library ;

(7) what kinds of personal data held by his Department are transferred to the police ; and whether records are kept of such transfers ;

(8) what kind of personal data held by his Department, whether on computer or manually, are transferred to other Government Departments ;

(9) what records are kept of transfers of personal data from his Department to other Government Departments ; and whether the Data Protection Registrar has access to the relevant records ;


Column 298

(10) whether the rules governing the transfer of personal data from his Department to other Government Departments are the same for data held manually as for data held on computer.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : I regret that the information requested concerning the number of transfers of personal data to other Government Departments is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

It is Government policy that information obtained about a member of the public should be used only for the purpose for which it was acquired. Information held in social security records, both in manual and computerised form, is considered to have been given to the Department for social security purposes only and it is not normally available to other Government Departments. There is, however, statutory provision for the transfer of certain limited information from the Department to the Inland Revenue in connection with the PAYE, national insurance and statutory sick pay schemes.

In other circumstances, where there is no statutory function, requests for information from social security records made by other Government Departments are considered only if the information would prevent the duplication of public funds, help the prosecution of a serious crime, meet the welfare needs of the individual concerned or would be in the public interest.

Information may be disclosed in confidence, in individual cases, to the police in circumstances which involve serious crime.

Where information is held on computer, disclosure to other Government Departments and the police is made only as permitted by purposes 41 to 70 of the Data Protection Act 1984. Under that Act, the Data Protection Registrar has no automatic right of access to individual personal records.


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