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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 28 June 1990

NATIONAL FINANCE

Income Tax

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the revenue from (a) the higher rate of income tax and (b) the top 10 per cent. of income tax payers in 1986-87 and the latest year for which figures are available ; and what is the projection for the current financial year.

Mr. Lilley : The information is as follows :


                      |Income tax liability |Total income tax lia-                      

                      |at rates in excess of|bility of top 10 per                       

                      |basic rate<1>        |cent. of income tax-                       

                                            |payers                                     

                      |£ billion            |£ billion                                  

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

1986-87               |2.8                  |<3>16.9                                    

1987-88               |3.7                  |<3>18.4                                    

1990-91<2>            |4.4                  |<4>24.9                                    

<1> The figures are the additional tax liability resulting from the difference between  

each higher rate and the basic rate of tax.                                             

<2> Estimates are based on a projection of the 1987-88 Survey of Personal Incomes and,  

are therefore, provisional.                                                             

<3> Counting a husband and wife as one income tax payer.                                

<4> Counting a husband and wife as separate income tax payers.                          

"Borrowing Requirement"

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what means the Government intend to use to finance its borrowing requirement.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The Government's funding policy is as set out in annex A to chapter 2 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1990- 91".

Capital Inflows

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of short-term capital inflows in 1988 and 1989.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The available information for 1988 and 1989 on the main categories of financial transaction in the capital account of the balance of payments is published by the Central Statistical Office in the press notice issued on 13 June--CSO (90) 80--a copy of which is in the Library. It is not particularly meaningful to distinguish between short- term and other capital flows.

European Monetary Proposals

Mr. Dykes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has assessed the expert and lay public reaction to his European monetary proposals announced on 21 June.

Mr. Major : I am studying reactions to my proposals and look forward to discussing these proposals further with my European Community colleagues in the coming weeks.


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Petrol Duties

Mr. Nellist : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was raised in excise duty on (a) unleaded and (b) leaded petrol (i) in the three months prior to 20 March and (ii) subsequently.

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was raised in excise duty on (a) unleaded and (b) leaded petrol (i) in the three months prior to 20 March 1990 and (ii) subsequently.

Mr. Ryder : Data are not readily available for the exact periods prior to and after 20 March. For the period 15 December to 14 March, £417 million duty was collected on unleaded petrol and £1,128 million on leaded petrol. Provisional figures for the period 15 March to 14 May show that £347 million duty was collected on unleaded petrol and £847 million on leaded petrol.

European Currency

Mr. Hind : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his proposals for a common European currency.

Mr. Lilley : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) on 21 June, Official Report, column 655.

Output Statistics

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest information on the output per hour worked in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Japan.

Mr. Ryder : Output per hour worked in the United Kingdom in 1986, the latest year for which data are available, is estimated to have been about 50 per cent. higher than in Japan.

Personal Income

Mr. Michael Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the increase in real personal disposable income during the last 12 months for which figures are available.

Mr. Lilley : During the first quarter of 1990 aggregate real personal disposable income was 5 per cent. higher than in the corresponding period in 1989.

Inflation

Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was (a) the level of the retail prices index and (b) the underlying rate of inflation in June 1989 and at the current time.

Mr. Ryder : The annual rate of increase of the retail prices index was 9.7 per cent. in May 1990. The underlying rate of inflation, as measured by the retail prices index excluding mortgage interest payments and rates-community charge, was 7 per cent. The corresponding inflation rates in June 1989 were 8.3 per cent. and 5.8 per cent. respectively.

Interest rates

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the effects of interest rates on Welsh economic performance.


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

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters he has received in 1990 from businesses about the level of interest rates.

Mr. Ryder : My right hon. Friend has received a number of such letters.

Home Carers

Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the range of possibilities for tax relief for those who employ carers in the home ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : All aspects of the tax system are kept under review.

Shareholders

Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the latest estimate of the number of individuals owning shares.

Mr. Lilley : According to the latest survey carried out in January and February this year for the Treasury and the stock exchange, nearly 11 million individuals own shares.

Value Added Tax

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review the introduction by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise of the serious misdeclaration penalty and default interest on value added tax.

Mr. Ryder : The working of the penalty for serious misdeclarations and the charging of interest on all underdeclarations will be closely monitored by Customs during the two years following their introduction on 1 April 1990 and reviewed in the first half of 1992.

Energy Conservation

Mr. Battle : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any proposals to use tax incentives to stimulate energy conservation work.

Mr. Lilley : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has no present plans to do so.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was invested in improving the energy efficiency of the Treasury in the latest available year.

Mr. Ryder [holding answer 25 June 1990] : Until now the Treasury's energy conservation role has been limited to running internal publicity campaigns on energy efficiency and day-to-day energy management. Costs have been de minimis. However, the hon. Member will be interested to know that as refurbishment of the Department's buildings takes place, such works will incorporate substantial energy conservation measures.


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CIVIL SERVICE

Agencies

Mr. Andrew Mitchell : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what further candidates for agency status have been announced in the last two months.

Mr. Luce : Three further candidates for executive agency status have been announced in the last two months : Chessington computer centre in the Treasury ; the fisheries enforcement services in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland ; and the estates directorate in the Department of Health. This brings the total number of announced agency candidates to 26, in addition to the 31 established agencies.

THE ARTS

Training Institutes

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Minister for the Arts what support his Department is giving to institutions training actors, actresses and other artistes ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce : Some training for the stage is provided in higher education institutions funded by the Department of Education and Science through the Universities Funding Council and the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council, and by further education colleges funded by local education authorities. In addition to this general support, the DES makes a direct grant to the Royal Ballet School and the Arts Council funds the National Opera Studio, which provides advanced training for singers. Most professional training for actors and dancers is however provided by independent establishments whose students may receive discretionary awards from their local education authorities.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Minister for the Arts how much was invested in improving the energy efficiency of his Department in the latest available year.

Mr. Luce [holding answer 25 June 1990] : Under the guidance of the Cabinet Office, staff are encouraged to follow simple but effective no-cost measures to help reduce energy wastage. Major investments to improve energy efficiency are the responsibility of Property Holdings and the departments which are the major occupiers of the two buildings in which my office is located.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

China

Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements were made or conditions agreed with the Governments of the United States of America and the People's Republic of China which enabled Dr. Fang Li Zhi and his wife to leave the United States embassy in Beijing and enter the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : Following agreement between the United States and Chinese Governments that Dr. Fang should be


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allowed to leave Peking, Dr. Fang and his wife have been given leave to enter the United Kingdom for an initial period of six months, which can be extended. No special conditions apply to this arrangement. Dr. Fang is a distinguished astrophysicist and intends to pursue his academic work for a time here. We warmly welcome the Chinese Government's decision to allow Dr. Fang and his wife to leave, and are glad that we have been able to contribute to a positive solution to this long- standing problem.

Ivory (Hong Kong)

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to ask the Hong Kong authorities to destroy all current stocks of confiscated ivory ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 14 June 1990] : No. This is a matter for the Hong Kong authorities. There is no obligation under CITES regulations to destroy stocks of confiscated ivory.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current total of confiscated ivory now held by the Hong Kong authorities.

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 14 June 1990] : I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 21 June in which I stated that the current total of confiscated ivory held by the Hong Kong authorities was 2.4 tonnes. There has been no change since then.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why India and Canada are included as countries of export of seized ivory in his reply of 5 June, Official Report, column 472, but are not listed in his reply of 8 May, Official Report, column 25, as being countries of export of ivory seized by the Hong Kong authorities.

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 14 June 1990] : We are making further inquiries with the Hong Kong authorities. I shall give the hon. Member a substantive answer as soon as possible.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his reply of 5 June, Official Report, column 472, what are the countries of destination for the 702.5 kg of ivory seized in transit by the Hong Kong authorities.

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 14 June 1990] : According to the accompanying shipping documents, the intended destination was Macau.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what grounds the Hong Kong authorities seized 15.5 kg of mammoth ivory imported by Lee Chor Mui from Japan, as detailed in his reply of 8 May, Official Report, column 25.

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 14 June 1990] : The mammoth ivory imported by Lee Chor Mui was seized for further investigation because customs officers initially suspected that it might be elephant ivory. Once the ivory had been examined and confirmed to be mammoth ivory, which is not controlled under CITES, it was returned to Lee Chor Mui.


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Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why no reference was made in his reply of 5 June, Official Report, column 472, to the 15.5 kg of mammoth ivory seized from Lee Chor Mui.

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 14 June 1990] : No reference was made in my reply of 5 June to the mammoth ivory seized from Lee Chor Mui because imports of mammoth ivory cannot be identified from Hong Kong Government's trade statistics.

Moreover, as the ivory in question was not elephant ivory, it did not appear in the import statistics compiled by the CITES management authority.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

School Trips (Seat Belts)

Mr. David Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any plans to make the fitting and wearing of seat belts compulsory in minibuses and coaches used for school trips ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The responsibility for this matter rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, who is pursuing possible action.

Musical Education

Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to protect the level of opportunities for musical education in the light of the current proposals to merge the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music.

Mr. Jackson : The committee which conducted the review of the London music conservatoires was appointed by the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council. The latter has now published the committee's report and invited comment on it by the end of September. It will then be for the council to decide what action to take in the light of the report and of the responses to the consultation on it. My right hon. Friend looks forward to hearing what conclusions the council comes to in due course.

It is clear from its terms of reference that in appointing this committee the council had in mind the need

"to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the provision of music education"

in its sector and is seeking to discover how the three London music conservatoires within its aegis

"may be organised so as to train young performing musicians to the highest national and international standard".

Copies of the committee's report have been placed in the Library of both Houses.

School Buses

Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what advice he has given to education authorities concerning child safety on school buses ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Howarth : My right hon. Friend works closely with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on these matters. Two documents have been issued recently. First, "Children and Roads : a Safer Way", which was sent last month to all local education authorities and heads of all schools, sets out the


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Government's proposals for reducing the number of child casualties on our roads, and includes a section on safer bus travel. Secondly, there is the Department of Transport's consultative document of 6 June, incorporating proposed regulations for distinctive signs on school buses and related safety measures, which has been issued to a large number of interested organisations for comment by 31 August.

Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to how many children travel to school each day by school bus in each education authority area.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The information is not collected centrally in England.

Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what advice he has given to education authorities concerning the criteria to be applied in determining whether a child qualifies to travel to and from school by school bus.

Mr. Alan Howarth : Local education authorities in England must decide the arrangements they consider necessary to transport pupils to and from school in the light of local circumstances and of the relevant legislation. In 1981, the Department sent a circular letter to education authorities in England giving general guidance on school transport issues. The advice it contains remains current. A copy is in the Library of the House.

Physical Education

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to announce the membership of the national curriculum working party on physical education ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend hopes to make an announcement in the near future.

Further Education Colleges

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list those local education authorities which are now operating a system of local financial management for further educaton colleges.

Mr. Jackson : The following local education authorities in England are operating a system of local finanical management for further education colleges.

Avon

Barking

Barnsley

Bedfordshire

Berkshire

Birmingham

Bradford

Brent

Bromley

Buckinghamshire

Bury

Calderdale

Cambridgeshire

Cheshire

Cleveland

Cornwall

Coventry

Croydon

Cumbria

Derbyshire


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