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Jury System

Mr. Kynoch : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress he has made with his review of the jury system and the not proven verdict.

Mr. Lang : I am today publishing a consultation paper seeking views on a number of proposals for improving the jury system and on the future of our system of verdicts, including the not proven verdict. The proposals in relation to juries are aimed at more effective selection of juries which are representative and willing to serve, and at a reduction in the inconvenience suffered by those cited to attend court for jury service. The paper also sets out the case for and against the retention of the three verdict system. I hope that the proposals made and questions raised in this paper will stimulate the widest possible debate.

This consultation paper is the third in a series seeking views on proposals for improving the delivery of justice in Scotland. We are inviting comments by 15 April. A copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the Library.

Electronic Components

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what representations the Scottish Office has received from Conner Peripherals (UK) Ltd. relating to the Government's policy on import duties on electronic components and products imported into the United Kingdom from non-European Union countries ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what representations he has received from the electronics sector in Scotland relating to the Government's


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policy on import duties on electronic components and products imported into the United Kingdom from non-European Union countries ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 18 January 1994] : The only representation received by my right hon. Friend in connection with duties paid on imports of electronic goods and components was one last year from Conner Peripherals. Following consultation with ministerial colleagues with responsibility for Customs and Excise, he provided a helpful and detailed response to the company.

In addition, both the Scottish Office and the Department of Trade and Industry provided at official level considerable assistance to Conner towards maximising the European content of its product and more specifically on gaining a greater understanding of the complex tariff issues.

WALES

Council Tax

Mr. Jon Owen Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what advice has been given to councils to ensure that an additional bathroom or kitchen for the use of a person with a disability attracts a reduction in council tax payments, apart from that given on page 20 of Welsh Office pamphlet "Council Tax--Liability, Discounts and Exemptions".

Mr. Gwilym Jones : Advice on the application of the Council Tax (Reduction for Disabilities) Regulations 1992--SI 1992 No. 554--and the Council Tax (Reduction for Disabilities) (Amendment) Regulations 1993--SI 1993 No. 195--is contained in the revised council tax practice note No. 2 on liability, discounts and exemptions, issued to all billing authorities in July 1993.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what regulations along the lines of SI 1990 No.


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2475 introduced to exempt extensions and granny flats from the standard charge provision of the community charge legislation have been made to ensure that such extensions are not classified as separate dwellings under the council tax legislation ;

(2) what provisions have been made to ensure that extensions built to provide facilities for the disabled are not classified as separate dwellings.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : None. Where a property contains more than one self-contained unit of separate living accommodation, it will be treated as two or more dwellings. Each of those dwellings, if it is not an exempt dwelling, will be subject to a separate council tax bill. Comparison with community charge arrangements is not appropriate. Community charge was a personal tax, whereas council tax is a property tax with a personal element.

Ambulance Service

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish details of response times by ambulances to 999 calls for Wales, and for each of the health authority or trust areas within Wales, and the times as percentages of the average for the United Kingdom and for England and Scotland.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : The ambulance service in Wales standard response times are :


                                     |50       |95                 

                                     |per cent.|per cent           

                                     |minutes  |minutes            

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

South Glamorgan                      |7        |14                 

Clwyd, Gwent, Mid and West Glamorgan |8        |18                 

East Dyfed, Gwynedd,                                               

Pembrokeshire and Powys              |8        |21                 

The information requested for Wales is shown in the table :


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Percentage of ambulances arriving with50 per cent.e target times:         95 per cent.                       

                   |31 March 1993    |30 September 1993|31 March 1993    |30 September 1993                  

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

Clwyd              |61               |62               |97               |98                                 

East Dyfed         |59               |60               |94               |93                                 

Gwent<1>           |54               |52               |96               |97                                 

Gwynedd            |57               |57               |96               |96                                 

Mid Glamorgan      |61               |56               |98               |97                                 

Pembrokeshire      |42               |45               |88               |90                                 

Powys<1>           |47               |44               |89               |88                                 

South Glamorgan<1> |54               |58               |91               |94                                 

West Glamorgan     |61               |57               |95               |92                                 

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

Wales              |57               |56               |95               |95                                 

<1> Part of the area managed by the South and East Wales ambulance NHS trust.                                

Information on the ambulance services in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland should be sought from the appropriate Secretaries of State.

Morriston Hospital, Swansea

Mr. Donald Anderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to announce his decision on the application of Morriston hospital, Swansea, for trust status.


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Mr. Gwilym Jones : I expect shortly to announce a decision.

Nurses Grading

Mr. Donald Anderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many nurse regrading appeals remain to be settled ; what proportion this constitutes of the appeals made since 1989 ; and what are the number and percentages for each health authority in Wales.


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Mr. Gwilym Jones : Latest available information on the total numbers of clinical grading appeals still outstanding is as follows :


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Health Authority     |At Employing        |At Welsh Appeals    |At National Level                        

                     |Authority Level     |Committee (Regional)|(Negotiating                             

                                                               |Council)                                 

                                          |Level                                                         

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

Clwyd                                     |16                  |42                                       

East Dyfed           |4                   |75                  |7                                        

Gwent                |4                   |222                 |57                                       

Gwynedd                                   |77                  |13                                       

Mid Glamorgan        |90                  |309                 |39                                       

Pembrokeshire                             |50                                                            

Powys                                     |55                  |62                                       

South Glamorgan                           |206                 |25                                       

West Glamorgan                            |72                  |14                                       

                     |--                  |---                 |--                                       

Total                |98                  |1,082               |259                                      

A significant number of appeals made since 1989 have been either withdrawn or not proceeded with and no reliable proportionate data are available.

I am optimistic that recent discussions between both sides of the Nursing and Midwifery Staff Negotiating Council will shortly result in new procedures for clearing all outstanding cases at the Welsh and national levels.

General Practitioners

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many general practitioners received gross payments in excess of £200,000 per year in each year since 1991-92.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : This information is not available centrally.

Welsh Low Pay Unit

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will discuss with representatives of local authority associations the setting up of a Welsh low pay unit ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : No.

Christmas Cards

Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many official Christmas cards were sent out in 1993 by (a) Ministers, (b) civil servants and (c) staff of Government agencies working in or to his Department ; and how much these cards cost (i) to buy, (ii) to post and (iii) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes.

Mr. Redwood : The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.


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Livestock Quota

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what arrangements are being made to lengthen the amount of time farmers in Wales are given to complete their livestock quota application forms ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : To enable quota allocations from the national reserve for 1993 to be made as quickly as possible and sheep annual premium payments thereafter to be made promptly, the Department set a deadline of 7 January for receipt of applications from sheep producers eligible to apply under categories 1 and 2. We are, however, prepared to process any applications received within a week of that date.

Ewe Premium

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to ensure the continuation of the ewe premium supplement to farmers in less-favoured areas in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : I will continue to ensure that the needs of farmers in the Welsh less-favoured areas are taken fully into account in determining supplements for ewe premium payments.

Labour Statistics

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in Wales were employed full-time in (a) the civil service, (b) the steel industry and (c) the media at the latest available date.

Mr. Redwood : The information is shown in the table.


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Industry                                         |<1>Number                                       |Date                                            |Source                                                                                           

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

Civil Service<2>                                 |<3>30,535                                       |April 1993                                      |Civil Service Statistics, Her Majesty's Treasury                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Steel industry                                   |<4>16,000                                       |November 1993                                   |Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Media                                            |<5>5,400                                        |September 1991                                  |Employment Department, Census of Employment 1991                                                 

<1>Number of full-time employees in Wales.                                                                                                                                                                                                           

<2>Includes non-industrial and industrial civil servants working in United Kingdom Government Departments and bodies in Wales.                                                                                                                       

<3>Total relates to full-time equivalents. Part-time staff are counted as half units.                                                                                                                                                                

<4>Figures for full-time staff are not available separately from part-time staff in the data collected by the Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau. Very few of the 16,000 employees at November 1993 are believed to be part-time.                      

<5>There is no single category in the standard industrial classification-1980-which relates exclusively to the media. The above figure is based on activity headings 4751, 4752, 4753, 8380, 9741 which include printing/publishing of newspapers,   

periodicals, and books; advertising; and radio/television services, theatres, etc.                                                                                                                                                                   

Departmental Staff

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the numbers of staff employed in the Welsh Office (a) 12 months ago and (b) at the most recent available date.

Mr. Redwood : The answer is :

(a) The number of full-time equivalent permanent staff employed by my Department as at 6 January 1993 = 2,429.

(b) The number of full-time equivalent permanent staff employed by my Department as at 6 January 1994 = 2,400.

Part-time staff are included as full-time equivalents.

The figures include staff seconded to other organisations but exclude casuals.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the numbers of staff employed in each of the four senior grades in the Welsh Office (a) 12 months ago and (b) at the most recent available date.

Mr. Redwood : The answer is :

(a) The number of staff employed in my Department in each of the four most senior grades as at 17 January 1993 are as follows :


         |Number       

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

Grade 1  |1            

Grade 2s |2            

Grade 3s |12           

Grade 4s |6            

         |-            

Total    |21           

(a) The number of staff employed in my Department in each of the four most senior grades as at 17 January 1994 are as follows :


         |Number       

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

Grade 1  |1            

Grade 2s |2            

Grade 3s |12           

Grade 4s |7            

         |-            

Total    |22           

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Loans

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list for each scheme operated by her Department under which loans are available, the objectives of the scheme, the number of unrecovered loans, the total value of unrecovered loans, the average number of unrecovered loans for each year since 1990, the average value of unrecovered loans for each year since 1990 and the annual cost of recovering loans.

Mr. Jack : No schemes relating to programme expenditure are operated by my Department under which loans are currently available.


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Premiums and Payments

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action she is taking to ensure that all potential claimants under the sheep annual premium, suckler cow premium and arable payments schemes are made aware of the closing dates for applications to these schemes.

Mr. Jack : The closing dates for applications are clearly set out in the appropriate explanatory literature and claim forms for the schemes which are distributed to known producers. The closing dates are also publicised by press releases issued to all relevant media, including the farming press, when application forms for the schemes become available and again shortly before the closing dates.

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list the number of late claims received by regional service centres and divisional offices for the most recent year for (i) sheep annual premium, (ii) suckler cow premium and (iii) the arable area payments scheme.

Mr. Jack : The numbers of claims received by the nine regional service centres after the closing dates of the application periods for the schemes requested are as follows :


                                 |Number       

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

1993 Sheep annual premium scheme |1,082        

1993 Suckler cow premium scheme  |908          

1993 Arable area payments scheme |87           

Neptune Warning System

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans she has to extend the Neptune warning system by installing tide gauges around the coast of south and west Wales.

Mr. Jack : The map I placed in the Library when answering the hon. Member's previous question on this subject on 11 January, Official Report, column 50, shows that tide gauges are already in place at Holyhead, Barmouth, Fishguard, Milford Haven, Mumbles and Newport. There are no plans to install further gauges along the coast of south and west Wales at present. However, the Ministry has funded the development of a computer model for the Bristol channel and Severn estuary which is intended to improve the forecasts of potential coastal flooding issued by the national storm tide warning service for that part of south Wales and the relevant parts of England.

Agricultural Wages Board

Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment she has made of the effect of abolition of the agricultural wages board upon the numbers of agricultural workers entitled to claim housing benefit.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Abolition of the statutory control of agricultural wages could affect the entitlement of


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some agricultural workers to housing benefit. But it is not possible to estimate what the global effect might be, as this would depend on the details of individual agreements on pay and conditions.

Cattle Biodiversity

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action she is taking to protect rare breeds of cattle and cattle biodiversity ; what were the conclusions of the recent Cambridge conference on this matter ; and what assessment expert advisers have made of the work being undertaken at the Bush estate outside Edinburgh.

Mr. Jack : I am aware of the scientific debate about diversity in cattle populations, and my Ministry is placing a research contract to establish the extent of genetic variation in rare and common breeds. The British cattle breeders conference at Cambridge in January 1994 heard a Food and Agriculture organisation paper about biodiversity in developing countries, a topic to which British scientists have made significant contributions. Research at the Bush estate funded by my Ministry includes work designed to enable genes for important characteristics from rare breeds to be located, facilitating their use in breeding programmes. Producers of rare breeds of cattle are of course, eligible for the same financial support provided to other beef producers under the suckler cow premium and beef special premium schemes.

Bees

Mr. Rendel : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if it is her Department's policy that all bee colonies given antibiotic treatment by its officials for the control of European foul brood should receive a standard uniform dosage regardless of the number of bees in each colony ; and what assessment she has made of the effect of such treatment on smaller bee colonies.

Mr. Jack : Different dosages are prescribed for large and small colonies. Experience has shown that our treatments are equally effective on all sizes of colony.

DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Civil Service

Mr. Mills : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what savings he estimates will result from the introduction of market testing in the civil service ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave : In my statement to the House of Commons on 4 November 1993, I announced that provisional figures suggested that the "Competing for Quality" programme, of which market testing is part, had resulted in annual savings of approximately £100 million by 30 September 1993.

Further detail on the outcome of the programme will be published in the "Citizens Charter Second Report".

Equal Opportunities

Mr. Burden : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the objective of removing equal opportunities requirements from private contractors bidding for Government contracts.


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Mr. David Davis [holding answer 19 January 1994] : The Government and the civil service are committed to a policy of equality of opportunity both because it is right in terms of social justice and because it makes good business sense.

Where services are contracted out to private companies, the Government do not intend to require particular employment policies and practices, and such requirements will not be included in tender documents, although contracts may require compliance with United Kingdom law on equal opportunities if the contracted work is carried out wholly within the United Kingdom. EC directives impose restrictions on the Government's ability to take account of non-commercial matters.

British Geological Survey

Mr. Hutton : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is his estimate of the savings which will result from the closure of the Newcastle office of the British Geological Survey ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Davis [holding answer 17 January 1994] : The Natural Environment Research Council, NERC, of which the British Geological Survey, BGS, is a constituent part, estimates that closure of the Newcastle office will result in savings of approximately £86,000 per annum.

As an independent body established by royal charter, the NERC is responsible for the management of its own resources. The decision on the future of the Newcastle office is properly one for the BGS and the NERC, and not one for the Government.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Private Pensions

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Durham have contracted out of occupational pension schemes and taken up private pension plans.

Mr. Dorrell : This information is not available.

Finance Bill

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make available to hon. Members the customary notes on the clauses of the Finance Bill.

Mr. Dorrell : Yes. Notes on clauses are being placed in the Vote Office and in the Library of the House. In addition, the Treasury will, for the first time, be making the notes available to the public.

Income Tax

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson), of 29 November, Official Report, columns 337-38, if he will provide the information on tax liability by region.

Mr. Dorrell : Available information on the annual reduction in income tax liability by region for the years 1989-90 to 1991-92, compared with the 1978-79 indexed regime is given in tables. In view of the length of the tables, I am arranging for copies to be placed in the Members' Library.


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Value Added Tax (Domestic Fuels)

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a reply to his letter of 2 December regarding value added tax on domestic fuels, Ref. 0595/27.

Sir John Cope : I replied to this letter on Tuesday 18 January 1994.

International Monetary Fund (Russia)

Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his policy with regard to co-operation between the International Monetary Fund and Russia.

Mr. Nelson : The IMF and Russian authorities reached agreement on a programme to allow release of $1.5 billion of assistance under the systematic transformation facility


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--STF--in July 1993. We urge the fund and Russian authorities to continue their policy dialogue and reach rapid agreement on further action which can be supported by a second drawing under the STF and will enable a full stand-by arrangement and rouble stabilisation fund to be put in place.

Value Added Tax (Registration)

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 3 December, Official Report, columns 770-72, if he will provide the figures for value added tax registrations and deregistrations for each calendar year since 1987.

Sir John Cope : Revised registration and deregistration figures by calendar year, from January 1987 to December 1993 are :


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                         Registrations                                                                          

Collection              |1987      |1988      |1989      |1990      |1991      |1992      |1993                 

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

Belfast                 |3,413     |3,952     |4,373     |4,226     |3,607     |3,674     |4,086                

Birmingham              |13,973    |16,550    |18,169    |16,297    |14,044    |13,291    |14,942               

Dover                   |6,186     |7,795     |7,552     |7,104     |6,575     |5,859     |6,496                

East Anglia             |7,874     |9,474     |9,625     |8,475     |8,564     |8,061     |8,800                

East Midlands           |10,591    |12,799    |14,354    |12,100    |10,592    |9,429     |10,719               

Edinburgh               |7,423     |7,808     |8,228     |7,873     |6,667     |6,604     |7,005                

Glasgow                 |5,460     |5,757     |8,297     |7,477     |6,728     |6,188     |6,626                

Leeds                   |10,515    |12,821    |14,124    |12,496    |11,035    |10,256    |10,332               

Liverpool               |9,866     |12,246    |13,239    |12,548    |10,724    |9,815     |9,945                

London Central          |5,492     |5,214     |5,346     |5,290     |4,614     |4,772     |5,728                

London North and West   |11,681    |13,517    |15,901    |14,305    |11,447    |10,956    |11,669               

London Port             |7,851     |9,064     |10,252    |8,187     |6,980     |6,682     |6,955                

London South            |13,028    |14,482    |16,573    |14,875    |12,455    |11,699    |14,541               

Manchester              |10,827    |12,382    |14,013    |13,577    |12,099    |11,259    |11,558               

Northampton             |15,518    |18,390    |19,060    |17,345    |13,299    |12,087    |12,986               

Northern England        |6,345     |7,854     |8,409     |7,290     |5,942     |5,756     |6,132                

Southampton             |12,194    |13,807    |16,261    |12,903    |10,744    |9,658     |10,932               

South Wales and Borders |10,404    |13,535    |14,624    |12,942    |10,582    |9,629     |10,086               

South West England      |13,376    |16,839    |16,972    |13,803    |11,681    |10,965    |12,121               

Thames Valley           |16,027    |19,230    |21,141    |20,223    |17,639    |16,615    |17,551               


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                         Deregistrations                                                                        

Collection              |1987      |1988      |1989      |1990      |1991      |1992      |1993                 

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

Belfast                 |2,920     |7,498     |3,224     |3,113     |3,783     |3,595     |3,124                

Birmingham              |11,580    |12,571    |12,637    |12,519    |16,963    |17,002    |14,967               

Dover                   |4,403     |5,784     |4,952     |5,736     |9,765     |8,915     |7,428                

East Anglia             |5,814     |10,125    |9,625     |8,475     |8,564     |8,061     |9,629                

East Midlands           |8,726     |11,104    |9,753     |10,026    |13,258    |12,235    |11,063               

Edinbugh                |6,108     |9,562     |6,042     |6,065     |7,440     |6,757     |6,944                

Glasgow                 |4,494     |5,095     |6,279     |6,178     |8,035     |7,033     |6,599                

Leeds                   |8,985     |10,522    |10,041    |10,284    |13,621    |12,383    |11,499               

Liverpool               |8,645     |9,837     |10,061    |10,002    |13,207    |12,991    |11,153               

London Central          |4,071     |4,867     |4,232     |4,453     |4,677     |4,839     |5,239                

London North and West   |8,421     |8,568     |9,938     |10,687    |13,765    |15,070    |13,124               

London Port             |5,722     |6,741     |6,457     |5,913     |10,275    |10,048    |8,796                

London South            |8,384     |9,394     |10,515    |10,832    |15,038    |14,613    |13,660               

Manchester              |9,670     |9,822     |10,248    |9,641     |13,571    |13,387    |12,637               

Northampton             |10,157    |15,446    |11,777    |12,857    |16,451    |15,143    |13,040               

Northern England        |5,354     |6,283     |5,998     |6,357     |7,686     |7,242     |6,929                

Southampton             |8,484     |12,220    |10,411    |9,739     |14,476    |13,783    |12,419               

South Wales and Borders |8,156     |14,380    |10,296    |10,437    |14,394    |11,902    |11,635               

South West England      |10,525    |16,687    |11,716    |11,751    |16,461    |15,811    |13,690               

Thames Valley           |11,214    |15,057    |13,865    |14,722    |21,431    |19,824    |18,024               

Rugby Union (Benefits)

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements he makes for the taxation of income on benefits arising from the playing of Rugby Union football.


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Mr. Dorrell : Under Rugby Union rules players are forbidden to receive payment for playing. If they were to do so, they would be taxed on their income in the same way as other sportsmen and women. Their income for tax purposes would be arrived at in the way as for other people, taking account of payments of money and any other benefits.

Taxation

Mr. Betts : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of gross domestic product was taken by (a) income tax, (b) corporation tax, (c) capital gains tax, (d)


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inheritance tax, (e) VAT, (f) national insurance contributions, (g) excise duties, (h) council tax and its predecessors (i) business rates and (j) other taxes for each year since 1979-80.

Mr. Nelson [holding answer 19 January 1994] : The information requested is shown in the table. The estimates for 1993-94 are taken from table 6.5 of the November 1993 "Financial Statement and Budget Report".


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