Mr. Hunter : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has identified a prospective purchaser for Forward : Civil Service Catering.
Mr. Nelson : A number of offers were received from prospective purchasers on 17 January. I have considered these offers in consultation with KPMG Corporate Finance, the financial advisers to the privatisation, as a result of which detailed negotiations are under way with Sutcliffe Catering Group Ltd., a subsidiary of Granada Group plc, with the intention of reaching final agreement for an early completion of the sale to Sutcliffe of the business of Forward : Civil Service Catering.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax remained uncollected at the end of each fiscal year since 1978-79 ; and how much was written off in each of those years.
Mr. Dorrell : The amount of tax remaining uncollected at the end of the fiscal year and the amount of tax written off since 1978-79 are as follows :
Year |Amount remaining |Amount written off |uncollected at end|in each year |of |year in £ millions|in £ millions ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |847.3 |60.3 1980 |986.7 |73.0 1981 |1,653.6 |82.5 1982 |1,691.5 |133.6 1983 |2,052.5 |146.0 1984 |2,553.3 |195.3 1985 |3,210.1 |229.1 1986 |3,273.3 |299.8 1987 |3,841.0 |333.3 1988 |3,990.5 |629.2 1989 |3,979.8 |530.9 1990 |4,323.4 |568.8 1991 |4,185.6 |883.9 1992 |3,740.2 |1,694.2
The amount of tax uncollected represents the amount of tax which was not collected during each year but which was available to be collected.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many investigations were carried out for tax fraud in each year since 1978-79 ; and what was the success rate of those investigations.
Mr. Dorrell : Inland Revenue investigations into possible or actual tax fraud, and the percentage of those investigations which resulted in monetary settlements or recoveries of tax, are shown in the table.
Year |Number of |Percentage |investigations|success rate ------------------------------------------------------------ 1985-86 |70,446 |92.0 1986-87 |67,798 |92.0 1987-88 |67,752 |92.0 1988-89 |71,085 |91.0 1989-90 |76,738 |92.0 1990-91 |81,277 |92.0 1991-92 |81,333 |91.0 1992-93 |75,649 |91.0
Comparable figures for earlier years are not available.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing the percentage of gross earnings going in (a) income tax, (b) national insurance contributions, (c) VAT, (d) other indirect taxes and (e) local taxes, of (i) a single person, (ii) a married couple who are both working and (iii) a married couple with two children on (1) 50 per cent., (2) 75 per cent., (3) 100 per cent., (4) 150 per cent., (5) 200 per cent., (6) 500 per cent. and (7) 1,000 per cent. of average earnings in each year since 1978-79 including estimates for 1994-95.
Mr. Dorrell : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Peckham (Ms Harman) on 19 January 1994 for the latest estimates of the burden of direct and indirect taxes for the years 1992-93, 1993-94 and 1994-95. For earlier years I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) on 15 December 1992, Official Report, columns 120-26 ; to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, East (Mr. Brown) on 17 December 1991, Official Report, columns 121-24 and on 8 January 1990, Official Report, columns 558-64 and to the information placed in the House of Commons Library as noted in the answer to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Griffiths) on 13 April 1989, Official Report, column 624.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update his answer to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) of 2 November 1993, Official Report, column 115, to take into account changes in the mortgage rate and further changes to the rate of relief announced in the autumn Budget, giving (a) numbers in receipt of MIRAS, (b) the average amount received and (c) the total cost (i) for 1994-95 and (ii) 1995-96, by income range as defined in the original question.
Mr. Dorrell : Estimates based on the conventional assumption that mortgage interest rates remain at their current levels are in the tables.
Mortgage interest relief by range of total income<1>: Range of total |Number of |Average |Cost of income<1> |single people |mortgage |mortgage (lower limit) |or married |interest relief|interest relief |couples |benefiting |from mortgage |interest relief -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- £ |thousands |£ |£ million 1994-95 0 |840 |290 |250 5,000 |1,050 |260 |270 10,000 |2,080 |310 |650 15,000 |2,230 |350 |770 20,000 |1,440 |370 |530 25,000 |890 |380 |340 30,000 |780 |390 |310 40,000 |690 |400 |280 Total |10,000 |340 |3,400 1995-96 0 |830 |220 |180 5,000 |940 |200 |190 10,000 |1,870 |250 |470 15,000 |2,130 |290 |610 20,000 |1,600 |300 |480 25,000 |920 |320 |290 30,000 |950 |320 |300 40,000 |860 |330 |280 Total |10,100 |280 |2,800 <1>Total income of husband for married couples
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list, for each scheme operated by his 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. Nelson : The Treasury operates no such schemes.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will discuss with the European Commission the relationship in fiscal terms of implementation of the carbon dioxide energy tax as proposed by the European Commission White Paper on employment to the yield of VAT on household fuel ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Cope : A Commission proposal for a tax on carbon/energy has been under discussion for some time, and was considered most recently at the ECOFIN Council in December 1993. The Government have made it clear that the United Kingdom does not need a carbon/energy tax to fulfil our obligation on CO emissions under the United Nations convention on climate change, and could not agree to an EC-wide tax as proposed by the Commission.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a regional breakdown of the revenue forgone from relief for private medical insurance premiums in each of the last five years.
Mrs. Beckett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Bristol, South (Ms Primarolo) of 6 December, Official Report,
Column 846column 16, regarding the cost of tax relief on private medical insurance, how many people are in receipt of tax relief for private medical insurance in each region.
Mr. Dorrell : No information is available on the regional breakdown of the 350,000 people claiming tax relief on private medical insurance for those aged 60 or more each year since relief was first granted in 1990-91. Similarly, there is no information on the regional breakdown on the cost of the relief.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what circumstances all charges relating to the importation and possession of illegal drugs were withdrawn on 28 January 1993 against Mr. Brian Charrington.
Sir John Cope : Mr. Brian Charrington was arrested after consultation with the police and full consideration of the available evidence by lawyers acting for Customs and Excise. When additional evidence was forthcoming, further legal advice was sought. At this stage, it was concluded that there was no longer a realistic prospect of securing a conviction and the charges were withdrawn.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have been convicted of drug offences where evidence was given on behalf of the prosecution by Mr. Brian Charrington.
Sir John Cope : Brian Charrington has never given evidence to support a prosecution by Customs and Excise.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have been convicted of drug offences where assistance in the Customs and Excise investigation and detection was given by Brian Charrington.
Sir John Cope : It is not the policy of Customs and Excise to disclose sources of information. In the circumstances, I can neither confirm nor deny whether Brian Charrington has given assistance to Customs and Excise.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Ministers signed public immunity certificates in relation to Brian Charrington ; and if he will make a statement as to the circumstances requiring such immunity.
Sir John Cope : No public immunity certificates have been signed by Ministers in relation to Brian Charrington.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were arrested following the interception early in 1992 by Customs and Excise of ingots stored in a warehouse in Stoke on Trent of 95 per cent. pure Colombian cocaine.
Sir John Cope : Twenty-six persons were arrested by Customs and Excise and police during the investigation that followed the discovery of 907 kg of cocaine concealed in a consignment of lead ingots imported from Venezuela.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Ministers signed public immunity certificates in relation to the case which led to the conviction of Joseph Kasser at Newcastle Crown court in January ; and if he will make a statement as to the circumstances requiring such immunity.
Sir John Cope : No public immunity certificates were signed by Ministers in this case.
Dame Angela Rumbold : To ask the Prime Minister if a response has yet been made to the letter he received from Mr. Gerry Adams dated 7 January ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : I received an unsigned letter on Mr. Adams's headed notepaper, dated 7 January 1994, last week. I have placed in the Library a copy of that letter and of a reply from my private secretary which was sent on 20 January. Mr. Adams seeks to open issues for renegotiation by pointing back to a position which he asserts the Irish Government put forward in June last year. The joint declaration of 15 December was the result of many months of discussion between the United Kingdom and Irish Governments. It is a fair and balanced statement of constitutional principles and political realities, which safeguard the interests and aspirations of both sides of the community. As the Taoiseach and I have made clear, there can be no question of renegotiation of the joint declaration.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Prime Minister what are the implications of the Government"s "Back to Basics" policy for his office during 1994.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the scope and effectiveness of his "Back to Basics" social policy.
Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what working definition of "back to basics" he uses ; and what he has done in the past three months to implement the policy.
The Prime Minister : "Back to basics" is intended to ensure that Government policies are based firmly on the common sense values of the British people and, in particular, that they encourage individual responsibility. The "back to basics" policy is especially important in such areas as education, law and order, and the provision of public services, but it applies across a range of other Government policies as well.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the Departments to which the Paymaster-General has been attached since 1979.
The Prime Minister : The Departments to which the Paymaster-General has been attached are listed.
Column 848Date and Department to which responsible
April 1976 to May 1979
Department of Education and Science
May 1979 to January 1981
January 1981 to September 1981
September 1981 to June 1983
June 1983 to September 1984
Not applicable : post vacant
September 1984 to September 1985
September 1985 to June 1987
Department of Employment
June 1987 to July 1989
Her Majesty's Treasury
July 1989 to July 1990
Her Majesty's Treasury
July 1990 to November 1990
Her Majesty's Treasury
November 1990 to April 1992
Northern Ireland Office
April 1992 to date
Her Majesty's Treasury
Note : Except where noted, responsibility for Customs and Excise held by other Treasury Ministers.
Included responsibility for Customs and Excise.
Responsibility for Customs and Excise passed to the Economic Secretary in 1988.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Prime Minister what are the procedures which apply in (a) the United Kingdom Parliament and (b) the European Parliament on the ratification of the Uruguay round of the GATT.
The Prime Minister : The Government intend to present a White Paper to Parliament on the results of the Uruguay round later this year. The agreements will also be laid before Parliament, as with other international agreements. The European Community decision approving the results of the round will also be subject to United Kingdom parliamentary scrutiny in the usual way. The European Parliament is likely to be consulted, but the procedure used will depend on the treaty provisions which apply.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Prime Minister whether he intends that all Secretaries of State should have a duty to comply with the requirements of the European Union directive 92/43 EEC on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : The Secretaries of State will have duties, both general and specific, as appropriate and commensurate with the requirements of the directive.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what steps the Government are taking to encourage and promote the International Year of the Family.
The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Eccles (Miss Lestor) on 6 December 1993, Official Report, columns 29-30.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the political balance of magistrates in (a) Barnsley, (b) Doncaster, (c) Rotherham, (d) Sheffield, (e) Humberside, (f) North Yorkshire and (g) West Yorkshire.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The political balance of magistrates in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, Humberside, North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire on the latest information available is as follows :
Q |Conservative|Labour |Liberal |Independent/ |Democrats |Not known --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Barnsley |46 |50 |15 |3 Doncaster |101 |62 |23 |6 Rotherham |46 |52 |62 |38 Sheffield |101 |112 |52 |84 Humberside |153 |73 |37 |49 North Yorkshire |233 |62 |93 |29 West Yorkshire |572 |397 |220 |163
Mr. McAllion : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will publish for each service that has been market tested in his Department in 1993 (a) the cost of the testing process, including consultancy costs, (b) the result of the test, (c) the name of the successful contractor, (d) the value and duration of the contract, (e) the number of staff involved, (f) estimated annual cost reductions and (g) whether the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 were deemed to apply.
Mr. John M. Taylor : My Department is currently analysing the outcome of the 1992-93 "Competing for Quality" programme with the efficiency unit in the Cabinet Office. Much of the information requested in the question will, once it has been finalised, be published in aggregate form in the "Citizen's Charter Second Report". On an individual contract basis, much of the information is commercially confidential.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the cost of legal aid provided to persons accused of (a) fraud and (b) theft exceeding £100,000 in each year since 1980.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The information sought is not available in the form requested. It is not possible to identify individual cases involving fraud or theft exceeding £100,000. Information on legal aid expenditure by type of offence is only available for the last six years, and is set out for the more serious cases of theft and fraud prosecuted in the higher courts. It is not possible to break down legal aid expenditure in magistrates courts by type of offence.
T |Theft |Fraud |(theft and obtaining|(fraud and forgery) |by deception) |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1988-89 |19,839,017 |6,597,099 1989-90 |23,660,073 |8,021,737 1990-91 |26,149,491 |13,477,167 1991-92 |28,982,870 |16,778,569 1992-93 |32,490,267 |28,961,611
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what are the current statutory rights of holders of the title of lord of the manor ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : No rights are conferred by statute on any person holding the title of lord of the manor. Although certain pre- existing rights and liabilities were preserved by the Law of Property Act 1922, the nature of those rights and liabilities will depend in each case on the particular customs of the manor in question.
Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the average wage of (a) a male and (b) a female working in London for each year from 1975.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The information requested is published in tables 110 and 113 of the new earnings survey part E reports for each of the years requested. Copies of these can be found in the Library.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what were the total budgets of the European Commission's training programmes of (a) CEDEFOP, (b) COMETT, (c) DELTA, (d) EUROTECNET, (e) FORCE, (f) IRIS, (g) PETRA and (h) TEMPUS in each year since
Column 851their establishment ; and what proportion of each was granted to (i) the northern region and (ii) the United Kingdom as a whole.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : It would require disproportionate time and cost to collect the information on the total budgets of the various training programmes mentioned in each year since their establishment.
It is not possible to calculate accurately what proportion of those programmes was allocated to the United Kingdom, or to individual regions in the United Kingdom.
Where available for the programmes listed, total budgets for the preceding three years are provided in the table :
K Total budget (Million ECU) Programme name |1991 |1992 |1993 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- CEDEFOP |10.350 |10.800 |12.850 COMETT |41.750 |55.100 |40.500 DELTA |0.900 |0.120 |- EUROTECHNET |2.300 |1.250 |0.967 FORCE |13.850 |17.500 |20.300 IRIS |0.500 |0.500 |- PETRA |21.100 |26.500 |30.700
Total funding for the TEMPUS programme in the period 1990 to 1993 was 192 million ecu.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total budget awarded under the European social fund to the European Commission's vocational training initiatives of (a) EUROFORM, (b) HORIZON and (c) NOW in each year since their establishment ; and what was the total budget of each awarded to (i) the northern region and (ii) the United Kingdom as a whole.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The total budget from the European social fund --ESF--for EUROFORM is £218 million, for HORIZON £211 million and for NOW £109 million. These are global amounts allocated by the European Commission for the period 1991 to 1993.
The allocation in Great Britain for each initiative is £25.5 million for EUROFORM, £20 million for HORIZON and £6.3 million for NOW. The figures given relate to Great Britain. The ESF in Northern Ireland is administered separately by the Department of Economic Development.
The grants awarded to projects in the northern region amount to £920,519 for EUROFORM, £1,119,442 for HORIZON and £697,505 for NOW.