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                |£ (Thousand)             


Heroin          |97,955                   

Cocaine         |110,244                  

Cannabis        |176,033                  

Synthetic drugs |134,210                  

Sport (Taxation)

28. Ms Hoey : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to decrease the taxation burden on sport in the United Kingdom.

Sir John Cope : A new VAT exemption for the supply of certain services by non profit-making organisations to persons taking part in sport will be introduced shortly. Copies of an information paper giving further details including a draft Treasury order have been placed in the Library.

Inland Revenue (Inquiries)

Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many counter callers and telephone queries the Inland Revenue has had in the period January and February in 1992, 1993 and 1994.

Mr. Dorrell : The information is in the table. The figures relate only to tax offices and there is no available data for specialist or collection offices.

                              |Counter  |Telephone          

                              |callers  |callers            


mid December-mid January 1992 |219,889  |1,224,936          

mid January-mid February 1992 |493,927  |2,521,731          

mid December-mid January 1993 |270,589  |1,891,875          

mid January-mid February 1993 |380,439  |2,212,201          

mid December-mid January 1994 |235,969  |1,857,123          

mid January-mid February 1994 |343,349  |2,579,192          

There has been an increase in the aggregate number of counter and telephone callers in the reporting period to mid-February this year, compared with the previous month, but this follows the pattern in previous years, as the table shows.

Hotels and Boarding Houses

Sir Terence Higgins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 17 February, Official Report , column 890 , why in carrying out the national revaluation 1995, hotels and boarding houses' district valuers required a detailed breakdown for each of the items

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requested to establish rental values ; if he will give respondents more than 21 days to carry out the work involved ; and if he will introduce a simplified form.

Mr. Nelson : Forms requesting the supply of information served by valuation officers on the occupiers or owners of hereditaments have been designed to enable those officers to obtain the information they require in order to compile and maintain rating lists.

A general form requiring rental details is used in most cases but for some types of business information is required about receipts because rental details are scarce. Hotels and boarding houses fall within this category.

The law requires that the form seeking information is returned to a valuation officer within 21 days. However, where there are particular difficulties in complying with this time limit, a longer period may be agreed.

It is not considered appropriate to introduce a further simplified form. Any ratepayer who is having difficulty with the form should approach his or her local valuation officer who will offer guidance on its completion.

Public Appointments

Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give details of the public appointments he is responsible for making in addition to those identified in "Public Bodies 1993" including non-executive agency and other departmental management boards.

Mr. Nelson : In addition to the public appointments he is responsible for making which are identified in "Public Bodies 1993", my right hon. and learned Friend is also responsible for appointments to the following bodies :

Building Societies Commission ;

Friendly Societies Commission ;

Crown Estate Commission ;

Public Works Loan Board ;

Retail Price Index Advisory Committee ;

Securities and Investments Board ;

Treasury Academic Advisory Panel ;

National Savings Board ;

Central Statistical Office Management Board ;

VAT Tribunals ;

Central Statistical Office Advisory Committee ;

Royal Mint Management Board ;

Financial Services Tribunal

Spouse's Transitional Exemption

Mr. Hutton : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost to the Exchequer of the spouse's transitional exemption in 1993-94, 1994- 95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 in constant 1994 prices.

Mr. Dorrell : The legislation which introduced independent taxation for married women provides for two transitional allowances. One enables a husband who has been unable, since 1989-90, to use all his allowances effectively to transfer to his wife as much of his personal allowance as is necessary to bring the total allowances usable by the couple to the level of the allowances they could set against their income in 1989-90. The other transitional allowance protects the entitlement of husbands

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aged under 65 whose wives are entitled to age-related allowances. The Exchequer cost of these provisions is not available centrally.

International Monetary Fund

Mr. Denham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which Government agencies and Departments currently subscribe funds to the International Monetary Fund, and what is the level of subscription for each agency and Department.

Mr. Nelson : As a member of the International Monetary Fund, the United Kingdom pays a subscription, its "quota", by placing a proportion of the reserves at the IMF's disposal. These funds are available for use by the United Kingdom in the event of balance of payments need. The quota is transferred to the IMF by the Bank of England acting as the Treasury's agent for the management of the reserves. In addition, the Overseas Development Administration makes an annual contribution to the interest subsidy account of the enhanced structural adjustment facility--ESAF--which is a trust fund administered by the IMF.

Details of the level of these payments were provided in my response to a question from the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) on 10 December 1993 at columns 403-4, to which I refer the hon. Gentleman. In addition, the ODA has made a one-off pledge of up to £50 million towards the enlarged ESAF and I refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on 3 December 1993 at columns 795-96.


Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration he has given to the rules on annuality for nationalised industries ; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : I have decided that from 1994-95 nationalised industries should, as a general rule, be allowed to defer spending equal to up to 5 per cent. of their capital investment from one year to the next. This will be achieved by adjusting the industries' external finance limits, so that extra spending in the later year is matched by reduced spending in the earlier year. This change should make it easier for nationalised industries to manage their capital expenditure programmes.

Low Incomes

Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the Government's tax policies on the economic well-being of people on low incomes who are below pension age.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 23 February 1994] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the hon. Member for Wallasey (Ms Eagle) earlier today.


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