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Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received about the amount of voluntary work that may be disregarded in considering entitlement to invalidity benefit.

Mr. Scott : We have received a number of representations. One of the measures introduced by the Social Security (Incapacity For Work) Bill will allow people receiving incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance to do up to 16 hours voluntary work a week without it affecting their benefit.

Elderly People

Mr. David Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of over-80s who are not entitled to the basic retirement pension ; how much it would cost for them to be provided with one ; what help they will receive towards value added tax on their fuel ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague : It is estimated that approximately 75,000 persons in Great Britain who are aged 80 or over do not receive a basic state retirement pension. The estimated net cost of providing standard rate basic retirement pension to them is approximately £85 million per year at April 1994 prices.


Column 321

Those not in receipt of basic pension but who receive income support will receive an additional 50p per week--single people--or 70p per week--couples. Those not in receipt of basic pension or income support but who receive the non-contributory retirement pension, available to persons aged 80 and over, will receive an additional 20p per week.

Child Support Agency

Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when the hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley will receive replies to his letters to the chief executive of the Child Support Agency of 16 November and 12 January.

Mr. Burt : I understand that Ros Hepplewhite, the chief executive of the Child Support Agency, replied to the hon. Member on 9 March 1994.

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the annual numbers with (a) terminal illness, (b) a prescribed condition and (c) the highest rate of the care component of disability living allowance who should be considered for fast-tracking to the higher rate of incapacity benefit.

Mr. Scott : We are considering this issue.

Income-related Benefits

Ms Jowell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will reconsider the rules for the treatment of capital made by the DSS in its calculation that for every £250 of saving, or part of £250, over and above £3,000 there could be a reduction of £1 in benefits payable.

Mr. Burt : The arrangements for the treatment of capital in the income-related benefits are kept under review, but we have no plans for change at present. The formula applied for taking account of capital above £3,000 does not imply any particular return on investments. It ensures that help is targeted on those who need it most, while not denying benefit to those with only a moderate amount of capital.

Value Added Tax (Fuel)

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what assessment he has made of the number of pensioners in their eighties who will receive less than pensioners in their sixties to compensate for the extra cost of VAT on their fuel bills ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) how many pensioners in their eighties have no entitlement to a basic retirement pension and how many are in receipt of a special over-80s pension ; and what addition they will receive towards the additional cost of VAT on fuel.

Mr. Hague : It is estimated that approximately 75,000 persons in Great Britain who are aged 80 or over do not receive a basic state retirement pension and that approximately 28,000 people aged 80 or over receive a non-contributory retirement pension.

Extra help towards VAT on fuel for those aged 80 or over will be available on the same general basis as for all


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persons of pensionable age, with the exception that those not in receipt of basic pension or income support but who receive a non-contributory retirement pension, available only to persons aged 80 or over, will receive total extra help of 20p per week.

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what compensation for VAT on fuel will be paid to married women with an entitlement to a reduced retirement pension based on their own contributions ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Rendel) on 28 February at column 615.

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much will be added to war disablement pensions to compensate for the additional costs of VAT on fuel ; how much will be received by a war widow also in receipt of a retirement pension towards the additional cost of VAT on fuel ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hague : The basic war disablement pension will not be increased beyond normal price indexation. The majority of war disablement pensioners are over pension age and will receive extra help through retirement pension ; others will gain through invalidity benefit or severe disablement allowance. War pensioners who choose to receive war pension unemployability supplement instead of retirement pension will receive the same extra help as retirement pensioners. The standard war widows pension will be increased by 50p a week on top of the normal uprating. A war widow who also receives, as a result of her own contributions, the full basic retirement pension, will receive a further 50p a week compensation.

Disabled People

Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the preliminary findings of the cost-benefit analysis of legislation to outlaw discrimination against disabled people undertaken by his Department ; and when he expects to publish the full findings.

Mr. Scott : The information requested is not available. A cost- benefit analysis has not been prepared. Should the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill reach Committee stage, a compliance cost assessment will be provided in the normal way.

EDUCATION

Student Numbers

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimates he made of the numbers of students on two-year higher education courses before his recent announcement of notional tuition fee levels for 1994-95 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Boswell : The Government's expenditure plans, including tuition fee levels, announced at the time of the Budget allowed for a specified total number of students in higher education. In order to translate total numbers into the numbers of new entrants, it is necessary to make


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assumptions about a number of factors, including the average length of courses. However, the number of students on two-year higher education courses was not separately assessed or identified.

Management Systems

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much his Department's computer-aided facilities management systems cost ; from whom they were purchased ; how many person hours were required to commission them ; what the estimated and actual saving has been from their operation ; and to what extent the use of such systems accounts for the apparent rise in theft noted in his answer to the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) of 16 February, Official Report, column 841.

Mr. Boswell : The Department has no computer-aided facilities management systems. The information provided on 16 February shows a decline in 1993 in the incidence of theft.

Mr. Radice : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many agency chief executives in his Department are currently paid more than £82,925, excluding performance-related bonuses ; and whether such chief executives were recruited directly to their present post from outside the civil service.

Mr. Robin Squire : None.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Employee Share Schemes

Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Inland Revenue next intends to publish updated guidance on approved employee share schemes, to replace versions dated 1991, and updated guidance on profit-related pay to replace the present editions published five years ago.

Mr. Dorrell : The Inland Revenue published revised versions of its booklets and leaflets on approved employee share schemes on 7 March. Revision of the guidance notes on profit-related pay is currently under consideration.

Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how soon he expects to announce details of the introduction and operation of approved employee share schemes and of statutory employee share ownership plans up to the end of March 1993.

Mr. Dorrell : The Inland Revenue expects to issue the latest figures on the introduction and operation of approved employee share schemes in April 1994--and annually in April thereafter. Similar information for statutory employee share ownership plans is not available.

Inland Revenue (Information Technology Office)

Mr. Garrett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if employees of the information technology office of the Inland Revenue will benefit from civil service redundancy arrangements if they refuse to relocate consequent upon their being taken over by a private contractor.

Mr. Dorrell : If employees of the Inland Revenue's information technology office transfer with their work to a


Column 324

private company as a result of the current procurement which forms part of the Department's market-testing programme, it is expected that the transfer will be within the scope of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981. This means that current terms and conditions of employment will transfer to the new employer. If, following the transfer, the new employer asked employees to relocate, those employees whose terms and conditions did not include a mobility requirement would not be obliged to do so unless the new location was within reasonable daily travelling distance of their home. If the new employer was unable to offer alternative jobs to non-mobile employees, as a last resort they could be made redundant.

Amusement with Prizes Machines

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revenue currently accrues to the Treasury from amusement with prizes and jackpot machines from each main category of premises on which they are located.

Sir John Cope : An estimated breakdown of gaming machine licence duty for 1992-93 is as follows :


Amusement with                    |£ million                    

prizes                                                          

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

Pubs                              |33                           

Inland arcades                    |15                           

Seaside arcades                   |13                           

Bingo halls                       |12                           

Single sites                      |3                            

Others                            |7                            

                                  |-------                      

Total amusement with prizes       |83                           

                                  |-------                      

Jackpot machines                  |15                           

                                  |-------                      

Total gaming machine licence duty |98                           

There is no breakdown for jackpot machines.

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what calculations he has made as to the potential revenue that would accrue to the Treasury in respect of amusement with prizes machines in licensed betting offices.

Sir John Cope : No calculations have been made.

Licensed Betting Offices

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what calculations the Treasury has made as to the potential loss in tax revenue from licensed betting offices as a consequence of competition from the national lottery.

Sir John Cope : A duty rate of 12 per cent. is to apply to national lottery stakes. This rate has been set so as broadly to offset the anticipated revenue loss from expenditure diverted from other taxed goods. Any attempt to apportion this revenue loss between different taxes would be purely speculative.

Taxation

Sir David Knox : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 3 February, Official Report, columns 825-26, if he will give the percentages of earnings taken in income tax and national insurance contribution from a single-wage married couple at (a) half,


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(b) three quarters, (c) average, and (d) twice average male manual earnings, in the years 1990-91, 1992-93 and 1993- 94.

Mr. Dorrell : The information is in the table :


Income tax and national insurance contributions<1> as a percentage of                                                     

gross earnings                                                                                                            

Multiple of average   |1978-79            |1990-91            |1992-93            |1993-94                                

earnings<2>                                                                                                               

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

Half average earnings |14.1               |12.8               |11.6               |12.1                                   

Three quarters                                                                                                            

 average earnings     |22.4               |19.9               |19.0               |19.2                                   

Average earnings      |26.7               |23.4               |22.8               |22.9                                   

Twice average                                                                                                             

 earnings             |31.2               |26.1               |26.1               |26.4                                   

<1> National insurance contributions are at the standard class 1 rate for                                                 

employees not contracted-out of the state additional-earnings-related                                                     

-pension scheme. Tax has been calculated assuming that no allowances                                                      

or reliefs are available other than the standard allowance.                                                               

<2> Average earnings are taken to be the gross weekly manual earnings                                                     

of full-time males on adult rates with pay unaffected by absence. These                                                   

are £244.50 and £272.00 in 1990-91 and 1992-93 respectively. In                                                           

1993-94 these are estimated to be £281.50 using an illustrative growth                                                    

rate of 3.5 per cent.                                                                                                     

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish for each year since 1978 a table showing (a) average earnings and (b) income tax liability on taxable income equal to (i) one quarter average earnings, (ii) one


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half average earnings, (iii) average earnings, (iv) five times average earnings, (v) 10 times average earnings and (vi) 100 times average earnings.

Mr. Dorrell : The information is in the tables. Because taxable income excludes income covered by allowances, the gross incomes of taxpayers with these levels of taxable income would be significantly higher. The figures show that tax liability as a proportion of taxable income has fallen at all income levels over this period.


Year        |Average                

            |earnings<1>            

            |£ per week             

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

1978-79     |92.8                   

1979-80     |109.3                  

1980-81     |131.4                  

1981-82     |145.9                  

1982-83     |157.4                  

1983-84     |171.0                  

1984-85     |185.0                  

1985-86     |198.5                  

1986-87     |213.8                  

1987-88     |233.6                  

1988-89     |256.3                  

1989-90     |279.9                  

1990-91     |306.2                  

1991-92     |328.7                  

1992-93     |347.7                  

1993-94     |359.9                  


Column 325


Income tax liability<2> on taxable income at multiples of average earnings £    

perweek                                                                         

Year      |        |"        |1        |5        |10       |100                

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

1978-79   |6.50     |14.16    |29.47    |248.77   |633.89   |7,566.05           

1979-80   |7.48     |15.67    |32.07    |238.72   |566.62   |6,468.82           

1980-81   |9.86     |19.71    |39.42    |295.64   |689.84   |7,785.44           

1981-82   |10.94    |21.89    |43.77    |339.14   |776.84   |8,655.44           

1982-83   |11.81    |23.61    |47.22    |360.08   |832.28   |9,331.88           

1983-84   |12.83    |25.65    |51.30    |385.02   |898.02   |10,132.02          

1984-85   |13.88    |27.75    |55.50    |419.62   |974.62   |10,964.62          

1985-86   |14.89    |29.78    |59.55    |452.71   |1,048.21 |11,767.21          

1986-87   |15.50    |31.00    |62.00    |489.53   |1,130.93 |12,676.13          

1987-88   |15.77    |31.54    |63.07    |540.38   |1,241.18 |13,855.58          

1988-89   |16.02    |32.04    |64.08    |456.93   |969.53   |10,196.33          

1989-90   |17.49    |34.99    |69.98    |500.09   |1,059.89 |11,136.29          

1990-91   |19.14    |38.27    |76.55    |552.69   |1,165.09 |12,188.29          

1991-92   |20.54    |41.09    |82.18    |589.03   |1,246.43 |13,079.63          

1992-93   |19.81    |41.54    |85.00    |625.11   |1,320.51 |13,837.71          

1993-94   |20.09    |42.58    |87.57    |649.03   |1,368.83 |14,325.23          


Income tax liability as a percentage of    

taxable income at multiples of             

average earnings                           

Year    |   |"   |1   |5   |10  |100      

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

1978-79 |28.0|30.5|31.8|53.6|68.3|81.5     

1979-80 |27.4|28.7|29.3|43.7|51.8|59.2     

1980-81 |30.0|30.0|30.0|45.0|52.5|59.2     

1981-82 |30.0|30.0|30.0|46.5|53.2|59.3     

1982-83 |30.0|30.0|30.0|45.8|52.9|59.3     

1983-84 |30.0|30.0|30.0|45.0|52.5|59.3     

1984-85 |30.0|30.0|30.0|45.4|52.7|59.3     

1985-86 |30.0|30.0|30.0|45.6|52.8|59.3     

1986-87 |29.0|29.0|29.0|45.8|52.9|59.3     

1987-88 |27.0|27.0|27.0|46.3|53.1|59.3     

1988-89 |25.0|25.0|25.0|35.7|37.8|39.8     

1989-90 |25.0|25.0|25.0|35.7|37.9|39.8     

1990-91 |25.0|25.0|25.0|36.1|38.0|39.8     

1991-92 |25.0|25.0|25.0|35.8|37.9|39.8     

1992-93 |22.8|23.9|24.4|36.0|38.0|39.8     

1993-94 |22.3|23.7|24.3|36.1|38.0|39.8     

<1>Average earnings are taken to be the    

average gross weekly earnings              

of all full-time males on adult rates with 

pay unaffected by absence.The              

figure for 1993-94 is based on an          

illustrative assumption of3.5 per cent.    

growth over 1992-93.                       

<2>Assuming all income is earned and that  

taxable income-income for                  

income tax purposes less allowances and    

reliefs available at the                   

taxpayer's marginal rate-is equal to the   

multiple of average earnings               

shown.                                     

Mr. Hoon : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost of a 20 per cent. basic rate of income tax in (a) 1993-94, (b) 1994-95 and (c) 1995-96.

Mr. Dorrell : Estimates based on a projection of the 1991-92 survey of personal incomes are given.


Revenue cost compared with 

a basic rate of 25 per     

cent. in a full year       

         |£billion         

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

1993-94  |7.8              

1994-95  |9.2              

1995-96  |9.7              


Column 327

Personal Allowances

Mr. Hutton : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the revenue cost to the Exchequer of the personal allowances in 1993-94, 1994- 95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 in constant 1994 prices.

Mr. Dorrell : Estimates for 1993-94 and 1994-95 based on information about individuals on Inland Revenue records are given. These costs exclude the value of personal allowances to some individuals whose income is below the tax threshold. The costs for later years will depend on allowance levels for those years.


Revenue cost of personal     

allowances<1> in a full year 

at constant 1994-95          

prices                       

           |£billion         

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

1993-94<2> |33.1             

1994-95<2> |31.1             

<1> This includes the        

personal allowance, the      

married couple's allowance   

and the linked allowances,   

and the blind person's       

allowance.                   

<2> Assuming that prices     

increase by 2 per cent. in   

1993-94 and 3.25 per         

cent. in 1994-95 in line     

with the illustrative        

assumptions in the           

"Financial                   

Statement and Budget Report" 

1994-95.                     

Married Couple's Allowance

Mr. Hoon : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the revenue saving of the abolition of the married couple's allowance in (a) 1993-94, (b) 1994-95 and (c) 1995-96.

Mr. Congdon : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost to the Exchequer of the married couples allowance in 1993-94, 1994-95 and 1995-96.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 1 March 1994] : The estimated costs in a full year are given in the table :


Year      |<1>Cost            

          |£ billion          

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

1993-94   |5.0                

1994-95   |3.9                

1995-96   |3.1                

<1>Includes the cost of       

allowances related to the     

married couples               

allowance, namely the         

additional personal allowance 

and the                       

widow's bereavement           

allowance.                    

Incomes

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a table showing (a) the total number of taxpayers, (b) the number of taxpayers with incomes in excess of £100,000 and (c) the percentage of taxpayers with incomes in excess of £100,000 for (i) each region and (ii) each county of the United Kingdom for each of the last five years.

Mr. Dorrell : Estimates for each region in 1989-90, 1990-91 and 1991 -92, the latest year for which information is available below United Kingdom level, are included in the first table. Married couples are counted as one unit in 1989-90 prior to the introduction of independent taxation. The second table includes estimates of the total number of taxpayers in each county in 1989-90, 1990-91 and 1991-92. All estimates are derived from the survey of personal incomes and the size of the survey limits the


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extent to which reliable estimates can be given at the county level for taxpayers with incomes over £100,000. The third table gives approximate numbers and percentages in 1991-92 for those counties estimated to have at least 500 taxpayers with incomes over £100,000.


Table 1. Numbers of taxpayers by region, 1989-90 to 1991-92              

                         |Number of  |Number of  |Percentage             

                         |taxpayers  |taxpayers  |of total               

                         |(thousands)|with total |taxpayers              

                                     |income of  |with total             

                                     |more than  |income of              

                                     |£100,000   |more than              

                                     |(thousands)|£100,000               

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

1989-90<1>                                                               

North                    |1,060      |1          |0.1                    

Yorkshire and Humberside |1,770      |3          |0.2                    

North West               |2,270      |6          |0.2                    

East Midlands            |1,460      |4          |0.3                    

West Midlands            |1,890      |3          |0.2                    

East Anglia              |821        |3          |0.3                    

South East               |7,110      |47         |0.7                    

South West               |1,710      |5          |0.3                    

Wales                    |954        |2          |0.3                    

Scotland                 |2,060      |3          |0.1                    

Northern Ireland         |483        |1          |0.1                    

                                                                         

1990-91                                                                  

North                    |1,240      |1          |0.1                    

Yorkshire and Humberside |2,160      |4          |0.2                    

North West               |2,840      |5          |0.2                    

East Midlands            |1,910      |2          |0.1                    

West Midlands            |2,340      |5          |0.2                    

East Anglia              |991        |3          |0.3                    

South East               |8,850      |50         |0.6                    

South West               |2,350      |5          |0.2                    

Wales                    |1,220      |1          |0.1                    

Scotland                 |2,340      |3          |0.1                    

Northern Ireland         |542        |1          |0.1                    

                                                                         

1991-92                                                                  

North                    |1,270      |2          |0.1                    

Yorkshire and Humberside |2,140      |5          |0.2                    

North West               |2,740      |7          |0.3                    

East Midlands            |1,840      |4          |0.2                    

West Midlands            |2,260      |5          |0.2                    

East Anglia              |1,030      |4          |0.4                    

South East               |8,610      |64         |0.7                    

South West               |2,270      |6          |0.3                    

Wales                    |1,240      |2          |0.1                    

Scotland                 |2,320      |4          |0.2                    

Northern Ireland         |513        |1          |0.1                    

<1> Married couples count as one taxpayer.                               


Table 2.  Number of taxpayers by English and Welsh County and      

Scottish Region, 1989-90 to 1991-92                                

                                             |Thousands            

County                 |1989-90<1>|1990-91   |1991-92              

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

Tyne and Wear          |386       |434       |445                  

Cleveland              |147       |177       |178                  

Cumbria                |196       |251       |266                  

Durham                 |219       |225       |232                  

Northumberland         |112       |151       |148                  

                                                                   

Humberside             |320       |379       |345                  

South Yorkshire        |432       |486       |519                  

North Yorkshire        |291       |346       |383                  

West Yorkshire         |729       |949       |898                  

                                                                   

Cheshire               |388       |462       |442                  

Lancashire             |542       |632       |631                  

Greater Manchester     |874       |1,160     |1,090                

Merseyside             |469       |586       |582                  

                                                                   

Derbyshire             |345       |423       |412                  

Leicestershire         |344       |435       |406                  

Lincolnshire           |226       |285       |269                  

Northamptonshire       |209       |281       |305                  

Nottinghamshire        |338       |487       |447                  

                                                                   

West Midlands          |835       |1,080     |1,080                

Hereford and Worcester |271       |349       |332                  

Shropshire             |153       |194       |177                  

Staffordshire          |424       |474       |445                  

Warwickshire           |211       |245       |227                  

                                                                   

Cambridgeshire         |274       |321       |346                  

Norfolk                |297       |334       |373                  

Suffolk                |249       |336       |309                  

                                                                   

Greater London         |2,800     |3,470     |3,350                

Bedfordshire           |200       |254       |248                  

Berkshire              |283       |415       |356                  

Buckinghamshire        |256       |324       |302                  

East Sussex            |312       |352       |332                  

Essex                  |600       |751       |770                  

Hampshire              |606       |801       |769                  

Hertfordshire          |464       |524       |497                  

Kent                   |575       |688       |708                  

Oxfordshire            |184       |256       |265                  

Surrey                 |418       |574       |560                  

West Sussex            |351       |371       |390                  

Isle of Wight          |56        |72        |56                   

Avon                   |326       |467       |448                  

Cornwall               |155       |231       |208                  

Devon                  |401       |491       |527                  

Dorset                 |256       |336       |320                  

Gloucestershire        |212       |290       |269                  

Somerset               |163       |229       |221                  

Wiltshire              |198       |308       |281                  

                                                                   

Gwent                  |153       |182       |161                  

Mid Glamorgan          |172       |217       |225                  

South Glamorgan        |139       |177       |177                  

West Glamorgan         |103       |142       |148                  

Dyfed                  |113       |149       |192                  

Gwynedd                |75        |101       |73                   

Powys                  |31        |52        |74                   

Clwyd                  |167       |204       |193                  

                                                                   

Grampian               |249       |241       |231                  

Tayside                |145       |174       |202                  

Fife                   |141       |154       |150                  

Lothian                |334       |418       |367                  

Central                |104       |143       |122                  

Borders                |48        |36        |72                   

Strathclyde            |902       |985       |955                  

Dumfries and Galloway  |50        |74        |76                   

Highlands              |71        |91        |115                  

Island Authorities     |19        |23        |26                   

<1> Married couples count as one taxpayer.                         


Table 3.  Taxpayers with total income over £100,000 by English and                 

Welsh County and Scottish Region 1991-92<1>                                        

County                 |Number             |Taxpayers with                         

                       |(thousands)        |total income over                      

                                           |£100,000 as a                          

                                           |percentage of total                    

                                           |taxpayers                              

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

Tyne and Wear          |1                  |0.2                                    

                                                                                   

North Yorkshire        |1                  |0.4                                    

West Yorkshire         |2                  |0.3                                    

                                                                                   

Cheshire               |1                  |0.3                                    

Lancashire             |1                  |0.2                                    

Greater Manchester     |4                  |0.3                                    

Merseyside             |1                  |0.2                                    

                                                                                   

Derbyshire             |1                  |0.3                                    

Leicestershire         |1                  |0.2                                    

Northamptonshire       |1                  |0.2                                    

Nottinghamshire        |1                  |0.2                                    

                                                                                   

West Midlands          |2                  |0.2                                    

Hereford and Worcester |1                  |0.4                                    

Staffordshire          |1                  |0.4                                    

Warwickshire           |1                  |0.2                                    

                                                                                   

Cambridgeshire         |2                  |0.4                                    

Norfolk                |1                  |0.2                                    

Suffolk                |2                  |0.7                                    

                                                                                   

Greater London         |36                 |1.1                                    

Berkshire              |2                  |0.5                                    

Buckinghamshire        |3                  |0.8                                    

East Sussex            |1                  |0.3                                    

Essex                  |4                  |0.5                                    

Hampshire              |2                  |0.2                                    

Hertfordshire          |3                  |0.7                                    

Kent                   |3                  |0.4                                    

Oxfordshire            |1                  |0.4                                    

Surrey                 |8                  |1.4                                    

West Sussex            |1                  |0.3                                    

                                                                                   

Avon                   |2                  |0.5                                    

Devon                  |1                  |0.3                                    

Gloucestershire        |1                  |0.2                                    

Wiltshire              |1                  |0.2                                    

                                                                                   

South Glamorgan        |1                  |0.3                                    

                                                                                   

Grampian               |1                  |0.4                                    

Lothian                |1                  |0.2                                    

Strathclyde            |2                  |0.2                                    

<1>Only counties where there are estimated to be at least 500 taxpayers            

with total income over £100,000 appear.                                            

Alcohol and Tobacco Imports

Mr. Mills : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of the European directive relating to the importation of wine, spirits and tobacco products by postal or other services without carriage by those claiming importation for personal consumption.

Sir John Cope : Excisable goods cannot be imported into the United Kingdom by post or otherwise without paying United Kingdom rates of duty on them, except when the goods are accompanied by the purchaser and are for his or her personal consumption.

Coronation Crown

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 23 February, Official Report, columns 271-72, what were the results from monitoring the sales of the £5 coronation crown before and after the advertising campaign.

Mr. Nelson : Research showed that the advertisements increased public awareness of the circulating standard £5 coronation anniversary crown. There were also significant increases in the number of crowns issued after the advertisements appeared. Total issues of 1.7 million coins were therefore higher than they would otherwise have been.


Column 331

Life Assurance and Unit Trust Regulatory Organisation

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will call for a report from LAUTRO as to how many life assurance salesmen have left the register during 1993 ; for what reasons ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nelson : I understand that LAUTRO recorded a net decrease of around 48,000 salesmen from the register during 1993. It believes that this reduction reflects mainly the higher standards now required by virtue of the training and competence arrangements introduced in April 1993.

Public Sector Borrowing Requirement

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the public sector borrowing requirement was funded from overseas in each year since 1991.

Mr. Nelson : Data on "External and foreign currency financing of the public sector" are published by the Central Statistical Office in "Economic Trends" in the table "Counterparts to changes in money stock M4".

Public Interest Immunity Certificates

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 22 February, Official Report, column 96, if he will provide whatever information is available of those occasions on which he, or other Ministers in his Department now or in the past, have signed public interest immunity certificates, and for what reasons.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I refer to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member on 9 March 1994, Official Report, column 223.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Legal Aid

Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is his estimate of the net cost to the Treasury of providing legal aid in personal injury cases (a) at all levels of claim and (b) for claims of up to £2,500.

Mr. John M. Taylor : It is estimated that in the financial year 1992 -93 the net cost to the legal aid fund of all personal injury cases was £25 million. It is not possible to break this down according to size of the claim. Other factors, such as the cost to the court service and legal aid administration, and the impact on the Department of Social Security's compensation recovery unit, none of which can be readily quantified, also have a bearing on the total net cost to the Exchequer of such cases.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Frederick West

Mr. Bates : To ask the Attorney-General what representations he has received over the media coverage of the arrest and subsequent court proceedings against Frederick West in Gloucester magistrates court.


Column 332

The Solicitor-General : Representations have been made to my office by solicitors representing both Mr. West and his wife in respect of certain published material. They were both arrested on 25 February 1994 and at that time the proceedings became "active" within the meaning of paragraph 4 of schedule 1 to the Contempt of Court Act 1981. Mr. West is now charged with three offences of murder and his wife is on police bail. Proceedings therefore remain "active" in relation to both. Editors are under a legal obligation not to publish material which gives rise to a substantial risk of serious prejudice in the proceedings. I shall consider any material submitted to me in the context of the 1981 Act and other relevant legislation.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Plugs and Sockets

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether there is a deliberative process within the EC's current policy formulation within the field of telecommunications that might lead to the standardisation of plugs and sockets for the connection of consumer equipment to (a) the public switched telephone network, (b) the integrated services digital network and (c) the public data networks.

Mr. McLoughlin : I can confirm that deliberative processes on possible standardisation of plugs and sockets are at different stages depending on the network and method of access used. For (a) , the public switched telephone network, study by the Commission and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute remains at the information-gathering stage. On (b) , requirements for direct attachment to the integrated services digital network have been technically defined prior to final adoption. For (c) , any public data networks not covered by (a) and (b) above, there is much less clear agreement at the European level on the extent to which public data networks should be harmonised and deliberative processes have not advanced to any extent so far.

Coal Privatisation

Mr. Hain : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list in table form (a) the number of commercial advisers, brokers and underwriters his Department has employed in preparation for coal privatisation, (b) the names of such commercial advisers, brokers, underwriters, etc. and (c) the fees and commission (i) already paid and (ii) projected to such companies ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Eggar : N M Rothschild and Son Ltd. is employed as the Department's financial advisers on coal privatisation. Payments to the company are commercially confidential. My Department currently employs no brokers or underwriters in connection with coal privatisation.

English Estates (Copeland)

Dr. John Cunningham : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what has been the total amount spent by English Estates in providing new factory premises and serviced sites in Copeland since June 1991 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Sainsbury : English Estates has spent £4.1 million in Copeland.


Column 333

Dr. John Cunningham : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many acres of serviced industrial land have been provided by English Estates in Copeland since 1991 under the Cumbria special support initiative announced by the Government in June 1991.

Mr. Sainsbury : English Estates has bought 49 acres of land of which 26 acres have been serviced.

Post Offices

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 22 February, Official Report, column 165, what plans the Post Office has to franchise the operation of Irvine and Kilwinning Crown post offices ; and if he will make it his policy not to franchise the operation of these two Crown post offices.

Mr. McLoughlin : I understand from the Post Office that there are no present plans to franchise the operation of either Irvine or Kilwinning Crown post offices, but, if suitable opportunities arose, they do not preclude conversion of these offices to agency status. Decisions on the conversion of individual Crown post offices are an operational matter for the Post Office.

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 22 February, Official Report, column 168, how many Post Office staff have left the Post Office under voluntary redundancy terms.

Mr. McLoughlin : I understand from the Post Office that records of voluntary redundancies are not held centrally and the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the President of the Board of Trade which post offices in Scotland are currently being considered for franchising ; and within which parliamentary constituency each lies.

Mr. McLoughlin : I understand from the Post Office that local consultations prior to conversion to agency status have taken place in respect of the following post offices in Scotland :

Post Office and Parliamentary constituency

Peterhead --Banff and Buchan

Kirkcaldy --Kirkcaldy

Stranraer-- Galloway and Upper Nithsdale

Annan-- Dumfries

Thurso-- Caithness and Sutherland

Livingston --Livingston

Partick-- Glasgow Hillhead

Renfrew-- Paisley North

Anniesland-- Glasgow Garscadden

Elgin-- Moray

Wester Hailes-- Edinburgh Pentlands

Milngavie-- Clydebank and Milngavie

Greenock-- Greenock and Port Glasgow

Newington-- Edinburgh South

Charing Cross-- Glasgow Hillhead


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