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Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Representatives of the 15 Somali factions agreed a declaration calling for a ceasefire and voluntary disarmament. They will meet on 15 April to discuss a national reconciliation conference on 15 May to elect a president, vice-presidents and prime minister as well as the modalities to establish a national legislative assembly. We welcome this and hope it will contribute to the resolution of this tragic conflict.
14. Ms Eagle : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate how much poor families on 75 per cent. or less of average earnings are now paying in income tax and national insurance following the changes introduced at the beginning of this month ; and what the figure was for 1978-79.
Mr. Dorrell : The amount paid in tax and NICs will vary at different levels of income. The real take-home pay of a married man on three-quarters average earnings has increased by £61 per week since 1978-79.
18. Mr. Bayley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the increase in the tax burden for a married couple on typical earnings, and with two children, since 1978-79 is accounted for by increases and extensions in VAT.
Sir John Cope : The amount of VAT paid by particular types of families depends partly on the rate and coverage of VAT and partly on levels and patterns of spending. Reliable estimates of the contribution made by each of these factors are not available.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate how much single persons on average male earnings are now paying in income tax and national insurance following the changes introduced at the beginning of this month ; and what the figure was for 1978-79 ;
(2) if he will estimate the amount a typical couple with two children and one spouse working on average male earnings are now paying in income tax and national insurance following the changes introduced at the beginning of April ; what he estimates this figure will be from April 1995 ; and what the figure was for 1978-79 ; (3) if he will estimate the change in the direct tax burden a typical family will face in (a) 1994-95 and (b) 1995-96 on current policies ;
(4) if he will estimate how much poor families on 75 per cent. or less of average earnings are now paying in income tax and national insurance following the changes introduced at the beginning of April ; and what the figure was for 1978-79.
Mr. Dorrell : Information for 1994-95 was given in the reply to the hon. Member for Peckham (Ms Harman) on 19 January 1994, and for 1978-79 in the tables 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. The effect of the Budget changes in 1995-96 will depend on changes in earnings and prices.
Sir David Knox : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish figures showing the thresholds for higher-rate income tax, at current prices, at constant prices and as percentages of average male earnings in each year from 1979-80 to 1993-94 together with estimates of 1994-95, for single people, single-wage married couples and two-wage married couples.
Higher rate tax threshold At current prices At constant As a percentage prices<1> of average male earnings<2> |Single |Married |Married |Person in |Single |Married |Married |Person in |Single |Married |Married |Person in |person |couple, |couple, |receipt of |person |couple |couple, |receipt of |person |couple, |couple, |receipt of |1 earner |2 earners<3> |full married |1 earner |2 earners<3> |full married |1 earner |2 earners<3> |full married |couple's |couple's |couple's |allowance<4> , |allowance<4> |allowance<4> |(£) |(£) |(£) |(£) |(£) |(£) |(£) |(£) |(per cent.) |(per cent.) |(per cent.) |(per cent.) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979-80 |11,165 |11,815 |12,980 |- |27,630 |29,238 |32,121 |- |196 |208 |228 |- 1980-81 |12,625 |13,395 |14,770 |- |26,844 |28,481 |31,405 |- |185 |196 |216 |- 1981-82 |12,625 |13,395 |14,770 |- |24,083 |25,552 |28,175 |- |166 |177 |195 |- 1982-83 |14,365 |15,245 |16,810 |- |25,602 |27,170 |29,959 |- |176 |186 |205 |- 1983-84 |16,385 |17,395 |19,180 |- |27,912 |29,632 |32,673 |- |184 |196 |216 |- 1984-85 |17,405 |18,555 |20,560 |- |28,206 |30,070 |33,319 |- |181 |193 |214 |- 1985-86 |18,405 |19,655 |21,860 |- |28,175 |30,088 |33,464 |- |178 |190 |212 |- 1986-87 |19,535 |20,855 |23,190 |- |28,966 |30,924 |34,386 |- |176 |188 |209 |- 1987-88 |20,325 |21,695 |24,120 |- |28,993 |30,948 |34,407 |- |167 |179 |199 |- 1988-89 |21,905 |23,395 |26,000 |- |29,468 |31,473 |34,977 |- |164 |176 |195 |- 1989-90 |23,485 |25,075 |27,860 |- |29,306 |31,290 |34,766 |- |161 |172 |191 |- 1990-91 |23,705 |- |- |25,425 |26,984 |- |- |28,941 |149 |- |- |160 1991-92 |26,995 |- |- |28,715 |29,316 |- |- |31,184 |158 |- |- |168 1992-93 |27,145 |- |- |28,865 |28,589 |- |- |30,401 |150 |- |- |160 1993-94 |27,145 |- |- |28,865 |28,025 |- |- |29,801 |145 |- |- |154 1994-95 |27,145 |- |- |27,145 |27,145 |- |- |27,145 |139 |- |- |139 <1> Provisional. At 1994-95 prices based on Budget assumptions of a 2 per cent. growth in the RPI in 1993-94 and 3.25 per cent. growth in 1994-95. <2> Full-time males paid at adult rates working a full week (all occupations). Provisional for 1993-94 and 1994-95. <3> Assumes wife's earnings election not made. <4> Independent taxation for 1990-91 onwards.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has now received concerning the increase in the number of people who will have to pay income tax as a result of his decision to freeze income tax allowances.
Mr. Portillo : The visible trade deficit in 1993 was the same as in 1992, despite strengthening activity in the United Kingdom and weakness in key European markets. With continuing good unit labour cost performance and improved competitiveness, the prospects are encouraging.
Mr. Nelson : As my right hon. and learned Friend announced in his Budget speech, a consultation paper on late payment of commercial debt was issued on 30 November. The consultation period closed on 31 March. We are currently considering the responses to this document.
Column 276reinforce the fall in the public sector borrowing requirement as the economy recovers, returning it towards balance in the medium term.
23. Mr. Duncan : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence he has of the effect on incentives of cutting higher rates of direct taxation ; and by how much higher rates of income tax have been changed since 1979.
Mr. Dorrell : In 1979, the top rate of tax on earned income was 83 per cent. It is now 40 per cent. Cutting tax rates has improved incentives at all levels, and has encouraged entrepreneurial initiative upon which the nation depends. Higher-rate taxpayers now contribute 40 per cent. of total income tax compared with 20 per cent. in 1979.
Sir John Cope : My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer expects to meet EC Finance Ministers at the forthcoming meetings of the ECOFIN Council which are scheduled for 16 May and 6 June. The agenda will not be finalised until close to the meetings, but the Greek presidency's provisional agenda for 6 June provides for discussion on the draft EC directive on the VAT treatment of passenger transport and the draft EC VAT simplification directive.
Sir John Cope : None. However Customs officials have had a number of meetings with representatives of the gas and electricity supply industries and with other fuel suppliers. A wide range of issues about the implementation of VAT on fuel and power have been discussed.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much he estimates the imposition of VAT on domestic fuel will cost the average family from (a) the beginning of April 1994 and (b) April 1995 ;
(2) what estimate he has made of the increase to the average family's weekly fuel bill of an 8 per cent. tax imposition on domestic fuel ;
(3) if he will estimate the cost in a full year to an average household's energy bills of the introduciton of VAT at (a) 8 per cent. and (b) 17 per cent.
Sir John Cope : The cost of VAT on domestic fuel bills will depend on the future level of fuel prices and on what happens to spending patterns. But VAT at 8 per cent. applied to an estimate of fuel bills in 1993-94, would cost households on average around £1.05 per week, and VAT at 17 per cent. around £2.30 a week.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the number of people who took advantage of avoiding paying VAT on fuel after 1 April by paying their bills in advance ; (2) if he will estimate the number of pensioners and people on low incomes who took advantage of avoiding paying VAT on fuel after 1 April by paying their bills in advance.
Sir John Cope : It is estimated that about 5 per cent. of domestic electricity consumers and about 4 per cent. of domestic gas consumers paid fuel bills in advance of the imposition of VAT on 1 April. It is not possible to make separate estimates for different types of household.
Mr. Portillo : The transitional costs of local government reform in England will depend on the final structures that are adopted. The latest estimate of transitional costs in Wales is between £65 million and £150 million and in Scotland between £120 million and £194 million.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when Mr. Michael Allcock was first suspended from his duties ; when he is expected to return to work ; if he will receive full pay during the period of his suspension ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dorrell : I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on these matters to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central, (Mr. Cousins) on 30 June 1993 at column 505. Mr. Allcock was suspended from duty pending inquiries being carried out by the Metropolitan police. He was first suspended on 11 September 1992 on full pay. On 20 January 1994 he was charged with criminal offences and since that date his suspension has been without pay. I am not able to make any further statement pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
Mr. Maxton : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost of tax relief on investment income for (a) occupational pensions, (b) personal pensions and (c) other exempt institutions, differentiating between that part of the relief due to relief from tax on dividends and that part of the relief due to relief from tax on capital gains.
(a) The total cost of tax relief on investment income of occupational pension schemes is estimated to be about £5.1 billion. This includes £2 billion of tax credits issued with dividends of United Kingdom companies for occupational pensions funds. (
(b) It is not possible to provide a total for relief on investment income in respect of personal pension schemes, though the total of tax credits issued with dividends is £0.75 billion for insurance companies on account of their pension funds. It is not possible to seperate this estimate between personal pensions and other pension business.
(c) Tax credits on dividends to charities total about £200 million. About £60 million of tax repayments for income received under deduction of tax were made to charities.
Lack of information on the length of time that pension funds hold various types of assets means that a reliable estimate of the cost of tax relief on capital gains of funds cannot be made.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what communications Her Majesty's Customs and Excise has had with its United States counterparts in connection with the trial of Mr. Dan Smalley and his allegations about arms exports to Iran.
Sir John Cope : Customs and Excise has had no communications with its United States counterparts in connection with a Mr. Dan Smalley. However, Her Majesty's Customs and Excise had communications with United States Customs in 1982 and 1983 about the trial of Mr. Ian Smalley and his allegations about arms exports to Iran. No recent communications have taken place on this matter.
(2) on what grounds the contract for the Forth Valley health board's community village project was awarded to Sir Norman Foster and Partners ;
(3) if he will state the reasons why four new hospital units completed in autumn 1993 by Forth Valley health board have not been used ;
(4) what is the cost of the modifications needed to the new hospital units built by Forth Valley health board ;
(5) what defects there are in the newly built psychiatric units in Forth Valley health board.
Mr. Charles Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what proportion of the sites of special scientific interest in (a) Scotland and (b) the Highland region are included in the list of possible special areas of conservation compiled by Scottish National Heritage ;
Column 280(2) what proportion of the land area in (a) Scotland and (b) the Highland region is concerned by the list of possible special areas of conservation recently submitted to the Government.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will have regard to the economic, social and cultural requirements and regional and local characteristics of those areas included in the proposed list of special areas of conservation he has received from Scottish Natural Heritage when making his decision ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Hector Monro : Yes. However, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 12 April, Official Report, column 120, in which I made clear that the preliminary advice received from Scottish Natural Heritage does not constitute a list of proposed special areas of conservation.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement concerning the implementation by (a) the Argyll and Clyde health board and (b) the Scottish Office of the recommendations of the report into the maladministration of the cervical smear test programmes at the Inverclyde royal hospital, Greenock ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart : The Argyll and Clyde health board is implementing the recommendations addressed to it through a comprehensive purchasing plan based on service specifications for all components of the board's cervical screening programme including targets and quality control procedures. A purchasing plan has been approved by the board and the specification of service required has now been issued to provider units.
A task force is currently considering the feasibility and the implications of rationalising the cervical cytopathology services and an extensive consultation exercise is under way involving relevant laboratory consultants, clinicians and independent experts. The task force is expected to report with recommendations to the board by May.
Those recommendations addressed to the Scottish Office Home and Health Department are being taken forward. The Common Services Agency has been asked to set up the new central co-ordinating unit for cervical and breast screening services at a cost of £100,000 per annum. The post of national medical director to head the unit was advertised in December 1993 but it was not possible to appoint a suitable candidate. Arrangements are in hand to re-advertise the post for either a full-time or two part-time appointments. Work is proceeding on setting out a management framework and a programme of work for the central monitoring unit.
A working group to formulate the policy for implementation of internal quality control in all laboratories carrying out cervical cytopathology has been set up under the chairmanship of one of the Department's medical officers, and comprises members from the Royal College of Pathologists, the British Society of Clinical Cytology, the Institute of Biomedical Science and
Column 281representatives from each of the three other United Kingdom Departments of Health. The Health Education Board for
Scotland--HEBS--has produced a new promotional leaflet encouraging women to attend for screening. This was distributed to all GPs and clinics via health boards at the end of March.
Revised guidance, covering management responsibilities, quality controls, rationalisation of laboratories, staffing and appropriate levels of training is being prepared and will be issued following agreement with the appropriate professional bodies.
Progress on implementation of the recommendations will continue to be monitored by the management executive.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the cost of the investigation conducted by Dr. Euphemia McGoogan and others into the maladministration of the cervical smear test programme at the Inverclyde Royal hospital, Greenock ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 13 April 1994] : The cost of the inquiry including the publication of the report, into cervical cytopathology at Inverclyde Royal hospital, Greenock, conducted by Dr. McGoogan and the inquiry team, was £41,500.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Scottish Prison Service under its chief executive Mr. E. W. Frizzell. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Mr. E. W. Frizzell to Mr. Gordon McMaster, dated 14 April 1994 :
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton has asked me to reply to your Question about the number of exhumations to allow reburial of executed prisoners which have taken place since the abolition of capital punishment.
Enquiries have been made at all prison establishments and no record has been found of any such exhumations having taken place.