Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give his best estimate of the Inland Revenue's main unit costs for dealing with the tax affairs of (a) employees on PAYE liable at the basic rate and the higher rate, (b) the self-employed and (c) occupational pensioners.
Mr. Dorrell : Information in the precise form requested is not available. The Inland Revenue's management plan, which will be published shortly, will give the unit costs for all schedule E taxpayer records, including PAYE taxpayer and occupational pensioners ; all schedule D records, including the self-employed.
Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when he expects that the Inland Revenue will have issued tax codes incorporating the new company car benefit charges for 1994-95 to the majority of company car users ;
(2) what proportion of tax codings issued to taxpayers by the Inland Revenue for the tax year 1994-95 have included the benefit charge for use of a company car in 1994-95 as announced in the Budget in November 1993.
Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give (a) the number of cases and (b) the average amount of tax involved where capital gains tax was remitted because the taxpayer had left the country for each year since 1984.
Year |Number |Average amount in £ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984 |207 |8,662 1985 |194 |7,431 1986 |177 |27,381 1987 |177 |15,506 1988 |238 |8,737 1989 |204 |10,048 1990 |218 |8,444 1991 |345 |13,401 1992 |448 |14,932
Column 162Figures for 1993 are not sufficiently complete to allow the necessary comparison to be made and consequently the information is not available in the form requested.
Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the cost of tax relief on income and capital gains from shareholdings held in PEPs for the year 1996-97, assuming that the uptake of PEPs continues at its present rate and that there is no change in income or capital gains tax legislation.
Mr. Dorrell : The 1994 Finance Bill contains a number of important new anti-avoidance measures which are expected to yield almost £2 billion over the next three years. The Government will be considering whether further measures will be announced in the next Budget.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the contribution to the change in level of imports from Europe in the first half of 1993 of evasion of value added tax following the abolition of the request for imports declared at customs.
' |£ --------------------------------------- 1989-90 |25,052 1990-91 |161,235 1991-92 |85,246 1992-93 |<1>1,194,650 1993-94 |20,327 <1>Includes a payable order for £1,156, 806 stolen en route to Haringey borough council.
Excluding the Haringey case, £230,956 of the total of £329,704 misappropriated has been recovered.
Column 163The sums still outstanding continue to be subject to any further recovery action that is practically possible.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much duty was collected on imports of (a) alcoholic beverages and (b) tobacco in the first half of 1993 and the first half of 1992 ; and what is his estimate of the revenue lost from the new system of recording the trade figures.
Sir John Cope : Estimates for the amount of duty paid on imported products are calculated only on an annual basis. The figures for 1992 are £1,620 million for alcoholic beverages and £620 million for tobacco. A breakdown between imports and domestic sales is not yet available for 1993. The new system of recording the trade figures has no effect on the amount of duty collected.
Sir John Cope : The Mozambican authorities have recently completed discussions with IMF staff on an extension of the three-year enhanced structural adjustment fund programme which ended in 1993. They have also been negotiating an economic recovery package with the World bank. The Mozambican authorities, the fund, and the bank will now collaborate to produce a policy framework paper which will identify Mozambique's macroeconomic and structural policy objectives, Mozambique's strategy to achieve them, and the associated financing requirements, during the fourth year of its ESAF programme. The details of discussions between fund and bank staff of a member's policies are confidential to them.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list all categories of public service employees who will receive pay rises above 1.5 per cent. in the current year ; and what are the percentage rises in each case.
Mr. Portillo : The Government expect pay in the public sector in 1994-95 to be considered in accordance with the approach which my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor announced in his statement of 14 September 1993 and which he confirmed in the Budget. I expect that public sector groups will be subject to a variety of pay settlements.
Mr. Forman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list all the regulatory bodies set up since 1979 to regulate industries or public services which have been privatised since that date ; and if he will set out in each case how much it costs to run and how many people it employs.
Organisation |Cost (£ million)|Staff numbers ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Office of Telecommunications (OFTEL) |8.6 |171 Office of Gas Supply (OFGAS) |4.4 |63 Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) |10.9 |234 Office of Electricity Regulation (Northern Ireland) |0.9 |16 Office of Water Services (OFWAT) |9.5 |150 Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) |6.5 |90
Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the involvement of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the appointment of Lowe Bell Communications as consultants for the D-day commemoration.
Sir Terence Higgins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the individual components of the retail prices index ; what are the prices for each item in the latest monthly survey ; and what were the corresponding figures (a) 12 months and (b) 24 months earlier.
Sir John Cope : A list of the price indicators used for the retail prices index was published in the April 1993 Retail Prices Index Business Monitor MM23. A new list will be published shortly. The purpose of the RPI is to measure price change rather than price levels. For many of the items, which are heterogeneous, the data are not suitable for the calculation of average prices.
Those average prices that can be calculated are published in the RPI Business Monitor MM23 since February 1993 and also in the Employment Gazette.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the assumption made at the Edinburgh summit with regard to increases in own resources related to cohesion and other aspects ; and if he will set out the extent to which those assumptions have been fulfilled.
Own resources ceiling ( percentage of European Community GNP) Year |Percentage --------------------------------- 1993 |1.20 1994 |1.20 1995 |1.21 1996 |1.22 1997 |1.24 1998 |1.26 1999 |1.27
The own resources ceiling is an upper limit on the Community's own resources, not a target. The ceilings for 1995 to 1999 will be included in a new own resources decision, which will be put before the House for approval once a text has been agreed by the Council of Ministers.
Column 165Definitive outturn figures for the level of own resources called up for the 1993 Community budget are not yet available.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the President of the Board of Trade on what date the Under-Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs visited Rio ; what weapons he was attempting to sell ; which country he was attempting to sell them to ; and which companies he was assisting.
Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the President of the Board of Trade for how many regular publications he was responsible in 1993-94 or the latest year for which figures are available ; what was their circulation ; and how many were obtainable by subscription.
Mr. Eggar : The Department publishes a regular "Guide for Business" available free on request to United Kingdom firms with a current print run of 75,000 and the yearly "Expenditure Plans" report--DTI's annual report-- which is a sale publication via Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Two regular magazines are also distributed free of charge : "Overseas Trade" with a circulation of 32,000, with copies available to exporting firms, and "Review" with a circulation of 30, 000 and available to those interested in renewable energy. A number of other annual reports, regular bulletins and newsletters on various business, energy and consumer issues are published. A comprehensive list is not held centrally but some of the main publications are listed in the "Guide for Business" and the "Expenditure Plans" report.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the level of employment in whole-time equivalents in each of his Department's laboratories and agencies in each of the last three years and at the latest available date.
Number of permanent staff (whole-time equivalent) |April 1991|April 1992|April 1993|April 1994 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Accounts Services Agency |86 |88.5 |88.5 |91 Companies House |1,081.5 |1,093 |983.5 |967 Insolvency Service |1,483.5 |1,549 |1,572.5 |1,600 Laboratory of the Government Chemist |340 |330.5 |313.5 |301 National Engineering Laboratory |389 |388.5 |363.5 |285.5 National Physical Laboratory |827.5 |808 |767.5 |698.5 National Weights Measures Laboratory |42.5 |47.5 |48 |43.5 Patent Office |1,194 |1,037 |1,009 |954 Radiocommunications Agency |501.5 |517 |524.5 |528 Warren Spring Laboratory |310 |302.5 |266.5 |<1>* <1>* Warren Spring Laboratory has now merged with the Atomic Energy Authority to form the National Environmental Technology Centre. Staff in post on 1 March 1994 was 203.5.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what provisions he has made for the substantial restructuring costs indicated by his consultants' review of DTI research laboratories ; and where that provision will be found in his Department's accounts.
Mr. Heseltine : Following the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel) on 14 April, Official Report, columns 251-53, in respect of my Department's research laboratories, the process of restructuring the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, the National Engineering Laboratory and the National Physical Laboratory has now started. The financial provision that each laboratory will require for restructuring has yet to be finalised. The relevant sums will be published in my Department's Supply Estimates class IV vote 1 in due course.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what effect the increase in the nominal exchange rate against the lira and the peseta since February 1993 has had on the profitability of condom manufacture in the United Kingdom ; and if he will publish the increase in producer prices in terms of the ecu in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) Italy and (c) Spain since February 1993 to the latest available date.
Mr. Heseltine : Since February 1993, the nominal exchange rate of the lira against the pound has increased by 9 per cent. and the nominal exchange rate of the peseta against the pound has increased by 22 per cent. The Department is not in a position to assess the effect of exchange rate changes on the profitability of condom manufacture in the United Kingdom. Changes in producer prices in terms of the ecu can be readily derived from "Industrial Trends Monthly Statistics", published by EuroStat, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Pyramid Selling Schemes Regulations are irrelevant to many transactions carried out away from business premises, including sales by a company where the sales force consists of its employees.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will amend the regulations regarding pyramid selling to provide an unlimited right for participants to return goods for a full refund regardless of condition within 90 days from commencement of their business.
Mr. McLoughlin : No. Such a right would impose unwarranted compliance costs on trading which is subject to the regulations. This would put this method of trading at an unjustified competitive disadvantage.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will bring forward legislation to outlaw any business scheme of pyramid selling requiring payments purely for the benefit of registration where there is no supply of goods and services to consumers outside the scheme ;
(2) if he will bring forward proposals to enable trading standards officers to be responsible for enforcement of regulations regarding pyramid selling.
Mr. McLoughlin : Although this was not raised by anyone in response to our deregulation consultation over this legislation, I have since received one such representation. In addition, I have had many representations on behalf of one company that considers this limit to be ineffective in providing protection to participants.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what criteria will be used to select members of the coal authority ; when he will announce members of this body ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : The Coal Industry Bill, which provides for the establishment of the Coal Authority, would require my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, in appointing members of the Coal Authority, to have regard to the desirability of appointing people with experience of, and who have shown capacity in, matters relevant to the authority's functions. My right hon. Friend would hope to indicate in the coming weeks who he would have it in mind to appoint in due course.
Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what agreement has been reached between the Government and the trustees of the British Coal pension schemes on future arrangements for pensions from these schemes after privatisation.
Mr. Eggar : Comprehensive agreements have been reached between the Government and the trustees of the mineworkers' pension scheme and the British Coal staff superannuation scheme on future arrangements for the MPS and SSS after the privatisation of British Coal. The main elements of the agreement are as follows :
(i) all pensioners and deferred pensioners of the MPS and SSS and all contributing members will be able to leave their past-service entitlements in the scheme at privatisation, if they so choose ; the MPS and SSS will be closed to new members at privatisation and the new private-sector owners of the industry will not participate in the schemes ;
(ii) the schemes will be given a Government solvency guarantee that will ensure that pensions and deferred pensions are increased annually after privatisation in line with the retail price index by reference to their level at privatisation ; MPS and SSS beneficiaries will in addition be able to benefit from any fund surpluses through bonus enhancements over and above RPI-linked levels ; surpluses after 31 March 1994, and bonus enhancements paid from them, will not be guaranteed by the Government but the Government will guarantee that, in the event of a deficiency in the MPS or SSS which results in bonus enhancements being reduced, pensions--RPI- linked pension plus bonus enhancement--will not fall in cash terms ;
(iii) an investment reserve will be established in each scheme fund on which the first call will be made if a deficiency arises ; the reserve will comprise British Coal's unused shares of the September 1993 surplus in the MPS and of the April 1992 surplus in the SSS ; the investment reserve will therefore act as a measure of protection for bonus augmentations ; the first use of any surplus following a deficiency will be to make up the investment reserve to the level that it would have been at had no deficiency payment been made ;
(iv) the investment reserve will be run down over a period of not less than 25 years by transfers to the Government as guarantor ; at each valuation the scheme actuary will recommend the level of reserve to be maintained, taking prudent account of total liabilities and the smooth running of fund management, and the scale of any transfer ; it is likely that transfers will be skewed towards the second half of the period ; and individual transfer could be spread, on the advice of the scheme actuary, over a period of three years ;
(v) scheme beneficiaries and the Government as guarantor, will receive equal shares of any distributable surpluses from valuations after 31 March 1994 ; any share of such a surplus that becomes payable to the Government will be receivable in equal instalments over 10 years ; deficiency payments due under the guarantee will also be payable over ten years ;
(iv) existing obligations on British Coal to make additional contributions in respect of early and enhanced pensions will be honoured in full by the Government ;
(vii) there will normally be triennial valuations of the schemes and if a valuation subsequent to a deficiency reveals a surplus, or vice versa, there will be a settling of balances before further payments by or to Government are determined, including a safeguard to ensure that beneficiaries and Government have received equal shares of any surplus distribution ;
(viii) the Government will propose amendments to the Coal Industry Bill, currently under consideration in another place, which would make the Secretary of State's powers to modify the MPS and SSS subject to a time limit of two years from the commencement of the solvency guarantee and would focus the Secretary of State's powers to direct the trustees on the twin objectives of avoiding and minimising fund deficiencies and maximising the potential for fund surpluses. The agreement will necessitate amendments to the draft modified MPS and SSS schemes and rules and draft MPS and SSS guarantee deeds that have been placed in the Library of the House.
As a result of the restructuring and closure of the MPS and SSS it will be necessary to review the schemes' investment strategy. The appropriate strategy for the modified schemes will be developed by the trustees, in consultation with Government, in the light of advice from the schemes' actuary and from their investment advisers.
Column 169The aim of the investment strategy review will be to achieve a strategy which reflects the twin objectives of minimising the risk and extent of a call on the guarantee and maximising investment returns.
I know that the MPS and SSS trustees attach particular importance to understanding how the Secretary of State might use the powers that the Coal Industry Bill would confer on him to secure that the trustees take account of the twin objectives of minimising the risk and extent of a call on the guarantee and maximising investment returns. I can assure the trustees that the Secretary of State, as guarantor, would only expect to exercise the powers conferred on him under the schemes to intervene in the day-to-day management of the scheme funds in the most exceptional circumstances. Any use of his powers would, therefore, normally only arise in the context of strategic investment policy or strategic investment decisions. He would intend only to use his powers in circumstances--which one hopes would be rare--where he considers it is necessary to do so to secure either of the twin objectives of minimising the risk and extent of calls on the guarantee or maximising surpluses. The schemes will also provide that he would, in any event, only exercise his powers after consultation with the trustees, unless in exceptional circumstances such consultation is impractical. The Secretary of State would also consult the trustees before changing the policy stated above. It may assist the trustees if I also point out that this of course does not preclude the Secretary of State having regard to other factors including the interests of beneficiaries to the extent that he considers appropriate.
There has been concern about the appointment of "Government" trustees, including the chairman, to the modified MPS and SSS. I should therefore like to confirm that the Government-appointed trustees will act as normal trustees, guided by their fiduciary duties. I should also like to make clear that future chairmen of the modified MPS and SSS will not be Crown servants or members of the schemes and will be appointed by the Secretary of State only after consultation with the respective trustees. In practice, no proposed chairman will be acceptable unless supported by a clear majority of the trustees.
I am pleased to announce that the Government intend to offer the current chairmen of the MPS and SSS, Mr. James Cowan and Sir Norman Siddall, re- appointment as chairmen for the first six months of operation of the modified schemes. I believe that their acceptance would greatly assist the transition to the new arrangements and would provide considerable reassurance to scheme members.
The arrangements outlined here concern the future of the past service pension entitlements in the MPS and SSS of employees and former employees of British Coal and its subsidiaries. The Coal Industry Bill also provides for the creation of two new industry-wide pension schemes, one following on from the MPS and one from the SSS, for the future service entitlements of employees of British Coal and it subsidiaries who are transferred to employment in successor companies. The Government's proposals for these new industry-wide schemes, including protected person status for transferred employees, are not affected by the arrangements set out in this answer.
Mr. Madden : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what advice he has received from the Director General of Fair Trading concerning any reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the takeover of Yorkshire Rider by Badgerline ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has not received any advice from the Director General of Fair Trading on the proposed acquisition by Badgerline of Yorkshire Rider. The DGFT's view on the information he has received is that the transaction does not appear to qualify for investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission under the mergers provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of the re-equipment costs, in actual and marginal terms, to the consumer of replacing existing analogue television sets and video recorders resulting from any Government decision to compel a move from analogue terrestrial television broadcasting to a digital system.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 26 April 1994] : There has been no decision to compel a move from analogue terrestrial television broadcasting to digital systems. Neither is any form of compulsion on consumers envisaged for the future. The last precedent of a change of TV standard was the 405-line to 625-line change. This was achieved by natural replacement of television sets. Studies are being undertaken by the Radiocommunications Agency to see whether enough frequency channels exist to allow near national coverage of a digital terrestrial broadcasting service sometime in the future. This would be a prerequisite for eventually being able to switch off the analogue television networks. But in the short to medium term any move to digital terrestrial broadcasting is likely to be an opportunity both for broadcasters and viewers and not a requirement. As such there are no costs falling on consumers from compelling a move from analogue to digital. The United Kingdom network and consumer equipment market for digital video broadcasting is expected to be worth £5 billion to £10 billion over 15 years.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list at current prices the total amount of funds which England received from the European Union structural fund in each year since 1979.
Column 171guidance and guarantee fund, guidance section, and parts of the European social fund are not allocated regionally. Allocations to England from the European regional development fund have been :
Year |£ million, current |prices --------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |58 1980 |80 1981 |74 1982 |114 1983 |112 1984 |197 1985 |195 1986 |190 1987 |230 1988 |172 1989 |151 1990 |208 1991 |199 1992 |296 1993 |310
Total EC structural funds allocations Million ecu, current prices Year |ERDF |ESF |EAGGF |Total structural |funds ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979 |962 |775 |460 |2,197 1980 |1,138 |1,015 |625 |2,778 1981 |1,637 |996 |721 |3,354 1982 |1,845 |1,510 |757 |4,112 1983 |2,127 |1,878 |866 |4,871 1984 |2,383 |1,854 |796 |5,033 1985 |2,495 |2,189 |853 |5,537 1986 |3,328 |2,523 |854 |6,705 1987 |3,662 |3,524 |941 |8,127 1988 |3,827 |2,871 |1,180 |7,878 1989 |4,666 |3,478 |1,462 |9,606 1990 |5,227 |3,505 |1,925 |10,657 1991 |7,162 |4,787 |2,640 |14,589 1992 |8,903 |5,881 |3,471 |18,255 1993 |10,437 |6,408 |3,769 |20,614 Note: Greece benefited from 1981 and Spain and Portugal from 1986.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 13 April, Official Report, column 171, if he will list the Community initiatives under which European funds have been made available since 1989.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 26 April 1994] : Community structural funds initiatives launched since 1989 have been ENVIREG, INTERREG, PRISMA, RECHAR, REGEN, REGIS, STRIDE, TELEMATIQUE, LEADER, EUROFORM, NOW, HORIZON, RETEX and KONVER.
Community |million ecu, 1994 initiatives |prices ------------------------------------------------------ ENVIREG |590 INTERREG |970 PRISMA |120 RECHAR |390 REGEN |390 REGIS |280 STRIDE |480 TELEMATIQUE |240 LEADER |470 EUROFORM |300 NOW |148 HORIZON |220 RETEX |100 KONVER |130
Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions he has used his power to overturn appointments recommended by the regulators of utilities or other non-elected public bodies over the last five years.