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Column 466

Sir George Young: The following changes to inheritance tax have been announced since April 1992:

Announced March 1993:

Extension from three years to four years of the qualifying period after death during which land and buildings may be sold and the sale price substituted for the value at death.

Where an estate contains investments with quotations that have been suspended within a year after death, the investment, if unsold, may be valued for inheritance tax purposes at the value one year after death.

Announced November 1993:

Extension from one year to three years of the period during which business and agricultural property gift in lifetime may be sold and replaced by the donee with similar qualifying property without loss of relief.

Announced January 1994:

Provisions relating to settlements without interest in possession not to apply to assets held by corporate Lloyd's underwriters in premiums trust funds or ancillary trust funds.

Each of those four measures has a negligible cost and the total cost is estimated at less than £5 million in a full year. About 200 estates benefit from the extended qualifying period for the sale of land and buildings. The remaining changes have very few beneficiaries. The has been no change to the inheritance tax threshold, which has remained at £150,000 since March 1992.

Third-World Debts

Miss Lestor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been granted in tax relief to the United Kingdom banks against possible default on third-world debts in each of the last 10 years.

Sir George Young: Provisions by banks operating in the United Kingdom for doubtful sovereign debt--mostly of third-world countries but which may include relatively small amounts for other countries--are estimated to have reduced corporation tax receipts in the last eight years by the following amounts:


           |£ million          

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

1987-88    |190                

1988-89    |530                

1989-90    |510                

1990-91    |780                

1991-92    |120                

1992-93    |120                

1993-94<1> |120                

Estimates for earlier years    

are zero or small.             

<1> Provisional.               

Inflation

Mr. Bowden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the increase in inflation for the year to September 1994 was due to changes in the price of (a) food, (b) housing and (c) other factors.


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Mr. Nelson: Contributions to changes in all items RPI over the 12 months to September 1994 are given in table 3 of the publication "Retail Prices Index September 1994", CSO Business Monitor MM23, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Airports (Customs Officers)

Mr. McAllion: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those United Kingdom airports receiving scheduled flights from abroad which do not have full-time customs staff stationed at the airport.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The United Kingdom airports which receive scheduled flights but do not have full-time customs staff stationed at the airport are as follows:

Blackpool

Cardiff Wales

Dundee

Humberside

Leeds/Bradford

Manston

EEC Budget

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the net gain or loss to Britain arising from EEC membership in (a) 1972 76, (b) 1977 81, (c) 1982 86, (d) 1987 91 and (e) 1992 93 in respect


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of budget contributions, additional food prices, manufactured trade with the EEC, total trade with the EEC and jobs.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: No. I have nothing to add to the replies that the Economic Secretary gave to the hon. Member on 17 March, Official Report, column 822 and 30 June Official Report, column 680 and the reply that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave on 18 May, Official Report, column 470 in answer to very similar questions from the hon. Member.

Executive Agencies

Mr. McAllion: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list all those executive agencies regarded by Her Majesty's Government as unsuitable for privatisation.

Sir George Young: Privatisation is one of the options considered before agency status is agreed. The possibility of privatisation is reconsidered in all cases when an agency is reviewed, now normally every five years.

Lobbying Companies

Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list and date those occasions over the last two years, when Ministers or officials in his Department have met lobbying companies, prior to a decision being made on the subject of the meeting with the lobbying company.

Mr. Nelson [holding answer 24 November 1994]: This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


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