|Previous Section||Home Page|
Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects the European Court of Justice to deal with the referral concerning the payment of invalidity benefit to women aged 60 to 65 years in the test case of Mrs. Graham; and if he will make a statement.
The information requested is in the table.
|ICA Standard |Average gross |ICA as percentage of Uprating Date |Rate (£) |weekly earnings (£) |average earnings --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- July 1976 |7.90 |68.38 |11.6 November 1976 |9.20 |70.18 |13.1 November 1977 |10.50 |76.19 |13.8 November 1978 |11.70 |86.34 |13.6 November 1979 |14.0 |102.82 |13.6 November 1980 |16.30 |121.86 |13.4 November 1981 |17.75 |135.87 |13.1 November 1982 |19.70 |147.23 |13.4 November 1983 |20.45 |158.05 |12.9 November 1984 |21.50 |168.14 |12.8 November 1985 |23.00 |182.51 |12.6 July 1986 |23.25 |194.05 |12.0 April 1987 |23.75 |202.16 |11.7 April 1988 |24.75 |219.34 |11.3 April 1989 |26.20 |240.55 |10.9 April 1990 |28.20 |263.10 |10.7 April 1991 |31.25 |285.65 |10.9 April 1992 |32.55 |303.37 |10.7 April 1993 |33.70 |315.45 |10.7 April 1994 |34.50 |326.46 |10.6 Notes: Average weekly earnings are those for all full-time adults employees. The table relates to standard rate ICA only. Information about dependency increases is not included.
(a) The standard rate of invalid care allowance is based on 60 per cent. of the standard retirement pension, and is uprated annually.
(b) A carer premium of £10 a week was introduced in 1990 to provide some additional help in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit, for carers. This too has been uprated annually.
Column 753and housing association tenants who receive housing benefit.
The housing benefit management information systems quarterly caseload count at the end of November 1993.
Housing and construction statistics December 1993, the latest date for which information is available.
Mr. Coe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he intends to make changes to ensure that rent officers have sole jurisdiction for determining market rents for housing benefit purposes in the de- regulated private rented sector; and what implications this will have for rent assessment committees.
Mr. Roger Evans: We intend, as soon as practicable, to amend regulations so that decisions by rent assessment committees will no longer bind local authorities when dealing with housing benefit claims. The only determinations to which local authorities will have to have regard for housing benefit purposes--for tenants in the de-regulated private rented sector--will be those made by the rent officer service. The proposed change would not remove existing rights to seek a determination from rent assessment committees on contractual rent levels. We will consult with the local authority associations in the normal way.
Mr. Matthew Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures will be included in the 1995 Finance Bill to take forward the proposed changes to the construction industry tax deduction scheme.
Sir George Young: The 1995 Finance Bill will contain legislation providing for changes to the construction industry tax deduction scheme in accordance with the Government's announcement on 10 February 1994, Official Report, column 382 .
Mr. Matthew Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the taxation of unit-linked life insurance policies in the light of the High Court judgement in the case of Fuji v Aetna.
The uncertainty of the judgment has created about the tax position is also of concern to the Government, because of the volume of policyholders' money invested in policies which may be affected. In our view it is clearly in the interests of those policyholders that uncertainty should, so far as possible, be removed. It is also right that the tax treatment of policies already sold should follow the common understanding, at the time of their sale, that they were indeed insurance contracts. This understanding was shared by the insurers, their policyholders, and the Inland Revenue. We shall, if necessary, propose legislation to this effect.
Column 754We shall not be able to decide on the details of the legislation that may be required until the outcome of the appeal is known, but our broad intention would be to provide that where a contract which was not, as a matter of law, a contract of insurance has been entered into by a life insurance company of a friendly society on the basis that it was a contract of life insurance, with the consequence that it formed part of the long-term business of the insurer, then the contract would be treated, for all tax purposes, as though it were a contract of life insurance. We would propose to introduce provisions having analogous effect in relation to the reinsurance of such policies, and in relation to policies written outside the United Kingdom. We shall also consider, in the light of the final decision in the case, whether it is appropriate to propose similar legislation in relation to capital redemption contracts.
The proposed legislation would apply to policies written at any time in the past, in relation to both past and future direct tax liabilities, except that tax liabilities which have already become final on a different basis will not be disturbed. In addition, where an assessment to income tax or capital gains tax that relates to a particular contract has been made on a taxpayer on the basis that the contract was not one of insurance, and become final, the proposed legislation will not apply to any other assessment to either of those taxes made on the same taxpayer, or on their personal representatives, in relation to the same contract. I should also emphasise that the effect of the legislation would simply be to re- characterise the contracts in question as contracts of life insurance, and would not otherwise affect their status for tax purposes. In general, the proposed legislation would not affect contracts to be written in the future, but we will consider the matter in the light of the final judgement in the Fuji case.
Mr. Matthew Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Government intends to publish the report of the independent inquiry by Mr. Philip Ely into the powers of the Board of Inland Revenue to call for the papers of tax accountants; and how the Government intend to proceed on the matter.
Sir George Young: I have asked the Inland Revenue to arrange for early publication of Mr. Ely's report, and to consult with the main representative bodies to seek the best way of implementing the report's recommendations with a view to further legislation.
Mr. Aitken: Information on the total cost of unemployment related benefits for Great Britain is given by the Department of Social Security in its annual report. In 1993 94 this is estimated to amount to £9,720 million. The average level of unemployment in 1993 94 was 2,750,000. The implied cost of an unemployed person is £3,535. Estimates of tax revenues forgone involve estimating the indirect and direct taxes unemployed people would pay in employment. Any attempt to estimate these figures would depend on a large number of assumptions. Such
Column 755assumptions are inevitably arbitrary and any estimate of the cost of lost taxes is subject to a high degree of uncertainty.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the total cost to the Exchequer since 1979 to date of (a) lost taxes and (b) unemployment related benefits due to the levels of registered unemployment.
Mr. Aitken: The amount of lost taxes as a result of unemployment cannot be estimated reliably. Estimating the indirect and direct taxes an unemployed person would pay in employment depends on a large number of assumptions. Such assumptions are inevitably arbitrary. Information on the total cost of unemployment related benefits for Great Britain is given by the Department of Social Security in its annual report. Information for the years since 1978 79 is as follows:
|Total Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1978-79 |1,321 1979-80 |1,409 1980-81 |2,387 1981-82 |3,666 1982-83 |4,552 1983-84 |5,671 1984-85 |6,290 1985-86 |6,936 1986-87 |7,134 1987-88 |6,381 1988-89 |5,240 1989-90 |4,310 1990-91 |5,070 1991-92 |7,530 1992-93 |9,110 1993-94 |9,720
The figures are in cash terms, unadjusted for inflation.
Mr. Aitken: The Department of Social Security estimates that a 100,000 fall in unemployment in 1994 95 would reduce expenditure on unemployment-related benefits by £365 million. The implied savings for a 1 million fall in the unemployment total is £3,650 million.
Sir George Young: All public money administered by the royal household are fully and professionally audited. The majority relates to the Department of National Heritage grant-in-aid for property services in the English
Column 756occupied royal palaces, which is audited by the National Audit Office. The remainder is civil list expenditure, which is audited by the Treasury under the Civil List Audit Act 1816. The Government have no plans to change these arrangements.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is (a) the annual salary and (b) the cost to public funds of benefits in kind of (i) the head of the home civil service, (ii) the secretary to the Cabinet, (iii) the head of the foreign civil service and (iv) permanent secretaries and deputy secretaries in each department of Government.
Sir George Young: The annual salary of the head of the Home Civil Service, who is also Secretary of the Cabinet, is £118,179 with effect from 1 April 1994. The annual salary of the head of the diplomatic service with effect from 1 April 1994 is £110,563. Annual salaries for permanent secretaries, now grade 1 or grade 1A, and Deputy Secretaries, now grade 2, are listed in the table and are with effect from 1 April 1994.
Central records of the cost of non-cash benefits for these staff are not maintained. Information on the entitlement to such benefits is contained in the civil service management code, a copy of which is in the Library.
|£ ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Permanent Secretary to the Treasury |Flat rate |110,563 Grade 1 |Flat rate |95,051 Grade 1A |Flat rate |87,435 Grade 2 |Range maximum Range minimum| 79,396 65,990
Sir George Young: It is not practical to list all companies that have been privatised as many were subsidiaries of nationalised industries and were sold by the parent body, not the Government; consequently, information is not held centrally for all such sales. The table shows the companies privatised by Government and the major subsidiaries sold by their parent body. For each, the equity proceeds accruing are also given.
Major privatisations |Gross equity Company |Year of sale<1>|£ million ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BP <3> |1977 |8,334 Fairey |1980 |15 British Aerospace |1981 |700 Cable and Wireless |1981 |1,432 Amersham International |1982 |71 NFC |1982 |54 Britoil |1982 |998 Associated British Ports |1983 |100 International Aeradio |1983 |60 Victaulic |1983 |8 Enterprise Oil |1984 |392 Jaguar |1984 |297 Sealink |1984 |66 BT |1984 |14,654 VSEL |1986 |60 British International Helicopters |1986 |14 National Bus Company (62 separate subsidiaries) |1986 |<7>- British Gas |1986 |5,584 Leyland Bus |1987 |4 Unipart |1987 |30 British Airways |1987 |892 Royal Ordnance |1987 |190 DAB |1987 |7 Rolls-Royce |1987 |1,348 Istel |1987 |48 BAA |1987 |1,225 British Transport Advertising |1987 |40 National Seed Development Organisation |1987 |66 Rover Group <3> |1988 |150 Professional and Executive Recruitment |1988 |6 British Steel |1988 |2,500 Travellers Fare |1988 |12 British Rail Engineering (BREL) |1989 |14 General Practice Finance Corporation |1989 |145 Harland and Wolff |1989 |8 Short Brothers |1989 |30 10 water and sewerage companies |1989 |5,113 Giroleasing |1990 |33 Girobank |1990 |112 Scottish Bus Group (10 separate subsidiaries) |1990 |<7>- 12 regional electricity companies |1990 |<4>5,182 National Power/PowerGen |1991 |<5>2,228 Scottish Power/Scottish Hydro-Electric |1991 |2,918 National Transcommunications |1991 |48 Insurance Services Group |1991 |70 <5> Trust ports |1992 |<8>- BTG |1992 |<6>28 <4> Northern Ireland generating companies |1992 |356 PSA projects |1992 |-44 Northern Ireland Electricity (distribution company) |1993 |348 <5> PSA building management companies |1993 |10 DVOIT |1993 |5 London Buses (10 separate sales to date) |1994 |<7>- Forward |1994 |5 DTELs |1994 |7 Belfast International Airport |1994 |33 <1>Year of the first sale. There may have been secondary offers or the first sale may have been one of a suite of sales of subsidiaries. <2> There may in addition have been proceeds from the redemption of debt. <3> Technically not a privatisation as the company was already classified to the private sector. <4> Including the national grid which was owned by the regional electricity companies. <5> The Government retain about 40 per cent. of each company. <6> Includes dividends extracted pre-sale. <7> Proceeds of individual sales initially retained by the parent body. <8> Proceeds were split between the relevant port authorities and the Government.
Mr. Matthew Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the average impact on households in 1995 96 of (a) direct and indirect tax measures announced in the Budget and (b) all tax-related measures taking effect between 29 November 1994 and November 1995; and what has been the rise in real household disposable income per head since 1979.
Sir George Young: Real household disposable income per head has risen by nearly 50 per cent. since 1979. The impact on households of tax- related measures taking effect over the next year is shown in the table. After taking account of tax and inflation, real personal disposable income is forecast to rise by 1 per cent. in 1995.
Impact on households of main tax-related measures in 1995-96. Impact of main direct and indirect tax changes affecting households relative to indexation and net of VAT compensation. |November |1994 Budget |measures |All measures |(1) |(2) ---------------------------------------------------- Households: Average |0.30 |-2.80 Pensioners |0.50 |-0.50 £ per week to nearest 5p Gain (+)/ loss (-) (1) Figures for new Budget measures (column (1)) show the impact of the main tax measures directly affecting households announced in the November 1994 Budget. Figures for all measures (column (2)) show the impact on households of new and pipeline tax-related measures taking effect over the next year, including measures announced in the November 1994, November 1993 and March 1993 Budgets. (2) Estimates are taken from an analysis of the 1990-92 Family Expenditure Surveys uprated to 1995-96 earnings and price levels.
Mr. Aitken: On 1 October 1994 there were 523,981 permanent staff in post in central Government, the lowest for 55 years. This is a decrease of 9,370 during the last six months and more than 40,000 since April 1992.
An analysis showing staff in post by Department has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the countryside sites where public access has been granted by the landowner in return for exemption from inheritance tax, the amount of inheritance tax forgone in return for granting this access for each year for the past 10 years, the number of sites involved for that year for the past 10 years, and the steps that have been taken to publicise the access to these sites.
Sir George Young [holding answer 28 November 1994]: The normal rules of taxpayers confidentiality prevent me from giving details of individual cases where conditional exemption from inheritance tax has been granted.
The annual average cost of conditions exemption from inheritance tax, or its predecessor capital transfer tax, for
Column 759land and buildings is estimated to have been between £5 million and £10 million over the period 1984 85 to 1993 94.
There have been 133 designations of land for additional exemption from inheritance tax or capital transfer tax in England. Figures for designations of land on a year by year basis are not available at acceptable cost.
The owner of land which is conditionally exempt from inheritance tax is required to publicise the agreed public access arrangements. The heritage advisory agencies will discuss with each owner the appropriate level of publicity. Each case is considered individually and all relevant factors, including the existing level of publicity, are taken into account. Although the extent of public access may already be widely known, for example where substantial public access is already given, the owner will generally be required to take specific steps to publicise the public access arrangements, for example by advertising the access arrangements in a local tourist office or town hall. For new designations of scenic land in England, owners are required to display at all points of entry onto their land map boards showing the agreed public access.
Mr. Elletson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the restrictions currently preventing Yugoslav Airlines from flying into London Heathrow airport; what action is being taken to allow such flights; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: Following the suspension of certain sanctions imposed in the Security Council of the United Nations, which permits passenger services to operate to and from Belgrade for an initial period, JAT Yugoslav Airlines has applied to my Department for permission to fly to Heathrow. The United Kingdom normally expects countries whose airlines fly here to be signatories to the Chicago convention on international civil aviation, which binds airlines to minimum safety standards in respect of maintenance of aircraft and flight operations and their oversight by the state's regulatory authorities. The federal republic of Yugoslavia is not a signatory to the convention, and we are discussing with it how we can be assured that international safety standards are being met before we permit JAT to operate to London.
Column 760Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. Harry Cohen, dated 30 November 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to write to you in response to your Parliamentary Question about the A12 Hackney Wick to M11 Link Road since its construction is now an operational matter for the Highways Agency.
The statutory procedures followed were contained in the Highways Act 1980 and Acquisition of Land Act 1981.
Mr. Watts: The information is not available in the form requested. Data recorders are fitted as standard to all new locomotives and electric or diesel multiple passenger units, and to those already in service that are expected to have a long residual life. There are currently 610 locomotives or multiple units fitted with data recorders. This figure includes passenger and freight locomotives and multiple units comprising two, three and four car units.
Mr Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each British Rail region since 1 August the number of services that have been affected by low ground adhesion; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many stations within the Network SouthEast operating region are unstaffed after 6 pm and at weekends; and if he will provide comparable figures for 1979.
Mr. Watts [holding answer 25 November 1994]: The information requested is not available in the form requested. A comparison with 1979 would in any event not be possible as Network SouthEast was not created until 1986.
However, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Freeman) on 14 March 1994, Official Report , column 508 . The figures in that reply are still current.
Mr. Watts: Of about 2,500 stations on the Railtrack network, some 1,000 or 40 per cent. are currently permanently unmanned. Since the number of unmanned station varies throughout the year, no definitive figures can be given for any previous year, but the overall number has been of the same order since 1991.
Column 761relationship between a petrol price increase and the opportunities for mobility in rural communities.
Mr. Norris: Higher fuel prices play an important part in meeting the threat of global warming by encouraging people to reduce their fuel consumption in a variety of ways. One is by purchasing smaller, more fuel-- efficient cars and another is by driving less through making shorter or less frequent journeys or switching to other less polluting modes of transport. A further way is by adopting a sensible driving technique and keeping vehicles properly tuned and maintained.
There is less scope for switching to other modes, which is more likely in rural areas, but we would expect individuals to place more emphasis on the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. Statistics reveal that rural motorists currently achieve fewer miles per gallon than their urban counterparts. This flexibility of response illustrates the benefits of fuel price increases over other mechanisms for reducing fuel use, such as vehicle regulation.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his estimate of the number of daily cycle journeys in London for each year since 1983; what plans he has for increasing cycle routes in London; and if he will make a statement.
The Department is currently considering a co-ordinated did from all 33 London local authorities for funds to implement the London cycle network. A decision on this will be announced shortly.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding has been given during the last 12 months to London councils to encourage cycling; and if he will list the funding to each London council.
Mr. Norris: Capital support has been available to assist London local authorities' general transport projects, including safety schemes. For 1995 96, a London cycle network "package" bid has been received on behalf of all 33 authorities. A decision on this will be announced shortly.
Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what income was received from the sale by British Rail of Meldon quarry, Somerset; and what percentage of receipts from privatisation since the passage of the Railway Act 1993 this represents.
Column 762exercise a choice in their means of transport wherever practicable.
Mr. Norris: My Department deals with the United Kingdom national aviation security programme. Our responsibilities following the disaster have included thoroughly reviewing the programme and making substantial improvements to it in the light of what happened on 21 December 1988.
My Department also had responsibility through the air accidents investigation branch for conducting the technical investigation into the circumstances of the disaster.
(2) when he proposes to implement the recommendations of the review of air noise legislation contained in his latest report;
(3) what interim proposals he has to deal with aircraft noise; (4) what assessment he has made of the local weakness in present planning legislation used by local authorities to deal with aircraft noise.