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Mr. Baldry: The FCO diplomatic wing's only executive agency is Wilton Park. FCO Ministers are responsible for determining the policy and resources within which Wilton Park organises its programmes of conferences on behalf of the FCO. Operational matters and day-to-day management of the agency are the responsibility of the chief executive.
The Wilton Park departmental board is responsible for advising FCO Ministers on matters relating to Wilton Park policy and activities.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will support a global ban on the production, sales, stockpiling and use of anti-personnel mines; (2) if he will call for the United Nations to impose a global ban on production, stockpiling, sale and use of anti-personnel mines.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We support international efforts to strengthen controls on the stockpiling, transfer and use of anti-personnel land mines but believe that a complete ban at this stage would neither secure broad international support nor be properly implemented.
Mr. Baldry: The preferred carrier for any particular civil servant's travel will depend on the circumstances of the journey concerned and value for money. For regular requirements my Department has entered into arrangements with:
Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many children of employees of his Department currently attend private or independent schools and have their fees funded by his Department.
Mr. Baldry: Some 746 children of diplomatic service and ODA staff currently attend boarding schools in the United Kingdom. Details of the total number of children attending fee-paying schools at posts overseas are not available.
Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the total costs to his Department of funding the children of employees of his Department who attend private or independent schools in each of the last five years.
Financial Year |£ million --------------------------------------------- 1993-94 |8.69 1992-93 |7.88 1991-92 |7.73 1990-91 |7.58 1989-90 |7.21
Expenditure on children attending fee-paying schools overseas was as follows:
Financial year |£ million --------------------------------------------- 1993-94 |2.31 1992-93 |2.00 1991-92 |1.80 1990-91 |1.68 1989-90 |1.58
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which 25 embassies had the highest running costs for the latest year for which information is available; and what was the amount spent in entertaining for that year and the number of butlers, cooks and other household staff employed.
Mr. Goodlad [holding answer 19 December 1994]: The latest available information, mainly in respect of 1993 94, is contained in the following table. Entertainment by all staff at the post concerned is included. Costs reflect local wage and price levels as well as the type of entertainment and numbers entertained. Staff numbers are of the total employed in the residence of the ambassador or high commissioner; not all such staff will be employed wholly or partly on entertainment duties.
|Entertainment |Numbers Post |(£ thousands) |of Residence Staff ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Athens |63 |11.0 Bangkok |54 |11.0 Bonn |155 |9.5 Brussels |51 |5.5 Buenos Aires |54 |9.5 Cairo |48 |14.0 Canberra |48 |9.0 Dhaka |49 |8.5 Jakarta |51 |8.0 Lagos/Abuja |109 |8.0 Madrid |130 |9.0 Moscow |105 |10.0 New Delhi |58 |18.0 Ottawa |68 |7.0 Paris |331 |17.0 Peking |75 |9.0 Riyadh |68 |4.0 Rome |107 |10.5 Seoul |65 |5.0 Singapore |61 |11.0 The Hague |53 |7.0 Tokyo |317 |13.0 Vienna |59 |8.0 Warsaw |42 |6.5 Washington |270 |19.9
(2) what assessment he has made of the Stock Exchange review of insider dealing.
I assume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to the London Stock Exchange's recent consultation document on preventing disorderly markets, entitled "Orderly markets: Dealings ahead of the disclosure of price sensitive information". The Government are generally supportive of action by the London Stock Exchange which is designed to prevent disorderly markets.
Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the rate of VAT in Northern Ireland for (a) gas for domestic heating and (b) the rental of the fuel tanks containing the gas; and what are the rates in Great Britain.
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money was recovered through VAT investigations and the control programme in the last financial year; and how many staff are employed on these duties.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: In 1993 94, HM Customs and Excise finalised approximately 1,150 cases of fraudulent evasion of VAT. Some 109 cases were dealt with through criminal investigations using the VAT Act 1994 and other statutes, and the rest were dealt with using the civil penalty regime introduced in the Finance Act 1985.
These cases involved VAT arrears and penalties in excess of £40 million and custodial prison sentences in the order of 100 years. By its nature, the detection of fraud also prevents further evasion. We estimate the evasion prevented for 1993 94 to be in excess of £120 million as a result of the investigation effort. Some 613 staff were employed in 1993 94 on VAT investigation work. In the financial year 1993 94, 5,429 staff years were utilised in VAT assurance visiting. Gross additional liability identified in the course of the visiting programme was £2,140 million. Taking over declarations of VAT into account, the net additional liability discovered was £1,324 million.
Column 288refurbishment and staff allowances, of merging the London-south collection local VAT and excise office into the single integrated office located in Southwark and officially opened in March 1993; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The total cost including building, refurbishment and staff allowances of merging the London south collection local VAT and excise offices into the single integrated office located in Southwark and officially opened in March 1993 was £4,898,300.
The minimum cost of maintaining the separate local VAT and Excise offices was estimated to be £2,836,900.
Annual savings on running costs from merging the offices were calculated to be £663,800 at 1993 94 prices, which means that the additional one-off costs of integration will be paid back in about three years.
The integrated office has a secure lease until 2009 and will continue to be used by Customs following a reorganisation of the regional structure.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what options Her Majesty's Government possess to reduce rates of value added tax from existing levels within the framework of treaties of the European community and directives deriving therefrom.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The Government have the option of applying one or two reduced rates of not less than 5 per cent. to goods and services listed in annex H, the reduced rates list, to the sixth VAT directive.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people have visited or telephoned Doncaster tax office for information or advice during the current financial year to date; and what were the figures for each of the last four financial years.
Sir George Young: During the current financial year to date, 17, 093 people have visited and 66,011 people have telephoned the tax offices in Doncaster. Figures for each of the last three financial years are as follows:
|Telephone Calls|Visitors ------------------------------------------------------------------- Year to April 1992 |82,685 |27,506 Year to April 1993 |91,063 |27,584 Year to April 1994 |101,752 |25,487
No records are held for the period prior to April 1991. Data for Doncaster collection office are not available for any year and are therefore not included in the above figures.
Sir George Young: The Inland Revenue has three offices in Doncaster; two tax districts and one collection office. The figures below, rounded to the nearest £'000, are for all three offices and are in 1994 95 constant prices.
|£ -------------------------------------- 1990-91 |2,437,000 1991-92 |2,632,000 1992-93 |2,595,500 1993-94 |2,658,000 1994-95 |2,659,000 (latest forecast)
Mr. Nelson: The United Kingdom agreed to the terms under which Austria joined the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system as set out in the Monetary Committee communique of 7 January 1995. Copies of the communique have been placed in the House of Commons Library.
Admissions to Securities to Listing Amendments
Bank of England Quarterly Report
Financial Regulation Report
Financial Services Law Updates
Futures and Options Plus
Futures and Option World
International Stock Exchange Official Yearbook
Stock Exchange Quarterly
Survey of Current Business
Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total value of tax relief provided to those eligible who have private medical insurance; and what is the administrative cost of providing such tax relief.
Sir George Young [holding answer 13 January 1995]: The total cost of income tax relief on premiums for private medical insurance contracts in respect of individuals aged 60 or over is estimated to be £95 million in 1994 95.
Administrative costs are estimated to be about £150,000.
Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what has been the range of increase of salaries in percentage terms for directors of the royal household over the last 12 months; which receive performance pay in addition to a basic salary; who
Column 291recommended these salaries; and what control is exercised by his Department;
(2) which directors of the royal household had their salaries linked to that of a second permanent secretary in the civil service in 1992 93 and in 1993 94; and which are currently so linked; (3) which directors of the royal household currently have 16.7 per cent. deducted from salary in lieu of rent.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke: The salaries of the principal private secretary to the Queen, and the Keeper of the Privy Purse have, for some years, been linked to those of a second permanent secretary in the civil service. They and other directors received the 5.4 per cent. increase awarded by the SSRB to comparable civil service grades in 1994 with the exception of one director who is on a short-term contract. Performance pay has not yet been introduced at this level, pending the outcome of a current pay review of senior grades. Performance pay for the individual on short-term contract is determined in discussions with the permanent secretary to the Treasury. Under the present arrangements, all contribute for their official accommodation with a deduction of 6 per cent. of their after-tax salary but most do not have an additional salary abatement.
Mrs. Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many of the water supply disconnections that have occurred in Lewisham over the last 12 months are attributable to cases where customers had water metering;
(2) how many water supply disconnections there have been in Lewisham over the past 12 months;
(3) what is Thames Water Utilities' programme for water metering in the London borough of Lewisham.
Mr. Heppell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many landfill sites, which are under consideration for authorisation to dispose of low-level radioactive waste, do not have authorisation at present;
(2) if he will list the landfill sites that are under consideration for the disposal of intermediate and high-level radioactive waste.
Mr. Heppell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) local authority and (b) privately operated landfill sites have authorisation to dispose of low-level radioactive waste in (i) England and Wales, (ii) the east midlands and (iii) Nottinghamshire.