Mr. Galbraith: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the proposed legislation by the Law Commission on mental incapacity; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. John M. Taylor: The Government have welcomed the Law Commission's report on mental incapacity as an important contribution to the debate on decision making where a person lacks capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Government recognise, however, that the report raises important and sensitive issues of principle. We set up an interdepartmental working group to co-ordinate consideration of the report on 15 March 1995. The group produced an initial report for Ministers by its target date of 1 September. Ministers are considering the group's report with that of the Law Commission.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he expects to complete his consideration of the draft Mental Incapacity Bill; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Taylor: The Government set up an interdepartmental working group to co-ordinate consideration of the Law Commission report on 15 March 1995. The group produced an initial report for Ministers by its target date of 1 September. Ministers are now considering the group's report with that of the Law Commission.
Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what representations he has received regarding the proposals by the Official Solicitor (a) for the publication of the memoirs based on the confession of the late Frederick West and (b) for the proceeds of such publication to go to the West family. 
Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor's Department has received five separate representations regarding proposals by the Official Solicitor (a) for the publication of the memoirs based on the confessions of the late Frederick West and (b) for the proceeds of such publication to go to the West family. In addition, an early-day motion on this subject has been tabled.
Column 534matters relating to British Aerospace and the export of electro-shock equipment. 
The Solicitor-General: The police have submitted a report to the Crown Prosecution Service which has been considered. No decision will be made regarding the institution of criminal proceedings until the conclusion of the separate inquiries being conducted by the Strathclyde police.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his Department's letter of 11 September, if the Strathclyde police have completed their investigations into the allegations made in the Dispatches programme in respect of the export of electro-shock equipment involving ICL Technical Plastics Ltd. of Glasgow. 
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: I have been asked to reply since the question relates to a Scottish police investigation. The inquiries being conducted by Strathclyde Police into these allegations are being pursued with due expedition but are not, as yet, concluded.
Mrs. Angela Knight: Between October 1974 and May 1979 the average rate of inflation, as measured by the retail prices index, was 15.1 per cent. per annum. This compares with 6.4 per cent. for the period May 1979 to September 1995, the latest month for which information is available.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many pensioners in each standard region of the United Kingdom, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and for the United Kingdom as a whole, are exclusively or very largely dependent on state pension; and if he will express that figure as a percentage of the overall number of pensioners. 
Mrs. Angela Knight: Data on the number of pensioners mainly dependent on state pension are not available. The figures show, for the standard regions, England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom as a whole, the number of retired households mainly dependent on state pensions and other state benefits as a percentage of all retired households, as estimated from the 1994 95 family expenditure survey. The figures are subject to sampling variations.
Retired households mainly dependent on state pensions and other state benefits as a percentage of all retired households |Percentage ---------------------------------------------------------- United Kingdom |45 England |45 North |50 Yorkshire and Humberside |48 North West |46 East Midlands |50 West Midlands |51 East Anglia |51 Greater London |39 South East excluding Greater London |43 South West |35 Wales |44 Scotland |45 Northern Ireland |54
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate (a) the value of unquoted shares sold in the latest year available, including shares in wholly owned companies and (b) the taxable gains on these shares before allowing for any (i) reliefs or (ii) exemptions claimed. 
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate for the latest available year (a) the number of people and (b) the value of tax relief given under capital gains tax (i) retirement relief and (ii) re-investment relief. 
Mr. Jack: The latest estimates for the costs of capital gains tax retirement and re-investment reliefs are given in table 1.6 in the 1995 edition of "Inland Revenue Statistics". Reliable estimates for the numbers of people claiming these reliefs are not available.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the total amount of capital gains tax that (a) has been deferred and (b) is still deferred through use of the various reliefs afforded to capital taxpayers. 
Column 536Committee before the end of 1995; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Inland Revenue's business plan and the way it will now work on deregulation policy with the Department of Social Security. 
Mr. Jack: The Inland Revenue management plan for 1995 96 to 1997 98 foreshadowed plans for the Inland Revenue and the Contributions Agency of the Department of Social Security to work more closely together with a view to providing a better service to customers and lifting the burdens on business. Details of the joint working programme were announced on 19 September 1995.
The joint working programme is an important part of each Department's deregulation initiative. It has been drawn up with small businesses particularly in mind and should help to make their dealings with the government machine more straightforward and less burdensome.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated saving to the Exchequer by the repeal of each rule and regulation which has so far been the subject of a reference to the Deregulation Committee from his Department; and in how many cases a compliance cost assessment has been carried out. 
Mrs. Knight: The Treasury has laid three draft deregulation proposals to date. The Deregulation (Building Societies) Order was laid on 9 May, the Deregulation (Credit Unions) Order on 11 July and the Deregulation (Friendly Societies) Order on 17 July. The draft orders will not lead to any significant cost savings for the Exchequer.
The explanatory documents which were presented to the committee alongside each of the draft orders contain an assessment of the cost savings to business and any other persons whom the draft orders are intended to benefit.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many compulsory inquiries are issued by the Central Statistical Office to small firms each year; how many Prodcom quarterly inquiries are sent out to small firms each year; and what is the estimated total cost of these inquiries to (a) each small business and (b) the Exchequer. 
Mrs. Angela Knight: Information on the number of forms to the level of detail requested is currently held only for those inquiries included in the interdepartmental business register. Out of a total of 663,000, 304,500 forms were sent to businesses with fewer than 25 employees between July 1994 and June 1995. Some 1,170 small firms with fewer than 25 employees were included in the Prodcom quarterly inquiry, resulting in 4,680 forms in that year.
In July 1995 the Central Statistical Office took over responsibility for the former Employment Department's employer surveys. Including the inquiries conducted by the former Employment Department, there were in total
Column 537some 1,743,000 forms sent to businesses in the 1994 calendar year. This figure includes an estimate for the former Employment Department's biennial census of employment based on an average of the number of forms sent out for that inquiry in 1993 and 1994. The 1994 costs on the same basis were estimated at £22 million to business and £23 million to the Exchequer. Information which would enable a breakdown of these costs between smaller and larger businesses is currently not available in respect of all the inquiries. The Central Statistical Office is in the process of developing a compliance plan which will provide more detailed breakdowns of the costs of all the inquiries. This will be available in April 1996 and a copy placed in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Chris Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what grant-giving funds his Department is responsible, requiring a private sector contribution, where the use of national lottery funds is now allowed to count towards that private sector portion. 
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update his answer to the hon. Member for Monklands, West (Mr. Clarke) of 11 February 1992, Official Report , column 430 , on average tax allowances and reliefs for those with gross earnings up to £120,000, differentiating between reliefs and allowances claimed at the marginal rate and reliefs and allowances claimed at other rates. 
Gross income range |Average amount of |Average amount of £ per year |tax reliefs and |tax reliefs and |allowances claimed |allowances claimed |at marginal rates |at other rates, set |set |against income |against income -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 0-10,000 |3,900 |650 10,000-20,000 |4,100 |1,550 20,000-30,000 |4,600 |2,250 30,000-40,000 |5,100 |2,600 40,000-50,000 |5,900 |2,800 50,000-60,000 |6,500 |2,850 60,000-70,000 |7,100 |2,900 70,000-80,000 |7,800 |2,900 80,000-90,000 |7,900 |2,700 90,000-100,000 |9,000 |2,700 Over 100,000 |13,800 |2,750 Average |4,300 |1,400
Mr. Griffiths: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list figures for the donations and cost of tax relief on (a) covenants to charities and (b) gift aid for taxpayers with gross income of over (i) £40,000, (ii) £60,000, (iii) £80,000 and (iv) £100,000. 
Covenants to charities |Gross |Cost of tax Total income |Donors |donations |relief |£ million |£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------ Over £40,000 |156,000 |150 |60 Over £60,000 |70,000 |80 |30 Over £80,000 |40,000 |50 |20 Over £100,000 |27,000 |40 |15
Gift aid |Gross |Cost of tax Total income |Donors |donations |relief |£ million |£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------ Over £40,000 |20,000 |90 |35 Over £60,000 |11,000 |65 |25 Over £80,000 |6,500 |55 |20 Over £100,000 |5,000 |50 |20
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking in respect of sharp movements in gilts prior to the impact day of the new tax regime; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jack: Gilt prices respond to a variety of influences, of which prospective tax change is only one. My right hon. and learned Friend has already announced his proposals for tax reform in this field in broad outline, and the date on which it should come into effect. He does not believe any special measures are needed as these plans move towards implementation.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions exemption from inheritance tax has been granted for bequests to political parties since 1988; and how much revenue was forgone. 
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the revenue yield from restricting relief on profit-related pay to relief at the marginal rate of (a) 25 per cent. and (b) 20 per cent. giving in each case the number of people affected and the average loss per taxpayer. 
Mr. Jack [holding answer 31 October 1995]: Information about profit-related pay schemes is derived from annual returns provided by employers. These show the total amounts of profit-related pay and the numbers of participants but do not include information about the distribution of earnings. The total revenue cost of the scheme is tentatively estimated on the assumption that the distribution of participants by marginal tax rate is similar to that for employees generally. On this basis, the revenue yield from restriction to 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. might be about £90 million and £230 million respectively at 1995 96 levels. But it would be misleading to provide estimates about numbers of losers and average amounts of loss on the basis of very general assumptions.
Mrs. Maddock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Darby v . Sweden case which was considered by the European Court of Human Rights in 1990 and its implication for the eligibility of women with disabled husbands for additional personal allowance. 
Mr. Jack [holding answer 1 November 1995]: The case of Darby v . Sweden concerned a Finnish resident who worked in Sweden and was required to pay the Swedish church tax simply because he was not registered as a resident of Sweden. Dr. Darby's complaint, which was upheld by the court, was brought under article 1 of protocol 1 of the European convention on human rights which concerns the peaceful enjoyment of possessions. That article has no relevance to the eligibility of claimants to additional personal allowance.
Mr. Wareing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received regarding the duty on tobacco products; what the nature of such representations has been; what response he has given to any such representations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 3 November 1995]: We have received a number or representations. The majority of these asked that tobacco taxation not be increased in the forthcoming Budget. All representations concerning tobacco taxation will be considered very carefully in the period leading up to the Budget, but it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage.
Mrs. Angela Knight: The labour force survey for spring 1995 shows that of an estimated 151,000 people employed as domestic personnel in private households, 76 per cent. were female. The LFS sample of people of ethnic minority origin in this group is too small to provide a reliable estimate.
Column 540latest date for which information is available and (b) 12 months earlier. 
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has reached a decision on the National River's Authority's Anglian Coast (Limitation of Net Licences) Order 1994. 
Mr. Baldry: My hon. Friend has previously drawn my attention to the views expressed by his constituents on this issue. I am now pleased to tell him that I have received the inspector's report on the public inquiry into this order. It recommends that the order be confirmed, provided that a number of amendments are made. The most significant amendment proposed by the inspector is that licences for this fishery should not be limited to those dependent on fishing for their livelihood. I have accepted these recommendations, and, provided the NRA consents to the amendments, intend to confirm the order on this basis. All existing licence holders will therefore continue to be eligible to hold licences. No new licences will be issued, however, and the fishery will gradually be phased out.
Sir Terence Higgins: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will estimate the additional cost of treating various kinds of sick animals by PDSA dispensaries as a result of European Union legislation. 
Mrs. Browning: The PDSA has represented that changes to United Kingdom law made by the Medicines (Restrictions on the Administration of Veterinary Medicinal Products) Regulations 1994 to implement EC legislation will increase the cost of treating companion animals. These regulations contain provisions which had already passed into good veterinary practice in the UK, by means of the British Veterinary Association's code of practice for the prescribing of medicinal products, introduced in 1991. Following a recent meeting between officials from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the director general of the PDSA at which these issues were discussed and clarified, we have been able to give assurances which should ensure that that the PDSA does not incur additional costs as a result of the application of the regulations.
Mr. Martin Redmond: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the non-departmental public bodies to which his Department makes appointments in the county of South Yorkshire, indicating the total annual budget and the number of appointments made or renewed for each body in each of the last four years. 
The Yorkshire regional flood defence committee is a statutory executive committee of the National Rivers Authority, which meets its administrative costs. Expenditure is accounted for by the National Rivers Authority. In 1994, four appointments were made or renewed. There have been no other appointments in the last four years. The appointments of two MAFF appointed members of the South and West Yorkshire agricultural wages committee were renewed in each of the years 1993 and 1994. No other appointments have been made in the last four years. There is no separate regional budget for agricultural wages committee work.
Appointments are made to the regional panel for the Ministry's north-east region which includes the county of South Yorkshire. Regional panel members do not receive a fee for their services but may claim travel and subsistence allowances.
|New/renewed |Total annual budget Year |appointments |£ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1992-93 |13 |2,900 1993-94 |3 |2,100 1994-95 |3 |3,300 1995-96 |2 |<1>4,000 <1> Estimate.
Mr. Ian McCartney: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many staff are currently employed in his Department and in related agencies on (a) temporary or casual employment contracts and (b) part-time employment contracts, given as an actual figure and as a proportion of the total work force; and what were the corresponding figures for five years ago. 
Mr. Douglas Hogg: Breakdown by Department and executive agency for 1 April 1995 of the number of permanent staff, the number of casual staff-- normally those engaged for a period of up to 12 months, but exceptionally up to two years--and of the number of part-time staff are presented in the civil service staff in post summary table for 1 April 1995, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Estimates on a comparable basis on 1 April 1990 have also been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Harry Barnes: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Croydon, North-East (Mr. Congdon), of 18 October 1995, Official Report , columns 285 86, what was the voting record of each member state on items agreed at the meeting of the European Community's Agriculture Council held on 25 September; and if he will make it his practice to list all votes, including where there have been no votes, in the future. 
Mr. Douglas Hogg: The answer referred to makes clear that the Agriculture Council held in Brussels on 25 September 1995 took two decisions, both by qualified majority, Portugal voting against in one instance and the United Kingdom opposing in the other. The affirmative vote by all other member states, in each case, is implicit.
Sir Cranley Onslow: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to raise awareness in catering establishments and takeaways of the dangers of peanut allergy. 
Mrs. Browning: Following the publicity about the dangers to allergic individuals of severe reactions to peanuts and other nuts, my officials met various sectors of the food industry, including the catering sector, to discuss what could be done. We are continuing to explore ways of improving awareness and encouraging information exchange and we are also in touch with consumer groups including the Anaphylaxis Campaign which has itself done much to alert sufferers to the dangers and to heighten awareness in the industry. In addition, the Ministry is investing £500,000 per year in research on food allergies to help elucidate the nature of the problem.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of the British organisations delivering consultancy to co-operatives in central and eastern Europe are themselves co-operatives; and what is the extent to which co-operative organisations are on the tender lists for such co-operative projects in central and eastern Europe. 
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what amount of funds is allocated to developing and restructuring the co-operative sectors of the countries in central and eastern Europe as a proportion of private sector projects; how many projects make up the allocation to the co-operative sector in central and eastern Europe; and what percentage of such projects has been awarded to British organisations to deliver the consultancy requirements. 
Mr. Hanley: The know-how fund does not allocate funds specifically to the co-operative sectors of the countries in central and eastern Europe. Nor does it keep statistics specifically on the amount of money spent on the co-operative sector, but if a proposal to support co-operatives is received and it meets the criteria applied by the know-how fund it will be considered on its merits.
The know-how fund awards all its contracts to British organisations.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy that any proposals for a reduction in the overseas budget shall not affect those programmes aimed at fighting poverty in the developing world. 
Mr. Hanley: The overriding goal of the British aid programme is to improve the quality of life of people in poorer countries by contributing to sustainable development and reducing poverty and suffering. Her Majesty's Government will maintain a substantial and effective programme increasingly focused on the poorest countries.
Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what communications he has had from the president of the World bank about the priority to be accorded to fighting poverty in the developing world by the developed nations. 
Mr. Hanley: At the annual meetings of the World bank and IMF in October, the president made a strong appeal for adequate funding of the International Development Association to ensure that global efforts to support poverty reduction in the poorest countries are not set back.
Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Secretary of State for Defence about the reduction of arms sales as a contribution to fighting poverty in the developing world. 
The United Kingdom actively supports the emphasis placed by the donor community, including the International Monetary Fund and the World bank, in their relations with developing countries on the implications for economic and social development of an excessive level of military expenditure. We have made it clear that we consider the setting of an appropriate level of military expenditure to be an important part of good government. It is one of the factors we take into account when deciding our allocations of bilateral aid.
Mr. Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what commitment Her Majesty's Government have made to encouraging economic and social development in the world's poorest nations as recommended in the 1980 Brandt report. 
Mr. Hanley: Sustainable economic and social development is at the heart of the United Kingdom's overseas aid programme. Many of the recommendations of the 1980 Brandt report have been incorporated into policy making. Around two thirds of our bilateral aid allocatable by income group goes to the world's poorest countries.