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Correspondence

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to reply to the letter of 12 November from the hon. Member for Walsall, North regarding a constituent. [10997]

Mr. Oppenheim [holding answer 16 January 1997]: A reply was sent on 21 January.

Schedule A Income Tax

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on revenue from inheritance tax of treating assets giving rise to schedule A income as assets comprised in a business carried on by the owner of those assets qualifying for business property relief. [11825]

Mr. Jack: The full year cost of extending inheritance tax business property relief to assets giving rise to schedule A income is tentatively estimated at £100 million.

Mr. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on (a) revenues from capital gains tax and (b) revenues from corporation tax on capital gains of treating assets giving rise to income taxable under schedule A as assets occupied and used for the purposes of a trade carried on by the recipient of the schedule A income. [11827]

Mr. Jack: The full year cost of treating assets giving rise to schedule A income as business assets qualifying for relief from capital gains tax and corporation tax on gains is tentatively estimated at £150 million.

Mr. Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on (a) revenues from income tax and (b) revenues from corporation tax of taxing income currently taxed under schedule A as trading income taxed under case 1 of schedule D instead. [11826]

22 Jan 1997 : Column: 606

Mr. Jack: The estimated full year cost of taxing schedule A income as schedule D case 1 trading income is £50 million in respect of revenues from income tax and £250 million in respect of revenues from corporation tax charged on company incomes.

Charity Donations

Mr. Pike: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for changes in relation to the tax position on weekly covenanted charity donations; and if he will make a statement. [11940]

Mr. Jack: The strict application of the provisions governing lower rate taxpayers making covenants on which charities can claim relief at the basic rate from the Inland Revenue could mean that more tax may be due from taxpayers whose marginal rate is the lower rate. In practice, however, the Revenue exercises its judgment in determining what priority should go to recovering relatively minor amounts where such a shortfall arises, and the covenantor will often not be asked for the difference. I have no plans to change procedures.

Central Bank Independence

Mr. Michael Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his policy regarding central bank independence for the United Kingdom. [12013]

Mrs. Angela Knight: The Government currently have no plans to make the Bank of England independent.

Manufacturing Investment

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the change in manufacturing investment in each G7 country in the last year. [12025]

Mrs. Angela Knight [holding answer 21 January 1997]: Figures for investment growth in 1996 compared with 1995 are not yet available for any G7 country.

The latest available international comparisons of investment do not cover manufacturing but rather investment by institutional sector and by type of capital good. Figures for each G7 country for 1995 can be found in the OECD publication, "Quarterly National Accounts", which is available in the House of Commons Library.

Pesticides and Fertilisers (Excise Duty)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the annual revenue which would be raised from introducing an excise duty of (a) 1 per cent., (b) 5 per cent. and (c) 10 per cent. on pesticides; and if he will make a statement; [10540]

Mr. Oppenheim: No estimates have been made recently of revenue which might be raised by introducing excise duty on pesticides and/or fertilisers.

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SCOTLAND

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each of the Ministers in his Department how many official ministerial visits they have undertaken since 1 January; and how many of these have been abroad. [9385]

Mr. Michael Forsyth: The number of visits made by Scottish Office Ministers during 1996 is as follows:

Number
Secretary of State255, including four overseas visits
Minister of State134
Mr. George Kynoch118
Mr. Raymond Robertson134, including 10 overseas visits
The Earl of Lindsay188, including 10 overseas visits

Personalised Number Plates

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many personalised number plates there are in the ownership of the executive agencies operated by his Department; and if he will list them. [11423]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: None.

Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston Bypass

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects consideration of the objections lodged against the draft road orders for the Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston bypass to have been completed; and when he expects that these proposals will be included in the Scottish Office's trunk road programme. [11329]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Consideration of objections lodged against the draft road orders is expected to be completed within the next three months. During that time objectors will be contacted by officials from the Scottish Office to determine what can be done to alleviate their concerns. The timing of construction will depend on the satisfactory completion of the statutory procedures and the relative priority of the scheme against competing demands for available resources when decisions on future starts are made.

Local Government Reorganisation

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what savings he estimates have been made as a result of local government reorganisation; and how these figures were calculated (a) in total and (b) for the financial year 1997-98. [11435]

Mr. Kynoch: The Government's view of the costs and savings associated with local government reorganisation are based on the report, "The Structure of Local Government in Scotland: Financial and Qualitative Appraisal of Options for Change" by Touche Ross, published in October 1994. Provision has been made, and is planned to be made, in the relevant local government finance settlements as shown in the table. It is too soon to estimate actual savings which will depend on decisions made by individual councils regarding their management and staffing structures.

22 Jan 1997 : Column: 608

£ million
1995-961996-971997-981998-99 (and beyond)
Transitional costs417020
--
Long-term costs (29 rather than nine councils delivering "regional" services)--626262
Long-term saving (from stream-lined central administration)--92102102
Net costs/(savings)4140(20)40)

M74-M6

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the cost involved in renaming the M74 the M6. [11860]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The A74, A74(M), M74 route will be renamed the M6 on completion of its upgrading to full motorway status. A detailed cost estimate for the necessary signposting changes is not as yet available. Costs will, however, be kept to a minimum by overplating of existing signs wherever practicable.

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the construction of the M74 to begin from the Scottish borders to junction 44 on the M6; and if he will make a statement. [11774]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The orders for the A74 Carlisle to Guardsmill improvement scheme are now being prepared for making. Once statutory procedures have been completed, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will decide on the future programme for this scheme, taking into account the merits of including it in the M6 design, build, finance and operate contract.

Local Authority Employment

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the number of employees, by category, in each local authority in Scotland and the totals at the latest available date. [11869]

Mr. Kynoch: I refer the hon. Member to table 8 of the press release "Joint Staffing Watch--July 1996 Return--Scotland", which shows the total full-time equivalent number of local authority employees by category of service in each local authority in July 1996. Tables 13(a) to 13(k) show, for each authority the total full-time equivalent number of employees by category of service by salary band. A copy of the press release is in the Library. Information on the number of employees in September 1996 will be published shortly.


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