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Sovereign's Works of Art

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress is being made on the compilation of the inventory of works of art held by the Sovereign. [26487]

Mr. Fisher: I understand from the Royal Household, which is responsible for the Royal Collection Department, that the first phase of the computerised inventory of the Royal Collection (basic data capture and inputting) has been completed on schedule. In the second phase, consideration will be given to the best way of refining this information, and making it more widely accessible.

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 458

Television Licences

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on arrangements for charging for TV licences in hotels and guest houses; and what revenue would be raised if such establishments had to buy a licence for each television set provided. [26505]

Mr. Fisher [holding answer 30 January 1998]: At present, a television licence taken out by the managers of a hotel covers the installation and use of television in up to 15 guest rooms, with an additional licence fee payable for each additional five rooms with television. The same licensing arrangements apply to guest houses offering units of overnight accommodation. Charging a separate licence fee for each guest room with television in such establishments would raise an estimated £31.5 million in additional licence fee revenue.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received on the use of the BBC's increase in licence fees. [26425]

Mr. Fisher: As at 29 January, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had received 25 representations from Members of Parliament and 89 from members of the public about the television licence fee increases due to come into force on 1 April this year. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State explained on 11 December 1997, Official Report, column 636, these increases are determined under a five-year formula announced by the previous Government. The Government consider that the formula remains appropriate. The increases this year reflect the additional costs faced by the BBC in launching its new digital services.

TREASURY

Taxation

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the administrative cost of changing back to joint taxation of married couples; and taxing child benefit.[24956]

Dawn Primarolo: The information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Pre-tax Income

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employees would lose, through higher tax and National Insurance Contributions and lower benefits (a) 100 per cent. or above, (b) 90 per cent. or above, (c) 80 per cent. or above, (d) 70 per cent. or above, (e) 60 per cent. or above and (f) 50 per cent. or above of the increase in pre-tax income resulting from (i) an extra five hours work per week and (ii) a pay increase of £20 per week. [23579]

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 459

Dawn Primarolo: The information requested is contained in the table.

Working an extra 5 hours a weekEarning an extra £20 a week
Above 100 per cent.105
Above 90 per cent. 140130
Above 80 per cent.490(1)285
Above 70 per cent.605645
Above 60 per cent.630665
Above 50 per cent.750680

The estimates are rounded to the nearest 5,000. Based on Family Expenditure Survey, uprated to 1997-98 levels for Great Britain. Figures are calculated for benefit units where at least one partner works 16 hours a week or more.


Tax and Benefits

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employees face marginal withdrawal rates tax and benefits of (a) 0 per cent. or gains, (b) less than 10 per cent., (c) less than 20 per cent., (d) less than 30 per cent., (e) less than 40 per cent. and (f) less than 50 per cent. if they were (i) to work an hour a week less and (ii) to earn £10 a week less before tax. [22979]

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 460

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates of the number of families facing marginal deduction rates of below 50 per cent. currently, and assuming they work an hour a week less, and earn £10 a week less:

Millions of families

Working one hour a week lessEarning £10 a week less
MDRs
0 per cent. or gains0.50.6
10 per cent. or less0.60.7
20 per cent. or less0.80.8
30 per cent. or less3.23.3
40 per cent. or less14.114.1
50 per cent. or less15.915.9

The estimates are rounded to the nearest 100,000. Based on Family Expenditure Survey data, uprated to 1997-98 levels. Figures are calculated for benefit units where at least one partner is in work.


Incapacity Benefit and Pensions

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the tax revenue generated by the taxation of (a) incapacity benefit and (b) state pensions in (i) the current and (ii) the previous three financial years; and if he will express that revenue as a percentage of the cost of those benefits. [24010]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 20 January 1998]: Information is given in the following table.

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 459

BenefitRetirement Pension (including SERPS and over 80s additions) Incapacity Benefit (received for more than 28 weeks of incapacity)
Yield in a full year from taxing benefit (£ million)Yield as a percentage of total benefit expenditureYield in a full year from taxing benefit (£ million)Yield as a percentage of total benefit expenditure
1994-951,9007(1)--(1)--
1995-962,000730(2)--
1996-972,1006701
1997-982,10061001

(1) Incapacity Benefit replaced sickness benefit and invalidity benefit from April 1995.

Prior to that date, both these benefits were not liable to tax.

(2) Less than 0.5 per cent.

The percentage estimates for incapacity benefit are based on the total benefit expenditure--a large part of which is not liable to tax.


2 Feb 1998 : Column: 459

Blind Trusts

Mr. Maclean: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the Treasury's definition of a blind trust. [25535]

Mr. Gordon Brown [holding answer 26 January 1998]: The expression "blind trust" describes arrangements which have existed under Governments of both Parties such as those referred to in paragraph 119 of the Ministerial Code issued by the Cabinet Office in July 1997, where investments are placed in a bare trust under which the Minister is not informed of changes in investments or of the state of the portfolio, but remains fully entitled to both the capital and income generated.

Social Security Benefits (Taxation)

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to tax in the future social security benefits which are presently not taxed; and if he will make a statement. [25293]

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 460

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 27 January 1998]: I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's Budget Statement.

Air Fares

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage rate of tax would need to be levied on air fares to produce the same revenue as the existing flat-rate air passenger duty. [26270]

Dawn Primarolo: It is not possible to make a reliable estimate.

Earnings

Mr. Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people earned over £100,000 in the United Kingdom in the last year for which figures are available.[26051]

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 461

Mrs. Liddell: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Tom Cox, dated 2 February 1998:

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked me to reply, as the Director of the Office for National Statistics, to your recent question on the number of people earning over £100,000 in the United Kingdom.




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