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Registration (Births, Deaths and Marriages)

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the options paper on registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages will be presented by the Registrar General to Ministers, as stated in his written answer to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) of 30 June 1998, Official Report, column 175, and when he expects to publish proposals for reform. [62552]

Ms Hewitt: The Registrar General expects to present the options paper to Ministers shortly.

Proposals for reform will be included in the consultation document arising from the Civil Registration review announced in the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire (Ms Lawrence) on 7 December 1998, Official Report, columns 27-28.

Working Families Tax Credit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average weekly gains from the introduction of the working families tax credit will be by decile of (a) benefit unit income and (b) household income. [62244]

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Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 3 December 1998]: The table shows estimated average gains arising from the introduction of Working Families Tax Credit for those eligible for the credit. The overall average gain including childcare costs is estimated to be £17.20 per week. Individual decile gains do not include gains arising from the changes to the treatment of childcare costs in Working Families Tax Credit or other behavioural changes arising from the introduction of the credit, as they can not be reliably apportioned across deciles.

Average gain of gainers from introduction of Working Families
Tax Credit by decile £ per week

DecileBenefit unit incomeHousehold income
Lowest(8)--14.40
27nd17.4018.60
3rd16.1012.40
4th12.2015.20
5th14.9012.60
6th12.00(8)--
7th(8)--(8)--
8th(8)--(8)--
9th(8)--(8)--
Highest(8)--(8)--

(8) No gainers or number of gainers too few to calculate reliable estimate of average gain

Note:

Deciles are defined in terms of equivalised income on a benefit unit and household income basis using the McClements scale; decile boundaries are higher for households than benefit units.

Source:

These estimates have been derived from projections of Family Expenditure Survey data to 1999-2000


Revised Earnings Index

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which sectors of the workforce were re-allocated between the public and private sectors of the economy in the now suspended revised earnings index. [62905]

Ms Hewitt: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

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Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Jim Cousins, dated 10 December 1998:



    Reclassification mainly affected privatised parts of public transport. The introduction of legal status rather than nature of business led to a very small number of reclassifications of individual enterprises. Confidentiality restrictions prevent me from naming these.

Vehicle Excise Duty

Mr. Grogan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many vehicles qualified for the exemption from vehicle excise duty for historic and classic cars in each of the last 10 years. [62691]

Ms Hewitt: The exemption for vehicles over 25 years of age dates from November 1995.

Thousand

YearExempt: Tax class 88 vehicles All vehicles Cars
1995(9)over 25 years of age120.090.8
1996(9)over 25 years of age278.4173.3
1997(9)built before 1 January 1973325.7203.4
1998(10)built before 1 January 1973337.7208.8

(9) At year end

(10) At end of June 1998


Departmental Staff

Mr. Robert Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in his Department are currently on secondment from private companies; and if he will list them, their companies and their current responsibilities within Government. [62830]

Ms Hewitt: At present, 13 staff in the Treasury and the Debt Management Office are on secondment from private companies. Details of the seconding authorities and the secondees' Departmental responsibilities are shown in the table. It is our normal policy not to disclose the names of individual officials.

10 Dec 1998 : Column: 301

Details of private sector firms currently seconding staff to HM Treasury and staffs' responsibilities as at 1 December 1998

Seconding organisationResponsibilities
Barclays CapitalExport and export credits policy and oversight of the Export Credits Guarantee Department.
Midland BankProvision of advice and guidance on small and medium sized enterprises; business associations and representative bodies; business links and other intermediaries.
Tarmac plcPrivate Finance Initiative (PFI) Adviser in the Procurement Group with responsibility for: links between PFI and mainstream procurement; support to departmental Procurement Units on PFI issues; and support to Treasury led Taskforce on procurement issues.
Pannell Kerr Forster AssociatesProvision of commercial, financial and accounting advice on private sector companies, and public and private sector commercial undertakings. Support to other work areas in the Treasury, as well as support to OFGAS, OFFER, OFTEL and OFT.
Ernst & YoungDeveloping policy on aspects of public private partnerships, including the guidance on selling services into wider markets and on parts of the Treasury's on-going work on productivity.
Manpower plcProvision of advice and guidance on strategic issues relating to supply chain management, electronic commerce and procurement business plans, to central Government Departments and Treasury officials.
Securities Investment BoardDeals with money laundering, financial crime and subjects in the wider area of regulatory policy.
PricewaterhouseCoopersProvision of economic advice on housing and urban regeneration planning policies and programmes. Works on social exclusion.
Arthur AndersenProvides policy support where necessary to the leading Department on the Public-Private Partnerships for National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and the London Underground. Maintains Treasury interests on the completion of the Jubilee Line extension and oversees progress on the Belfast Port Public/Private Partnership.
PricewaterhouseCoopersMonitoring and control of expenditure commitments in relation to PFI; assurances of funding and other expenditure issues; value for money/public sector comparators; management and measurement of risk; payment mechanisms; tax and accounting matters; reduction of bid costs; international interest including liaison with international financial institutions.
Arthur AndersenProvides advice and guidance on corporation and capital tax policy issues.
Arthur AndersenEncourages enterprise and economic growth in industry.
PricewaterhouseCoopersProvision of accountancy advice and guidance to the Treasury, including accounting implications of PFI projects.

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10 Dec 1998 : Column: 303

Charity Tax Review

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Government expect to conclude their review of charity taxation; and if he will make a statement. [62907]

Ms Hewitt: The Government received over 3,000 replies in the first phase of the Review and are determined to consider carefully all the options before launching the next phase. We intend to publish a Consultation Document as soon as possible.

EU Budget

Mr. Gill: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) amount and (b) proportion of revenues raised by VAT have been earmarked for financing the EU budget. [63099]

Dawn Primarolo: The latest estimate for the gross UK VAT contribution to the EU budget is £4,034 million in 1998-99. The amount paid is related to a notional harmonised VAT base, covering the same goods and services in all EU member states, and is not directly proportional to VAT revenues raised in the UK. UK VAT revenues are forecast to be £52.6 billion in 1998-99.

Informal Economy

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the size as a proportion of gross domestic product of the informal economy (a) in the United Kingdom, (b) in each region and (c) in each nation; and what assessment he has made of trends in the size of the informal economy. [62906]

Ms Hewitt: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Tim Holt to Mr. Jim Cousins, dated 10 December 1998:



    Definitions of what is included in the informal economy are not entirely clear, and therefore no official estimates are available for the UK. However, the ONS has done work based on the following three definitions:


10 Dec 1998 : Column: 304


    In the context of household satellite accounts, 'movement between the formal and informal economy' is movement between the economy measured by GDP and unpaid household production.


    Illegal economic activities are also sometimes described as 'informal'.


    The activity of informal own-account enterprises, who are registered with the Inland Revenue, are included in National Accounts estimates of mixed income. Adjustments are made in the National Accounts to allow for the incomes of those who are not registered for income tax. However, this evasion adjustment does not claim to measure the total size of the 'hidden economy'. Section 14.20-24 from the 1998 National Accounts Concepts, Sources and Methods describes these adjustments, and I enclose a copy of this. Estimates for the value of household production were published in October 1997, based on Time Use data from 1995-- a copy of the article is enclosed. The results of some research into the illegal economy were published in Economic Trends in July 1998--a copy of that article is also enclosed.


    There is no regional or sub-national breakdown for any of these data. Because much of the work is developmental, there are no time series, so it is not possible to assess the rate and direction of any change.


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