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Child Benefits

Ms Kelly: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what are the (a) post-tax earnings and (b) total child-related benefits of a dual-earner couple with two children under the age of 11 years, both earning the minimum wage and where one works (i) full-time and (ii) 16 hours a week; [106137]

Dawn Primarolo: Figures for those earning the minimum wage and with two children under 11 are given in the table. Child benefit is the only child-related benefit.


Earnings, less income tax and National Insurance contributions, plus Working Families Tax CreditChild Benefit
Both working full time256.8024.00
One working full time, one working 16 hours per week231.4524.00
Lone Parent
Working full time205.53(23)24.00
Working 16 hours per week149.60(23)24.00

(23) Lone parents who claimed child benefit before July 1998 and have claimed continuously as lone parents are entitled to a higher rate of child benefit. It can also be claimed by lone parents in continuous receipt of the lone parent premium in IS/JSA moving off benefit into work; or who come off certain other benefits providing the claim is made within one month of coming off the other benefit. With two children under 11 such lone parents would receive £26.70 instead of £24.00.

National Insurance

Mr. Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the additional yield for National Insurance contributions in each of the next five financial years if the upper earnings limit for employee contributions and the upper profits limit for self-employed contributions were to be raised in line with average earnings. [103142]

25 Jan 2000 : Column: 215W

Dawn Primarolo: The levels of upper earnings limits have been announced for 2000-01 and 2001-02. However, if the limits were increased in the following three years by average earnings instead of inflation then the additional yield this would generate is shown in the table:

Weekly level of the UEL/UPL if increased by average earnings from 2001-02 (£)Yield against current proposals (£ million)

The estimates are consistent with projections given in the November 1999 pre-Budget Report.

Tax and Benefits Reform

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his tax and benefits reforms in making work pay. [106862]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government are committed to creating employment opportunities for those who want to work while providing security for those who cannot.

A key element of this strategy is to ensure that work pays by creating the right incentives, through the tax and benefit system, at every level of the labour market.

The Working Families Tax Credit, combined with the reforms to income tax and National Insurance Contributions, extends employment opportunity for all and increases the rewards from work.

    The Working Families Tax Credit helps make work pay for 1.4 million low and middle income working families with children who gain, on average, £24 a week more than under Family Credit;

    The 10p rate of income tax halves the marginal tax rate for 2.3 million people of which 1.7 million are low paid;

    Reforms to National Insurance Contributions will remove 1 million low paid people from national insurance.


Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of its income an average family paid in direct and indirect taxes from 1970-71 to date; what estimate he has made of the proportion from 2000-01 to 2004-05; and on what assumptions these figures are based. [104278]

Dawn Primarolo: The available data are as follows:

Percentage of income paid in direct taxes by an average family


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Direct taxes are defined as Income Tax plus National Insurance minus Child Benefit. In line with long-standing convention, Child Benefit is treated as a negative component of income tax, making it consistent with child tax allowances prior to 1976. In order to provide data back to 1970 figures provided are for a one earner married couple on male mean earnings with two children.

No estimates of the tax burden at the detailed household level are available beyond 2001-02.

Estimating the impact of indirect taxes is imprecise as spending patterns vary widely between households with the same composition and income. The level of council tax payments will also vary depending on where families live.


Dr. Iddon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 17 January 2000, Official Report, column 352W, on VAT, what assessment he has made of the feasibility of making further reductions on the level of VAT charged on the installation of energy saving measures. [106696]

Dawn Primarolo: This Government have already introduced a reduced rate of 5 per cent., the lowest rate possible in EC law, for grant-funded installations of energy saving materials. EC law does not permit us to introduce a reduced rate for supplies of energy saving materials for do-it-yourself installation.

Windfall Tax

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he plans to use all the receipts from the windfall tax by May 2002. [106797]

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Dawn Primarolo: Table 4.1 of the 1999 Pre-Budget Report sets out the latest estimated allocation of the windfall tax receipts between different welfare-to-work programmes.


Animal Welfare

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if a licensed establishment would need to obtain permission from his Department to cut the vocal cords of dogs. [106656]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Any procedure performed on a living animal at an establishment designated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 for an experimental or other scientific purpose that might have the effect of causing pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm to that animal would require a licence. This would include the cutting of the vocal cords of dogs. However, if that procedure was performed as an act of veterinary surgery, and not for an experimental or other scientific purpose, a licence under the 1986 Act would not be required.

Commercial dog breeding establishments and licensed pet shops, that sell dogs to the general public, are subject to licensing control under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 as amended by the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999. The Home Office has issued detailed guidance to local authorities on the legislation but it has no role to play in enforcing this legislation, which is the responsibility of the local authorities.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many pigs were used in the xenotransplantation research carried out in the UK during (a) 1996, (b) 1997, (c) 1998 and (d) 1999; [106659]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: My officials are seeking to collate these data but require more time. I will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to review and improve the regulations concerning the standards of care and welfare of circus animals; and if he will make a statement; [106662]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government are considering recommendations about circus animals submitted by the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, at this time. We have not prepared new regulations or requirements concerning the training and welfare of such animals, but a draft code has been prepared by the Association of Circus Proprietors. This seeks to promote best practice on all aspects of the care of circus animals and, as part of that approach, it requires trainers to be suitably qualified and to use positive reinforcement methods. We are examining the draft.

There is likely to be little opportunity for Government legislation on the matter in the near future, but it is already an offence under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 to cause any captive animal unnecessary suffering. Further protection is provided by the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925. Under this, police and local authority officers have inspection powers and recourse to magistrates courts, which may make orders prohibiting or restricting the use of performing animals that have been cruelly treated when trained or exhibited.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of controls on pet suppliers; and if he will make a statement. [106660]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We consider the existing controls to be adequate and have no plan to review them at the moment.

Pet shops are licensed by local authorities under the Pet Animals Act 1951 (as amended in 1983), and subject to licence conditions to safeguard the health and welfare of the animals in their charge. In addition, it is an offence under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 to cause unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animal--this applies to pet shop keepers as to anyone else. Certain endangered animals imported for the pet trade are also protected under European Wildlife Regulations, which implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In addition, some exotic pets can only lawfully be sold to people subject to stringent licence controls imposed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, and there are statutory restrictions on trade in United Kingdom wildlife species.

The Pet Care Trust has produced a code of practice for retailers of pets. This highlights key licence conditions, and includes a recommendation that, where appropriate, customers of pet shops should be given leaflets or other literature containing advice on how to care for the animals they have purchased.

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