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7 Nov 2002 : Column 784Wcontinued
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 10 July 2002, Official Report, column 1030w, on the Royal Mint; if he will make a statement on progress on the independent review. 
Ruth Kelly: The table shows the number of occasions on which each of the Royal Mint's non-executive directors have been able to attend meetings of the Board and Audit Committee in the last year (period covered 1 November 2001 to 31 October 2002).
|Management Board||Audit Committee|
The non-executive directors' contribution of course goes much wider than this, offering advice and challenge in less formal ways.
7 Nov 2002 : Column 785W
Mr. Simon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the (a) statutory, (b) economic and (c) security reasons preventing the Treasury from splitting its contract for circulating coins between manufacturer, design and specification. 
Ruth Kelly: The Royal Mint, a government department financed by a trading fund, is the part of central government currently responsible for the manufacture and issue of UK circulation coins. It carries out these functions in agreement with HM Treasury as the department with overall responsibility for the economy and financial affairs. The Royal Mint Advisory Committee, a separate public body, the members of which are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Chancellor, is currently responsible for advice on coin design.
Ruth Kelly: The detail of the Royal Mint's agreement with the Treasury for the supply of domestic circulating coin is commercially confidential and cannot be disclosed in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. The agreement is a challenging one for the Mint, providing a commercial rate of return below that expected of the business overall. The Mint believes that there is no cross-subsidisation involved between the UK circulating coin element of the business and the overseas business, and is preparing with the involvement of the National Audit Office a confidential note for the Public Accounts Committee which sets out the evidence.
Mr. Simon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) statutory and (b) security issues preclude the Treasury from putting out to tender its requirement for (i) UK circulating coins and (ii) manufacture of blanks-for-sterling coins. 
The Treasury keeps the arrangements for the supply of circulation coins under review. The current arrangements with the Royal Mint have several years to run. They are designed to enable both the Treasury and the Mint to plan for the medium term on a commercial basis, and to ensure a cost-effective supply of coins to meet demand.
It is only finished coins that are obtained from the Royal Mint. Whether to purchase blanks from outside sources, for use in the production of UK circulation coinage, is a commercial decision for the Mint.
7 Nov 2002 : Column 786W
Mr. Simon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what the (a) sales and (b) revenue forecasts for (i) UK and (ii) overseas coin sales the Capital Investment Programme for the Royal Mint in 1997 to 2000 was based. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to my hon. Friend Member for Truro and St. Austell Matthew Taylor of 15 October 2002, Official Report, column 600W, on inheritance tax, if he will break down the cost of the inheritance tax cultural exemption scheme; and what the value was of each object accepted. 
|Net effect of conditional exemption (relief #8 million, less tax clawed back in respect of items losing conditional exemption #10 million)||+#2 million|
|Tax value of items accepted in lieu of tax||-#8 million|
|Cost of other heritage reliefs (private treaty sales and maintenance funds)||-#2 million|
|Net cost for 20012002||-#8 million|
These costs are recorded for the year in which all heritage aspects of a particular case are settled. Details of items accepted in lieu of tax, and the tax they can settle, are published by the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries by reference to the year (often earlier) when an acceptance is agreed. Their 20002002 Report can be found at http://www.resource.gov.uk/action/ail/OOail.asp.
Exemption 15 (Statutory and other restrictions) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information applies to the value of objects taken into account for purposes of the other heritage reliefs.
7 Nov 2002 : Column 787W
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's projected income from stamp duty on share transactions is for (a) the current financial year and (b) each of the next three financial years; and what income has been received in each financial year since 1997. 
Ruth Kelly: Details of the Stamp Duty projections are not published. Stamp Duty receipts arising from transactions in shares and other securities, for the financial years since 1997, are given on the Inland Revenue website at: http://www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/stats/stampduty/sdt011.htm.
Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the European Commission regarding his proposed policy of abolishing stamp duty on commercial properties in rundown areas; and when he expects approval to be given. 
John Healey: The extension of the stamp duty relief for non-residential property in disadvantaged areas is a key part of the Government's overall drive to regenerate deprived areas. We have already exempted from stamp duty all property transactions in disadvantaged areas where the consideration is less than #150,000.
Officials have been pursuing full approval of this relief as state aid since we notified the measure to the European Commission. In addition, I met Commissioner Monti in September to discuss our application for approval as state aid of this measure. As part of a wider discussion on a range of issues, the Chancellor discussed this issue with Commissioner Monti in October.
John Healey: Between the implementation of the relief at the end of November 2001 and the end of August 2002, relief had been granted for around 35,000 residential properties. This figure does not include transactions where the consideration is less than #60,000 since these are not currently chargeable to stamp duty.
7 Nov 2002 : Column 788W
Mr. Flight: To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate to how many purchases last year his proposed policy of abolishing stamp duty on commercial properties in rundown areas would have applied had it been in operation; 
Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what provision he has made to encourage urban regeneration in the event that the European Commission rejects his proposed policy of abolishing stamp duty on commercial properties in rundown areas. 
John Healey: We continue to work closely with the European Commission to progress our application for state aid approval for the extension of the existing relief from stamp duty in disadvantaged areas which is part of a wider package of measures designed to regenerate the most deprived areas of the UK.
Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much tax revenue he estimates the Treasury saved last year through purchasers failing to apply for relief from stamp duty on purchases of properties worth less than #150,000; 
John Healey: I regret that this information is not available. The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone who is entitled to this relief receives what is due to them. Where the relief is not claimed but is subsequently discovered to have been due, the Inland Revenue will make a full repayment of any duty paid.
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