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Unpaid Tax

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his estimate is of the amount of unpaid tax in each year since 1993–94, broken down by (a) income tax, (b) VAT, (c) customs duties, (d) corporation tax and (e) other taxes; and if he will make a statement. [95431]

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Dawn Primarolo:

Inland Revenue

The Inland Revenue's accounting for tax runs to the end of October each year. The table below shows the amounts of unpaid assessed and unassessed taxes at the end of each accounting year. The figures for uncollected tax represent net tax charged but not paid at the accounting date, and are a snapshot of the position at that date. Amounts of tax unpaid at the accounting date have, over the period covered in the table, approximately halved as a proportion of the tax collected during the year.


Position at end ofyear to 31 OctoberIncome tax other than PAYECorporate taxOther tax(7)Total

(7) These figures include estimates for the amount of unpaid self assessed corporate tax.

Customs and Excise

An analysis fo Customs' debt management performance, covering VAT, Customs duties and other indirect taxes, for years from 1998 is available in their annual report and accounts 2001–2002 which was published December 2002, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. The figures for "debt" represent a snapshot of liabilities established and reported for collection as at the financial year-end and include assessed liabilities subject to dispute, and so not immediately available for recovery, and assessed liabilities generated through anti-fraud activity.

For both Departments, much of the tax uncollected at the balance of each account is subsequently collected, and most of the amount outstanding attracts either an interest charge or default surcharge.

VAT Exemption

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he has estimated the net change in value added tax revenue which would result from the proposed VAT exemption for welfare services provided by state-regulated private welfare agencies; [100099]

Tim Loughton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the net revenue implications of changes to VAT treatment of

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services connected with the care and protection of children and young people by independent fostering agencies; [100833]

John Healey: The Government's decision at the end of last year to abolish VAT on essential care in the home will cut the cost of home care for many of the 60,000 people who currently buy in these services. Someone previously paying £400 a month for care could see a reduction of £40 in their bill as a result of these VAT changes, which have been discussed between officials and a wide range of organisations.

The changes will cost an estimated £30 million per year, of which a negligible amount relates to services connected with the care and protection of children and young people by independent fostering agencies.

Welfare services provided by state-regulated private welfare agencies can be exempt from 31 January. Independent fostering agencies, whose supplies are to local authorities, may choose to postpone changing the VAT treatment of their supplies until 1 April while they make the contractual and financial arrangements that are necessary for them to implement the change. This was announced in Customs and Excise business brief 01/03, issued on 20 January, and Customs additionally wrote to agencies on 24 and 30 January.


Social and Environmental Reporting

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to make social and environmental reporting mandatory for medium and large companies. [99263]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Government's plans for a revised reporting regime for all companies were contained in the White Paper "Modernising Company Law" (Cm 5553), published in July 2002. This included the proposal that economically significant companies should be required to prepare an Operating and Financial Review as part of their annual financial statements and reports. The Review would include information on social and environmental matters where those were relevant to an informed assessment of the company. We intend to bring forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time permits.


Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations she has received from bodies representing the accountancy profession on the use of the term Accountant. [100027]

Miss Melanie Johnson [holding answer 28 February 2003]: None, excepting in their response to the Department's recent consultation on the Review of the Regulatory Regime of the Accountancy Profession, the

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Irish Institute of Chartered Accountants raised a point about defining the term "accountant" in Irish and in UK legislation.

Age Diversity

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when her Department completed its diagnostic review for compliance with the Government's Code of Practice for Age Diversity in Employment; and what changes her Department plans to make following the review. [99424]

Ms Hewitt: The DTI has taken a number of steps to embed the provisions of the Code of Practice, produced in 1999. This has led to the removal of all obvious and unjustifiable age discrimination including in DTI job advertisements and in selection criteria. The Code has been superseded by the Cabinet Office's Winning the Generation Game report and we have adopted, or have already met, its recommendations for Departments. This includes from August 2002 giving all staff in the DTI below the Senior Civil Service the option of continuing to work to age 65.

Bottled Water

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many incidences and what total volume of bottled water has been withdrawn from sale in the United Kingdom since 1992, broken down by reasons for withdrawal; and what prosecutions have resulted. [99216]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) only has reliable data on national withdrawals of bottled water following FSA advice in a food hazard warning.

Since April 2000, when the FSA was formed, there has been only one withdrawal of bottled water as a result of a food hazard warning and the FSA has no information on the volume of water withdrawn. The reason for withdrawal was microbial contamination.

Formal action in the case of this withdrawal, which took place in October 2002, is a matter for the relevant local authority. The FSA does not collate information on withdrawals instigated by local authorities, or on withdrawals initiated by the water bottler.

Employment Tribunals Service

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Employment Tribunals Service makes payment and administers the arrangements for the provision for a sign language interpreter or other forms of communication support when requested by a deaf person coming before a tribunal. [92812]

Alan Johnson [holding answer 27 January 2003]: The Employment Tribunals Service (ETS) pays reasonable fees and costs for the provision of a professional interpreter, palantypist, lip-speaker, or other professional form of communication support when requested by a deaf person coming before a tribunal.

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While there are no limits on interpreters' fees, the ETS uses the rates for interpreters charged by the major agencies as a guide. The Tribunal may permit a friend or relative to act as an interpreter and he or she may claim the same travel and other expenses (but not a fee) as the deaf person.

The ETS is able to put deaf people in touch with appropriately qualified interpreters via a national register but it does not administer the provision. Such matters are left to the individual concerned because of differing personal requirements.

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