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18 Mar 2003 : Column 674W—continued

Council Tax

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the proportion of income households in each income decile pay in council tax (a) net of council tax benefit and (b) gross; what assumptions on take-up were made in coming to the estimate; and if he will make a statement. [102867]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Matthew Taylor, dated 18 March 2003:



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Council tax as a percentage of gross income, 2000–01—Great Britain
Percentages

Decile groups of all households ranked by equivalised disposable income
Bottom2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9thTopAll households
Gross council tax8.85.84.73.93.22.82.42.11.91.32.6
Net council tax(5)5.13.63.53.22.82.62.32.11.91.22.2

(5) Net council taxes rates after deducting discounts.

Source:

Office for National Statistics, 'The effects of taxes and benefits on household income,' published on the ONS website and in Economic Trends No. 582 May 2002


Dormant Accounts

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Inland Revenue next intends to calculate the total amount held in dormant bank accounts. [102938]

Ruth Kelly: The Inland Revenue has no plans to undertake an exercise to estimate the total amount held on deposit in dormant bank accounts.

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what method was employed by the Inland Revenue in its 1997 study to calculate the total amount held in dormant bank accounts. [102939]

Ruth Kelly: The Inland Revenue conducted a desk review of publicly available information.

Equitable Life

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what special tests relating to matching assets and liabilities were made in the case of Equitable Life in the last 10 years. [103479]

Ruth Kelly: None. Equitable Life is subject to the same standard of prudential supervision as other regulated firms.

Exports

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures are being taken to improve and protect the world market share of exports of merchandise of the United Kingdom, with particular reference to exports to the Eurozone. [101971]

Nigel Griffiths: I have been asked to reply.

The Government promote open trade globally through a range of policies including its support for the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations and the European Single Market. Through Trade Partners UK, the Government aim to enhance the competitiveness of companies in the UK through overseas sales and investment.

TPUK is currently providing support to more than 1,500 companies under its flagship "TPUK—your passport to export success" initiative to develop new and novice exporters.

Income Tax

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of income is paid in tax by those earning (a) the lowest 20 per cent. and (b) the top 5 per cent. in earnings; and if he will make a statement. [102505]

Dawn Primarolo: It is estimated from the New Earnings Survey that the 20th percentile point and the 95th percentile point are £14,350 and £53,600 respectively.

Estimates are in the following table.

Total income rangeIncome tax as a percentage of total income
Less than £14,3506
£53,600 and over31

The estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes and are consistent with the November 2002 pre-Budget report.


Inland Revenue

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Inland Revenue has spent on its internet tax return system since its inception; what the estimated (a) manning and (b) set-up costs were; what estimate he has made of the percentage of tax payers that will use the system; and if he will make a statement. [102507]

Dawn Primarolo: The Inland Revenue has spent a total of £34.5 million on its internet service for Self Assessment since it's inception. This includes the full

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range of costs, including the costs of IT Infrastructure, Development and staff costs as well as other associated costs such as postage and marketing.

(a) The estimated costs are as follows:




(b) As my answer of 19 July 2001, Official Report, column 382W, set out, the estimated cost of implementing the Internet service for Self Assessment for years one and two was just under £10 million.

The Inland Revenue has estimated that 25 per cent. of taxpayers will file electronically by 2005–06.

Insurance

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with insurance companies about the effect on the (a) quarrying and (b) construction industries of increases in insurance premiums; and if he will make a statement. [103480]

Ruth Kelly: Ministers and officials from HM Treasury and other Government departments have regular discussions with the insurance industry on a range of issues, including the cost of insurance premiums.

Mr. Beggs: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he plans to introduce to mitigate the effects of high insurance premiums on (a) companies and (b) self-employed people. [103481]

Ruth Kelly: The Government is aware of the recent increase in insurance premiums and the problems faced by some businesses in obtaining affordable insurance cover. The Department for Work and Pensions is currently reviewing the operation of Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance. The review will report to Ministers in spring.

Clive Efford: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when he will respond to the report from the Financial Services Authority on the regulation of the sale of travel insurance by tour operators and travel agents; [103748]

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Ruth Kelly: I refer my hon. Friend to the answers I gave in response to my hon. Friend the Member for Workington (Tony Cunningham) on 27 February 2003, Official Report, column 388.

Mapeley

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Grimsby of 29 January 2003, Official Report, columns 300–01W, on Mapeley, if the Inland Revenue has access to Mapeley's accounts. [99135]

Dawn Primarolo: Under the terms of the STEPS contract, the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise have access to the accounts of Mapeley STEPS

Contractors Ltd. only.


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