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14 Sept 2004 : Column 1510W—continued

EU Budget

Ann Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his projection is of the percentage of gross domestic product the UK will pay to the European Union budget under the post-2006 financial settlement. [188798]

Mr. Timms: The new Financial Perspective for the period from January 2007 will not be agreed by member states before next year. The Government's latest forecast of UK net contributions to the EC Budget, which covers the period to 2007–08, was included in a footnote to Table A1 of the Statistical Annex to the 2004 Spending Review (Cm 6237) published on 12 July 2004. This forecast is used for public expenditure planning purposes and assumes an appropriately uprated roll forward of the status quo. It is without prejudice to the Government's assessment of the likely outcome of the negotiations on the new financial perspective.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made towards an IMF programme for Iraq. [188347]

John Healey: The Iraqi authorities are currently engaged in regular and ongoing discussions with the IMF on a possible programme for Iraq.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to assist economic reform in Iraq. [188348]

John Healey: The UK aims to support economic reform in Iraq in the short term by working towards rapid agreement on an IMF programme, and by securing agreement in the Paris Club to write off the vast majority of Iraq's foreign debt by the end of the year. The UK will continue to support the efforts of the Iraqi authorities to develop a sustainable, stable and appropriate fiscal and monetary framework for Iraq, and to develop and implement policies to achieve and sustain rapid growth, high employment and poverty reduction.

Leasehold Property Sales

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to permit Muslims to buy
 
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leasehold property on the same or similar basis to freehold within the provisions in the Budget to prevent double stamp duty and allow purchases without payment of interest as a consequence. [188013]

Mr. Timms: The Government want to see consumers benefit from a wide choice and innovation in the financial services market. The Finance Act 2003 introduced two reliefs (s72 and s73) for purchases funded by "alternative property financing", which enables individuals to finance a property without paying interest. The combined effect of these reliefs is to place the amount of stamp duty land tax due when purchasing property using these arrangements on a level footing with the amount due on the purchase of property when using 'conventional' mortgage products. This will remove a significant barrier to the development of alternative property financing, thus benefiting a range of consumers with increased choice in the mortgage market.

The legislation does not discriminate between freehold and leasehold properties, so both can be purchased using alternative property financing without a greater quantity of stamp duty being incurred than under a conventional mortgage.
 
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National Debt

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) the value and (b) the interest paid on the national debt has been in each year since 1990. [188953]

Mr. Timms: The measure used in this Government's sustainable' investment rule and in international comparisons of debt is Public Sector Net Debt as a percentage of GDP.

Figures for public sector net debt and central Government debt interest payments in current prices are available on the Office for National Statistics website: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/tsdtables1.asp?vlnk=fsf. Table 1.1A: Public Sector Finances (series RUTN and RUTO) shows figures for public sector net debt in £ billion and as a percentage of GDP. Table 1.1C: Central Government (series NMFX) shows debt interest payments in £ billions. No data is available for debt interest payments by local authorities or public corporations.

Staff Recruitment

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) set retirement age applying to all or most personnel and (b) maximum age beyond which applications for employment will not be considered is in (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies. [186372]

Mr. Timms: The information requested is available in the following table:
Department/ Agency (a) Set retirement age(a) Maximum retirement age(b) Maximum age employment applications
considered
HM TreasuryAge 60Age 60Age 59
Valuation OfficeAge 60Age 65Age 64
Royal MintAge 60Age 65Permanent application up to age 59, Casual applications up to age 64
Debt Management OfficeAge 60Age 70Age 60 unless there is a business justification for an older person
National Savings and InvestmentsAge 60NoneNone—Age, like other diversity data is not considered as part of NSI's selection criteria which is purely role related.
Office National StatisticsAge 65Age 65Age 64 right tip until 65th Birthday
Government Actuaries Dept.Age 60NoneGAD currently does not operate a maximum age limit requirement.
Inland RevenueAge 60Age 65None up to Age 65
Office of Government Commerce(8)Age 60(8)NoneNone up to retirement age
HM Customs and Excise(9)(9)Age 65


(8) OGC buying solutions retirement age is currently 65 for Ban 1 (Administrative Officer equivalent) staff and 60 for all other staff. However as with OGC normal staff, consideration would be given to staff working beyond this, subject to business needs.
(9) In HM Customs and Excise the set (maximum) retirement age is:
60 for staff at Bands 7 (HEO equivalent) and above, of which there were 7,877 in post (on 1 July 2004);
62 for staff at Bands 5 and 6 (EO equivalent), of which there were 8,143 in post and in post; and
65 for staff at Band 4 (AO equivalent) and below, of which there were 7,182 in post.




Stamp Duty

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the revenue implication of restructuring stamp duty on residential property sales to charge marginal rates of (a) 0 per cent. on property sales of £120,000 or less, 3 per cent. on sales between £120,000 and £249,999, 4 per cent. on sales between £250,000 and £499,999 and 8 per cent. on sales of £500,000 and above, (b) 0 per cent. on property sales up to £100,000, 3 per cent. on sales between £100,000 and £249,999, 5 per cent. on sales between £250,000 and £499,999 and 8 per cent. on sales of £500,000 and above, (c) 0 per cent. on property sales up to £100,000, 2 per cent. on sales between £100,000 and £249,999, 5 per cent. on sales between £250,000 and £499,999 and 8 per cent. on sales of £500,000 or above, (d) 0 per cent. on property sales up to £110,000, 3 per cent. on sales between £110,000 and £249,999, 5 per cent. on sales between £250,000 and £499,999 and 8 per cent. on sales of £500,000 and (e) 0 per cent. sales up to £110,000, 2 per cent. on sales between £110,000 and £249,999, 5 per cent. on sales between £249,999 and £499,999, 8 per cent. on sales of £500,000 or above. [188011]


 
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Mr. Timms [holding answer 13 September 2004]: The estimated revenue cost, in 2005–06, of restructuring stamp duty on residential property sales according to the five schemes described in the question is given in the following tables:
Tax regime 1 Marginal rates
Price of residential property
£0-£119,999 (percentage)0
£120,000-£249,999 (percentage)3
£250,000-£499,999 (percentage)4
£500,000 and above (percentage)8
Revenue cost (£ million)690

Tax regime 2
Marginal rates
Tax regime 3 Marginal rates
Price of residential property
£0-£99,999 (percentage)00
£100,000-£249,999 (percentage)32%
£250,000-£499,999 (percentage)55
£500,000 and above (percentage)88
Revenue cost (£ million)-60690

Tax regime 4
Marginal rates
Tax regime 5 Marginal rates
Price of residential property
£0-£109,999 (percentage)00
£110,000-£249,993 (percentage)32
£250,000-£499,999 (percentage)55
£500,000 above (percentage)88
Revenue cost (£ million)190860

This does not include any allowance for behavioural changes.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in which neighbourhoods in Newcastle exemptions and remissions of stamp duty apply; what the value of the exemptions and remissions so far granted has been; and whether the boundaries of the neighbourhoods will be revised in the light of the new index of multiple deprivation. [188711]

Mr. Timms: The list of wards in Newcastle which qualify for deprived areas relief are Walker, Monkchester, Elswick, West City, Byker, Scotswood, Benwell, Woolsington, Moorside, Fawdon, Blakelaw, Kenton, Wingroye, Fenham, Newburn, Walkergate and Denton.

The value of relief given in the listed Newcastle wards between inception of the relief at the end of November 2001, and the end of March 2004, is estimated at around £4 million.

There will be no changes to the qualifying areas before December 2006.


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