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3 Nov 2005 : Column 1243W—continued

Ministerial Pensions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Prime Minister what the cost to public funds would be of providing the full pension package to which they are entitled to (a) him and (b) the Lord Chancellor were they to retire today. [18572]

The Prime Minister: The information requested cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs.


Business Mileage Allowance

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will uprate the business mileage allowances payable to (a) people using their own cars for business purposes and (b) company car drivers in line with fuel prices. [24632]

John Healey: The statutory tax free mileage allowance rates for people using their own cars for business purposes are intended to cover all expenses relating to the running costs of a car. They are set at a level to encourage the use of more environmentally friendly cars. The Chancellor keeps these rates under review and considers changes in the context of the Budget and pre-Budget report statements.

Company car drivers are entitled to tax relief for the actual cost of fuel used on business mileage, but to make life easier for all, HMRC sets Advisory Fuel Rates which it will accept as, on average, reflecting fuel costs without giving rise to a tax or NICs liability. The Advisory Fuel Rates were reviewed and uprated in July 2005 to reflect the sustained increase in the price of fuel. HMRC is committed to review the rates when there is a variation by 10 per cent. from the fuel prices used at that time.

Capital Gains Tax

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of beneficiaries of (a) taper relief and (b) exemption from
3 Nov 2005 : Column 1244W
capital gains accrued but unrealised at death in (i) 2004–05 and (ii) 2005–06, broken down by income decile; and if he will make a statement. [22773]

Dawn Primarolo: The number of individuals liable to capital gains tax in 2003–04 (the latest year for which data are available) benefiting from taper relief is shown in the following table.
Income decile(1)Number of individuals benefiting from taper relief
No income subject to income tax11,000
Bottom decile7,000

(1) Income deciles have been defined in terms of income subject to tax for income taxpayers only. Income is before the deduction of any allowances and reliefs.

In addition, 10,000 trusts liable to capital gains tax in 2003–04 benefited from taper relief.

The second part of the question concerns capital gains accrued but unrealised at death. We have estimated the number of estates passing on death where the inheritance tax payable was less than the total tax (inheritance tax and capital gains tax) that would have been payable if gains on assets had been realised before death. Our estimate is that approximately 30,000 estates a year fell or will fall into this category in 2004–05 and 2005–06. A breakdown by income decile is not available.

Cash Machines

Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from members of the public about fee-charging cash machines. [24422]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Treasury has received a number of letters from members of the public about cash machines.

There are about 20,000 fee-charging cash machines in the UK. They are mostly found in convenience" locations like pubs and shops. Virtually all bank and building society cash machines are free. There are over 33,000 free cash machines in the UK and over 97 per cent. of withdrawals are made at such machines.

The Government believe that cash machine charges are an important area of public policy and is continuing to monitor the situation. The Government would be concerned if those on low incomes were found to be incurring disproportionate costs as a result of cash machine charges. Research into how the financially excluded access cash and transmit money, being undertaken through the Financial Inclusion Task Force, should identify, among other things, whether this is the case.
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Child Support Agency

Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to improve the flow of information from HM Revenue and Customs to the Child Support Agency. [24584]

Dawn Primarolo: HMRC already provides information to CSA to help them locate non-resident parents. Work is ongoing between HMRC and DWP officials as to how to further support CSA.

Departmental Estate

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what (a) land and (b) property his Department owns in the Kettering constituency. [24380]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Treasury owns no land or property in the Kettering constituency.

Departmental Skills Development Plan

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which individual is responsible for developing and implementing his Department's skills development plan. [23917]

John Healey: The Department's Head of HR transformation and learning has delegated responsibility for developing and implementing the Department's skills development plan.

HMRC Staff

Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff are employed by HM Revenue and Customs, broken down by (a) sex and (b) ethnicity. [24478]

Dawn Primarolo: HM Revenue and Customs employed the following numbers of staff at 1 October 2005, broken down by (a) sex and (b) ethnicity:
(a) Sex


(b) Ethnicity

Any other Asian background364
Any other Black background55
Any Chinese background121
Mixed Asian and White165
Mixed Black-African and White39
Mixed Black-Caribbean and White98
Any other mixed ethnic background217
Any other ethnic background343
Any White background54,503

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Marine Diesel Derogation

Mr. Beith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to safeguard the UK derogation on the taxation of marine diesel after 31 December 2006. [24558]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to what I said on the Floor of the House on 26 May 2005, Official Report, column 865W.

North Sea Oil

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the revenue from North sea oil in financial year 2005–06; and what estimate of such revenue informed the Budget in March. [24634]

John Healey: Budget 2005 projected North sea revenues at £7.1 billion for 2005–06. The Government will publish updated forecasts for the UK public finances in the 2005 pre-Budget report as usual, taking into account all relevant factors and developments.

Olympic Lottery Game

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will apply the tax revenue from the Olympic lottery game to the funding of the Olympic games. [24044]

Dawn Primarolo: The Government intends that the same principles that apply to the existing national lottery should apply to any Olympic themed games. We have made it clear that it is not our intention to fund the 2012 games from central Government tax receipts. In its report on London's bid published on 6 June, the IOC recognised that The budgeting process is very detailed and meticulous, and assumptions are well supported and they are achievable".

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