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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2797W—continued

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether all benefits paid to UK nationals since 1991 from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's pension schemes have been subject to UK income tax. [39231]

John Healey: A payment made by the bank from the bank's funds to enable a retiring employee to purchase a pension is, as an emolument of his employment, exempted from UK income tax by paragraph 14 of
 
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Statutory Instrument 1991 No. 757 (The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (Immunities and Privileges) Order 1991). Retirement income arising from the investment of the payment is liable to income tax in the normal way.

External Contractors

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the research commissioned externally by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in the last year for which information is available; which external contractor was commissioned in each case; what the cost was of each research project; how long it took to complete each project; and if he will make a statement. [38344]

John Healey: The information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Fuel Duty

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequerhow much has been raised in fuel duty in each year since 1997, broken down by (a) diesel and (b) petrol. [38827]

John Healey: Historic duty revenue for diesel and petrol can be found on page three of the HM Revenue and Customs Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin, a copy of which can be found on a HMRC website at: http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bullhydro

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the rates of duty for each year since 1997 for (a) low sulphur diesel and (b) rebated diesel fuel. [38882]

John Healey: Historic rates of duty for low sulphur diesel and rebated diesel fuel can be found on page 4 of the HM Revenue and Customs Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin, a copy of which is available on the HMRC website at: http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bullhydro.

The effective rate of duty on rebated diesel fuel has been increased by 1.22 pence per litre from midnight on pre-Budget report, 5 December 2005.

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the illegal trade in rebated diesel fuel (a) in each year since 1997 and (b) in each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement; [38883]

(2) what assessment he has made of the impact of the UK oils fraud strategy; whether he will publish his findings; what measures he uses to determine the impact of the strategy; how often he reviews the impact of the strategy; and; if he will make a statement. [38924]

John Healey: The UK Oils Strategy is assessed annually and estimates of the illicit market share, revenue loss and methodology are published in Measuring Indirect Tax Losses", which is published alongside the PER.

When the UK Oils Strategy was introduced in 2001 the illicit market was estimated at 6 per cent. (the majority of which is attributed to the illegal trade in rebated diesel fuel) and without the strategic measures the problem would increase by 1 per cent. year on year.
 
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The latest estimates indicate that in 2004 illicit market share was 4 per cent. and that HMRC is on track to meet the PSA target of 2 per cent. by 2006.

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the duty payable on (a) gas oil and (b) fuel oil in each year since 1997. [38929]

John Healey: Historic duty receipts for gas oil and fuel oil can be found on page 3 of the HM Revenue and Customs Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin, a copy of which is available on the HMRC website at: http://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm7task-bullhydro

Home Information Packs

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely impact of the introduction of home information packs on (a) the housing market and (b) the UK economy. [36825]

Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.

There is no reason to believe that the introduction of home information packs will have an adverse effect on the housing market. These reforms are designed to improve the home buying process by making it more transparent and reducing the current high rate of transaction failure. A more efficient system will have clear benefits for the housing market and the UK economy. The information in the pack will help achieve the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's goal of sustainable home ownership, by ensuring that buyers are not faced with unexpected repairs and other commitments they cannot afford. A more efficient housing market will also facilitate greater flexibility and labour mobility. The partial regulatory impact assessment on home information packs shows that the cost of the new system will be broadly neutral and a copy of this has been deposited in the Library of the House. The only new cost being imposed on the system overall is the cost of a home condition report in a proportion of transactions. Any new and additional costs will be offset by savings from a reduction in wasted costs that are currently running at over £1 million per day.

Infant Mortality

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the infant mortality rate has been since 2002 in each primary care trust in England. [38320]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Jil Matheson, dated 20 December 2005:


 
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Media Monitoring

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much the Department has spent on media monitoring activities in each of the last eight financial years. [35628]

John Healey: The Treasury's spending on media monitoring since 2002–03 is as follows:
£000

Amount
2002–03351
2003–04391
2004–05345

Because of a change in the Treasury's accounting system in 2002–03, information in relation to the earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

National Minimum Wage

Mr. Devine: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies in Livingston were reported via the National Minimum Wage Helpline for failing to comply with national minimum wage legislation in 2004. [38433]

Dawn Primarolo: National Minimum Wage statistical data is not disaggregated to constituency level.

North Sea Gas

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment his Department has made of the effects of an increase in the supplementary North sea charge to 20 per cent. on future exploration in the North sea continental shelf; [38486]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the effects of an increase in the supplementary North sea charge to 20 per cent. on the volume of gas extracted from the North sea continental shelf in the (a) short, (b) medium and (c) longer term. [38487]

John Healey: The changes announced in the pre-Budget report were subject to detailed analysis to ensure that the North sea tax regime delivers the Government's objectives of striking the right balance between oil producers and consumers, by promoting investment and ensuring fairness for taxpayers.

Office for National Statistics

Adam Afriyie: To ask Chancellor of the Exchequer (1)whether a racial impact assessment was carried out before the Office for National Statistics (ONS) changed the mid-year population methodology in 2002; and what consultation was undertaken by ONS before making this change; [38552]

(2) whether he has plans to change the methodology used to determine (a) inward and (b) international net migration for use in mid-year population estimates. [38558]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.
 
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Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 20 December 2005:


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