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Mr. Ivan Lewis: Parish meetings, unlike parish councils, are not regarded as local authorities. The question of extending the VAT relief given to local authorities to parish meetings has been looked at many times. In general, the amounts of tax involved would be exceeded by the cost of administration and processing each claim. For this reason, successive Governments have concluded that a change in the law would result in disproportionate costs and could not be justified.
However, a different solution is possible. I understand that, under Section 9 of the Local Government Act 1972, a parish meeting can request its district council to establish a parish council for the parish, which is able to recover VAT under the provisions of Section 33 of the VAT Act 1994.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the number of people who would be affected if pension contributions were allowable for tax relief only against the basic rate of income tax; 
The estimated yield from restricting income tax relief on employee and self-employed pension contributions to the basic rate is £1.5 billion in 200405. The yield from restricting employer contributions is around £3 billion. This estimate assumes that the proportion of total employer contributions relating to higher rate taxpayers is the same as that for employees. The estimates take no account of any behavioural effects that are likely to result from such rule changes. Nor do they account for any knock-on implications for the taxation of pension payments should full relief on contributions be withdrawn.
Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in Table 1.10 and Tables 8.10 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2005, Cm 6521, the capital includes the capital expenditure elements of private finance initiative and public private partnership contracts. 
Mr. Des Browne: PFI/PPP deals may be on or off the government's balance sheet depending on where the balance of risks in the project lies. The decision as to whether a deal is treated as on or off balance sheet is taken by the National Audit Office in the case of central government projects, and the Audit Commission in the instance of local government projects.
Where the NAO or Audit Commission judge that projects are on balance sheet, Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) capital expenditure includes the capital expenditure imputed to the public sector, where appropriate for the coverage of each statistical table. For off balance sheet projects, where the asset economically as well as legally belongs to the private sector, the capital expenditure is the private sector's and is not included in PESA 2005, the same as in previous years.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the Answer of 2 March 2006, Official Report, column 388, on public sector pensions, and the technical note placed in the Library, if he will break down the amount referred to in paragraph 8 by scheme; how the error came to be made; and what steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence. 
|Armed Forces Pension Scheme||-0.4|
|NHS Pension Scheme (E&W)||3.0|
|NHS Pension Scheme (Scotland)||3.5|
|Teachers Pension Scheme (E&W)||-0.5|
These adjustments arise because new data became available which were not taken into account in earlier estimates. These primarily related to deferred pensions
26 Apr 2006 : Column 1176W
and guaranteed minimum pensions in NHSPS (England and Wales). Details for the other schemes are given in their resource accounts: Armed Forces (HC 286), Teachers Pension Scheme (HC 627).
Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received requesting that the price of (a) petrol and (b) diesel be reduced; and if he will make a statement. 
David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many prosecutions there were in relation to cross-border fuel smuggling in Northern Ireland in the 200506 financial year; how many prosecutions were successful; what the names were of the persons prosecuted in cases in which all proceedings are complete; and what penalties were imposed. 
John Healey: The latest details of prosecutions were published in HMRC Annual Report 200405 in which the prosecution details relate to all types of hydrocarbon oils fraud and smuggling, including cross-border smuggling. Prosecution figures for 200506 will be published in HMRC's Annual Report 200506.
John Healey: The HM Revenue and Customs Annual Report records the total number of vehicles seized as a consequence of fuel related offences. This number is not broken down into sub categories. The Annual Report for 200506 has not yet been published.
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The online Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) lease calculator tool, available through HMRC's website and offering customers an indicative calculation of the SDLT charge on the grant of a new lease, was temporarily withdrawn for 12 working days following the Chancellor's Budget Statement on 22 March 2006. The Budget change raised the starting Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold of 1 per cent. from £120,000 to £125,000 for all residential transactions including the grant of a new lease. The calculator required revisions to ensure it provided a robust service
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for those customers who needed it. While the lease duty calculator was offline HMRC invited practitioners to phone their enquiry line where their operators would make the calculation for them.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many penalties were issued for delays in filing stamp duty returns in 200405 where the subsequent filing demonstrated stamp duty payable to be nil. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: In 200405 the Inland Revenue issued 82,302 penalty notices for late filed stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and stamp duty cases. The Inland Revenue did not record how many of those notices were for transactions where the SDLT or stamp duty payable was nil.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the (a) functionality and (b) ease of completion of stamp duty returns; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Both issues are regularly reviewed by practitioners and HMRC in the Stamp Tax Working Together Group. Changes made in the summer of 2005, as a result of discussions with the law societies, were welcomed by, for example, the Law Society of England and Wales. Use of HMRC's online filing facility provides the simplest and quickest method of completing Stamp Duty Land Tax Returns.
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