Previous Section Index Home Page

28 Mar 2007 : Column 1586W—continued

Departments: Conferences

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what conferences funded by his Department in February 2007 had over 100 attendees. [128373]

John Healey: None.

Departments: Teaching Aids

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) commissioning, (b) distribution and (c) other costs have been of providing updates to the Red Box teaching pack in the last six months. [128825]

John Healey: The Red Box website has been updated and went live early March. The cost was £24,461.

The printed Red Box has not been updated in the last six months.

Economic Growth

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which independent variables he uses to make his projections of GDP growth; and what form the growth model takes. [129347]

John Healey: The Treasury's approach to economic forecasting is described in the 2007 Budget Report (HC342, paragraphs B30 to B35); and the latest forecast for GDP growth is set out in Chapter B of that report. The Treasury's approach to projecting the economy's trend rate of growth is set out in ‘Trend growth: recent developments and prospects’, HM Treasury, April 2002; and for a full discussion of the most recent review of the Treasury's trend growth projections see ‘Trend growth: new evidence and prospects’, HM Treasury, December 2006.


28 Mar 2007 : Column 1587W

Excise Duties: Motor Vehicles

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of the graduated rates of tax for vehicle excise duty introduced in 2001 on ownership of cars in the different tax bands. [129739]

John Healey: The Government inherited a one band system of VED in 1997, but now has environmentally graduated carbon dioxide bands. VED’s environmental signal to motorists to purchase more fuel efficient cars and to vehicle manufacturers has been progressively refined and sharpened.

This is one of the reasons why the proportion of least polluting cars on our roads has risen by 30 per cent. while that of the most polluting cars has fallen.

The numbers of vehicles in the three lowest carbon dioxide emissions VED bands is forecast to grow significantly in the longer term in part due to VED reform.

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has taken steps to encourage cars with large engines that might incur the highest rate of vehicle excise duty to be converted to liquified petroleum gas or other cleaner fuels; [130038]

(2) whether cars which are converted to cleaner fuels will be subject to lower vehicle excise duty. [130096]

John Healey: When CO2 emissions graduated vehicle excise duty was introduced in 2001 the CO2 banding structure included a discount for cars capable of using alternative fuels. This discount remains in place and is worth £20 for cars in bands B-E, and £15 for cars in bands F and G. Cars capable of running on liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas and E85 high blend bioethanol are eligible to receive this.

A fuel duty differential has been in place for bioethanol since 2005 and Budget 2007 announced the extension of the 20 pence per litre biofuels duty incentive until 2009-10, offering further certainty to the industry and motorists. As acknowledged in the Chancellor's 2007 Budget report road fuel gases such as compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas can deliver carbon and air quality benefits over conventional road fuels. Duty support is given to these fuels in line with the principles in the Government's alternative fuels framework.

Liquefied petroleum gas currently benefits from a fuel duty incentive over main road fuels which equates to 39.79 pence per litre.

Jeremy Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on the exemption of motorists with disabilities from vehicle excise duty; what account is taken of the age of such motorists in eligibility for such exemptions; and if he will make a statement. [130328]

John Healey: Exemption from vehicle excise duty for cars is offered to severely disabled people who are in receipt of war pensioners mobility supplement (WPMS) or the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).


28 Mar 2007 : Column 1588W

The recipient can nominate someone else to drive the car, and the car may be registered either to the recipient or the nominee. However, for the car to remain exempt all journeys must be for the recipient's purposes—for example for taking the recipient to the doctor or for doing the recipient's shopping—otherwise the appropriate rate of Vehicle excise duty must be paid. Vehicle excise duty must be paid on any additional vehicles—the exemption can only be claimed once.

The Government believe that using WPMS and the higher rate mobility component of DLA is the most effective way of delivering this exemption to the people most in need. DLA is only available to people claiming before the age of 65, but once granted can continue in payments beyond the age of 65 so long as the conditions of entitlement remain satisfied.

Gila Sacks

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2007, Official Report, column 1490W, on Gila Sacks, whether Gila Sacks is one of his special advisers. [129329]

John Healey: As set out in the PM's annual statement to the House on special advisers, Members of the Council of the Economic Advisers are employed on special adviser terms.

Gross Gaming Yield Band

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the impact on Exchequer revenues of the introduction of a 50 per cent. gross gaming yield band; and if he will make a statement. [130041]

John Healey: Revenue estimates of the 2007 changes to Gaming Duty were published in the 2007 Financial Statement and Budget Report (HC342).

HM Revenue and Customs

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2007, Official Report, columns 342-3W, on HM Revenue and Customs, if he will break down the £850,000 expenditure on implementation of proposals and projects arising from the Angels and Demons scheme by proposal or project. [120745]

Dawn Primarolo: Accrued costs of £844,000 (in the period up to the end of 31 January 2007) break down as follows between three projects:


28 Mar 2007 : Column 1589W

As explained in a previous answer I gave on 31 January 2007, Official Report, column 342W, overall expenditure on the portfolio of projects in this scheme is intended to generate returns of 110 per cent. in terms of greater efficiency and reduced administration.

Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the progress of motor manufacturers towards meeting the targets for new car emission levels set out in the 1998 agreement between the European Automobile Manufacturers Association and the European Commission. [129738]

John Healey: I refer my hon. Friend to the response given by the Minister of State for Transport on 26 March 2007, Official Report, column 1244W.

National Minimum Wage

John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many alleged breaches of the national minimum wage legislation by media companies have been presented to HM Revenue and Customs since (a) 1 May 2004 and (b) 1 January 2007; how many investigations HM Revenue and Customs has carried out into such alleged breaches since each date; and how many prosecutions for breaches of the national minimum wage by media companies there have been since each date. [130027]

Dawn Primarolo: In line with the requirements of the DTI, for whom HMRC enforces the minimum wage, HMRC holds statistical information for 10 employer trade sectors. It does not hold specific information for the media sector and is therefore unable to provide the statistical data requested.

Non-domiciled UK Taxpayers

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what investigations he undertakes into the income and assets held overseas by non-domiciled UK taxpayers. [129969]

Dawn Primarolo: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) carries out investigations into the income and assets held overseas by UK resident non-domiciled taxpayers where this may be relevant to their UK tax liability. Such investigations may occur to verify information given to HMRC by individuals completing self-assessment tax returns or making other claims for non-domiciled status; as a result of third-party disclosure; or because of the outcome of other HMRC inquiries.

No information is available on the number of investigations undertaken by HMRC.

Planning Gain Supplement

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) of 15 January 2007, on planning gain supplement, why each individual response to the consultation exercise has not been placed in the Library. [129515]


28 Mar 2007 : Column 1590W

John Healey: The responses to the December 2005 publication “Planning-gain Supplement: a consultation” were placed in the Library of the House on 19 December 2006. The reference number for the set of documents is Dep. 06/2350.

A summary of consultation responses is also available in the Library of the House; the reference number for this document is Dep. 07/461. This document is also available on the Treasury’s website.

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the increase in the budget for regional development agencies referred to in Paragraph 7.65 of the Budget Red Book, HC 342, is targeted to be used to support the energy efficiency initiative for small and medium-sized businesses in the business resource efficiency advice service. [130031]

John Healey: The nine English regional development agencies (RDAs) are increasing the advice, support and incentives available for environmental improvement and innovation from £140 million in 2006-07 to £240 million in 2007-08. It is for the RDAs to decide the amount of expenditure from their single programme budget used to support the business resource efficiency advice service.

Sainsbury Review

Mr. Francois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 8 March 2007, Official Report, column 2232W, on the Sainsbury Review, whether Lord Sainsbury agreed to conduct the review before it was announced. [128455]

John Healey: There is nothing I can add to my earlier answer.

Senior Civil Servants

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether each Treasury managing director has a private secretary. [129326]

John Healey: Every Treasury managing director has access to a private secretary or personal assistant.

Smuggling: Alcoholic Drinks

Mr. Scott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value was of (a) alcohol and (b) tobacco products seized by HM Customs in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [129454]

John Healey: The amount of seized alcohol and tobacco products can be found in the HMRC Annual Report

and is shown in the following table.


28 Mar 2007 : Column 1591W
2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06

Cigarettes seizures (including overseas) (billion)

2.6

1.9

1 .8

2.0

2.0

Tobacco seizures (tonnes)

385

258

185

166

160

Spirits seized (million litres)

2.15

0.92

0.41

0.30

0.24

Beer seized (million litres)

2.61

2.95

2.77

2.18

2.52

Wine seized (million litres)

0.61

0.65

1.13

0.63

0.29


Stamp Duty

Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what exemptions there are to stamp duty on new houses in Wales; what the cut-off threshold is on stamp duty in Wales; what plans he has for changes in the stamp duty system in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [130022]

Ed Balls: Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) rates and thresholds, like all other national taxes, apply equally to the whole of the UK and have never been set on a regional basis.

The starting residential threshold is currently £125,000 and a higher £150,000 threshold is available in 2,000 disadvantaged wards across the UK.

As announced at Budget 2007, there will be an exemption from SDLT for new zero-carbon homes from 1 October 2007. All qualifying homes under £500,000 will be exempt from SDLT and qualifying homes over £500,000 will have their SDLT bill reduced by £15,000. No exemption from SDLT exists for other types of new homes.

SDLT rates and thresholds, like all other taxes, are kept under constant review as part of the Budget process, and any changes made are announced also as part of this process.


Next Section Index Home Page