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23 Oct 2007 : Column 247W—continued

Departments: Flexitime

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many outstanding hours were held by staff in his Department as a result of its flexi-time scheme at the end of each of the last 12 months. [159913]

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Angela Eagle: Operation of flexi-time in the Treasury is supervised by individual line managers. The information requested is not held centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Public Participation

Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many citizens’ juries were arranged for (a) his Department and (b) his Department’s agencies in each year since 1997; which organisations were commissioned to conduct each citizens’ jury; and what the cost was of each. [160021]

Angela Eagle: None.

Dietary Supplements: Channel Islands

David Tredinnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the annual cost to the Exchequer of low-value consignment relief made available to businesses based in the Channel Islands for the import into the United Kingdom of food supplements and herbal remedies which either contain illegal ingredients or are marketed with illegal claims; what steps officials of his Department plan to take to ensure that HM Revenue and Customs addresses this issue; and if he will make a statement. [159998]

Jane Kennedy: No estimate has been made.

HMRC continue to enforce their border controls to prevent the import of prohibited goods.


Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of non-domiciles who have been resident in the UK for more than seven years. [159479]

Jane Kennedy: The best estimate of how many non-domiciled individuals are resident in the UK is based on the number of people who indicate non-domicile tax status on their self assessment tax returns.

As at September 2007, self assessment records show that approximately 23,000 individuals had indicated non-domicile status through their self assessment returns in more than seven years in the period 1996-97 to 2005-06. This amounts to approximately 8 per cent. of the total number of individuals indicating non-domicile status over this period.

Hotels: South West Region

Mr. Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the likely effect on investment in the hotel and hospitality industry in the South West of the abolition of the hotel building allowance. [159629]

Jane Kennedy: The Government’s decision to withdraw industrial buildings allowances, including the extension for qualifying hotels, was based on an assessment of a number of issues, common across
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industry sectors. The Government have not sought to target the hotel and hospitality industry or any other industry with this change.

Industrial buildings allowances (IBAs) were extended to qualifying hotels in 1978. Capital allowances are not normally available on commercial buildings, so IBAs have long been recognised as a significant distortion in commercial property investment. They have become a poorly focused subsidy, selectively available on a disparate range of assets, including some that typically appreciate in value. These issues are compounded by the compliance burden imposed by their complicated rules. The withdrawal of IBAs was not an isolated measure. The 2007 Budget also announced cuts in both the basic rate of income tax and the main rate of corporation tax and crucially for hospitality, as a key sector making ongoing capital investment, the package of reforms also includes a brand new investment incentive in the form of a new Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) from 2008. The AIA gives 100 per cent. tax relief for capital investment up to £50,000 per year. For many small hoteliers—regardless of their corporate or unincorporated status—this will represent a significant incentive for new capital investment. Our analysis has shown us that the new allowance will be sufficient to allow over 95 per cent. of UK businesses to simply ‘write-off'’ their investment in plant and machinery (excluding cars) for tax purposes each year. Taken as a whole these reforms to the business and personal tax systems are designed to deliver increases in investment and growth.

Identity Cards: Costs

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent estimate he has made of the cost of the identity cards programme to his Department. [159017]

Andy Burnham: The Identity Cards programme is being delivered by the Home Office.

The programme will not impose any costs on the Treasury.

Individual Savings Account

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will increase the amount which may be invested in an individual savings account. [159646]

Kitty Ussher: Budget 2007 announced an increase in the annual individual savings accounts investment limit from April 2008 to £7,200, with an increase in the cash limit to £3,600.

Inheritance Tax

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his assessment is of the likely total cost of the changes to inheritance tax which were announced on 9 October for each year from 2007-08 to 2012-13; and if he will break down the figure to show the changes for each income decile. [158567]

Jane Kennedy: Published figures for the estimated costs of the changes announced on 9 October to inheritance tax are published in the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review.

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Figures are not available to show the breakdown of the changes for each income decile.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) which team in his Department is responsible for developing policy on inheritance tax; [159922]

(2) on what date he decided his plans for inheritance tax that he announced on 9th October 2007. [160059]

Jane Kennedy: The development of tax policy is the responsibility of the Budget, Tax and Welfare Directorate of the Treasury, together with HM Revenue and Customs.

The Treasury keeps all taxes under review. The Chancellor announced changes to inheritance tax to ensure that all married couples and civil partners can benefit from double the inheritance tax allowance, in addition to the entitlement to full spouse relief, in his pre-Budget report statement on 9 October 2007.


Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) personal insolvencies and (b) individual voluntary arrangements involving a loss of tax revenue there were in each year since 1997. [159019]

Jane Kennedy: For the number of creditor petitions granted to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) on 6 November 2006, Official Report, column 1021W. The figure for 2006-07 is 3,827. This figure does not include, nor does HMRC hold, information on the numbers of Bankruptcy Petitions granted to other creditors where HMRC may also have been a creditor.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) were introduced by the Insolvency Act 1986 as an alternative to Bankruptcy. The Enterprise Act 2002 reduced the stigma of bankruptcy, thus encouraging enterprise and reducing the penalties for genuine business ‘failure’. The number of Individual Voluntary Arrangements approved in England and Wales in the last six years where HMRC and former legacy Departments were creditors is:

HMRC does not have this information for earlier years.

Marginal Tax Rates

Mr. Byers: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people will be subject to marginal deduction rates of over 50 per cent. under the 2008-09 tax and benefits system. [160299]

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Jane Kennedy: Table 5.2 of the 2007 pre-Budget report and Comprehensive Spending Review provides estimates of the number of families who may face marginal deduction rates above 60 per cent. under the 2008-09 tax and benefit system. The following table extends the published table to include families who may face marginal deduction rates above 50 per cent., though for technical reasons such estimates are less reliable than those routinely published in Budget and pre-Budget reports.

Distribution of marginal deduction rates for heads of families under the 2008-09 tax and benefit system
Marginal deduction rate 2008-09 system of taxes and benefits

Over 60 per cent.


Over 50 per cent.


The table shows marginal deduction rates for families where at least one person works 16 hours or more, and where increased earnings would lead to reduced tax credits, housing benefit or council tax benefit; all notes to the published table apply.

The estimates do not take account of the annual income disregard in tax credits, which in 2008-09 allows incomes to rise between one year and the next by up to £25,000 before tax credits begin to be withdrawn.

The number of families facing marginal deduction rates in excess of 70 per cent. has fallen by around half a million as a result of the Government’s reforms to the tax and benefit system.


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) marriages of 20 to 40-year-olds per 10,000 20 to 40-year-olds, (b) marriages per 10,000 adults and (c) divorces per 10,000 adults there were in (i) England, (ii) Wales, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland in each year since 1980. [158640]

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 19 October 2007:

The tables have been placed in the Library.

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Mayor of London and London Assembly: Payments

Tom Brake: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will put mechanisms in place so that payments made on ceasing to hold office as Mayor of London or London Assembly Member are exempt from tax up to the first £30,000. [160048]

Jane Kennedy: The Government are aware of the proposals to introduce a severance scheme for members of the Greater London Authority under the Greater London Authority Bill and is considering the appropriate mechanisms for dealing with the taxation of any payments under the scheme.

Personal Pensions: Property

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will allow buy-to-let properties to be included in self-invested personal pensions. [159266]

Kitty Ussher: Successive Governments have provided generous tax relief on pensions saving to support individuals to make provision for a secure income in retirement, not to build assets or wealth. Self invested personal pensions (SIPPs) allow individuals who want to manage their tax relieved pension investments to do so. But buy-to-let properties are precluded from tax relief on pensions, if held by member-directed schemes, because of the potential for abuse by using the generous tax-reliefs for purposes other than to provide an income in retirement.

The Government remain committed to encouraging investment in a range of assets as part of pensions saving and therefore allows SIPPs to invest in residential property as long as it is done via a genuinely diverse commercial vehicle in which they have a less than 10 per cent. interest.

Revenue and Customs: Administration of Justice

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the occasions on which HM Revenue and Customs has been taken to court in the last five years in respect of which no proceedings remain active; for what it was taken to court in each case; and what the outcome was of each case. [159268]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Most litigation involving HM Revenue and Customs concerned disputes as to a tax liability, its administration of the tax system, or collection of tax debt.

The litigation of the Department took place in various tribunals, the magistrates courts, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.

Cases were brought at the instigation of the Department, taxpayers and by others affected by the Department’s actions.

Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it compulsory for HM Revenue and Customs enquiry centres to issue receipts when receiving documents and forms from customers. [160097]

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Jane Kennedy: Receipts are given on request for payments and for particularly valuable original documents such as passports and birth certificates. There are no plans to extend these arrangements.

Stamp Duties

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the stamp duty thresholds for residential properties were in each year since 1996-97. [158063]

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Kitty Ussher: The main thresholds for Stamp Duty and its replacement, Stamp Duty Land Tax (effective from 1 December 2003) are detailed in the following table, covering the period from 1996-97 onwards.

Threshold and rates of stamp duty
Commencing d ate( 1) Nil r ate 1 per cent. 1.5 per cent. 2 per cent. 2.5 per cent. 3 per cent. 3.5 per cent. 4 per cent.
Considerations up to Considerations exceeding

16 March 1993



8 July 1997





24 March 1998





16 March 1999





28 March 2000





1 December 2003(2)





17 March 2005





23 March 2006





(1) Information for 16 March 1993 to 28 March 2000 taken from the National Statistics publication ‘Inland Revenue Statistics 2000’, Table A.9. Information for dates from 1 December 2003 onwards were obtained from the publicly available data on the HMRC website (, h, and
(2) As part of a major modernisation in Finance Act 2003, Stamp Duty was replaced by Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) with effect from 1 December 2003.

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