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24 Mar 1999 : Column WA159

Written Answers

Wednesday, 24th March 1999.

Derbyshire Police: "Outreach"

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the purpose of "Operation Outreach" conducted by the Derbyshire police during the years 1995 to 1997; and whether it is ongoing; and[HL1575]

    Whether Peter Clarence Foster, currently under process of extradition from Australia by the Serious Fraud Office, is or was a registered informant to the Derbyshire police involved in "Operation Outreach".[HL1576]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): I understand from the Derbyshire police that they have not conducted any operation within the specified period named "Operation Outreach". The noble Lord may be referring to a drugs "outreach" programme operating at Her Majesty's Prison, Sudbury. This ongoing project is aimed at educating young people about the dangers of involvement in drugs, using prisoners to deliver the message in an innovative way.

It is not the policy of the police either to confirm or deny whether anyone is a registered informant.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, under current arrangements, they are able to issue within a reasonable time residence permits and other documents evidencing status in the United Kingdom via the Immigration and Nationality Department of the Home Office.[HL1540]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The operation of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate has been disrupted during the relocation of its immigration caseworking functions into one integrated caseworking directorate and there are delays in resolving applications. We are taking urgent steps to ensure that normal service is resumed as quickly as possible and thereafter substantially improved.

Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

Baroness Mallalieu asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 23 March (WA 144), whether they will clarify the timing of the proposed debate to discuss the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report.[HL1721]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Pursuant to my Written Answer to the noble Lord, Official Report 23 March, col. 144-45, the debate to discuss the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report will take place on Monday 29 March in another place.

There will be a full debate in this House in due course. The date will be made available through the usual channels.

VAT Threshold

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give, in sterling equivalent, the threshold at which registration for VAT becomes mandatory in each country in the European Union.[HL1516]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The threshold (in sterling) at which registration for VAT becomes mandatory in each country in the European Union is set out in the table below:

EC Member States: VAT Registration Thresholds

Germany£11,411 (previous year's turnover) £35,111 (current year's turnover)
Greece£3,203 (goods) £1,067 (services)
Ireland£34,876 (goods) £17,438 (services)
Portugal£5,137 £6,850 (for traders using a special scheme for small retailers)
United Kingdom£50,000

An order was laid on Budget day to increase the

UK registration threshold from £50,000 to £51,000 with effect from 1 April 1999.

Central Government Corporate Tax

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give the current rate of corporation tax, or its equivalent, in each country in the European Union.[HL1515]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Rates of central government corporate tax in the European Union 1 , 2

EU member stateMain Rate %Small Companies' Rate %
United Kingdom30(1)20(1)


In the notes below the surcharges apply after calculating tax at the rates shown.

(1) 1 January 1999 except for UK.

(1) Some countries, including the United Kingdom, operate tapers that smooth out the transition when moving between different rates. This can give rise to average rates of tax lying between the rates shown in the table.

(1) 39% plus 3% austerity surcharge. Under certain conditions reduced rates may apply.

(1) 28% plus 3% austerity surcharge.

(1) 33.33% plus surcharges of 10% and 20% respectively, the latter applying to companies with turnover of more than FF50 million.

(1) 19% plus surcharge of 10%.

(1) 30%/40% for distributed/retained profits respectively plus

5.5% solidarity surcharge.

(1) The lower rate applies to companies (other than banks) quoted on the Athens Stock Exchange.

(1) 25% on the first IR£100,000. An effective rate of 10% rate applies to manufacturing and many internationally traded services.

(1) 30% plus 4% unemployment surcharge.

(1) 20% plus 4% unemployment surcharge.

(1) For qualifying small companies. A temporary tax holiday is available to small companies formed from 1 January 1999.

(1) From 1 April 1999.

(1) From 1 April 1999. From 1 April 2000 there will also be a

10% starting rate.

Petrol Taxes

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What tax was levied on petrol in pence per litre for each year since 1980, including for the coming year as a result of the recent Budget.[HL1498]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The taxes (excise duty and VAT) levied on petrol for each year since 1980 are shown in the table below:

Leaded Petrol (4 star) Total Tax pence per litrePremium Unleaded Petrol Total Tax pence per litre
1999 post Budget63.957.1

The figures shown are those applicable in April each year up to and including 1993 and for January for each year after 1993.

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Income Tax

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will set out in a table the top rate of personal income tax (including where appropriate the investment income surcharge) for each financial year since 1970-71, including the threshold at which that rate applied, expressed in both current prices and in 1997-98 prices.[HL1514]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The income thresholds at which the top rate income tax rate applies depend on the value of allowances as well as on the width of the various tax rate bands and thus will vary according to the status and/or age of the taxpayer. Full details could only be provided at disproportionate cost but are available in the Taxes Acts for each year. Table 2.1 in Economic Trends Annual Supplement 1998 published by the Office for National Statistics includes price indices which could be used to express the thresholds in constant prices.

Sixth VAT Directive

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What principal amendments have been made to the Sixth VAT Directive since it was adopted in 1977; what is the text of each amendment; and when each amendment was made.[HL1567]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The principal amendments to the Sixth VAT Directive (77/388/EEC) are:

    Directive 89/465/EEC of 18 July 1989, abolishing certain derogations.

    Directive 91/680/EEC of 16 December 1991, introducing the Single Market transitional provisions.

    Directive 92/77/EEC of 19 October 1992, on the approximation of VAT rates.

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    Directive 92/111/EEC of 14 December 1992, providing certain simplification measures for the VAT transitional system.

    Directive 94/5/EC of 14 February 1994, concerning special arrangements for second-hand goods, works of art, etc.

    Directive 95/7/EC of 10 April 1995, providing certain simplification measures for the VAT transitional system.

    Directive 96/95/EC continuing a minimum standard rate of VAT throughout the EC.

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