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Meat Hygiene Charges: Effects on Small Abattoirs

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: It is not the Government's intention to put out of business small and medium-sized abattoirs, and in particular those specialising in a high quality product. The Government have listened carefully to the representations made by the industry and others about the level of meat hygiene charges. As a result, the Government have announced a complete deferral of the Specified Risk Material inspection costs for this financial year--a saving to the industry of around £20 million.

In addition, the Government have also announced a further close examination of the dynamics of the slaughtering sector and the impact of these charges on abattoirs and on livestock producers. The Government will also look at the EC legislation and the way in which inspections are carried out to ensure that, when charges are set, they are as low as possible consistent with maintaining public safety and honouring our obligations under EU law. The Government remain of the view, however, that it is right in principle to recover inspection costs from the industry.

4 May 1999 : Column WA84

Food Labelling: GM Content

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Donoughue on 21 April (WA 163), upon what independent research was that Answer based; who funded that research; and whether they will list the titles of the research papers, their authors and the organisations for which the research was undertaken.[HL2159]

Lord Donoughue: The reply I gave to the noble Lord on 21 April (WA 163) reflected the view expressed by the Royal Society in its recent review, Genetically Modified Plants for Food Use. The Ministry is funding several research projects on this issue and will publish their results when completed in the normal way.

GM Foods: Cost of Regulation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the taxpayer is funding the regulation of genetically modified food and the research underpinning that regulation; if so, on what grounds; and whether this represents a subsidy of genetically modified food on the market in the United Kingdom.[HL2164]

Lord Donoughue: The Government do not subsidise genetically modified food on the market in the United Kingdom. While the development and enforcement of regulations on food safety is, in general, funded by the taxpayer, companies seeking approval of a novel food in the UK pay an application fee, which covers the full cost of the safety assessment. The Government do however fund generic research on the safety of novel foods to ensure that the assessment procedures used by the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes keep up with developments in scientific knowledge.

Income Tax

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will set out in a table the top rate of United Kingdom personal income tax (including where appropriate the investment income surcharge) for each financial year since 1970-71, indicating the threshold of taxable income at which that rate applied, expressing that threshold in both current prices and in 1997-98 prices.[HL1907]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Figures are in the following table for 1970-71 to 1998-99.

Single, non-aged personal allowance for a man with no childrenTaxable income above which the highest rate is chargedHighest rate of income tax chargedRetail Price IndexSingle, non-aged personal allowance for a man with no children at 1997-98 pricesTaxable income above which the highest rate is charged at 1997-98 prices
Year££Per cent.££

For 1970-71 to 1972-73, the highest rate of income tax excludes surtax.For 1973-74 to 1983-84, the highest rate charged includes investment income surcharge at 15 per cent. but this total rate would only apply if the taxpayer's income included investment income greater than the threshold for the highest rate of surcharge, which varied between £2,000 in 1973-74 and £7,100 in 1983-84.

4 May 1999 : Column WA85

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