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EC VAT System

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government broadly welcome Commission proposals for simplifying and standardising invoicing rules in EC VAT legislation. The proposals are intended to facilitate the growth of e-commerce and are consistent with the UK's view that changes to the current EC VAT system should focus on simplifying and modernising the tax. We are examining the proposals

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in detail and will discuss with our EC partners and business before taking a final view.

Personal Incomes: Top Rate of Direct Tax

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish in the Official Report a further correction to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 23 October (WA 30) showing the top rate of direct tax on personal incomes in the United Kingdom for each year from 1970-71 to 1999-2000, with reference to the first three years of the series.[HL 4762]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: A revised version of the table given in my reply to the noble Lord of 16 November (WA 46-48) is given below:

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Single, non-aged personal allowance for a man with 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 1999-2000 pricesTaxable income above which the highest rate is charged at 1999-2000 prices

For 1970-71 to 1972-73 the highest rate shown is the standard rate of income tax plus the highest rate of 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.

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European Movement: EC Financial Support

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Given that budget line B3/301 of the European Union Commission's draft general budget for 2001

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    reveals financial support for the European Movement in 1999, whether they stand by the Written Answer from Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 28 July (WA 113).[HL4671]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I very much regret that my earlier Answer was incomplete.

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The European Movement receives financial support from budget line B3-301 of the EC budget. It is within the remit of the Commission to decide the criteria for the targeting of such funds.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much of the 7,921,875.56 euros, revealed in budget line B3/301 of the European Union Commission's draft general budget as paid to "information outlets", went to the European Movement in the United Kingdom.[HL4672]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: It is within the remit of the Commission to decide the criteria for the targeting of such funds.

British Museum: Trustees

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    By whom the Trustees of the British Museum are appointed; and what are their terms of reference.[HL4788]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The British Museum has 25 trustees. They are appointed as follows:

    Her Majesty the Queen, one; The Prime Minister, 15; Trustees, five; the Secretary of State for Culture Media & Sport appoints four on the nomination of the Royal Academy, the Society of Antiquaries, the British Academy and the Royal Society.

The responsibilities of the Trustees are set out in Sections 2-7 of the British Museum Act 1963.

Horseracing: Levy Board Abolition and Sale of Tote

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made with his plans to abolish the Horserace Betting Levy Board and to sell the Tote. [HL4839]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): On 2 March this year, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office announced that the Government had decided to bring to an end the statutory betting levy system, to abolish the Horserace Betting Levy Board and, in principle, to sell the Horserace Totalisator Board (the Tote) to racing.

Following that announcement, my honourable friend invited the British Horseracing Board (BHB), as the sport's governing authority, to prepare a realistic plan for the future funding of racing without a

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statutory levy. The BHB's plan was submitted to Government on 13 October. The Government have also been considering, in discussion with the levy board, the BHB and other stakeholder interests, a range of practical issues arising from the abolition decision.

So far as the sale of the Tote is concerned, racing, with the support of the Tote's own management team, are continuing to develop their detailed proposals for the acquisition of the business. The Government, meanwhile, have been considering what might be the detailed terms of the Tote's exclusive licence following the sale and developing proposals for the future regulation of horserace pool betting. We have also formally notified the European Commission of our proposals in order to obtain state aid clearance, and expect to receive its views shortly.

The Government are also publishing today A consultation paper on the proposed abolition of the Horserace Betting Levy Board and the licensing of racecourse betting and pool betting on horseracing.

This consultation paper takes account of the BHB's plan and sets out government's detailed proposals for the abolition of the levy board. Specific areas covered include the BHB's proposal that it should replace the levy board as racing's central funding body and take control of related levy board assets; the board's responsibilities for advancing veterinary science and education and the improvement of breeds of horses; and the future of the National Stud. It also contains interim proposals, ahead of the outcome of the independent review of gambling, for the licensing and regulation of racecourse betting, including the Tote's pool betting operations.

Publication of this paper represents the next important step towards ending the Government's direct involvement in the administration and financing of racing. The Government wish to see both racing and bookmaking flourish and we remain committed to working closely with both industries as we implement these reforms.

Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Library. The closing date for responses is 28 February 2001. Thereafter, the Government intend to bring forward legislation, when parliamentary time allows, that will provide for both the abolition of the Levy Board and the sale of the Tote.

Police Information Technology Organisation: Chairman

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who they will appoint to succeed Sir Trefor Morris as Chairman of the Police Information Technology Organisation. [HL4838]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary today appointed Lieutenant-General Sir Edmund Burton to succeed Sir Trefor Morris as Chairman of the Police

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Information Technology Organisation (PITO). Sir Edmund will take up the appointment on 1 January next year.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary would like to pay tribute to Sir Trefor Morris for his contribution over the past three years, during which the organisation has assumed an increasingly important role in delivering police technology. He is very pleased that we have found someone of Sir Edmund Burton's calibre to take over from him, and to lead the organisation at a time when we are investing unprecedented amounts of money in new IT and communications projects to improve the efficiency and operational effectiveness of the police.

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