|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Government's proposals and timetable for the reduction of Class 1 National Insurance contributions payable by employers. 
Dawn Primarolo: As announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the rate of employers Class 1 National Insurance contributions will be reduced from 12.2 to 11.9 per cent. in April 2001 and from 11.9 to 11.8 per cent. in April 2002.
Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of his policy of stability in the British Government finances and in the economy on the exchange rate since May 1997. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: It is not possible to identify precisely the impact of stability-orientated policies on the exchange rate. Delivering low inflation and sound public finances is the best contribution the Government can make to securing a stable and competitive exchange rate over the medium term.
Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on (a) the effectiveness of his Department's no-smoking policy and (b) the proportion of his Department's offices that do not allow smoking. 
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much extra tax and national insurance he will collect following the introduction of the All- Employee Share Scheme from employee and employer participants in the scheme. 
27 Jun 2000 : Column: 479W
Mr. Timms: The new all-employee share plan is a tax and NICs relieving measure designed to encourage more employees to hold shares in the companies for which they work and to reward their long-term commitment. The new plan will eventually cost the Exchequer around £400 million a year.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from (a) employers and (b) employees about the All-Employee Share Scheme; what was the nature of those representations; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Since December 1998, when the consultation process on employee share ownership began, the Inland Revenue has received in the region of 1,000 representations. While these have mostly been from employers and their advisers, many individual employees have also made representations.
The responses have covered all aspects of the existing Inland Revenue approved share schemes and the proposals for the new all-employee share plan and Enterprise Management Incentives. They have been overwhelmingly in favour of the new proposals. We have reflected these representations in the legislation.
Mr. Timms: The limit of £1,500 on the amount which employees may contribute annually from their salary under the new plan was arrived at after extensive consultation. We have no plans to review the limit at the present time.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with employers about the cost and administration which will be involved in running the new All-Employee Share Scheme alongside existing schemes; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: Consideration of employers' costs in setting up and running the new plan has formed a major part of the consultation underlying the plan, and the views of employers have been sought at every stage. Improvements designed to reduce these costs have been made to the legislation currently going through Parliament. The Regulatory Impact Assessment published on 21 March sets out a detailed cost/benefit analysis.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions with employers he had before deciding on an upper limit of £1,500 per year for employees purchasing shares under the new All-Employee Share Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The limit of £1,500 on the amount which employees may contribute annually from their salary under the new plan was arrived at after extensive consultation involving their employers, their advisers and other interested parties. Over 1,000 written responses have been received during the consultation period, mainly from employers and their advisers. The process started in December 1998 and ended earlier this year, following the publication of the draft legislation in November 1999. An advisory group drawn from large and small companies, their advisers, the TUC and the academic world worked
27 Jun 2000 : Column: 480W
with officials on the detailed legislation, and a 60-strong group of large and small employers was consulted throughout.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of employees who contribute more than £1,500 per year to purchase their employing company shares through a share scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many telephone lines to his Department used by the general public are responded to by interactive voice response systems; 
These are the Child Benefit Centre, which is manned by operators until 5.30 pm and from 5.30-8.00 pm by interactive voice response, and the Customer Care Helpline, which gives the client two interactive voice response options before/instead of being put through to an operator.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the cost of restoring entitlement to Income Support to 16 and 17-year-olds; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost in each of the five financial years beginning with 2001-02 of (a) linking the basic pension to earnings and introducing an age addition of £5 for pensioners aged 75 to 79 years, and £10 for pensioners aged 80 years and above and (b) introducing an increase in the basic pension in 2001-02 of £5 for pensioners aged 75 years, £10 for pensioners aged 75 to 79 years and £15 for pensioners aged 80 years or above, followed by price indexation of all rates of pension thereafter, in each case showing the cost net of savings on means-tested benefits and increased income tax revenue. 
27 Jun 2000 : Column: 481W
|Option (a)||Option (b)|
|Gross||Net of means-tested benefits and income tax||Gross||Net of means-tested benefits and income tax|
1. Option (a) assumes that the age addition is paid in full to all basic state pension recipients and is not uprated. Option (b) assumes age-related increases are paid pro-rata to those without full basic state pension.
2. Both options include the cost of benefits whose rates are linked to the rate of basic retirement pension.
3. Figures are rounded to the nearest £0.1 billion and are in 2000-01 price terms.
4. Gross costs estimated by the Government Actuary's Department. Costs net of income-related benefit savings are estimated using the Policy Simulation Model. Income tax revenues estimated by the Inland Revenue.
5. Estimates of income tax revenues not available beyond 2003-04.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|