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Hospices

Tony Worthington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received from the hospice movement about the taxation it pays; and if he will make a statement; [1040]

Mr. Boateng: The care services of a hospice are not chargeable with VAT. Charitable hospices benefit from a number of specific VAT reliefs on purchases which they make but, in accordance with the basic principles of VAT, they cannot recover VAT paid on purchases relating to the their VAT exempt or "non-business" activity. This issue was considered in response to representations from hospices and other charities during the recent Review of Charity Taxation.

Tony Worthington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about the liability of hospices for VAT; and if he will make a statement. [1345]

Mr. Boateng: Representations were received from hospices at the time of the review of charity taxation. The care services of a hospice are not chargeable with VAT. Charitable hospices benefit from a number of specific VAT reliefs on purchases they make but, in accordance with the basic principles of VAT, they cannot recover VAT paid on purchases relating to their VAT exempt or "non-business" activity.

Tony Worthington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much, and what proportion, of the income of hospices in each of the past 10 years is derived from (a) charitable giving and (b) Government sources; [1042]

Mr. Boateng: Government Departments have no centrally gathered information available.

Pensions

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the total cost of tax relief on employers' contributions to pensions was in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 1999–2000; [1138]

2 Jul 2001 : Column: 66W

Ruth Kelly: The information that is available and can be supplied without disproportionate cost is given in the table.

£ million

Cost of tax relief for:1999–20002000–01
Total contributions to approved schemes14,10015,400
Employers' contributions to occupational pension schemes7,5008,100
Employers' contributions to personal pensions450460

VAT Theft

Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue is estimated to be lost to the Treasury every year because of VAT theft. [1267]

Mr. Boateng: There are no estimates relating specifically to the revenue lost every year because of VAT theft.

Climate Change Levy

David Maclean: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much VAT revenue he forecasts will be raised in the current financial year as a result of the introduction of the climate change levy and consequent application of VAT. [1168]

Mr. Boateng: Business will be able to reclaim the majority of VAT paid on the Climate Change Levy (CCL). We estimate therefore that the introduction of the CCL might lead to additional VAT receipts of around £30 million, significantly below the £1 billion expected to be raised by the levy in the first year. All revenues from the CCL will be recycled back to business through a 0.3 percentage point cut in employers' national insurance contributions and additional support for energy-efficient measures and energy-saving technologies.

Aggregates Tax

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Government plan to make separate provision for (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England in respect of the application of the aggregates tax. [864]

Mr. Boateng: The Government currently have no such plans, although they will continue to assess the implications of the application of the aggregates levy.

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from the British Aggregates Association in connection with the impact of the aggregates tax. [862]

Mr. Boateng: The British Aggregates Association has made a number of representations on the aggregates levy.

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Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of the aggregates tax upon each local authority in the United Kingdom in respect of the cost of purchasing aggregates for construction and maintenance work; [860]

Mr. Boateng: Budget 2000 announced that the Government had decided to introduce an aggregates levy with effect from April 2002. It will be charged at £1.60 per tonne on the commercial exploitation of primary aggregates in the UK, including those imported from abroad. Aggregates exported from the UK will be exempt.

A full Regulatory Impact Assessment was published at the time of Budget 2000.

A higher price of primary aggregate will provide an incentive to all users, including the public sector, to make more efficient use of aggregates and better use of recycled aggregates as an alternative. The impact on the actual costs to the end user will be dependent on the commercial decisions of aggregates suppliers.

Euro

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the latest date is by which his Department will complete its assessment of the five economic tests for UK membership of the euro; and if he will make a statement. [1346]

Ruth Kelly: The Government have said that they will complete another assessment of the five tests within two years of the start of this Parliament.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the technical work which is necessary before an assessment of the five economic tests for British entry into the euro is started; who will carry out this preliminary technical work in his Department; and if he will make a statement. [1347]

Ruth Kelly: The Government have said that they will complete another assessment of the five tests within two years of the start of this Parliament.

Before any such assessment is started, the Treasury must continue to do the necessary preliminary work for the analysis—technical work that is necessary to allow the Treasury to undertake the assessment within two years as promised.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the policy of his Department is on the reforms of the European Central Bank that would be needed before the UK could join the euro; and if he will make a statement. [1348]

Ruth Kelly: The determining factor underpinning any Government decision on membership of the single currency is the national economic interest and whether the economic case for joining is clear and unambiguous.

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Financial Services Authority

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 26 June 2001, Official Report, column 59W, on the Financial Services Authority, for what reason it is inappropriate to comment during the investigation into the Independent Insurance Co. [1446]

Ruth Kelly: Any comment made on an investigation prior to its conclusion may well prejudice the investigation.

It is not usual to comment on the conduct of an investigation until a decision has been made on whether to institute proceedings or not. This is both to protect the investigation and those who are the subject of it.


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