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Nuclear Decommissioning

Linda Perham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate she has made of the financial costs involved in

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disposing of nuclear waste and decommissioning nuclear power stations over the last 20 years; and what future projections she has made for the next 10 years. [22295]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

Expenditure by the Liabilities Management Authority is expected to be approximately £1 billion a year over the next 10–15 years. The other information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

TREASURY

e-tendering

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on progress towards meeting the target on e-tendering for Government business. [24095]

Mr. Andrew Smith: We are currently piloting an internet-based electronic tendering service (OGC Tendertrust) with 10 Departments. This pilot will ensure that the whole of Government have access to a service that will assure the delivery, security and integrity of tenders across the internet and authenticate all parties to the transaction. This service uses digital certificates and smartcards and has received formal Government security accreditation. The evidence from the pilot shows that further work is needed to maintain the right level of security and encourage take up of the service. We will therefore revise our target of sending and receiving 100 per cent. of tenders electronically by December 2002.

VAT

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to introduce the experimental reduced VAT rate scheme for labour intensive services agreed in October 1999; and if he will make a statement. [23105]

Mr. Boateng: The experimental scheme agreed in 1999 gave member states the option to apply a reduced VAT rate to a limited range of labour intensive services during the calendar years 2000, 2001 and 2002. The Isle of Man applies a reduced VAT rate of 5 per cent. under the scheme to renovation and repairs of domestic housing. The Chancellor has no plans for the UK to participate further.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has collated on which EU countries have elected to use the experimental reduced VAT rate scheme for labour intensive services. [23106]

Mr. Boateng: Belgium, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and the UK (on behalf of the Isle of Man only) apply the experimental reduced rate of VAT to certain labour intensive services.

Tax Credits Bill

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assumptions concerning (a) rates and (b) tapers were used in preparing the regulatory impact assessment for the Tax Credits Bill. [22985]

Dawn Primarolo: The regulatory impact assessment assumes, for illustrative purposes only, that the current systems of support are replicated as closely as possible.

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Defence Expenditure

Rachel Squire: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the £100 million on defence expenditure he cited in his pre-Budget statement is the same money as the £107 million announced in the Ministry of Defence's Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2001–02. [22949]

Mr. Andrew Smith: No. The increase in total DEL for the Ministry of Defence of £107.080 million announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 28 November 2001, Official Report, column 909W, arises from the winter Supplementary Estimate presented to the House on 29 November (Cm. 5303). On the resource side, it comprises primarily the take-up of DEL end-year flexibility and the consequences of Machinery of Government changes, while the minor increase in capital also arises from a Machinery of Government change.

The sum of up to £100 million that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his pre-Budget report has not yet been included in Supplementary Estimates.

Departmental Underspending

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much underspend there was in real terms in each year between May 1997 and April 2000 in the (a) Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and (b) Home Office. [13205]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The table sets out details of cash underspends at 1999–2000 prices for spending by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and the Home Office. For 1999–2000 underspends are measured against final Departmental Expenditure Limits (introduced on 1 April 1999) and for 1997–98 against final cash limits within the Control Total.

£000(5)

1999–20001998–991997–98
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions(6)800,690226,34280,195
Home Office147,94822,99948,795

(5) 1999–2000 prices

(6) Main DEL


National Health Service

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if it is his policy to raise the level of one tax in order to pay for increased expenditure on the national health service. [22035]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 6 December 2001, Official Report, column 526W.

International Tax Recoveries

Mr. Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answers of 25 October 2001, Official Report, column 374W, 21 November 2001, Official Report, column 360W, and 30 November 2001, Official Report, column 1217W, on international tax recoveries, how much of the £499 million recovered in tax by International Division from the taxpayers paying more than £100 million in the year ended 31 March 2000, was made up of

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(a) interest and (b) penalties; and what the totals paid by them were for each of these categories of payment in that year. [22124]

Dawn Primarolo: The £499 million included interest of £75 million. No penalty was levied.

Taper Relief

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what will be the cost of taper relief for financial years (a) 2002–03 and (b) 2003–04. [22192]

Dawn Primarolo: The costs of capital gains tax taper relief for 2000–01 and 2001–02 are given in the Tax Ready Reckoner and Tax Reliefs, which was published on 27 November 2001. Estimates for future years are highly dependent on assumed growth in asset values.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the reasons for the change in the cost of taper relief for financial years (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2001–02 between November 2000 and November 2001 tax ready reckoners; and if he will make a statement. [22191]

Dawn Primarolo: For 1999–2000, taper relief was only available in respect of disposals of business assets. For long held assets, the proportion chargeable was 85 per cent.

For 2000–01, taper relief was also available for non- business assets. The proportion chargeable was 95 per cent. for long held non-business assets and 75 per cent. for long held business assets.

For 2001–02, the proportion chargeable reduces to 50 per cent. for long held business assets and 90 per cent. for long held non-business assets.

The change in cost of taper relief between years reflects the progressive maturity of these taper relief structures as well as such factors as asset values, volumes of disposals and tax rates and allowances.

The change, between November 2000 and November 2001, in the estimates of the cost of taper relief for 2000–01, reflects changes in the underlying estimate of CGT liability for that year (liabilities for 2000–01 are mostly paid in 2001–02). This is due to new information on asset prices and disposal volumes through 2000–01 and higher than expected CGT receipts in 2000–01.

Social Security Contributions

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the reason for the change in the seasonal pattern of social security contributions in (a) 2000–01 and (b) 2000–02; and if he will make a statement. [22193]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Figures for social security contributions on an accrued basis are published in table PSF3 of the monthly National Statistics first release on the Public Sector Finances. The source of a key part of the data has changed from the Government Actuary's Department to Inland Revenue, and the new methodology, which has been implemented from the figures for 2000–01 onwards, better reflects the true quarterly pattern. Published figures on cash receipts are not affected by this change.

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