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Lord Inglewood: In addition to the museum at Exhibition Road, the Victoria and Albert Museum is responsible for the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood and the Theatre Museum and also manages the Wellington Museum at Apsley House, all in London.
Voluntary donations were introduced at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1985. There were 1.69 million visits to the Museum in 1984 and 1.02 million in 1986. This represents a 39.5 per cent. reduction compared with 1984 but the number of free admissions are estimates only and the data are therefore not directly comparable. There were 1.30 million visits to the museum in 1993-94.
Entry to the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood remains free. The Theatre Museum was opened in 1987 and visitors were charged for admission to its lower floor galleries from that date. Compulsory entry charges were introduced for the Wellington Museum in 1979 but no estimates are available for the number of visits in 1978.
Lord Inglewood: Compulsory entry charges were introduced for the National Maritime Museum in 1984. There were 600,000 visits to the museum in 1983 and 598,000 in 1985, of which 145,000 were by complimentary tickets. This represents a 0.3 per cent. reduction compared with 1983 but the number of free admissions in 1983 are estimates only and the data are therefore not directly comparable. There were 530,346 visits to the museum in 1993-94.
Lord Inglewood: Compulsory entry charges were introduced for the Natural History Museum in 1987 but the museum offered--as it still does--free entry for all visitors after 4.30 p.m. (and after 5.00 p.m. on Sundays) and for pre-booked school parties at all times. There were 2.5 million visits to the museum in the financial year 1986-87 and 1.61 million in 1988-89. This represents a 35.6 per cent. reduction compared with 1986-87 but the number of free admissions in 1986-87 is an estimate only and is therefore not comparable with the number of visits for later years. There were
Compulsory entry charges were introduced for the museum at Lambeth Road in 1989. There were 282,000 visits to the museum in 1988. However, the museum was closed for redevelopment during part of 1988 and 1989. There were 396,000 visits in 1987 and 412,000 in 1990. This represents a 4.0 per cent. increase compared with 1987. There were 455,000 visits to the museum in 1993-94.
Compulsory entry charges were introduced for the museum at Duxford Airfield in 1980. There were 312,000 visits to the airfield in 1979 and 264,000 in 1981. This represents a 15.5 per cent. reduction compared with 1979. There were 343,000 visits to the airfield in 1993-94.
The museum opened the Cabinet War Rooms in 1984 and charged for admission from that date. Similarly, the museum charged for admission to HMS Belfast from 1978, when it took over responsibility for the site from the Belfast Trust.
The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Under Article 17 of the EC Sixth VAT Directive, businesses are entitled to recover tax incurred on purchases of goods and services used for the purposes of making taxable supplies. However, most member states have found it necessary to restrict the right to deduct VAT on purchases of certain goods and services, particularly those which are likely to be used for both business and private purposes. Paragraph (6) of the article provides for the Council to adopt harmonised rules on what is not to be eligible for deduction; tax is not to be deducted on expenditure which is not strictly business expenditure, such as that on luxuries, amusements or entertainment. Until the harmonised rules come into force, member states are permitted to retain all national input tax restrictions in place on 1 January 1978 (the date the directive came into force) but may not introduce any new ones.
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The public bodies eligible for refunds of VAT under Section 33 of the VAT Act 1994 are too numerous to be individually identified. In addition to the general categories listed in Section 33(3)(a) to (j), other bodies such as the National Rivers Authority, the Environment Agency, probation and magistrates' courts committees have been added from time to time under Section 33(3)(k).
For the purpose of VAT, how they define
(i) children's clothing, and (ii) a child; and
What was the exemption made for children's clothing when VAT was introduced in 1973.
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Articles designed as clothing or footwear for young children and not suitable for older persons were zero-rated in 1973 and have remained so. There is no definition of a young child in VAT legislation, but the upper age limit has always been taken to the eve of the fourteenth birthday. Any further extension of zero-rating to larger sizes of clothing or footwear could provide scope for misapplication of the relief to older persons for whom it was never intended. Refunds of VAT would not be an appropriate way of giving relief. Help for poorer families is better targeted through the benefits system.
Details of individual cases are not discussed unless an applicant or someone acting on their behalf has chosen to make public details of the case and allegations about its consideration. In those circumstances, it is the well established practice of the Home Office to give information in response to enquiries.
This policy has been followed throughout the case to which the noble Baroness refers. Representatives of Mr. Igbinidu chose to make details of his case public. Therefore the Home Office gave details to those who made enquiries, in order to put the record straight.
Baroness Blatch: No record has been kept of the number of copies of the United Kingdom's Thirteenth Periodic Report under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination which have been distributed on request outside the Government. We have no plans to send out further unsolicited copies: as I explained in my reply on