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Scott Report: Ministerial Recipients

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): The Ministers of the Crown who received a copy of Sir Richard Scott's report prior to publication were: the Prime Minister, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, the President of the Board of Trade, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Secretary of State for Defence, and the Attorney General.

In addition, the Deputy Prime Minster, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister of State Department of Trade and Industry, the Paymaster General and the Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service had access to the report prior to publication, in accordance with the terms laid down by the Scott Inquiry.

Scott Report: Pre-publication Access

Lord Monkswell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: With regard to the first part of the noble Lord's Question, I refer him to the list of Ministers who had access to the report given in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, today. Additionally, a small number of civil servants also had access to the report prior to publication. The length of such access varied. The terms of access were, in each case, those agreed with the inquiry, and included the signing of an undertaking by all recipients of the report.

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Waste Management Licensing (Fees and Charges)

Lord Trefgarne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to revise the fees and charges for waste management licensing.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): My right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment, for Wales and for Scotland have made the Waste Management Licensing (Fees and Charges) Scheme 1996 under Section 41 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The scheme has been made with the approval of the Treasury and comes into force on 1st April 1996.

In line with the "polluter pays" principle, the financial objective of the charging scheme is full recovery of the costs of supervising sites licensed under Section 35 of the 1990 Act; and the cost of considering licence applications. With the aim of fulfilling this objective, the 1996 charging scheme increases subsistence charges by 15 per cent. and application fees by 2.75 per cent.

In order to reduce the effect of the introduction of charges on small businesses, we set some of them at

70 per cent. of our assessment of full cost recovery in 1994/95 and 1995/96. The abrupt ending of this transitional provision would have had a disproportionate impact on the businesses affected. We have therefore decided that the transitional provision should be retained for one year longer than was originally intended and should be set at 85 per cent. of our assessment of full cost recovery in 1996/97.

As required by Section 41 of the 1990 Act, a copy of the 1996 charging scheme is being laid before the House and placed in the Library of the House.

Subsequent charging schemes for waste management licensing will be made under Sections 41 and 42 of the Environment Act 1995 on the basis of proposals submitted by the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and they will reflect the costs incurred by the agencies in their operation of the licensing system.

Landfill Tax and Recycling Credits

Lord Trefgarne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether payments of recycling credits by waste disposal authorities should be increased following the introduction of the landfill tax.

Earl Ferrers: Statutory payments, which are made by waste disposal and waste collection authorities to those who recycle waste, are commonly known as "recycling credits". These payments are made under Section 52 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and associated regulations.

Payments of credits are intended to reflect savings in the costs of waste collection and disposal which benefit collection and disposal authorities as a direct result of the activities of recyclers. In particular, disposal credits, which are paid by waste disposal authorities, represent

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the net saving of expenditure on the disposal of waste which arises because the waste has been recycled.

Provisions to introduce the proposed landfill tax are contained in the Finance Bill, which is currently before Parliament. The aim of the new tax is to increase the cost of landfill disposal of waste, reflecting its environmental impact. This will make alternative waste management practices, such as recycling, more economic. The landfill tax supports the objectives set out in our White Paper on waste, Making Waste Work.

Waste disposal authorities should take their own legal advice if they are in doubt as to their position, as the interpretation of legislation is ultimately a matter for the courts. However, it is the aim of the recycling credits legislation that all expenditure on the disposal of waste should be included in the calculation of disposal credits. The amounts of disposal credits should therefore be increased to reflect the introduction, subject to parliamentary approval, of the landfill tax, where landfill is the most expensive disposal method as defined by the regulations.

Pensions Split on Divorce: Cost Estimate

Lord Elton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What would be the loss in tax revenue if pensions could be split between husbands and wives.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): The cost would depend on the proportion of the pension that was allocated to the husband or wife. On the assumption that all married couples elected to split their pension incomes equally between husbands and wives (where this would result in a more favourable tax position), it is estimated that the cost in the first year could be up to £600 million at current income levels. This tax cost could be expected

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to rise as the number of people retiring with private pensions grow and the level of these pensions increases in real terms.

Lord Elton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a table showing the build-up in (a) the estimated tax costs if pensions could be split on divorce; and (b) the savings in the payment of income related benefits that might be expected.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The tax costs and income related benefits savings would build up steadily over time as people whose pensions were split on divorce reached retirement age and benefits became payable. It is expected that the savings on income related benefits would level off at around the year 2020, while tax costs would continue to rise. An indication of the possible growth path is shown in the following table.

£ million

YearTax costsIncome related benefit savings


1. Estimates are full year costs/savings at constant prices.

2. Tax costs include loss in tax revenue and increase in tax relief as a result of additional pension contributions.

3. Savings are additional to those arising from changes under the Pensions Act 1995. For example, the savings on income related benefits under the measures in that Act would amount to about £50 million in the year 2020.

4. Tax costs are rounded to the nearest £10 million; income related benefit savings are rounded to the nearest £5 million.

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